Airline Employees Should Be Free To Strike

by | Mar 20, 2001

President Bush has dictated that airline employees may not go on strike for at least two months, and maybe not at all. People like me, who have travel plans next month, should be relieved. Right? Wrong. Why the ingratitude? As much as I want to reach my destination next month, I want to reach my […]

President Bush has dictated that airline employees may not go on strike for at least two months, and maybe not at all. People like me, who have travel plans next month, should be relieved. Right?

Wrong.

Why the ingratitude? As much as I want to reach my destination next month, I want to reach my destination being flown by pilots who are free to choose. In a capitalistic system, the decision to strike or not to strike is entirely a matter between employees and employer. The government should have nothing to do with it. Quite understandably, pilots and other airline employees are resentful because the government has commanded them to work. A strike is averted not because airline employees judge a strike not worth their while, but rather because Commander Bush says they cannot.

President Bush insists he made the right decision for the sake of “the economy.” In other words, pilots are forbidden to strike — even when they judge it to be in their interest — because they must be forced to live for the greater good of society. This is the same premise as the one underlying communism. (Note that none other than Senator Ted Kennedy applauded Bush’s decision.) People who favor socialized medicine, for example, similarly insist that medical care on demand must take priority over the individual rights of doctors. In communist countries, the government takes over every aspect of the economy in the name of the “greater good” of the people. Mr. Bush, whether he admits it or not, is relying upon the same principle. How far will he carry it?

It has been said that people who are willing to sacrifice liberty (their own or another’s) for the sake of security deserve neither liberty nor security. Increasingly, Americans are more than happy to sacrifice their own or another’s individual rights for the sake of momentary gratification.

So my travel plans remain intact for another month or two. I’m free to fly. Big deal. How free a country will I be living in once my plane lands?

Editor’s Note: A corollary point of the above is that employers should be also free to hire and fire on their own terms.

Dr. Michael Hurd is a psychotherapist, columnist and author of "Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference)" and "Grow Up America!" Visit his website at: www.DrHurd.com.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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