What should we think after the U.S Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees?

That’s the question I keep arguing about with myself. Janus—which weakens unions by declaring unconstitutional requirements that public employees pay “agency fees” to unions they won’t join — is both good and bad, offering the possibility of democratic progress and authoritarian advance.

It’s good for freedom that people who don’t want to join a union and receive its representation don’t have to pay for it. They would be freer if they didn’t have to join the union at all, as in right-to-work states.

But it’s bad for freedom that the law will weaken unions, one of our foremost expressions of the great American freedom of association. And it’s awful that this defeat for unions was the product of anti-democratic, authoritarian right-wing forces, including a majority of the same U.S. Supreme Court that refuses to check Trump’s assumptions of nearly dictatorial power, mostly recently by affirming his Muslim ban.

It’s good that this will weaken public employee unions, who have far too much control over local and state governance here in California. They’ve prioritized their adult members over the best interest of teachers in education policy and budgeting, for example. And police unions have such power that it’s been difficult to hold problem officers accountable for violence that rips at the civic fabric.

It’s bad that this will weaken public employees, since they are one of the few political bulwarks left against national Republicans, who, while collecting minorities of the votes, have achieved total federal control and are abusing it to punish immigrants, women, minorities, and states they don’t like, including California.

It’s good that this ruling might make it easier to save state and local services from being completely eaten away by union-protection pension and retiree health benefits. Such retiree benefits are forcing school closures and cutbacks in California, even during an economic expansion.

It’s bad that this ruling might crush federally funded services, as unions are unable to fight corporate tax giveaways and Republican efforts to cut social programs that we all depend upon.

Or maybe it’s not that bad, since unions may not be weakened as much they think. They will have to work harder and organize more, but that might make them stronger. Also, with fewer political dissenters forced into their ranks, they can be more aggressive in advancing and defending policies.

Or maybe Janus isn’t that good, for exactly those reasons.