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Vic Biorseth, http://www.CatholicAmericanThinker.com
After we have held a job for awhile, we come to feel that we possess it; that it is ours, and that we have a right to it. This feeling, which is natural and never without merit, can be a source of pride in workmanship and accomplishment, and of a sense of solidarity not only with fellow workers but also with our employer. Like anything else, this sense of job ownership can be over-blown into something negative. And, it is a natural feeling that is always ripe for direct or underhanded Marxist exploitation.
The Catechism (paragraph 2434) addresses the moral responsibility of the employer to provide a just wage to the worker; all around the neighborhood of that paragraph it talks to issues of working, compensation, solidarity and related issues. Workers should have the right to organize, negotiate, strike and so forth. On the other side of that coin, employers have a right to profit; it is what they are in business for. Both worker and employer have a right to their pay. The worker is paid in wages; the entrepreneur is paid in profit. Once the costs of doing business for an enterprise approach the level of reducing profits toward zero, or toward an amount less than received by the typical worker, the incentive and even financial ability to stay in business becomes an issue. The entrepreneur might as well just shut the business down and go get a job.
A major point of consideration involves the purpose of the business enterprise. While providing a decent wage for workers is a purpose for the existence of the business, it, most frequently, is not the purpose for the existence of the business. The business exists to make money. If it cannot make money, it cannot remain in existence. Period.
When both worker and employer have, as a primary goal, the ongoing challenge to continually produce the best and most timely and most price-competitive widget in the open marketplace, and neither seeks unfair advantage over the other, things should go along very well. The fair market determines the wage for the worker and the price for the product. It is when the employer thinks he has a right to higher profit at the expense of a fair wage to someone, or, when the worker thinks he has a right to higher wages at the expense of the business that problems arise. When the situation actually is one of the two described above, a negotiated settlement is always possible between reasonable men.
Unfortunately, all too often it is not just what the two parties think about what is due them; it comes down to what they think they know about it, with great certainty. It is all too easy for greed to cloud the reason of the entrepreneur. It is even easier for provocateurs to unreasonably convince workers that they are being exploited. Human beings being the imperfect creatures that they are, sometimes both problems exist, and both parties plant their feet and refuse to budge, reason has left the scene, and the real fireworks begin. This is the preferred and most advantageous situation for the true revolutionary. The two-fold goal of the Marxist is to gain more regulatory control over the means of production and to facilitate the migration of power from the people to the eventual Leviathan State. In other words, to grow the government.
The beginning-point natural sense that we own our jobs and have a right to employment gives the revolutionary almost a home-field advantage. We need to think about that.
If I have a right to something, then it logically follows that someone has a responsibility to give it to me. If I stand up in a crowded room and say "I have a right to a job", then does someone else in the room have a commensurate responsibility to stand up and give me one? Here, the natural tendency seems less to deny my right to a job and more to assign the responsibility, if not to some existing employer, well, then, perhaps to the state.
Once the notion that I have a right to my job itself takes root, then, do I have a right to perform at or below some level of job performance, and keep my job? If I hold my job merely because someone had a responsibility of giving it to me, then how can it be claimed by anyone that I must perform at some level to earn my pay? My pay is a right, is it not?
It may be argued that, under Socialism, many people will perform their job tasks diligently out of a sense of personal honor or morality, and that may be true. However, many more will, over time, become hangers-on and poor producers, only there to collect their pay, with little interest in the quality or quantity or price-competitiveness of the widget. History shows that this is the path to the end of economic excellence, in products and in services and in ideas. Free market Capitalism wins the economic competition, hands down, every single time. Capitalist nations produce wealth, and Socialist nations consume wealth.
But we are talking about more than the creation of wealth here. Once we adopt the notion that the company or the state owes us a living, we begin to move in the direction of intellectual impoverishment. Larger numbers of people will increasingly behave like sheep, or dependent children, in need of being spoon-fed, led around by the nose and told what to do. And, they will become the most fertile ground from which may spring the fruit of the notion of redistributionism.
Which is the fundamentally immoral idea of taking something from someone, merely because they have it, and giving it to someone else, merely because they do not have it. We need to be clear on this. Before you may redistribute something you must first take it from someone.
By what right?
Charity involves giving, willingly, of your excess to someone in need. Great charity involves giving willingly of more than your excess. Perfect charity involves giving all that you have. Charity is always freely giving; it never involves taking. If a would-be Robin Hood takes from someone to give to someone else, that is not charity; he does not give from his own possession, but from someone else's. Taking from someone else is stealing.
Implicit within the Commandment Thou shalt not steal is the inalienable right to private property: the right of an individual to actually own something. I submit that this is a natural right. From Scripture times to now, large families who stay together have accumulated lands and herds and flocks and great wealth. Weaker or non-existent or broken-up families have not succeeded nearly as well. There is another lesson in that fact, but we will address it another time. Should a large farm or ranch or mill or plant or whatever be nationalized or otherwise taken over by others, merely because it is there?
I submit that a better approach might be to feed and encourage, at all levels, by public and private means, in public and private forums, the moral norms common to Judeo-Christianity. The more that this foundational morality is strengthened, the more charitable will both employers and employees be, the greater will be the provision for social safety nets to help the unfortunate and the disaster-stricken, and the more honorable and less antagonistic will be the relationship between worker and employer. While there is no road to worldly perfection, strong Judeo-Christian morality provides a path to better working and economic relationships, to more open and challenged intellect, to more excellence in product and services, and to more individual and collective wealth.This is an idea that is, of course, at odds with the SLIMC1 , which openly attacks our religious expressions in public, and whose main goal is to eradicate Judeo-Christian moral norms in America along with the honorable historical position of Western Civilization itself. Nevertheless, these are norms and institutions and truths that you and I need to strengthen and reinforce and internalize in every way that we can.
This foundational morality is what can make us a voluntarily good people. We are, for the most part, a good people because we willfully seek to be good, in accordance with our inner guiding moral norms. The sometimes well intentioned but misguided collectivist seeks to somehow make things socially better by forcing the situation from without. The Western Culture ethos seeks to make things socially better from within, by establishing, deep within most of us, those wise restraints that make men free. Morality is best established at the grass-roots level; we will hear and accept the Word better from our Pastors than from any bureaucrat or political leader. Morality cannot be dictated from above.
So, bless the holy name of God, and put a little extra into your job today.
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Tuesday, April 16, 2013
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From: Vic Biorseth
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