and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation

Monday, November 24, 2008

Time to run up the white flag?

Chip Ford's CLT Commentary

I submitted a proposed op-ed column to the Boston Herald on Nov. 8, four days after the election.  Two days later I received a response from the Herald's op-ed page editor:  "Chip - is this being offered to us exclusively?"

I immediately replied:  "Yes, you have it first and exclusively if you're interested.  If you're not interested, then I'll try to have it published somewhere else."

Hearing nothing further, and with my topic growing stale by the day, on Nov. 14 I wrote:  "Please respond today.  It's merely a courtesy -- as promising you my submission exclusively was.  Tomorrow will be a week since I submitted it to you.  All I've heard back was your question of whether it was exclusive or not.  Do you plan to publish it, or shall I move on, submit it elsewhere?"

Later that day I received a final response from the Herald editor:  "Sorry, unable to use.  Thanks anyway."

I can't say I was surprised, but a speedier response would have been appreciated.  The column I submitted can be read below.  (It was referenced by Barbara in her Nov. 20 column, "Plenty of reason for tax skeptics' discontent this winter.")

Chip Ford

Time to run up the white flag?
By Chip Ford

Iím tired of being agitated by news accounts of government waste, mismanagement, and abuse, politiciansí contempt for their constituents, scandals after government scandals.  Iím tired of supporting newspapers and the media moguls who use such fodder simply to sell their product.  Iím tired of learning of the excesses on a daily basis only to then have the same media endorse the status quo when citizens take the abuses to heart and try to improve the situation.

Day after day, month after month the reports are emblazoned across the headlines:  exposťs sell newspapers. Readers become angry, as is no doubt the marketing intent.  And what for? Nothing changes, which seems fine with the media.  The publishing elite donít want the situation to improve; they want to sell their product, and scandal sells.  They reliably endorse more of the same when elections roll around. Of course they do.

Iíve watched this ritualistic dance play out for some two decades of flat-out activism.  It always concludes on the same note.  Nothing changes.  The media exposes, complains, then solidly endorses the status quo.  Iím not going to let it get to me any more; I donít even want to know about it.  Iíve gotten beyond that now.  Ignorance is bliss.

Itís time to tune out, turn off, and drop out.

If I apply my working knowledge of such abuses and mismanagement with half the vigor Iíve exercised trying to weed it out, I should be able to take advantage of it, live off big and growing bigger governmentís generous largesse myself Ė with a whole lot less stress, aggravation and certainly my own time and effort.  This should last as long as there are more providers than takers, as Iíll become.  I think this balance is close to tottering, if it hasnít tipped already as the past election seems to indicate.  There should still be enough time for me to get mine too, especially in the coming Obamafied Nation.

Resistance is apparently futile Ė itís only a game to benefit the media.  News reports need some sort of conflict, even if not fairly reported, to claim subscribers.  Weíve seen as never before that most of the media has an agenda of its own, even beyond profit.

Voters themselves are a big part of the problem as well.  They buy into the game.  Everyoneís outraged with each report or claims to be.  But when the rubber meets the road the majority consistently votes for more of the same, or worse.  The media intimidates them consistently, bows them in the end.

Itís time to tune out, turn off, and drop out.

ďVoters get the government they deserve,Ē itís been said.  True, but Iím tired of getting the same government the voting majority deserves.  I want ďchangeĒ!

After all those years of ceaseless effort, it appears the time has come to run up the white flag and climb aboard the gravy train, ride it as long and for as far as the tracks stretching to the horizon.  If that voting majority wants to support me and so many others, who am I to deny them their pleasure?

So I guess the smart plan is to start by collecting unemployment insurance, food stamps, health care, and whatever else I can claim from government, while I work on writing a self-help book in my new leisure time:  ďHow to Take Government for a Ride.Ē

It seems that the future for us providers is, ďIf you canít beatíem, join them.Ē

Chip Ford is the director of operations for Citizens for Limited Taxation.

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