A Paucity Of Principle Is Not Excused By A Trendy Ideology
This newsletter recently referred to the fable of the frog and the scorpion. That ancient wisdom bears repeating: consider, for example, thewhining coming from segments of the “progressive” community regarding the impact of greed and ideology on journalism’s elite.
It should come as no surprise at all that people who are willing — nay, eager — to fabricate news, censor the truth, slant their reports and claim the stories are “news” should be subject to manipulation by whatever power can impress them.
Just as a scorpion is a scorpion, a whore is a whore.
Remember that many a journalist is for sale. Of course the price of his cooperation may be purely ideological, in that he may seek only to advance religious or philosophical causes that make him a saint (or at least put him on the side of the angels) in his own eyes.
The person who is committed to truth and reason cannot be corrupted, whether by money or ideology.
Now look again at the argument that the press has been the servant of the rich and powerful. Instead of blaming those who corrupt the eager-to-please, put the blame where it belongs: on the whores who do not believe in the freedom of the press, instead supporting the licensing of the press — and governmental subsidies of journalism.
For years, this newsletter has been arguing that the differences between deceit and candor can be discerned. The reporter who is actually a commentator can be unmasked. The ideological trends in journalism are visible, and sometimes those who can see some of them forget that if journalists are willing to “go with the flow,” they can be swayed by bad people who own corporations, hold political office, educate the young, earn money writing books, and bask in the adulation of trendy elites.
The fact that the press has been corrupted first by leftists and then by rightists means not that one side or the other is wrong, but that the press is corruptible, period.
Government Secrecy Versus A Free Press And Free Speech
Many thanks go to loyal reader GB for this link to an interesting commentary on Wikileaks and its latest coup. Do read the post before you continue here.
The Wikileaks head strikes this newsletter as — and this is just a gut-level, utterly irrational and unfair observation — a slug. He appears to be a self-righteous elitist who is utterly convinced of his saintliness. His body language and speech mannerisms are nauseating.
So, off with his head, right? No. Long-term readers of this newsletter may recall the multi-part series on privacy published here, and a reference to those sentiments indicates clearly that TLB believes that if you have a secret and can’t keep it, that is your problem, and you can’t blame anyone for blabbing. Nor do you have a case against those who disseminate your secrets. The only exceptions involve fourth amendment rights, which form a basis for criminal and civil legal action against those who break, enter, and steal.
The individualist take on such issues usually prevents a government from having anything like a secrets act. This newsletter hates government secrecy of all sorts, and encourages the public to look into everything the rulers are doing, including what the military is up to.
That puts a tremendous strain on the government, of course, and probably encourages the assassination of leakers by government thugs. Those aspects of the individualist ethos would be very hard to live with.
That’s not necessarily a good case against the “if you can’t keep it secret, it’s not a secret” policy, though. For some years, this newsletter has believed that a congressional declaration of war would have been a good idea — if (impossibly huge “if”) Congress had been ethically and intellectually capable of bringing it off. A state of war between the USA and its enemies would have been very helpful. It could have been crafted to relieve the USA of the absurdities of the Geneva Convention.
A state of war would make Quislings of Wikileaks and its head, for the recent revelations do contain information inimical to the current “war” effort. So instead of prosecuting the slug for revealing secrets, the government would charge him with treason or similar crimes — just as if he had deliberately revealed the position of a US Army sniper, or lobbed a grenade at a squad of Marines on patrol in Afghanistan. He is, in a moral sense, an enemy combatant, and he would be exactly that in a legal sense had war been declared, his egomaniacal view of himself notwithstanding.
One can have Liberty, even in war. The biggest problems arise when you are at war but won’t admit it.
A Non-Trivial Thought Problem: Can Credibility Be Restored To A Deliberate, Ideologically-Driven Charlatan?
Fred Cooper is an instructor at a small college in the East. He was once a respected scholar at a prestigious university, but then he wrote a book, and that was the beginning of the end for his career. The book, you see, brought hitherto ignored historical facts to light, giving detailed support to anti-Keynesian economists and politicians who claim FDR’s efforts to end The Great Depression were disastrously counterproductive.
Cooper mined ignored government documents, sifted through tons of records of large corporations, and was the first scholar to make use of international banking records to research growth patterns. What he found, and explained in detail, was proof that “pump-priming” drives up unemployment. When his work was published, it gave unanswerable arguments to those who oppose a centrally-planned economy and support the free market. Cooper was an overnight sensation, appearing on both radio and TV to explain that he had proof of his claims. The history, as revealed in the documentary evidence, was undeniable.
Cooper’s book was so seismic that several economists and historians began digging for more in the historical record. In a matter of weeks, scholars were claiming that they could verify none of Cooper’s sources, and that they found no support for his conclusions. The dam burst, and the anti-Keynes author was revealed as an unprincipled hoaxer who had fabricated his “historical documents” and “economic data.” Cooper was a fraud, and there was no doubt of his ideologically-motivated crimes against scholarship.
The charlatan was fired from his academic position and for ten years he labored in obscurity, teaching where his reputation permitted. He was nearly forgotten.
But…Cooper is back, having written another book that he claims is based on solid research. He says he hopes it will be read and judged on its merits, not as chapter two in a serial hoax. His allies on the paleo-right are saying smugly that what happened a decade ago does not matter, the man is a scholar with something to say, and fairness demands that he be taken seriously.
Now, Pilgrims, consider Cooper carefully, and then please answer these questions:
Is Cooper’s status as an ideologue and rascal unclear, or in doubt? If it is clear, is it a permanently disqualifying fault? How much credibility does the man deserve? What are we to think of those who trivialize his earlier lies and ask us to consider his latest effort as if it proceeded from a scholar whose reputation were unblemished? Are efforts to rehabilitate Cooper anything less than partisan propaganda?
Finally — and it is to be hoped you have read this far — know that Cooper does not exist, but a man named Bellesiles does. Cooper’s story is a mirror image of the Bellesiles disgrace. Bellesiles wrote a fraudulent history of firearms use in the early days of the Republic; his hoax was “proof” of the propriety of restrictive firearms legislation. When his fake account was published, anti-firearms and anti-Second Amendment groups rejoiced that they had solid history on their side. The hoax was pure ideology wrapped in deceit and delivered as devastating propaganda.
Now Bellesiles is back, with another book, and the major media are promoting the liar’s work, papering over his past and presenting him as a genuine scholar.
What do you think of that? Are your opinions of “Cooper” and Bellesiles the same? Has ideology tainted your view? Are you willing to give Bellesiles credibility you would deny “Cooper,” and does the answer to that question say something very important about your values?
Dutch treat: Shell takes on BP in the “anything you can do, we can do better” game. Watch the video and draw your own conclusions.
What, exactly, was Journolist for? Things like this.
Recent news from the battlefront in the Culture War: first, commentary on the competing value systems; then the confident attitude of the “progressive” forces, and finally the political realities of the conflict. It’s not over, not at all.
Before you agree with MSNBC’s sagacious Olbermann that Breitbart is “scum,” consider this take on the man. TLB can’t agree that Breitbart has the aplomb of Buckley, but he’s no babe in the woods. He has already drawn a lot of blood — which is why he is “scum” to some folks.
Sherrod: a weblogger says, “Funny, the way some people are talking, you’d think Andrew Breitbart personally fired her his own self.” Those people simply did not get the full story, and if you still don’t know what that is, read that item in TLB 156 that you did not bother with. Breitbart never intended to get Sherrod in hot water, never called her a racist — he just let her entertain the peanut gallery at the NAACP meeting, and showed the results she got. Check it out. Breitbart’s point: make sure the NAACP, which has been angrily and unconscionably scolding the Tea Partiers as racists, is understood as exactly what it is. That’s all. That’s a devastating tactic, because thereis no video of Tea Partiers cheering racism. Those folks are not vulnerable to lies that they promote inhumane, antiquated bigotry. Tea Partiers are concerned about tax policy, prudential government and the integrity of the nation’s borders. So if you are concerned about who’s lying, see TLB 156, where a lie printed in a recent copy of the NY Times is exposed.
Related: boy, Journolist is breaking heads right and left — well, on every hand. Awk! Now people are wondering who in power was a member, and who in the media was part of the group (but does not want that fact known). TLB expects to see a Twelve-Step program created: FJHRA (Former JournoListas Hoping to Remain Anonymous).
What we need is gatekeepers…which we have had for years, if you recall.
Here’s a very productive oil field that is languishing because of Russian policy. What’s behind that, do you suppose? Greed, maybe? Golly.
If this is true, The Redmond Empire must be planning to set up soup kitchens for its former employees.
How sad: Kurds in Iraq have been the most peaceful and USA-friendly folks in the region. In Turkey and just over the border from Turkey, Kurds are bitter enemies of a government that, until recently, was known as perhaps the most moderate and rational regime of any to rule over a Muslim population. Violence between Turks and Kurds is a major concern — because its consequences are literally imponderable.
Greed is a motive for both good and bad people. In the case of the Lockerbie bomber, it seems to have corrupted otherwise not-so-bad people. It’s the oldest story in the world….
Cuba, the “progressive’s” Utopia, is slowly moving toward genuine change. The path is anything but smooth, and the destination is literally unknowable. Whatever happens, expect tragedy to play a major role in the drama.
You are not supposed to talk like this. Go ahead, be politically incorrect — it’s bracing!
What? Burma, a nuclear power? Katie, bar the door….!
Have you ever noticed that when a media powerhouse — the NY Times, for example — corrects itself, the correction is a weak, underfed and anemic creature, anything but candid and suited to the occasion? You haven’t? Well, try this one on for size. You will find it a very uncomfortable fit. The have a look at another account of interest.
This knucklehead speaks for a lot of folks who are more circumspect than he is.
Good grief! Who is this guy, and where does he get off?
Get it right: it was not about the lady, it was about the organization. And the point was proved.
Take a Nobel winner, infect him with some antiquated ideological concepts, reward him richly for his political correctness, put him on the staff of a propaganda outlet, and…watch him self-destruct. Yes, that’s Paul Krugman’s story. Paul the economist (remember, Pilgrims, economics is not a science but a study) has done pretty darn well for himself (shoot, he’s been mentioned in six previous issues of this prestigious newsletter) and he’s even ventured onto the internet — where he has just been handed his head. Like most ideologues, he eventually took refuge in censorship to evade the slings and arrows of outrageous truth. It’s a story both disgusting and richly rewarding, so do give it a leisurely read.
Dubai cracks down on e-mail and such. (A hat tip to GB for this item.) The resulting whining (“How are you going to stay in touch with your clients and colleagues?”) is disgusting. Two points: first, this newsletter replies to the whiners, “People stayed in touch five and ten years ago, so do it today as you did then, and shut the hell up. Mobile phones are a luxury, and you are a jerk who’s been spoiled rotten.” Second, should anyone be surprised that Arabs would do something like this as soon as they realize that their wealth has pretty much deposited them in the twentieth century? Imagine how they will howl when the implications of the twenty-first century arrive! A fourteenth-century mindset is going to cause even bigger problems than this as time goes by — it already has, as the world can plainly see.
A report from Arizona.
So how are things going in the Land of the Frozen Prefrontal Lobes, where free speech and press are no longer endangered, but extinct? Little wisps of reason and common sense continue to surface from time to time, but overall, there’s not much to report — other than long long waits for health care.
Turkey in the EU? Well….
And then there is Pakistan. That explains the stench, and the slime trail.
It’s too late, but here is a look at what is coming that should make you howl for repeal.
A collectivist publication: “…startlingly, the electorate places itself a bit closer to the Tea Party movement (which is well to the right of the Republican Party) than to the Democratic Party.” The implication is that crazies are growing in number and moving away from the treasured mid-point. But suppose the real crazies are the folks who have been in power too long, grown too accustomed to values that are literally deviant, and assume that those mutated values redefine the standard by which all is to be measured. In that case, the Tea Partiers would be talking about a return to values, practices and policies discarded by power-seekers. When you look at it that way, it does not startle quite so much, eh? After all, an appeal to Eternal Verities should startle only the culpable.
“Avoiding a fake Controversy? Or Protecting a Radical Agenda?” Read the post and decide. Meanwhile, this newsletter would be willing to bet that the book Out of Mao’s Shadow (ISBN 978-0-330-45104-8) would never be permitted in the NEA offices — even though it was written (rather poorly) by a WaPo correspondent.
The shame of it is that science played no role in this seismic decision. In defeat, the forces of unreason continue their unprincipled policies, seeking power rather than justice and expediency rather than wisdom. Too long has the body politic suffered from their cynical misrule….
This newsletter does not like or trust The Times of India, and this risible snippet of a story is far too brief to be informative…but the subject invites investigation.
You say you want to read about ethics, Congress, and the media? Yes, this newsletter can suggest a good read, but “progressives” might disagree with the choice.
As you know from attending to the Revealed Truth from His Ineptitude Saint Al The Former Next President of the USA, the polar ice is melting like crazy and polar bears are drowning and the sea level is rising and humanityisdoomed. Well, Pilgrims, rejoice, because it’s all a hoax, and the facts of the matter are available. You know, facts such as old photos of lots of open water at the North Pole. Showing that this ice melts, pretty much, and then freezes over, pretty much. These days, in spite of St. Al, it’s frozen over. (Click on the link to see the photos that prove it). Mother Nature isn’t the slightest bit interested in what St. Al says.