- Capitalism and Alternatives -

....'n pepper

Posted by: Nikhil Jaikumar ( DSA, MA, USA ) on September 14, 1999 at 20:38:26:

In Reply to: salt posted by Gee on September 14, 1999 at 01:35:16:

: : i.e. no mainstream papers promote the nationalization of industry, the declaration of war on China, the disestablishment of the military, the deriminalization of cocaine,

: Are you confident that a mass market exists to buy such mass media? Chickens and eggs.

The role of the media is not to tell people what they want to hear (or what advertisers want to hear). The role of the media is to speak the truth. That's the reason why we spend so much time criticizing the media in places like China and South africa, because they did not speak teh truth. I hope we can agree on this, because it seems pretty obvious to me.

: :Similarly, being able to change the governmet democratically is one of teh questions, yet in America some 51% of teh electorate does not believe they have any chance to influence their governmnet and thus does not participate.

: It doesnt take into account whether or not people believe voting makes a difference, only if they 'can' officially do so. I think this pessimism would be worth noting in their reports though - where supporting data is available.

Well, by that logic citizens in Laos, Zambia, and other countries can 'officially' change their government, it's just very difficult. How si a system that preserves two-party hegemony better than one that preserves one-party hegemony? because if both parties agree on issue X, and I disagree, then I am disenfranchised just as surely as if there was only one party which was in favor of X. If from where I stand the Republican and Democrat parties seem nearly indistinguishable (hypothetically), then how am I better off than if i lived in East Germany?

: : To avoid appearing nihilist, let me hasten to add that there are ways in which freedom of speech COULD be objectively measured. For example, you could do a study taking into account the number of times a paper disagrees from the establishment policy, multiplied by the circulation of the paper, averaged over all newspapers, to get teh average "freedom" of each newspaper. FH did not do that, however.

: That doesnt seem useful. If a government genuinely is doing what a great majority of people want it to do (and would thus buy media in broad agreement) then dissent would be infrequent and small scale. The above measure is as likely to reveal political contentment (or conceal state controlled media) as anything else.

But that's exactly the argument made by the Marxist-Leninist states, that there was no dissent because evryone was happy. Now, I won;'t deny that you (and they) have some partial truth, but I think that there's more to the story. I mean, wasn't it you who has always said that people are individualistic, hence getting the great majority to agree on anything is near imossible.

: :"freedom" package (e.g. teh freedom to start your own business, etc.) while the Left believes in social freedom (the freedom to take a share of the food, medical care, housing, etc. in society, and in general to live a life that meets basic needs and allows for some 'pursuit of happiness'. You can't very well make philosophical discoveries and follwo your heart if you are starving in a gutter, therefore one kind of freedom without teh otehr is impossible.)

: The contentiion, I believe, is that if you have the *right* to the various services above then other people by definition do not have *right* to say no, they are compelled to provide for them. Hence the latter is less 'free'.

if you use the definition of social freedom, then entrenepreneurial freedom is a restriction on freedom, because it presupposes a scarcity of good X (i.e. if everyone has as much food as they want, then no one selling food will be able to make money, and therefore they don't ahve the 'freedom' to sell food.)

: : If they were truly unbiased, they would use a broad definition of freedom that encompasses both social and entrepreneurial freedom.

: According to the above definitions they would contradict one another just like the UN articles do.

I suppose all human endeavors are contradictory to some extent., look at the old conundrum of "Is God merciful or is He just." It's impossible to live totally consistently by any set of principles, as a society. some contradiction, in my opinion, is better than ignroing either entrepreneurial or social freedom altogethre. Of course, when it coems to a choice, you know where I tend to fall.

: : FH boasts on its board of directors noted figures like Andrew Young, Mara Liasson, and others. I wish they'd remove their august names from being sullied by jokers like PJ O'Rourke (a puerile comedian)

: Out of interest, the various 'liberal' opposite numbers are puerile too? Or are they insightful social commentators? its subjective you see.

No, no. I didn't see that PJ was puerile because he was copnservative. I say he is puerile because he is a comedian writing for a glossy teeny-bopper magazine who often writes about politics in the most flippant, vulgar way imaginable. Read some of hsi stuff and you'lkl see what I mean.

Jeane kirkpatrick shamelessly defended a double standard towards dictatosrhips of the right and left, and was the laughnigstock of teh UN> That alone should cast some doubt on her credibility.
: : FH claimed that South African whites in 1973 lived in a free country.

: stupid huh.

: : In the light of all of this, I hope that from now on people will take with a grain of salt the pronouncements of this ""Freedom"" House.

: I would suggest a grain of salt to be appropriate.

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