Thursday, November 23, 2006

Hey man, that’s just a lie: the compulsory apologia

Deep in the night, when they’re alone with their consciences, if they’re really being honest with themselves, most intelligent supporters of compulsory membership know that compulsory membership is wrong.

The case for voluntary membership – on the grounds of freedom of association alone – is overwhelming. Yet for various reasons – political, ideological, career advancement, or pure hostility to anything perceived as ‘right wing’ – compulsion supporters just can’t bring themselves to abandon their position and admit compulsory membership is wrong.

In order to defend something which they know is morally indefensible, compulsion supporters have developed a number of myths they tell themselves. These myths are so ingrained in compulsion supporters’ rhetorical armoury that they’re able to trot them out without examining the validity of their argument. The myths have become a form of political catechism which compulsion supporters habitually chant whenever voluntary membership is raised.

All of the arguments made in defence of compulsory membership are seriously flawed. The pro-compulsory argument is often surrounded by lofty or legalistic sounding words – such as universal and democratic - and is made quickly, so the compulsory advocate can scurry off without having to stop and think about what they’re saying or have their ideas examined.

Compulsion supporters rarely stick around to defend their arguments. When challenged they inevitably change tack and resort to a second line of defence consisting of ‘time to move on’ lines such as:
- voluntary membership is a non-issue so I can’t be bothered discussing it
- students have already voted so the issue is over
- the people promoting voluntary membership are not cool
- there are more important issues such as student debt, loans, climate change etc

Over the next few posts we’ll be looking at the most common components of the compulsory apologia.



At Mon Nov 27, 06:45:00 PM 2006, Anonymous Nicholas O'Kane said...

great post chris. One thing to notice that compulsory membership supporters rarely try and debate the principle. That is because the principle of freedom and choice will always triumph over the principles they believe in- of force and the abscence of freedom. They would loose a debate on these priciples to an empty chair. Despite whatever they may say, there is only one reasson why they support compulsory membership, that is money. Money taken from other people.


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