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“An Inconvenient Truth” Director Takes on Teachers’ Unions, But Misses the Point

Posted on September 27 2010 12:00 pm
Walter Hudson is a political commentator and co-founder of Minnesota's North Star Tea Party Patriots, a statewide educational organization. He runs a blog entitled Fightin Words. He also contributes to True North, a hub of Minnesotan conservative commentary. Follow his work via Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

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Though Al Gore catches most of the rap, prolific if unfamiliar director Davis Guggenheim shares equal responsibility for what is perhaps the greatest cinematic fraud of our time. Bragging to Cinematical in a recent interview, Guggenheim recalls:

… with An Inconvenient Truth, the percentage of people who thought global warming is real went from something like 30 to 80, and there were a lot of laws passed, and a lot of lives changed. And hundreds of people kept coming to me saying, “My company changed its policies,” and “My daughter made me buy a Prius,” and “I put solar panels on my house.”

Despite the unconscionable bias and rampant inaccuracies which have since been methodically debunked, Guggenheim’s collaboration with Gore may ultimately contribute to the creation of an artificial commodity which will “necessarily skyrocket” energy costs, and subsequently the cost of everything under the sun. Meanwhile, Guggenheim is set to release his next “documentary” film, Waiting for “Superman”. With it, he hopes to accomplish for education reform what he did for the myth of hazardous anthropogenic global warming.

What may surprise readers is that Guggenheim takes some flak from Cinematical for portraying teachers’ unions “solely in a negative light.” This prompts Guggenheim to, albeit defensively, acknowledge the destructive effect such unions have had on the education system. What Guggenheim fails to acknowledge is the universal principle that unions always disenfranchise consumers.

I’ve got to be really clear. I believe unions are essential. I mean, I’m a member of a union. I’m a lefty. I know my history about how workers unionized, and it’s a proud chapter in American history. And I think there should always be teachers’ unions — they’re essential, and they should protect teachers. And they should fight to get them to be paid more, and more, and more.

The problem is that in lieu of getting them paid more, they’ve fought for other things, which have kept schools from getting better. And they should not protect bad teachers. I hope people don’t draw the wrong conclusion, that I’m bashing unions.

Suffer the thought.

It boggles the mind that Guggenheim and other union advocates cannot discern the direct relationship between union activity and the degradation of quality. The entire purpose of a union is to protect bad employees and extract above-market salaries and benefits. If a teacher is doing their job well, the quality of the service they provide will establish job security and command appropriate compensation. Such a teacher has no need of a union. To advocate for teachers “to be paid more, and more, and more,” without requiring comparable increases in the value of the service they provide, is to advocate for an unsustainable and under-serviced education system.

Guggenheim demonstrates the leftist tendency to deny human nature. Even within a manipulated or controlled economic system, to the extent actors are free, they will always act in their own interest according to their best judgment. So-called liberals operate under the Pollyannaish premise that certain actors – teachers, for instance – are somehow more benevolent than the rest of us and will place the interest of their students above their own. Guggenheim shows this to be untrue.

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