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Reading the Paper

Author’s Note: I found this saved as a draft when I was poking around. It seems to be complete and production ready, but was just never published. So, the links are a bit old, but it’s something.

In general, as a “netizen” or “intertube-ian” I find the idea of newspapers quaint. Not only do they have silly formatting (2-inch columns?), and humongous ads, but they don’t usually have a lot of competition. Any given area can only support one or two local news papers, and the national papers just can’t even try to keep up with local news.

But really, the thing that turns me off to most news papers is the fact that they sip the AP’s Kool-Aid which is generally pervaded with a noxious left-wing agenda.

At my high school, the local paper would deliver whatever excess copies they had (I believe from people who were out of town and had suspended their subscription) to the school, where they would be available to the students free of charge. In retrospect, it seems a rather insidious plot to get the impressionable little kiddies thinking their way by giving them free literature.

Anyways, I usually picked up such a newspaper, most often for the crossword puzzle to occupy some otherwise, er, wasted time. (For a time they stopped putting out the “Arts & Entertainment” section that contained the crossword puzzle, sudoku, jumbles, and comics, but for reasons beyond my knowledge this apparant censorship was curbed.) At any rate, I would also thumb through the rest of paper, skimming the headlines, and occasionally reading this or that report about whatever politics the paper felt like spouting that day.

But I ended up having to purposely prevent myself from flipping to and reading the editorials, because they were so bereft of good ideas I could hardly imagine it.

On the other hand, recently, I’ve found that there is one notable exception to this endemic idiocy, which I suppose should come as no real surprise, given the source. The newspaper I’m referring to is the Investor’s Business Daily.

I first encountered this publication at an associate’s house, where her mother — a cog in the wheel of Big Business — had left this or that day’s issue of IBD on the kitchen counter. Initially, the information-rich front page was something of a deterrent because it had the same daunting effect as the pages of stock listings in 2 point font.

But it entirely made sense for the information to be presented thusly, given that this is a paper for financial professionals who have little time to read, for example, a 669-word piece that states, in short, that fixed prices leads to shortages.

But, of course, the reader of the IBD doesn’t need to be told such a thing. It’s a basic business lesson that people who deal with the private sector in the real world know on a level that borders instict.

So a few months ago, I shouldn’t have been surprised when I came across IBD’s editorial page while flipping through, and found that it was full of well-thought out and economically-sound policies. You know, the kind of policies devised by people whose livelihoods depend on balancing their budget. Although it shouldn’t have been, this did come as quite a shock, because seeing such talk in a newspaper was, quite literally, a new experience.

But what surprised me even more was that, in addition to proffering editorials about economics, there were also editorials concerning the the rest of the spectrum of public policy, including foreign policy. And these editorials went where I’d not seen a printed editorial go, doing such things as identifying Iran as the threat that it is:

On Sunday, five Iranian Revolutionary Guard speedboats made a threatening run at three U.S. ships in the Strait of Hormuz off the coast of Iran, but in international waters.

The Iranian boats reportedly also dropped small white boxes in the water, most likely to reveal what the U.S. military’s tactics would be when confronted with such a hostile situation.

The Iranians also wanted to see how far they can go not just on the sea but in larger arenas, such as nuclear weapons development. The Navy’s reaction in a small skirmish mirrors how the nation is likely to respond to a larger crisis.

While we don’t believe the Iranians are foolish enough to use one of their vessels to directly strike the U.S., they now have a good idea of how a U.S. ship will respond if approached by a smaller vessel that is not authorized to sail near it.

At any rate, this past week, not having gotten my grubby mitts on a copy of the IBD, I decided to check out their editorial site and see what they were serving up this week. But, much to my dismay, aside from a plethora of good sense, there was also an editorial captioned “On the Left” which, from its headline was taking pot shots at lobbyists.

Aside from a rather lot of blather about publicly-funded elections (as opposed to private fund raising), I was floored to see the author’s proposition of a policy of, well…

There is another way to do this — compulsory voting. This eliminates the huge costs of get-out-the-vote efforts and, especially, of targeting particular interest groups. In Australia, such a system produces turnouts of 90% or so, but telling someone he has to vote is going to fall on too many ears like telling him how to vote. I can’t see America adopting such a system.

How did this guy get on any page with IBD’s name on it? Mandatory voting would prevent candidates from being forced to run “get out the vote” efforts? Last time I checked a) they weren’t forced to do any such thing and b) the “get out the vote” programs were money sink holes. I know I’m in the key demographic to remember such things, but has anyone noticed how every year there’s a tizzy about how the youth are going to “rock the vote” or whatever? Have they ever had any dramatic effect? Didn’t think so.

See, that’s why having a candidate raise his own money is, generally, a good thing: he can spend it — or waste it — as he sees fit. Because any time the government funds anything private, being elections or health-care, they will use that funding to control it.

Post-script: I notice the copyright on the offending editorial is from the Washington Post Writers Group, so it would seem the author does not, in fact, work for IBD. But still.

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Categories: Real Life
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