Once upon a time, there was a man named Phil who went to work for the Ford Motor Company. His friends all thought this was an odd choice of an occupation for Phil, because Phil not only did not like cars, but he regularly vilified the Ford Motor Company for being too big and too successful.
One year, the engineers at Ford developed a car that was safer than any other car it had ever built. It protected more of its customers from injury and was still comparable in cost – or less – than cars from other manufacturers.
Everyone at Ford was delighted about the potential of this car. The CEO okayed the production of the car, as did all of the executive committees. The executives allocated the appropriate money for the car to be built, and everyone was excited.
Except Phil. Phil knew if the new, safer car was successful, then Ford’s customers would be happier than ever before and Ford would become an even bigger company than it already was. Phil didn’t want that. The whole idea of this new car made him very unhappy.
Fortuitously, Phil discovered that there were like-minded people working with him at Ford. They didn’t like the idea of the new, safer car either, and even though the plans for manufacturing the car had been approved, they banded together to see if they could sabotage its production.
Even though they were a small group, they were part of a strong union. And being part of a strong union, they were able to call a strike and shut down the Ford factory. None of the new, safer cars could be manufactured. None of Ford’s other cars could be manufactured. Ford wasn’t making any money. Its suppliers weren’t making any money. The effect of the shutdown expanded through Ford’s ecosystem like a big rock tossed into a pond.
Phil and his friends didn’t care. Because they were part of a strong union, they were still getting paid. They didn’t care that the company they worked for was being hurt, or that other people whose livelihood depended on the Ford Motor Company were being hurt. Phil and his friends only wanted to prove that they could keep Ford from making a safer car, one that would be beneficial for everyone on the road.
If you think this parable doesn’t make sense, just substitute Phil’s name with “Tea Party Republicans,” and the Ford Motor Company with “the U.S. government,” and you’ll see that you’re 100 percent correct.