11A086 Bad Press by Jim Davies, 3/28/2011    

Newspapers are heading for extinction, it's widely acknowledged; as a source of information they are far slower than the Internet and far more biased - in the sense that everything published is subject to editorial control whereas anyone with anything to say can post anything to the Net, in glorious anarchy; the reader then has the perfectly appropriate task of sorting sense from nonsense, as in every true market. Meanwhile their revenue sources are drying up, because classified ads are much easier, faster and cheaper to operate on eBay and Craig's List than in the local paper. Given the heavy statist bias of virtually all newspaper editors, I'm not sorry to see them go, however honorable a job they did for liberty in times gone by.

A particularly bizarre headline caught my eye yesterday, in the London Telegraph: "Anarchists went on the rampage in central London as hundreds of thousands of people marched in protest at government cuts." I wasn't there, but can assure you that they did no such thing; the report is plain false.

An "anarchist" is, directly from the Greek, one who believes in "no rule" or "no ruler." "Arche" means "rule", and the prefix "an-" negates whatever follows. That's a fact, and since the Telegraph is a long-established journal run by educated people, they know that very well and by publishing that headline they were expressing vicious, deliberate bias against anarchists - bad Press, giving us a bad press.

Statist bias in the Telegraph is more Conservative than the "Liberal" (ie, socialist) variety more prevalent here, so the newspaper is a bit more reliable than most; but this case was a howler. Riots took place last year in Greece and London and elsewhere, to protest cuts in government handouts, because in Europe there is some attempt to balance government books instead of just printing more money, and last week's rampage was the latest example. Suckers at the government teat were angry that its spending was to be reduced, like a baby who throws a tantrum when the feeder is for some reason removed. They are all accessories to grand theft, and get violent when the loot stops flowing. So, by all means call them (as the Telegraph did) mindless thugs, Marxist professors of anthropology and anti- capitalists, but don't ever call them anarchists, because when anyone breaks somebody's property or starts fires and smashes into banks, hotels and shops, they are most certainly imposing "rule" on the owners who did them no harm and are therefore the very opposite of anarchist.

The riots were timed to coincide with a non-violent rally designed also to protest the cuts, rather like the recent ones in Madison, WI, and whose leaders deplored the violence along the road. However that is just a cynical play on words. If you owned a store in Oxford Street whose windows were smashed by the thugs, it's shocking but a week or so later the damage will be repaired and you'll be out a few thousand dollars and the outrage will be over. But if the "peaceful" protesters prevail the government will, on their behalf, raid your store for thousands of dollars every month, and smash up your whole operation if you don't pay; for taxation is the ultimate protection racket, without even the perfume of being dubbed "illegal" and so conceivably being reversible.

Orwell knew the importance of corrupting language, to make possible the continuation of government. No corruption is worse than to invert the meaning of "anarchist" and it's a label we can be proud to acknowledge, if we accept the immutable truth that each human being is rightly his own exclusive ruler.

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