Book Review

May 23, 2012

Dave Bego. The Devil at Our Doorstep. CreateSpace, North Charleston, S.C., 2012. $14.95

The difficult thing about fighting for free markets is that our successes are invisible or are projected beyond the political horizon — and, maddeningly, so are the failed promises of our statist opponents.

That, however, is lessened with publication of Dave Bego’s “Devil at Our Doorstep.” The failures of American unionism are found there in weapons-grade detail.

More importantly, Mr. Bego is walking testimony to the success of free markets, demonstrating that the conviction of a self-described average businessman is enough to defend the American work ethic.

For Dave Bego is no victim. A Hoosier, he operates a family janitorial service that has withstood a full-scale assault since 2008 by one of the nation’s most powerful labor organizations, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

Mr. Bego’s struggle against the union tracks today’s headlines on such issues as national right‐to‐work legislation, the recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board and the union campaign for card-check regulation. He names names, exposing the political collusion between Big Labor, the administration and the liberal Left.

“The Devil at our Doorstep” makes a withering case against the mass media for its acquiescence in what Mr. Bego convincingly argues is the destruction of the American work ethic. He raises the damning question of whether support for the union position by the established newspapers and networks isn’t motivated by fear of attacks against their advertisers as well as a lazy philosophical drift in the newsrooms.

Most of all, in this his second book on the topic, Mr. Bego wants the rest of us to get involved in what he rightly sees as an era of agonizing decisions regarding not only our freedom to work where we choose and with whom we associate but our very liberty. And, characteristically, he has drawn up a solid 10-point, common sense plan, one that challenges what until now has been only a self-congratulatory Republican leadership.

In that he joins the sociologist Charles Murray in sounding the alarm on American industriousness. Murray notes that the percentage of prime-age white males with no more than a high school education saying they are “not available” for work increased from a low of three percent in 1968 to 12 percent in 2008. We are talking about 12 percent of the men at a time in their lives when every able-bodied American man once worked or was looking for work.

Mr. Bego makes clear that the restrictive policies pushed by the national labor unions are the reason for such dismal statistics. And he echoes Murray in warning that hardworking, good-living Americans had better start preaching what they practice:

“If we sit on the sidelines,” Mr. Bego writes in conclusion, “if we never take a stand, if we aren’t true to ourselves and to our beliefs, then change will not occur, Big Labor elitism will be victorious, and our way of life in America will disappear forever. Jobs will continue to be lost, our economy and standard of living will continue to deteriorate and we will become a socialistic country.”

Most of all, Mr. Bego shows us how it is done, and with an energy and determination daunting even to the bullies at the SEIU. And he shares his secret:

“Be the kind of man that when your feet hit the floor in the morning the Devil says, ‘Oh crap, he’s up.’”

Although the reader might wish there were an easier way, he will not put down this book without knowing that each of us needs to hit the floor more like Dave Bego.

— Craig Ladwig


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