by Jon Caldara
Growing up in the seventies and eighties I heard the liberal mantra like a synthetic drumbeat. “The ends don’t justify the means.”
From every drippy Norman Lear sitcom to every self-important episode of “Hill Street Blues,” Hollywood lectured us that superior people held to their principles, even if they didn’t like the outcome.
Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union walked the walk by fighting for people’s right to freely associate and express themselves, even when they despised those very same people, like neo-Nazis in the famed Skokie, Ill., case.
These liberals fought oppression so we may have relationships of our choosing, assemble, contract with each other, speak freely, live together, or love one another openly.
Liberals fought institutionalized oppression designed to keep free people separated. They called it the civil rights movement. And we rightly celebrate it.
So, what the hell happened to all those honorable liberals?
Today’s progressive force epitomizes just the opposite — the ends justify everything — from campus speech codes, to using a “phone and pen” to bypass lawmakers, to mandating relationships with health insurance companies against our will.
And now a push to raise the minimum wage.
Conservatives squawk against the minimum wage because it increases unemployment, stifles economic growth, promotes inflation, hurts small businesses and denies needed experience for those trying to improve their lives. All true by the way.
But, honorable liberals should stand up to minimum wage laws because it infringes on our innate right to freely associate. It prevents us from having relationships we choose to enter into; associations we desire for reasons that satisfy ourselves, not others.
If past slavery and involuntary servitude laws forcing people to work for another were abhorrent, current laws that prevent free people from working for one another must at some level also be repugnant (yes, angry letter writers, not nearly to the same degree).
Let’s take up a thought experiment. Ginger is building her small, home-based accounting company. A neighbor, Maryanne, is a stay-at-home mom whose children are entering school, meaning she finally has some time to devote to developing new skills. Ginger can afford, say, only $5 an hour for the help she absolutely needs to grow her fledgling business. Maryanne wants to learn accounting, and for her a flexible schedule and no work commute are more important than a higher wage.
While important, money is not the sole factor or even first in our employment decisions. Minimum wage laws are based on the absurdity that money is the one and only thing that every single one of us value most from our job.
Like all other consensual relationships, Ginger and Maryanne want to be together for reasons that satisfy them individually, or else they wouldn’t agree to it. Others might not understand their “perverse” values, needs or desires. But should that stop Ginger and Maryanne from being together?
So, if Ginger and Maryanne wanted to have sex, there’s a literal parade to celebrate them. If they wanted to sell videos of their sex act, the ACLU would defend them. If they wanted to cohabitate, or marry, or start a business, or buy property together, they now can, thanks to generations of civil-rights warriors.
But if one is willing to work for the other at a wage some people think is unreasonable, or even obscene, they can’t, thanks to the bigoted Left.
Imagine if Republicans abolished the minimum wage when they had the chance, and oh did they have the chance. Today liberals would have to make the odd argument that government has a role preventing adults from consensual relationships in the workplace while also protecting it in the bedroom.
Let’s call the minimum wage what it is: an un-American attack on our personal relationships and a violation of our civil liberties — an institutionalized hate.
Apparently, liberals only care about protecting consensual relationships when people are naked.
This article originally appeared in the Denver Post on October, 31 2016.