Auster discusses Koran burner Derek Fenton, who lost his job at New Jersey Transit following his political protest on his own time: “The Koran burner of downtown Manhattan loses his job,” followed by “Different opinions on Derek Fenton’s firing by New Jersey Transit.” I expressed my position in a letter that I sent to the head of N.J. Transit, James Weinstein:
Dear Mr. Weinstein,
I trust that you, as Executive Director of New Jersey Transit, are aware of Mr. Fenton’s firing after his Koran burning protest over the weekend. Regardless of what we may think of Mr. Fenton’s ideas or actions, he did not (as far as I know from the press reports) perform his protest as an employee but as an American citizen, on his own time, and in his own capacity. As far as I understand, he did nothing illegal either. Therefore, how is it justifiable for your organization to fire him based on private actions that he did on his own time? Such appears to me to be such a corporate overreach that it negates the very freedom of speech that we hold so dear as Americans.
Moreover, I strongly suspect that New Jersey Transit is not applying its policies equally. If the organization has such “high” ethical standards that it concerns itself with what its employees do on their own time and in their own name, then clearly the entire workforce at New Jersey Transit must have spotless police records. New Jersey Transit’s workers must never have engaged in controversial political protests or behavior—involving, for example, seditious speech at antiwar rallies in the past decade, mockery of or indeed threats against the former U.S. president, desecration of American civic symbols, or participation in far left labor and Communist affiliated rallies. Lastly, no workers attended any political or artistic events that could be seen as sacrilegious to one of the world’s major religions. Surely not!
Mr. Weinstein, I ask that the you look into the matter and see that Mr. Fenton is treated fairly even though his political views contrast sharply with the dominant opinion. From the outside, it certainly appears otherwise.
I never received a response.
I disagree with some of Auster’s commentators that a business should be able to fire you for what you legally do on your own time and in your own name, with certain qualifications.* Were we to treat employment relations as strictly voluntary, then I would agree that a business should be able to fire anyone at anytime for any reason. All employment relations would be “at will,” unless certain contractual agreements were made by both the employer and the employee, which then must be honored. However, there are all sorts of worker protection and anti-discrimination laws, and I see it as very inconsistent to have these constraints on firing while permitting non-job related firing of the sort involving Mr. Fenton. Ideally, employment would always be about voluntary, contractual agreements between an employer who wants a job done and an employee who wants a job with a wage. Of course, in mass society, that puts a lot of power in the hands of an employer to take advantage of an employee. Unions are supposed to level the sides by giving the individual worker more weight, but labor unions have long ceased their rational function and have become leftist armies who would not help a man such as Mr. Fenton who had upset the multiculturalist political allies of “organized labor.” Therefore, what recourse do decent hard working Americans have when all the powerful institutions in American society are conspiring to transform the free American people into silent, obedient Mandarins that cower before the establishment Left? Will it come to revolution?
* Obviously, a business cannot afford to compromise its ability to function. Therefore, a day care would be within its rights to fire a known porn star and a junior high school would be within its rights to fire a N.A.M.B.L.A. activist. Some folks think that the Fenton case falls within these lines, but then such a position condemns the United States to surrender to sharia. For it privileges the readily offended sensibilities of Mohammedans over traditional Americans’ right to reject openly the aliens’ religion and their civilization of conquest. Such is an additional reminder that free, civil society is only possible in a rather homogenous society united in values and loyalties.