"The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant." ~ John Stuart Mill
MTV Joins the Establishment
In its latest public-service advertising campaign, MTV has joined the ranks of Bush, Kerry, Cheney, Edwards, both political parties, and all the totalitarians in Congress, the Supreme Court, and the greediest, government-favor-buying giant corporations. At one time, it would have been natural to presume that such entities were the prime targets at whom MTV executives would thumb their noses. Don't buy it.
Over many cable networks, on the MTV website, and wherever else they have a presence, MTV's 'Rock the Vote' campaign is intended to inform fans of the people and issues on the front burners in this year's elections. The underlying motivation, as MTV makes clear, is to inspire younger folks to vote.
One of the online brochures presented as instruction actually has some good information sprinkled in with the bad, which came as a surprise to me. For example, with regard to the environment, MTV presents reducing governmental regulation as a possible choice: 'Individual property owners are the best environmental stewards, because they have a keen self-interest in protecting the value of what they own.'
However, MTV merely parrots mainstream economic myths elsewhere. When listing good reasons to add more government regulation, we read 'You fight pollution by going after polluters, not by blaming the average person and forcing them to change their lifestyle.' Aside from the fact that the grammar in that sentence suggests a high-schooler wrote it, the reasoning is so ignorant as to be destructive.
First, we already 'go after' polluters, with their full consent. The EPA is a windfall for major polluters, setting standards that allow them to pollute everyone else's private property up to the limit of EPA regulations. Polluters seek, and receive, government protection from responsibility for the destruction of private property. If a polluter is within EPA guidelines, and a judge declares the pollution to be in the public interest, private property owners'you and me'are without recourse. This is how West Virginia coal-fired power plants are allowed to go on poisoning ponds and lakes in upstate New York .
Second, you do indeed go after 'average folks' when you go after the firms that provide the majority of their goods and services. There will never be a cost that government imposes on industry that will not be passed directly to you. Businesses compete with each other to reduce their costs, because by so doing they can improve their bottom lines while lowering prices. One business gets ahead of the rest by doing something unique, something the others can't duplicate. When government adds a cost to an industry, it adds the cost equally to all producers. Producers can't avoid the cost, and don't have to fear competition undercutting them with regard to it. The price you pay goes up, period.
One more ignorant quote: 'When it was left unchecked, the free-market system led to all kinds of dangerous environmental practices, such as clear-cutting of forests and strip mining.' Well, Virginia , strip mining is still going on; regulation hasn't stopped it, and won't. Strip mining produces some obnoxious environmental changes, but they're not necessarily pollution per se. For example, there are sulfurous, superheated undersea water vents that you'd expect to kill any life nearby, but these undersea vents are teeming with life that has adapted to them. We're not going to kill the earth. Further, if the EPA would go away, property owners would be able to sue strip-mining operations directly over heavy-metals runoff. Strip mining can be called dangerous, but it's protected by the government.
Clear cutting forests is anything but dangerous. Certainly, if we clear-cut the entire nation all at once, there would be environmental changes that could be hard on our health. Nobody has the resources to do that anyway. In the meantime, the clear cutting we are doing is an environmental bonus. Our biggest source of dioxin, for example, is forest fires. Further, there are benefits to wildlife, since deer (as only one example) require young growth. It was scandalous in the early 1990s when the Sierra Club president'whoever it was at the time'had a portion of his own forest land clear cut. He made lots of money, and promptly espoused the environmental benefits of clear cutting while the Sierra Club was publishing literature decrying the practice.
Worse than the bad information on specific topics, however, is the sinister underlying theme: MTV wants its audience to join the mindless minions who make up the majority of the voting public. Casting a vote for a candidate is an undeniable testament that you believe forcible government is legitimate. Your vote will be construed by whoever is elected as your approval of his future actions in office. The more hip MTV can make voting seem to be, the more the insidious assumption that forcible government is morally valid will seep into the unconscious mind of the masses.
The only vote I can imagine casting in good conscience is a vote in favor of erasing an existing law, or one against any new law proposed. I cast those votes whenever I get the opportunity.
For now, let it be known that MTV is in cahoots with the statists who want to own you; their level of thought is on a par with that of the average government-school inmate (I mean, student); and they deserve to be ignored. I see no difference between the MTV brass and Dick Cheney.