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Archive for April, 2011

Big Hollywood is reporting that MSNBC, CNN, and CNBC have rejected Atlas Shrugged – Part I ads.  According to BH’s discussion with Shrugged producer Harmon Kaslow:

The most interesting development, however, is that in their effort to expand television advertising, MSNBC, CNN and CNBC “have all rejected a 15-second ad for ‘editorial’ reasons [with] no further explanation provided.” 

“This unforeseen censorship effectively puts the brakes on our follow-up marketing efforts where we were trying to reach millions of people unaware of the movie being in theaters now,” Kaslow wrote. “We are continuing with the theatrical release because we have great word of mouth and awareness for the movie increases daily.” 

It is surprising to see networks turn down money.  It is also unfortunate that they are allegedly doing this on political grounds.  However, Kaslow should be a bit more careful with his language. 

When a free press decides not to run an ad, it isn’t censorship – it is editorial or business discretion rather than censorship.  Kaslow and Shrugged have no right to have their ad shown on the property of other people, including their television signals.  Now if the government tried to prevent the ad from running or suppressed the showing of the film, then we are in the realm of censorship, and we would have a reason to be outraged.  But classical liberals should be especially sensitive to claims that private entities are engaging in censorship when they decide to do whatever the heck they want with their own property.

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The image at the left of a younger William conjures up images of his beautiful mother.  The one on the right is the current Prince William.

How far the monarchy has slipped in so little time!  If these people can’t be beautiful, what good are they anyway?  They definitely needed the addition of some commoner blood they got today.  And even though I’ve never been much of a royal watcher, I have to say that with the addition of the lovely Princess Kate, I will probably be more of one in the future!

Given that the little remaining influence for good the House of Windsor has in the modern world will flow from the integrity they are able to exhibit,  I hope William takes the vows he made today before God a lot more seriously than his father did.

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Our Own Royal Courts

I find the lavish official state dinners, White House dinners, inauguration balls, and assorted similar gatherings to be akin to the holding of royal court – especially when the President is the center of attention or even the host.   

Thus I was delighted to see Dana Milbank of the Washington Post criticize the rather court-like White House Correspondents’ Association dinner hosted by the Fourth Branch of government.  This quote doesn’t do the piece justice, so I recommend the entire piece:

The correspondents’ association dinner was a minor annoyance for years, when it was a “nerd prom” for journalists and a few minor celebrities. But, as with so much else in this town, the event has spun out of control. Now, awash in lobbyist and corporate money, it is another display of Washington’s excesses.

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“Those who imagine that a politician would make a better figurehead than a hereditary monarch might perhaps make the acquaintance of more politicians.” – Margaret Thatcher

Ummmm, why would an educated, free people need a figurehead at all, Ms. Thatcher? 

More broadly, I’ll take Thomas Paine over the Tories and monarchists anyday:

We have heard the Rights of Man called a levelling system; but the only system to which the word levelling is truly applicable, is the hereditary monarchical system. It is a system of mental levelling. It indiscriminately admits every species of character to the same authority. Vice and virtue, ignorance and wisdom, in short, every quality, good or bad, is put on the same level. Kings succeed each other, not as rationals, but as animals. It signifies not what their mental or moral characters are. Can we then be surprised at the abject state of the human mind in monarchical countries, when the government itself is formed on such an abject levelling system?—It has no fixed character. To-day it is one thing; to-morrow it is something else. It changes with the temper of every succeeding individual, and is subject to all the varieties of each. It is government through the medium of passions and accidents. It appears under all the various characters of childhood, decrepitude, dotage, a thing at nurse, in leading-strings, or in crutches. It reverses the wholesome order of nature. It occasionally puts children over men, and the conceits of non-age over wisdom and experience.In short, we cannot conceive a more ridiculous figure of government, than hereditary succession, in all its cases, presents [emphasis added]. 

Could it be made a decree in nature, or an edict registered in heaven, and man could know it, that virtue and wisdom should invariably appertain to hereditary succession, the objection to it would be removed; but when we see that nature acts as if she disowned and sported with the hereditary system; that the mental character of successors, in all countries, is below the average of human understanding; that one is a tyrant, another an idiot, a third insane, and some all three together, it is impossible to attach confidence to it, when reason in man has power to act.

HT: Liberty Fund’s wonderful Online Library of Liberty.

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Soros on Hayek

Pileus readers may be interested in George Soros’ new short essay on F.A. Hayek and Karl Popper. Soros lauds Hayek’s “fallibilism” but attacks him for inconsistency in endorsing “market fundamentalism.” According to Soros, Hayek is an “apostle of a brand of economics which… is a formalized and mathematical theory, whose two main pillars are the efficient market hypothesis and the theory of rational expectations.” So Soros fundamentally misunderstands Hayek.

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Royal Wedding

I really hope that Americans have enough sense to skip the royal wedding tomorrow.  Repeat after me, “When in the Course of human events…”  I’m not sure what is worse, the British monarchy or the people (both here and abroad) infected with royal fever.  Unbecoming of the spirit of liberty and democracy, many modern Americans of both major parties are infected with a related disease: President-worship.

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The latest in a brilliant series (here is part one):

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