10-23-10 Hodgepodge

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Palin Makes Wrong Stand

In the wake of Juan Williams getting fired from National Public Radio for stating that seeing passengers in Moslem garb on his own plane raises his hackles, Sarah Palin and the GOP have suddenly become interested in defunding NPR.

Not especially to defend the GOP, but it has at least attempted to do this in the past and, arguably, has to start cutting government somewhere. But Palin unwittingly demonstrated why NPR should be defunded -- period -- with her unprincipled remarks:

NPR says its mission is "to create a more informed public," but by stifling debate on these issues, NPR is doing exactly the opposite. President Obama should make clear his commitment to free and honest discussion of the jihadist threat in our public debates -- and Congress should make clear that unless NPR provides that public service, not one more dime.
In other words, it's okay with Palin for NPR to keep on receiving money looted from American citizens, so long as it abides by her idea of fostering a free debate. (Ironically, by this standard, she has no argument against Obama stating that he's satisfied with the "debate" and that NPR should continue receiving funds.)

So Palin really isn't against the government funding a broadcast network, and arguably has no problems with the government telling a (semi-)private broadcaster how to run its business, including whom to hire and fire.

Wouldn't privatization have made this problem impossible in the first place? And, if so, why not advocate defunding NPR regardless of its policies, once and for all, on principle? First, if NPR were not government-funded, it could hire and fire as it pleased (like any other private broadcaster), with such free-market responses to its subsequent reputation as audience share and listener boycotts ensuring that, if it wanted to be known as an impartial journalistic enterprise, it would act like one. Second, with the government not funding NPR, its decisions would not become de facto government positions on ideological matters -- which the government shouldn't be in the business of promoting, anyway. Of course, it's not the government's job to makes sure we have objective journalism, anyway, but if it did its job -- protecting individual rights -- the market would take care of that on its own.

So much for Sarah Palin as a capitalist or a defender of freedom of speech.

Weekend Reading

"[John J.] Colby uses a tactic called 'psychologizing' to smear Rhode Island gubernatorial candidate John] Robitaille." -- Ellen Kenner in "Psychologizing and the Art of Smearing," Providence Journal

From the Vault

About this time in 2006, I asked the following question: "What makes the Dalai Lama a scientific collaborator?"

Defending the Drawl

I dislike hearing myself on tape, but the silver lining is that my southern drawl reminded me of an interesting thing I looked up some time ago: What does an American accent sound like to someone from England? I didn't save the discussion I found, but it's consistent with what I found as the first answer here: nasal and "Texan."

I guess that means I sound extra "American," at least to the English, then...

Mutilate Your Child's Mind

Qwertz takes a look at something I wondered about some time ago and concludes the following:
This ["science" textbook from Bob Jones "University" Press] appears to me to be deliberately disorganized so as to prevent students from making con­nections between the topics discussed. But I suppose it could also be a result of a profound mis­understanding of the empirical scientific method. It's scattershot.

That such a book was ever used by any one to attempt to teach science to children is simply appalling.

-- CAV


: (1) Added missing hyperlink to Kenner op-ed. (2) Format edit.


Jim May said...

That American sounds like a British drawl seems right to me, based on an experience I had. I was watching the BBC news on TV for about twenty minutes once, and after that length of time, a clip of an American military official was played. After twenty unbroken minutes of British accents, I heard him speak with a strange, unfamiliar drawl, Southern-like but not the same. Before I could place it, I realized that it was my own accent, what is "plain English" to me. Apparently I had started to adjust to the British accent during that twenty minutes, just enough to "listen in British" for a second.

Gus Van Horn said...

As we have met, though, you can take solace in having less of a drawl than mine!