11A093 The Great Inversion by Jim Davies, 4/4/2011    

Statists have it exactly upside down.

This weekend I happened to catch a tear-jerking appeal by Paula Kerger, who presides over PBS; she wanted me to write my Senators to urge that taxpayer subsidies of her organization not be cut. The House has already voted to eliminate them, and if the Senate goes along the outrage, by which tens of millions of people are forced to pay for something they do not watch, will end. Never mind that the Senate, being under Democrat control, is most unlikely to do such a thing; but Ms Kerger wants to make quite sure of it.

It's not what I found most outrageous about her appeal, but others have complained that she earns over $600K a year, some of it extracted from taxpayers at gunpoint. The CEO of a big, important corporation carries a huge responsibility and should be rewarded as well as its shareholders see fit. The trouble there is that PBS has no shareholders, it's a quasi government outfit whose funding comes partly from viewer donations, partly from corporate sponsors (in effect, advertisers) and partly from that stolen money. So the descriptor "obscene" may apply.

More outrageous and significant as I see it is what she said in her appeal. When I heard the words, my jaw dropped. I've been unable to find the exact quote on line, but think they were close to these: "Our founding fathers very well understood the vital importance for freedom of having a free and independent press. Therefore please write your Senator to ask him not to vote to cut off PBS' funding." Notice, she was referring to Amendment One, which says "Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press..."

So what this well-heeled tax-feeder was saying is that freedom of the Press is the same thing as having a government-funded Press.

Her message is that if government doesn't fund (and therefore control) public broadcasting, the result will be a non-free or controlled media. Controlled by whom? - she didn't say, but obviously, controlled by some dark and threatening influence. Commercial interests, possibly, forcing us to buy something we don't want? If so, she was equating freedom with government, and voluntary exchange with control. She precisely inverted the whole intent of Amendment One, and along with it the whole nature of liberty.

She is an experienced lady, so she must know exactly what she is doing. As head of PBS, she is a statist to the core. This great inversion is therefore what statists believe and practice. In their fantastic, topsy-turvy world, government is freedom and freedom is menace. My respect for the insights of George Orwell grows and grows; "War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength." This, from the Ministry of Truth, a good part of whose US equivalent is PBS. If I hadn't heard it with my own ears, I'd have a hard time believing it was said; but Paula Kerger did say it, and with a perfectly straight face. This is what government propagandists bring up our kiddies to believe; this is the subliminal message behind the cult of Sesame Street.

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