Sunday, February 08, 2009

"Promise You'll Visit Me in the Re-Education Camp?"

Hearings are likely to begin on reinstating the "Fairness Doctrine," a law that keeps controversial (i.e. conservative) topics off the radio by requiring radio stations to give equal time for opposing views. This is flatly absurd. Left-leaning attitudes overwhelm the magazine racks, the major television networks, the movies, books, newspapers, and a good chunk of the Internet. Conservatism dominates in one segment of the communications world--radio--and THAT'S the place where liberal politicians want to ensure "fairness." The quotation above was said to me by a fellow conservative. Heck, I might be next to him inside the fence.

What's really amazing is how I have been told that I'm closed-minded for not wanting to watch or read all this liberal stuff, but it's okay to impose a fairness doctrine on Limbaugh. Apparently 95% control of the media is not enough.


Another thing's got me in a twist lately: specifically, the notion that business is inherently less moral than government, and that therefore it is government's job to "rein in" the private sector. Those who dislike what the private sector does often cite the "excessive" salaries of this or that individual, or the amount of power businesses have to control lives.

The fundamental difference between "power" in the business sense and power in the governmental sense is that government writes and enforces the laws, with weapons if necessary. Yes, financial concerns can prevent particular ideas from spreading, but only through pressure ("If you run this ad, we'll pull our advertising"), not life-endangering threats ("Run this ad, and we'll close down your business, arrest you, seize your assets, and put you in jail"). I'm not saying either side is more moral. What I am saying is that human beings operate both types of agencies--public and private--and thus are equally susceptible to corruption or power-seeking. The difference is in methodology: businesses cannot force you to buy their products, and if they did, government would often come in and break up their monopoly.

And if I were to seek assistance in fixing the current economic crisis, I'd ask business leaders, not government leaders because business leaders understand the give and take of the marketplace. Government is used to being obeyed. In the Western system of law, only governments have a legal monopoly on the use of force. If you would rather work with people on a voluntary basis, you work with business. If you want people ordered about, you go through the government.

One reason conservatives favor limited government is that they prefer voluntary exchanges. You cannot engage in a purely voluntary partnership with the government when they control the laws. The advantages are all on the government's side. Businesses can offer incentives to elected officials (voting, lobbying, campaign contributions), but they cannot FORCE the government to do anything. Power relationships matter, and the less power government has, the better. My $.02 this fine Sunday morning.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In itself, the term "Fairness Doctrine" is Orwellian. Yes, hearings will begin, and they will mutate into full-blown House Hearings chaired by Nancy Pelosi-McCarthy, shrieking, "are you now, or have you ever been a member of a conservative organization?"

This form of censorship is on a par with all other forms; it is cowardice in the face of inconveniently accurate information. That they quail when their schemes and scams are exposed evinces their collective amorality. Morality and the O-moebas are as unrelated as funerals and sex.