AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has a 4th of July-themed column in the Huffington Post musing on the word freedom and how it is interpreted by the Republican Party. His conclusion is that they use the word to con people.
Let’s call this right-wing “freedom” catch phrase what it really is: a grossly political strategy to dupe the public, which holds the word “freedom” as something sacred.
According to Trumka, giving people or groups complete discretion in how they conduct their affairs is a bad idea because they might make the wrong decision. That is, they might decide to do something that Trumka thinks is a bad idea, such as opting out of Social Security.
Consider, for example, his take on conservatives lauding Wis. Gov. Scott Walker as a hero of freedom:
Scott Walker received the National Rifle Association’s “Defender of Freedom” award recently. I guess they meant Gov. Walker is defending teachers’ freedom from joining with coworkers to bargain fairly about things like class size.
That’s actually a fair definition of what Walker did. He gave the public sector workers the right, which they previously did not have, to opt out of paying union dues. Given the subsequent decline in union membership in the state, a lot of those workers apparently liked having that choice.
There are many reasons why a person might want to opt out of joining a union: They might think it doesn’t represent their interests; they might dislike the leadership’s agenda; or they might simply want to keep their dues money.
Maybe they are making a mistake, but you cannot deny that they exercising the freedom to make their own choices.