Wednesday, January 14, 2009

"Public" Abuse

Tibor R. Machan

Run, don't walk, for the exit whenever someone begins to carry on about the public interest, the public good, the public welfare and similar allusions to deed and policies that supposedly advance us all. There are very, very few such matters. It was one of the most insightful aspects of the American founding to have realized this fact--the sole public interest is the securing of our individual rights.

This makes very good sense. First, it is honest--no other candidate really helps everyone much but, instead, various special interests, special agendas. The public--you, I and everyone else in the country--cannot be benefited much together, only as members of special groups, as individuals, and so on. The sole respect in which we can all be benefited politically is to have our basic rights strictly respected and protected. That is because we are first and foremost individuals and then members of more or less sizable groups--clubs, corporations, universities, unions, professions, families, churches, and so forth. We are, of course, all human and by virtue of our humanity we possess certain unalienable rights. Forget that this is disputed vigorously by people who want to have the license of abridge, abrogate or violate our rights. That we have these rights is indisputable on any rational grounds. But after that we have only few things in common. Even our health is best served in highly varied ways--some will gain from this, others from that program of nutrition, exercise, diet, and so forth.

But if a politicians said openly that what he or she is after is to benefit just this person or group, not the rest, there would be no plausible basis for being funded from the U. S. Treasury. All that would be recognized for what it is, a matter of private or special interest to be served apart from public policy, policy pertaining to what benefits everyone.

A great case in point is that fraudulently named outfit, public broadcasting, PBS, as well as national public radio, NPR. Neither of these is even close to being a project that serves the public, all of us. Yes, I do sometimes check out PBS and when in a particularly masochistic frame of mind, even listen to NPR. But I am always appalled at these outfits claim to have anything to do with the public. What public? PBS is watched by just a fraction of television viewers, and NPR is similarly ignored by the bulk of the American public. What about all those public beaches and public forests and public parks? All fraudulently labeled! Not a one is a bona fide public service. But, of course, it serve those who are providing it to pretend that they are since that appears to justify raiding the public treasure in small and large ways.

Sadly, I am pretty much shouting about this against the wind, which blows, sadly, along the fraudulent ideas of collectivism, something that is a plain disguise of some people's interests at the expense of all. Hardly any editorials point out that most of the political talk about "we" and "us" is completely deceptive since the policies promoted for us, from which we supposedly benefit really serve just some of us. And so the rest of us are being hoodwinked by rhetoric that relentlessly and dishonestly invokes the idea of the public. Editorial writers and pundits and commentators of all sorts should point out, over and over again, that political talk about "us," making use of "we," is most of the time either very sloppy or out and out disingenuous, wrong.

Fortunately there is still the First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution that does not permit the extension of the policies of the welfare state, the nanny state, to how we think and talk, although even this isn't quite true, what with all the political correctness at schools and government related endeavors. If there were anything like a regulatory agency keeping watch over how people talk, the first item on their agenda, assuming there were not yet captured by some special interest group, would be to censor nearly all uses of "public," "we," and "us" in our language.

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