In an exercise concerning the national anthem, facilitators at the fall retreat for all Goshen College faculty, staff, and administrators put us in groups to discuss a series of questions about our stance on the anthem. The last one was, What are your doubts or hesitations about the position you hold? It’s a great question, especially as conflict intensifies and it seems more and more necessary to insist on the truth of one’s viewpoint and less and less possible to hesitate, re-think, and perhaps even change. I’ll name three fundamental doubts; they don’t haunt me, but neither do they disappear. Blindspots is always a good one. What have I simply failed to see that I must see in order to get this issue in proper perspective? And then there’s just getting it wrong. Imagine that some of my arguments in this essay seem right to readers, or at least worth considering. Nonetheless, I know full well that it is possible to employ good arguments in bad causes. Finally, slippery-slope arguments can be laughable nonsense, but sometimes the law of unintended consequences really can take things where you never imagined, or the arguments you needed to make for one situation get applied in ways you didn’t anticipate and didn’t intend. Trying to find a way forward in which dissent and hospitality meet, peace and welcome embrace proves to be a very great challenge indeed.
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The second precondition for public-sector unionization was economic and demographic change. In the post-war period, the number of government jobs grew rapidly: Between 1950 and 1976, state- and local-government employment increased from % to % of the non-agricultural work force (an increase from roughly 4 million workers to about 12 million). A large part of this spike was the result of increased demand for government services caused by the Baby Boom. Huge numbers of young people meant a greater need for workers in schools in particular; the number of Americans working as teachers, principals, and administrators thus increased dramatically. It is hardly surprising, then, that some of the first public employees to unionize (and some of the most militant) were teachers. In the 1970s in New York state alone, there were, on average, 20 teacher strikes a year.
— Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor of National Review Online .