Sunday, August 08, 2010

Tell us, what do you think of Unions, Fra Hubbard?

I do my Sunday stint at auction here in my little corner of the universe, and today, I think I struck gold. Aside from a first-edition Twain "Tramp Abroad" (not in terribly good condition, but Mom doesn't mind, as long as the text is all there), I also picked up a set of three Fra Elbert Hubbard pamphlets published by the Roycrofters in AD 1910. The one I wanted most, I looked up to see if I could find a copy online, &, well, it wasn't listed except as something I might want to spend $7.95 (plus S&H) if I had it, and, well, this was too good to make people fork over cash to share an idea or two.

And so, today, I have posted the first half of Fra Hubbard's "The Closed or Open Shop?" over at Friday's Klips. I've done my best to copy it out faithfully, including his own paragraph markers (¶) (and any errors in spelling or typing are mine), but other details I have no way to copy save scanner and much more time on my hands. Still, I offer this lovely segment as enticement to those who would read a bold thinker's words:
When Unionism gets to a point where it dictates to the employer whom he shall hire, and decides who shall have the right to labor and who not, then Unionism has become un-American –– a menace too great to overlook. Unlimited power is always dangerous when centered in the hands of a few men.
The American Federation of Labor is controlled by eleven men.
These men are not working men. They may have been once, but now they live in the labor of others.
They undertake to manipulate and regulate the lives of those who toil, and take toll for their service. The result is that, being humans, they are drunk –– power-crazed by success –– and are attempting to run an engine fitted for fifty miles an hour at a speed of one hundred. It is the working out of the Law of Diminishing Returns. From being a benefit, the Labor-Union has become a burden. the few men who control the Labor-Unions have created a phantom in their minds called "Capital," which they think is after them and is going to shunt them into the ditch. They have frightened the laborers so long with ghost-stories that they have come to believe their own fabrications.
What shall be done about this insane clutch for power? Must we forever endure the rule of the Demagog?
Who is right in this question of "Labor versus Capital"?
I'll tell you : both sides are right and both sides are wrong. The capitalists of this country, for the most part, were once working men, and many are working men now.
And any laborer who owns a home and has a savings-bank account is a capitalist.

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