Comments and observations on social and political trends and events.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The News Media as Instructors not Reporters

This post from Ace of Spades HQ starts out with how the Washington Post buried a story about how Obamacare actually is going to increase the deficit, not lower it as was originally claimed. Further down Ace makes an interesting distinction about the role that the news media establishment believes they are fulfilling. His observations mesh with comments I’ve posted earlier about the Ruling Class. Ace’s analysis implicitly touches on the abandonment of any pretense of being objective. In our post-modern world these folks believe the truth is what they want it to be, especially if they believe it serves an end they feel is moral and justified. Just don’t ask them to objectively defend this position because, you know, objectivity is such a 20th century, out-of-fashion notion!
This story sums up everything that is wrong with the media, and why it is dying -- and why it should die.

The media is no longer in the information business.

They are in the instruction business.

This is an important distinction.

If you're in the information business, your stock in trade is information. You have no particular concern about how that information will be received, or interpreted, or used for making political arguments. That's not your business-- you are in the business of data, not Narrative and not the internal contents of your readers' minds.

You are not your readers' minders, nor their tutors: You stand equal to them. They are citizens are you are citizens; you have no special insight into The Truth, and they no special disadvantage in discovering The Truth.

Now, if you're in the Instruction business, things are quite different. You stand not as an equal with your readers, but as a Teacher. And, worse yet, they are Children in need of your guidance.

You cannot just offer information willy-nilly to children. …

You must be protective of Children, who are, in final analysis, incompetent (legally as well as actually) individual who need to be told what to think and how to think. You cannot give them license to think whatever they like, for they are not mature enough for that.

They haven't yet learned the skill of thinking.

Thus, everything you tell a child must be with rounded corner and soft padding. Children are dangerous, after all, to themselves and others, if not properly minded at every moment.

Why do people -- and not just strong partisans, but most anyone who isn't a diehard liberal partisan -- hate the media?

Because of this, this belief of the media that we wish or need their Instruction in ordering our lives and ordering our thoughts.

But they are determined to do just that.

This isn't even restricted to news -- the media's strong belief that it is the Thin Black and White Line between semi-retarded barbarians from Idiocracy and civilization is present in films and fictions, too.

Every goddamned movie is a children's movie, with a soporofic, corporate-approved Moral (don't hate strangers; be yourself!).

Even movies for adults. Especially movies for adults.

This is called "being responsible." It's also called "being condescending" and "making infantile, bad art," but they prefer "being responsible."

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Causes of Health Care and Health Insurance Inflation in Excess of General Inflation by Logan Darrow Clements

This chart does a nice job showing the complicated mess we have for health care in the U.S. and vividly shows that what we have is far from a free market in health care. Even in chart form the complexity of our system numbs the mind! Take two aspirin before reading it!

How Deval Patrick Gutted Romneycare's Market-Oriented Health Reforms by Avik Roy

This article in Forbes on what happened in Massachusetts after Romney care bill passed is enlightening given that this subject most likely will be hotly debated during the upcoming Presidential election.

Here is a key quote.

And while Democrats have sought to credit (or blame) Romney for the passage of Obamacare, it is more accurate to say that the federal Affordable Care Act is modeled after the Democratically implemented version of the Massachusetts law, as opposed to the one that Romney had sought.

Read the rest of the article for the grisly details.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Reflections on Inequality

This short essay by Robert A. Levy, chairman of the Cato Institute, nicely captures in a very few words key libertarian counter-points to the Occupy Wall Street stance on inequality.

Israeli president Shimon Peres reminds us: "By and large, those in the world who placed freedom above equality have done better by equality than those who placed equality above freedom have done by freedom." That observation, apparently lost on the Occupy Wall Street crowd, has a moral component as well: It is more just to reward effort, even if it cannot be proven to benefit the least affluent, than it is to reward the least affluent, even if they exert little effort to improve their status. Moral superiority does not entail punishing the industrious wealthy to sustain the indolent poor.
Further, the top 1 percent of income earners — persons earning more than $343,000 in 2009 — paid 38 percent of income taxes. And that doesn't reflect the nondeductibility of capital losses, the tax on illusory gains due to inflation, and the double tax paid indirectly by shareholders on corporate profits before they're distributed or impounded in stock prices. By contrast, according to the Committee on Joint Taxation, more than half of American households paid zero income taxes. Those numbers are astonishing. Even persons who embrace progressive taxation are hard-pressed to argue that the tax code is insufficiently discriminatory. How far must progressivity extend to satisfy the left's notion of fairness?
Read the whole thing. It’s only seven paragraphs long!