- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 2, 2007


“There’s nothing original about First-World intellectuals’ projecting their utopias onto Latin America. Christopher Columbus stumbled on the shores of the Americas at a time when Renaissance utopian ideas were in vogue; from the very beginning, conquistadors described the lands as nothing short of paradisiacal.

“The myth of the Good Savage— the idea that the natives of the New World embodied a pristine goodness untarnished by the evils of civilization — impregnated the European mind. The tendency to use the Americas as an escape valve for frustration with the insufferable comfort and cornucopia of Western civilization continued for centuries. “By the 1960s and 70s, when Latin America was riddled with Marxist terrorist organizations, these violent groups enjoyed massive support in Europe and the United States among people who never would have accepted Castro-style totalitarian rule at home. …

“The most notable example today of the symbiosis between certain Western intellectuals and Latin American caudillos is the love affair between American and European Idiots and [Venezuelan President] Hugo Chavez. …

“[Noam] Chomsky has pointed to Venezuela as an example for the developing world, touting social policies that have achieved success in education and medical assistance and rescued the dignity of Venezuelans.”

— Alvaro Vargas Llosa, writing on “The Return of the Idiot,” in the May/June issue of Foreig Policy

BBC bias?

“It’s certainly fair to say that the BBC, originally founded in 1922 does have much greater power over a single nation’s worldview when compared with any one American television or radio network. And very deep pockets as well: the principal source of the BBC’s revenue is England’s monthly television license. …

“Fleet Street continues to service a diverse political strata of England’s readers, long after big American city newspapers consolidated on a policy that combined a liberal worldview with a bland institutional tone. But in terms of broadcast media, BBC’s radio and (particularly) television programs virtually draft the single tone for the news that the vast majority of English viewers receive. …

“[As BBC broadcaster Robin] Aitken describes it, ‘a vast 24/7 propaganda machine, churning out a set of views on moral and social issues, and that has its effect over time. The fact that Britain is, in many ways, a very liberal society, I think a lot of that is due to the influence of the BBC, which has undoubtedly molded public opinion on a lot of these issues.’ ”

— Edward B. Driscoll Jr., writing on “A Powerfully Corrosive Internal Culture,” April 12 for Tech Central Station at TCSDaily.com

Babies Inc.

“Less than 30 years after the world’s first IVF baby was born, millions of children have been created with the help of the petri dish. And the technology that so astounded the world in the late 1970s now almost seems ho-hum. That’s not just because so many women have undergone in vitro fertilization, but also because fertility clinics keep adding eye-popping technology to their menus. … And more and more women in their 30s, 40s, and even 50s are getting pregnant by using donor eggs from younger, more fertile women. …

“The fertility industry has been far better at inventing awe-inspiring technology — and selling it to the public — than it has been at counseling patients about the risks of procedures and how these technologies will shape families, sometimes in ways they didn’t anticipate.”

— Maggie Jones, writing on “The Fertility Maze,” Tuesday in Slate at www.slate.com

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