This is something I wrote a great while ago. Not sure how much of it I agree with but I saw it unpublished and figured I'd put it out there. [I've read it and did some slight editing. I pretty much feel like it accurately sums up - in an extremely limited fashion - my feelings on the matter]
Which Side Are You on?
Come all of you good workers,
Good news to you I'll tell,
Of how that good old union
Has come in here to dwell.
Which side are you on?
Which side are you on?
Which side are you on?
Which side are you on?
My daddy was a miner,
And I'm a miner's son,
And I'll stick with the union,
Till every battle's won.
They say in Harlan County,
There are no neutrals there.
You'll either be a union man,
Or a thug for J.H. Blair.
Oh, workers can you stand it?
Oh, tell me how you can.
Will you be a lousy scab,
Or will you be a man ?
Don't scab for the bosses,
Don't listen to their lies.
Us poor folks haven't got a chance,
Unless we organize.
Which Side Are You On?
Growing up in the eighties and nineties has made it hard for me to fathom working conditions that can precipitate sentiments like Mrs. Reece's. Nor can I understand sending children down chimneys as sweeps or working them in factories for twelve hour shifts.
There is something inside of men - all men - that is brutal, evil and very close to surfacing at all times. Blacks are constantly accused of the possibility of "going native" in Christianized Western Civilizations (rip) with nary a remembrance of just how "native" whites in these civilizations used to behave toward one another in the complete absence of the Negro. Capitalism is extremely dangerous because men are extremely dangerous and it appears that it is unable to achieve anything except a further expansion of the power of the material and materialism over the cultural and religious and unable to soften the harshness of the "hidden hand" in troubled and trying times.
Sometimes men can be pushed so far down the hierarchy of need that the overbearing cry emanating from their collective soul is one composed only of pain and want, one that cries for temporal relief; a reprieve from hunger, thirst and wage enslavement. A just society - staying within its proper boundary, so far as is possible from there - prevents the mass of men from entering this ungodly state. A culture - an economic, spiritual and political entity that encompasses, delineates, circumscribes and dictates and informs a national man - is an organizing force that when healthy and robust enables men to focus on that which is invaluable and residing in a realm unrelated to simple household management. Neither does a righteous culture divide men upon lines of battle that are intraracial for the sole purpose of redistribution of trinkets. The real struggle started in paradise and is between the snake and our Lord and those are the two sides we must choose from. A sin stained society draws our attention away from the real war and although there is power in a union it is only a weak and earthly power incapable of burning away the dross of the soul.
A union can never correct the wicked. Usurious and injurious men are stronger than collective bargaining. The union is merely an attempt to equalize an unrighteous imbalance of power in situations where capital has grown fat and abusive in its power and seeks to oppress men from this vantage.
What is a fair wage? I suppose if a man is toiling full time he deserves a living wage, a wage with which he can support a family. Are all men able to perform the same day's work? Perhaps not. Do all men deserve the same wage? Perhaps not. Do all men deserve to support a family through wage? Perhaps not. The union can not address these questions, but neither should we allow the boss to do so.
The main problem with unions is that they too, like corporations, are run by wicked men and the more democratic they become the more evil they seem to become - just like governments. In the case of my particular union and its local manifestation the evil expresses itself in spiritual and cultural apathy; it regards the worker as mere labor, and labor as mere means to engage in boundless consumption. The boss man puts profits over people and the union feels the same way; they just disagree about how to divvy up the exploits. Perhaps it is time to ask the union which side are you on?
I have found no one who writes today about the demise of the American family has explored the negative impact of hospital birth. I believe that the decision to have an institutional hospital birth is at the heart of the destruction of American family life. The family starts with birth, and home birth traditionally was a cornerstone of strength in a family's life. Hospital birth deprives the new family of this most primal and strengthening experience.
In 1920, when birth was leaving the home and entering the hospitals in the U.S., there was an outcry. People didn't like it. There was a rise in infant and maternal mortality in the hospital. But control of birth, medical schools and hospitals were in the hands of powerful and wealthy families like the Rockefellers and the Morgans. It was in the best interest of their financial empires to influence the move of laboring women to hospitals. A major study as early as 1933 showed that hospital births were not as safe as home births.
It seems inevitable that if families are strong in a society, then the institutions are weak; and if the institutions are strong, then families are weak. Our American institutional way of life is firmly implanted. Our families have been weakened by powerful economic and political forces most interested in perpetuating themselves.
You don't find people these days who will tell you that they were happy with the hospital births of their children. They may be pleased to leave the hospital with their new babies but at best describe the hospital experience as necessary if one wants a baby.
It is never described as an emotionally uplifting moment, not as the greatest day in their lives, not as the happening that brought them closer than ever before, but as a necessary experience if you want to have a baby. Hospital birth is something new mothers try to forget quickly. A mother who wants to have another hospital birth in the future has to block the experience from her mind in order to have the courage to go through the experience another time. The hospital is a necessary experience only if one knows of no other way of having a baby.
Institutional childbirth will never be a joyous experience because institutions do not aim to please any of the families they serve. They aim to perpetuate their own existence. In the U.S. the goal of hospitals is to ensure that you feel dependent on them. This dependent feeling guarantees that you will call on the institution again and again. The hospital will step in to weaken your family's strength. They will deliver your baby, direct the care and feeding of your baby, cure your illnesses, take care of your elderly family members for you and manage your death. And they extract a great price, personal and financial, for their services.
If an institution can control the beginnings of your family life, the birth of your first child, then they can control everything else in your life. They "help" you decide on institutional formula feedings for your baby; institutional day care, maybe even from birth; institutional schooling beginning at a very early age; institutional careers to which your children may aspire; even the institutional care of anyone in your family who is sick or dying.
In contrast, "family thinking" brings questions and problems back to the family to solve rather than taking them to the institution. Dr. Robert Mendelsohn, on of America's leading pediatricians, used to say that one grandmother was worth two pediatricians. Families can provide their own "in-house" birthing rooms, child care systems, educational opportunities and care of the sick and dying.
Fully to appreciate this shift in institutional purpose, let's imagine a young man just entering the contemporary academy, at great cost to immigrant parents of simple religious faith, who fled foreign tyranny to find in the United States the political liberty and economic opportunity that have always been its hallmark. Their ambitions for him are: that he comes to love his new country as much as they do and makes the most of the freedoms it offers him; that he thanks God continually for the great blessing He has provided in making that freedom possible; and that he strives to live his faith in a way that is worthy of that freedom -- a way that will make of him an asset to his country and to his fellow citizens, and that will bring honor to his family. In short, they dream of him returning from school an educated gentleman, whose piety and patriotism have been enhanced by an exposure to learning and high culture. Yet what remains after four years at the contemporary university, after the professors have had a chance to mold him according to their own vision of New Progressive Man? A dope-smoking, Che-Guevara-T-shirt-wearing foul-mouthed serial fornicator, whose conception of the higher moral life comprises recycling and voting a straight Green Party ticket, and whose idea of "spirituality" is hanging out with other New Age flakes at a Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert. He has been taught nothing about his religion except that it is a repressive sham, nothing about sexual morality except that there isn't any, nothing about his country and its history except that it is "racist," "sexist," "homophobic," and insensitive to people in wheelchairs, and would be much better if only if it was more like the country his parents had crawled under barbed wire to escape from.Extracted from an article titled Opium of the Professors.
As a term in civics it implies that there is no formal authority whatsoever, not even a commonly accepted view of anarchism, and so disputes are raised, contended and closed by brute force − might makes right, but only in a very local and temporary way, as another mob or another mood might just as easily sway a decision. It is often associated with demagoguery and the rule of passion over reason. It may be considered an ad hoc democracy
“I can see little consistency in a type of Christian activity which preaches the Gospel on the street corners and at the ends of the Earth, but neglects the children of the covenant by abandoning them to a cold and unbelieving secularism. If indeed the Christian school were in any sort of competition with the Christian family, if it were trying to do what the home ought to do, then I could never favor it. But one of its marked characteristics, in sharp distinction from the secular education of today, is that it exalts the family as a blessed divine institution and treats the scholars in its classes as children of the covenant to be brought up above all things in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
J. Gresham Machen
Education, Christianity, and the State
“The reason I am opposed to (creating a Federal Department of Education) is that it represents a very ancient principle in the field of education which, it seems to me, has been one of the chief enemies of liberty for several thousand years – the principle, namely, that education is an affair essentially of the State, that education must be standardized for the welfare of the whole people and put under control of the government, that personal idiosyncrasies should be avoided….It is a very ancient thing this notion that the children belong to the State and that their education must be provided for by the State in a way that makes for the States welfare. But that principle, I think you will find if you examine human history, is inimical at every step to liberty; and if there is any principle that is contrary to the whole genius of the Anglo-Saxon idea in government, it seems to me that it is in the principle of thorough going State contol in education….
That great aim of education – that personal, free, truly human aspect of education – can never have justice done to it under federal control. And that is the reason why the standardization of education that has already been carried on through the federal bureaus is deleterious. I have observed this in general: that when people talk about uniformity in education what they are really producing is not something uniformly high, but something uniformly low; they are producing a kind of education which reduces all to a dead level, which fails to understand the man who loves the high things that most of his fellowmen do not love. This degrading tendency is furthered, I fear, by the present federal activities in education, and it will be given stupendous impetus if this federal Department is formed….
I, for my part, think that the functions of the public school ought to be diminished rather than broadened; and I believe the public school ought to pay just a little bit of attention, perhaps, to that limited by not unimportant function which it is now almost wholly neglecting – namely, the impartation of knowledge….
So it is with the federal control of education. The better it works the worse it suits me; and if these people had their way everything could be reduced to a dead level, if everybody came to agree with everybody else because nobody would be doing any thinking at all for himself, if all could be reduced to this harmony – do you think that the world would be a good place under those circumstances? No, my friends. It would be drab and miserable with creature comforts in it and nothing else, with men reduced to the level of beasts, with all the higher elements of human life destroyed….
If liberty is not maintained with regard to education, there is no use trying to maintain it in any other sphere. If you give the bureaucrats the children, you might as well give them everything else…. No we do not want a federal Department of Education; and we do not want, in any form whatever, the slavery that a federal department of Education would bring.”
J. Gresham Machen
Education, Christianity, and the State
It is also a strange thing that it should not be counted in England a trifling observation to say that one nation can never have a right to govern another; and that such a government could have no foundation but that of force, upon which also are supported robbery and tyranny. That the tyranny of a people is, of all known in the world, the most cruel and intolerable, leaving no remedy for the oppressed; whereas a single despot is at length stopped in his career by self-interest; he has the check of remorse, or that of public opinion; but a multitude makes no calculations, feels no remorse, and decrees to itself glory, when, in fact, it deserves the utmost disgrace.