And see also, Robert Tracinski, "Public Unions & the Socialist Utopia" (via Memeorandum):
The Democratic lawmakers who have gone on the lam in Wisconsin and Indiana-and who knows where else next-are exhibiting a literal fight-or-flight response, the reaction of an animal facing a threat to its very existence.Well, some folks are for the insurrection, as we've been seeing for weeks.
Why? Because it is a threat to their existence. The battle of Wisconsin is about the viability of the Democratic Party, and more: it is about the viability of the basic social ideal of the left.
It is a matter of survival for Democrats in an immediate, practical sense. As Michael Barone explains, the government employees' unions are a mechanism for siphoning taxpayer dollars into the campaigns of Democratic politicians.
But there is something deeper here than just favor-selling and vote-buying. There is something that almost amounts to a twisted idealism in the Democrats' crusade. They are fighting, not just to preserve their special privileges, but to preserve a social ideal. Or rather, they are fighting to maintain the illusion that their ideal system is benevolent and sustainable.
Unionized public-sector employment is the distilled essence of the left's moral ideal. No one has to worry about making a profit. Generous health-care and retirement benefits are provided to everyone by the government. Comfortable pay is mandated by legislative fiat. The work rules are militantly egalitarian: pay, promotion, and job security are almost totally independent of actual job performance. And because everyone works for the government, they never have to worry that their employer will go out of business.
In short, public employment is an idealized socialist economy in miniature, including its political aspect: the grateful recipients of government largesse provide money and organizational support to re-elect the politicians who shower them with all of these benefits.
Put it all together, and you have the Democrats' version of utopia. In the larger American culture of Tea Parties, bond vigilantes, and rugged individualists, Democrats feel they are constantly on the defensive. But within the little subculture of unionized government employees, all is right with the world, and everything seems to work the way it is supposed to ...
This is why the left is treating any attempt to fundamentally reform the public workers' paradise as an existential crisis.
See also, Pejman Yousefzadeh, "Marxists. I Hate These Guys" (via Instapundit).
Well, of course Ezra Klein doesn't hate 'em, "Do We Still Need Unions? Yes" (via Memorandum).