Monday, August 12, 2013

Why do journalists want to separate themselves from the evils of advertising?

Last week, on Rush's show he spent quite a lot of time talking about how journalists view their industry as being above advertising; that they do not need to make a profit. They should be able to lose money in perpetuity and never face cutbacks.

There is an answer to why this mindset exists. In short, journalists view advertising as a hallmark of "yellow journalism". Delos F. Wilcox, Ph. D. gives us the answer we need on page 91 of a book he wrote titled "The American Newspaper: A Study in Social Psychology". Published in 1900, originally in the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, (I bring this up because of it's seemingly odd page numbering) there are 18 pages (out of 36) that contain the word "advertisements", that's practically 50% of the book. Starting on page 90:

Newspaper competition is, as we have seen, most severe in the largest cities, and there also the need of a new development of social consciousness is most pressing. Weekly and monthly journals appeal to a more widely scattered constituency, and for that reason do not supply to the city man even imperfect summaries of city news and municipal doings. For such summaries he must depend on himself or on municipal reports. Annual reports for free distribution are usually published by the large cities. Two American cities, New York and Boston, publish a daily or weekly "City Record," containing an account of all municipal business. These two cities also have instituted statistical bureaus for the collection and distribution of what we may call general municipal news. In Cleveland, at least, bulletins of important events are posted daily in the public library. In another direction also government is encroaching upon the field of the newspaper. In the establishment of public employment bureaus under state authority in Chicago and some other cities, we see an entrenchment upon the ''want ad'' columns of the daily newspaper. Is it at all unlikely that, following out these lines of activity, government, particularly in cities, will sooner or later put into the field newspapers to cover at least the news of local business and politics and be available for use in the public schools, the public libraries, the city offices, and elsewhere? If such journals could be kept free from factional control and from the debauching influence of irresponsible newspaper competition, they would be of great service in the education of the "public'' and in the control of private journals. But let no one imagine that government operation is here prescribed as a panacea for the evils of irresponsible journalism. Mr. Hearst has worked like a hero to make the New York Journal the yellowest and most successful journal in the United States. Practically, he "endowed" yellow journalism. The endowment scheme for newspaper reform is not generally accepted as practicable. There is a feeling that journalism should be a business, and that news-gathering and distribution should pay for itself. Those who object to the endowment plan should, however, reflect upon the question whether or not the public has not already been "endowed" by someone when a newspaper can be bought regularly for less than the cost of the paper on which it is printed. Possibly the secret of many newspaper evils lies in the fact that the advertisers and the readers can be played off against each other. In order to get a large circulation with which to catch advertisements, the price of the paper is reduced, its size increased, its headlines made sensational, and illustrations introduced to stimulate the flagging senses of the reader. Then, as advertisements flow in at increased rates, the price of the paper can be further reduced and its attractions multiplied. Under these circumstances advertisements of doubtful character are accepted as a matter of course. Ought not the advertising sheet and the newspaper be separated so that each would have to pay for itself? Advertisements that are really of general interest to the public should, on such a theory, be published as news. At any rate, the chief argument against the endowment of a newspaper seems to rest on a misconception of present conditions, and there is no apparently satisfactory reason why some of our surplus millionaires should not emulate the example of Mr. Hearst, with this difference, that they devote their money, their brains, and their energy to the promotion of public intelligence instead of the stimulation of public passion. In the meantime it may be possible to work toward a better journalism by introducing or strengthening the legal responsibility of newspapers for publishing only reliable news.

It is readily apparent that part of the reason why the author disdains advertising is due to how William Randolph Hearst ran his newspapers, but I'll get to that another day. But here is the answer. The endowment of yellow journalism is advertising. That is, running it like a business. There is a very interesting graph on page 77 which illustrates this:

Notice how he puts nearly all advertisements into the "yellow journalism" category? Despite this book being written in 1900, 113 years ago, I am confident that this view is still widely held. Perhaps even more widespread today than it was back then.

What else does this writer believe which will shed light upon this view? See page 89:

If we blame the "public" solely, there is no apparent remedy; for the newspapers themselves are coming more and more to be the principal organs through which public tastes are formed and appeals to public intelligence made. The tool is master of the man, and, too late, we blame the man. It is certainly probable that a newspaper directly responsible to an intelligent and conscientious public would have to be a good journal in order to succeed. In a perfect democracy the newspaper business would regulate itself. But, unfortunately, the "public" is not altogether intelligent and conscientious, and for that reason the newspaper becomes an organ of dynamic education. It would be treachery to social ideals for schoolteachers to choose and pursue their profession simply as a money-getting enterprise. The same is true of journalism. Responsibility must attach to this public function.

Do you find it interesting how seemingly all of these old progressive-era writings consider the newspaper as a way to control the masses? I know I do.

page 90:

If the people trusted their chosen governors and were themselves united in their support of the public welfare, they would undoubtedly be willing to put the newspaper business, like education, into government hands, though not as a monopoly. In fact, however, we as a people still regard government as a necessary evil. It is my belief that the salvation of our cities depends on the displacement of this view by the view that government, the co-operative organization of all for the benefit of all, is a necessary good.

This writer does not like the fact that most Americans(in 1900) viewed government as a necessary evil, he would prefer people to love government. But I think this one speaks the loudest, page 86:

The newspaper, which is preeminently a public and not a private institution, the principal organ of society for distributing what we may call working information, ought not to be controlled by irresponsible individuality.

That really sums it all up. First, "irresponsible individuality", that's all progressivism. They're largely collectivists. But further, is this faulty idea that newspapers are public institutions.

All disagreements with the author aside, this is what they believe as journalists. Institutionally, journalism is an activist profession.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

A Southern farm is the beau ideal of Communism - the perfect commune

In "Sociology for the South: or, The failure of free society", George Fitzhugh writes the following: (pages 244-246)
Domestic slavery in the Southern States has produced the same results in elevating the character of the master that it did in Greece and Rome. He is lofty and independent in his sentiments, generous, affectionate, brave and eloquent; he is superior to the Northerner in every thing but the arts of thrift. History proves this. A Yankee sometimes gets hold of the reins of State, attempts Apollo, but acts Phaeton. Scipio and Aristides, Calhoun and Washington, are the noble results of domestic slavery. Like Egyptian obelisks 'mid the waste of time - simple, severe, sublime, - they point ever heavenward, and lift the soul by their examples. Adams and Van Buren, cunning, complex and tortuous, are fit exponents of the selfish system of universal liberty. Coriolanus, marching to the gates of Rome with dire hate and deadly indignation, is grand and noble in his revenge. Adams and Van Buren, insidiously striking with reptile fangs at the South, excite in all bosoms hatred and contempt; but we will not indulge in sweeping denunciation. In public and in private life, the North has many noble and generous souls. Men who, like Webster and Cass, Dickinson and Winthrop, can soar in lofty eloquence beyond the narrow prejudices of time and place, see man in all his relations, and contemn the narrow morality which makes the performance of one duty the excuse for a thousand crimes. We speak only of the usual and common effects of slavery and of equality. The Turk, half civilized as he is, exhibits the manly, noble and generous traits of character peculiar to the slave owner; he is hospitable, generous, truthful, brave, and strictly honest. In many respects, he is the finest specimen of humanity to be found in the world.

But the chief and far most important enquiry is, how does slavery affect the condition of the slave? One of the wildest sects of Communists in France proposes not only to hold all property in common, but to divide the profits, not according to each man's in-put and labor, but according to each man's wants. Now this is precisely the system of domestic slavery with us. We provide for each slave, in old age and in infancy, in sickness and in health, not according to his labor, but according to his wants. The master's wants are more costly and refined, and he therefore gets a larger share of the profits. A Southern farm is the beau ideal of Communism; it is a joint concern, in which the slave consumes more than the master, of the coarse products, and is far happier, because although the concern may fail, he is always sure of a support; he is only transferred to another master to participate in the profits of another concern; he marries when he pleases, because he knows he will have to work no more with a family than without one, and whether he live or die, that family will he taken care of; he exhibits all the pride of ownership, despises a partner in a smaller concern, "a poor man's negro," boasts of "our crops, horses, fields and cattle;", and is as happy as a human being can be. And why should he not? -he enjoys as much of the fruits of the farm as he is capable of doing, and the wealthiest can do no more. Great wealth brings many additional cares, but few additional enjoyments. Our stomachs do not increase in capacity with our fortunes. We want no more clothing to keep us warm. We may create new wants, but we cannot create new pleasures. The intellectual enjoyments which wealth affords are probably balanced by the new cares it brings along with it.

There is no rivalry, no competition to get employment among slaves, as among free laborers. Nor is there a war between master and slave. The master's interest prevents his reducing the slave's allowance or wages in infancy or sickness, for he might lose the slave by so doing. His feeling for his slave never permits him to stint him in old age.

This drivel goes on and on.(If you read past what I quoted) All the positive traits of being a dictator, and a continual assault on individual liberty.The line about "the selfish system of universal liberty" is interesting, because that's exactly what modern progressives today believe.

But in citing this, I would also like to direct everybody's attention to a fantastic article on Breitbart, which is where I found some of these quotes. Titled "'The Very Best Form of Socialism': The Pro-Slavery Roots of the Modern Left"

One of the reasons I find this article to be incredibly important is because it helps offset something I have said repeatedly: That Progressives have imported a lot of ideology from foreign intellectuals. Germanic ideologues, Fabians, and others. But as I have also written, Progressivism has a distinct/unique American component, both must be kept within view to understand what they believe. That is, these are people who grew up and lived in individual liberty and sovereignty, and they came to wholly reject it. That's why they sought out foreign inspiration, as people are much better at tyranny overseas. One place to get a good idea about progressive inspiration at home is to read up about Edward Bellamy, this is one of my prior posts about him, I have several others. In short, one of Bellamy's most notable contributions is that he took the word "socialism" off of the package, put "nationalism" on it(despite it being the exact same thing) and that's how the American people were first exposed to socialism in a major way.

Now, it doesn't surprise me in the least that southern slaveholders of old would view their plantations to be the perfect communes.

Josef Stalin was a slaveholder.

Adolph Hitler was a slaveholder.

Che Guevara was a slaveholder.

Pol Pot was a slaveholder.

Chairman Mao was a slaveholder.

King George III was a slaveholder. That is, until we declared independence.

I could probably list a thousand well known tyrants and/or those favoring central planning(Or actually running centrally planned states, such as the ones I mentioned), but that isn't the point. The point is this:

Look at the language Fitzhugh uses. It's easy to point to the line where he calls a southern plantation the perfect vision of communism, but notice the next line. It's a joint concern. Notice what words he puts into the mouth of unnamed slaves: "our crops". This is collectivism. This has credibility not because you and I would say it does, that all tyrants are by definition slaveholders, but because when he writes about the concern failing, yet the slave still gets support, what is that? Welfare! Fitzhugh even uses the line of "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need". That's wealth redistribution, right from Marx himself(Fitzhugh uses the words "profit" and "want"). Even if the crops failed, the slaves had wealth redistributed to them so that they could live their meager lives of serfdom. All the puzzle pieces are here to point out that this is not just some line of hyperbole.

George Fitzhugh was a collectivist. That's how all of the world's major slaughters begin, at least in modern times where we have a little bit better view of history. That's the foundation, collectivism. Collectivism is the root of all evil, because on top of that foundation you have the second foundation, centralized planning. Don't tell me that a slave holder didn't centrally plan the entire life of the slaves in his southern commune. That's exactly what happened there, the masters planned the lives of their subjects. From those two foundations is where all forms of collectivization form, be it nationalism or communism or fascism, fabianism, nazism, progressivism, or any of the others. Sometimes it's good for the collective for the collective to take the life of the individual. That's where collectivism becomes mass murdering.

Now it would be true for anybody to point out that Fitzhugh heavily criticized socialism. But so what? All socialists rebuke socialism when it fails as being "not true socialism". That's a trait that virtually all masterminds share. Only their vision of utopia is the true grand plan that will work, all others' failures were fake because none of them were as masterful. Read the book Philip Dru, Administrator, written by an American progressive, Edward House. It's dripping with this sort of thinking. Fitzhugh was no different than any other statist, except that his "state" was the plantation and not centralized government.

Also note the part about no competition. No true progressive can ever support competition, because virtually all dictators are unitary. You think Hitler wanted to rule the world? You think Stalin wanted to rule the world? That they didn't achieve the heights of their grand design doesn't change the nature of said grand designs. What makes the progressive the most dangerous of all the forms of centralized planning that I know of, is that any progressive at any given moment would love to rule all by themselves, but they will gladly sacrifice in the name of "progress" to see that the next progressive in line may achieve the final goal: abolition of individual liberty. I'm not kidding about this, let's get back to the Breitbart article. The authors cite one Charles Merriam, who served(advisory) under progressive presidents William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Merriam would write in one of his books the following:

The individualistic ideas of the "natural right" school of political theory, endorsed in the Revolution, are discredited and repudiated.

Page 307 of his book "A History of American Political Theories". Merriam, as the author points out, was highly influenced by Fitzhugh. Merriam hated individual rights, as did Fitzhugh, as did every tyrant who has ever lived. If you are an individual who recognizes your individuality and is willing to fight for - and even die for - your individual sovereignty, then you're a threat to the mastermind because you inhibit his grandiose vision of a god given right to rule.

In short, it should surprise no one that where slavery remained triumphant in the south, its leaders became attracted to communism - no matter how superficially - because the simple fact is that wherever communism and socialism reign supreme there are slaves being held. In light of progressivism though, what might be the most significant contribution is the one that's unspoken. The Breitbart article says that in southern slavery, we can see "the intellectual seed for the later Progressive movement". I don't know if I would say the seed, but there's certainly a seed to be recognized here.

What was the system of slavery that our Founders tried to get rid of, but the King would not let them? It was de-centralized tyranny. This is also what progressivism is, de-centralized tyranny. Hillsdale calls progressivism "bureaucratic despotism", which is a strikingly accurate description both in what it directly says and what it implies. Progressivism is not monarchism. You do not have one lone sole dictator, progressives instead work through the bureaucracies. So it is true to say that progressivism is a form of authoritarianism, but it's in pieces:

Progressives dictate to you environmentally, via the EPA.

Progressives dictate to you educationally, via the Department of Education.

Progressives dictate to you judicially, via corrupt statist judges.

Progressives dictate to you economically, via the Federal Reserve and subsequent banking etc. regulations. Dodd-Frank, Sarbanes-Oxley, and many, many others.

Progressives can now dictate to you under the banner of health, via Obamacare.

And that's not including the IRS and now the NSA's spying on all of us. These bureaucracies are the control layers which generally disguise themselves as being "good for you", "in your best interest", wheras the NSA are the ears, eyes, and nose, and the IRS is the teeth(backed by a steel jaw). If you don't comply, they'll see you, hear you, and sniff you out like a bloodhound. If you persist, you get bit.

Using their myriad of ABC bureaucracies; the department of this, the department of that, and the other; they have established piecemeal tyranny. It's distributed totalitarianism. Having thousands of these bureaucracies enables total dictatorial control.

Welcome to your plantation.