Buy your own sandwich

Bob and Joe went to work for the same government agency.  As they were completing their orientation, they were both told “oh by the way, there’s an organization here that buys everybody’s lunch every day.  The price is deducted from your paycheck and everybody benefits, so you’re required to be part of it if you want to work here.”

And Bob and Joe both asked “uh, okay…what’s for lunch then?”

The organization representative said “About half the time we get Arby’s and the other half we order in from the deli down the street.  Nothin’ gets you through the day like a half-pound of thin-sliced roast beef, am I right?  Oh, and we also pay for a premium membership at the butcher shop downtown so we get first pick when the good bacon comes in.”

Bob said, “Okay, I’m cool with that.”

But Joe said, “Wait a minute.  I’m a militant vegan and I think meat is murder, and also icky.  I don’t want to be part of this organization and I sure don’t want my money to go towards it!”

And the rep said, “Too bad.  You’re required to be part of the lunch group as long as you work here.  It’s in the rules.”

Joe replied, “But I don’t want your yucky sandwich and I’m opposed to what you’re doing!  You can’t make me give you my money!  Just leave me out of this!”

The rep scoffed.  “Well aren’t you selfish.  It wouldn’t be fair for you to benefit from all the work we do if you didn’t pay your share!  Freeloader.”

Joe was starting to get angry.  “I’m not benefiting, you’re doing something I don’t believe in and making me pay for it!  I’m going to human resources about this!”

And Joe did.  Human resources took a look at it and said, “Hmm, well, we think you’re right, Joe.  You shouldn’t have to pay for this.”

And the lunch group representative cried out, “But what about Bob!  What about everyone else who wants to be part of the lunch group!  This is a massive setback to collective lunch-ordering rights!”

Joe kind of gave the rep a funny look.  “Um…you can still order lunch for Bob and everyone else who wants it, dumbass.  You just can’t make me pay for a sandwich I don’t want and other stuff I don’t approve of.”

“But THAT’S NOT FAIR!  How’s the lunch group going to fund our biweekly barbecues if we can’t skim money from everyone’s lunch dues?”

“Um…pay for it yourself, cupcake.  No one’s stopping you.”

“But…you benefit from us ordering lunch!  You can’t do it without us!”

“Uh…yes, as a matter of fact, I can order my own lunch just fine, thanks.”

So Joe went on eating silly things like hummus and bean sprouts and Bob continued to have his share of the lunch group dues deducted from his paycheck, and everyone was more or less fine unless they happened to be in the men’s room when Joe took the other stall, except for the guy who headed up the lunch group who never could quite wrap his head around the idea that Joe and the other folks who didn’t want to be part of the group really weren’t getting any sort of benefit from lunches they didn’t want.


In case it’s not obvious, this is the Janus decision in a nutshell.  Nobody but nobody is being prevented from joining a union, they’re just not being forced to have their pay garnished to fund Democratic campaigns and interest groups anymore.  As Seth Mandel put it on Twitter, “Janus is one of those cases that was so obviously decided correctly that the liberal complaint “if only we had Garland” is both a massive self-own and an unintended insult to Garland’s supposed moderation.” (Do note, commenters indicate Mandel is or was a NeverTrumper who really ought to be doing fewer victory laps and more mea culpas in light of this week’s 5-4 wins that are directly the result of not getting President Pantsuit.)

roast beef


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