- The Washington Times - Friday, March 15, 2002

Spotlight on them
"It was to have been the end of irony, remember? Superficial celebrity culture was over; a new age of seriousness was upon us. Of course, the way media celebrities focused on their own mood as the consequence of September 11 was in itself an irony so marvelous you knew immediately how wrong they were. And sure enough, the spotlight never wavered. It went on shining as it always had, on those it was meant for on them. …
"So we shared Dan Rather's pain, marveled at intrepid Ashleigh Banfield, scrutinizing those ferocious tribal fighters through her designer specs, and Tom Brokaw, arbiter of greatness among generations, took us on a tour of the real West Wing."
Thomas de Zengotita, writing on "The Numbing of the American Mind," in the April issue of Harper's

Bogus 'rights'
"Education is not a right. … The right to go about one's business unmolested and unharmed … is man's only natural right. This right is what government must legitimately protect. By extension, any right that depends for its existence on the labor of another is not a right. To the extent government manufactures and reinforces these nonrights, it is an entity of thieves and feudal lords. …
"But just because some service or commodity has, by government fiat, been declared a right, doesn't mean that it will now fall abundantly like manna from the heavens. The costs of the commodity or service don't magically dissipate. Someone must work to pay for and supply subsidized housing, health care or education. …
"Parents have a right to earn the money with which to educate their young. They don't have the right to compel the childless, the home-schooler, the private school user … to pay for public education or school-voucher options. …
"Vouchers allow the financially needy to obtain tax-funded scholarships for private schools. Private education will be tainted by money pilfered from the taxpayer. And school vouchers will have turned what remains of America's independent schools into politicized, subsidy-seeking wards of the state, willing to replace canon and curriculum with politically correct indoctrination."
Ilana Mercer, writing on "Eliminate government-funded education," Wednesday in World Net Daily at www.worldnetdaily.com

Capitalism works
"Jesse Jackson and John Conyers have no interest in suing Mali for slavery reparations, because those poor chumps have a per-capita income of $600. Like all the rest of the West's anti-Western theorists, they don't dispute that capitalism works but only why it works. To those of us of a less pathological bent, it seems obvious that, rather than 'exploiting' people, it invites citizens to exploit their own potential.
"Some will develop computer software and become billionaires (Bill Gates). Some will make a nice living as professional race-baiters and corporate shakedown artists (Mr. Jackson). Some will clean up cranking out ridiculous theses for lucrative niche markets (Noam Chomsky), all the while bemoaning the system that keeps them in the style to which they have become accustomed. Only our society generates enough cash to fund such a wide range of fatuities. …
"This then is the paradox of the most successful culture in history: [capitalism] and its attendant liberties have enabled more people to live their lives in freedom, health, and material comfort. Yet at the same time no other culture works so hard to deny its achievements and its heritage, to insist there must be a catch, there's gotta be an alternative. There isn't."
Mark Steyn, writing on "The slyer virus," in the February issue of the New Criterion

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