The Pitt News, like most college newspapers, is know more for articles written by liberals and libertines than libertarians. Nevertheless, in the last few months I’ve noticed several editorials that present or at least hint at libertarian ideals. Here’s a sampling. Give me your impressions in the comments.
The Pitt News bills itself as “one of Amercia’s great student newspapers”. If only it were. Then again, maybe it is. *shudder*
In the 11 years I’ve been in Pittsburgh, I’ve watched the quality of writing and journalistic integrity of the Pitt News wax and wane with the arrival and graduation of classes. When it’s good, it’s no worse than any other small paper. When it’s bad, it’s awful. Sadly, it’s been bad more often than it’s been good. There have been years when the only feature I looked forward to reading was the comics page. Some years even that sucked. I’ve read articles that would make the journalism department go apoplectic – if Pitt had a journalism dept.
In the last couple years, though, I think the paper inproved a great. Perhaps there was an editor that was more interested in relatively unbiased news than sensationalism and sex columns. Those halcyon days may be over, though. Observe exhibits A and B:
Joseph Mance remembers a time when packets of birth control pills cost $8 each. Today he is trying to spread the word to his student clientele that prices have hiked up once again, this time to the $40 range. “I hate telling these kids, ‘We’re raising your pill price,'” he said with a troubled look. “It’s like pulling a gun on them.”
Telling kids their birth control pills will cost more is “like pulling a gun on them”? First of all, if they’re kids, they’re too immature to be having sex. Secondly, what ever happened to advising people to keep their hormones in check? If expensive birth control is either going to majorly disrupt students’ lives or result in a lot of unintended pregancies, Pitt has much biggers problems than government economic policies. Granted, the Pitt News can’t be faulted for Mance making an ass of himself by allowing himself to be quoted uttering that nonsense, but the article is entirely one-sided. The entire front-page piece is written from the point of view that the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, which is responsible for the price hike, is a bad law, at least as it pertains to offering cheap birth control for the masses. Reporting on the price hike is just fine and a public service announcement, but the second half of the article pertains to the politics of birth control discounts, which should have been presented in a more balanced fashion.
…[S]cientists have attempted to change the sexual orientation of sheep to help farmers, who have accused gay sheep of causing them financial loss. The scientists gave the sheep injections, adjusting the hormone levels in their brains and, amazingly, some previously gay rams became attracted to female sheep. Naturally, the gay and lesbian community was not happy. Their fear is that this success could be a gateway to experiments involving human sexuality and may one day be used to “breed out” homosexuals entirely. Personally, I think this experiment is debauchery. The scientists responsible should be tarred and feathered – or maybe tarred and wooled. Altering sexuality is a very slippery slope. But it seems as though these scientists have forgotten an important fact: If those sheep would just accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior, they could easily overcome their homosexuality.
At least this tripe was printed as opinion rather than news. Still, any newspaper that would print this should be embarassed and ashamed. It’s a sophomoric attempt at satire of Christian bioethics that reads like a secular Jack Chick‘s poor imitation of a “A Modest Proposal“. The kind of Christian presented in this article is straw man. Sure, there are Christians like the charicature the author presents; after all, stereotypes don’t appear out of thin air. Still, the author needs to realize that we’re not all fans of the 700 Club, any more than all gays are fans of Will and Grace.
You don’t have to be Fred Phelps to think active homosexuality is wrong. You also don’t have to hate or fear science if you’re a Christian. Heck, you can even believe that homosexuality has a biological component and still think it’s wrong to perform homosexual acts.
Christianity aside, arguing that a disorder of lower animals is natural and therefore acceptable in humans is ridiculous. Lots of lower animals practice cannibalism and incest. Will it soon be PC to defend those behaviors?
In summary, this article isn’t just bad satire, it’s ironically full of the kind of disgusting malice and prejudice that seems to have offended the author, and the ignorance and denial he specifically mentions.
Be sure to let the editor of the Pitt News know how you feel about these articles. Regarding the latter, you might want to let ACLJ and the Catholic League know, too.
It’s hard to argue with this guy’s logic. Then again, St. Anselm’s ontological argument for the existence of God sounds good at first, too. That is, until you really pick it apart. So I leave it to my compitent readers. What’s wrong with this argument?
“I usually don’t send out pure opinion pieces, but let it be said: There is not one person anywhere who can give you a good reason why it’s OK to show a man’s chest on TV, but not a woman’s chest. You can ask over 100 people why — trust me, I have — and not get a real answer. It’s just a silly superstition that some people came up with, a bunch of others went along with it, and now we’re stuck with it. Have you ever heard a real reason?”
“This is different from other issues, like abortion, affirmative action, or the death penalty — I have opinions on all of those, and probably so do you, but there are two sides to each issue, and I can at least see where the other side is coming from. But I’ve never heard the other side of the boob issue.”
“A good sign of a widespread belief that has no supporting logic is that if you ask people why they believe it, they always pass the buck on to someone else. ‘Our society has decided…’ ‘The community feels that…’ ‘Judges have ruled that…’ — except with that last one, if you listen to what judges say, they pass the buck too, saying ‘According to contemporary community standards…’ What’s missing is someone standing up and saying ‘I, yes *ME* *PERSONALLY*, I believe that seeing a mammary gland is harmful, and here’s why.’
“To people who say that inciting any male lust is bad, I tell them I grew up in Denmark (although I’m American) and there you could see bare breasts in public advertisements, on the covers of supermarket tabloids, and on the beach, and nobody cared. And, the sex crime rate is much lower there. It’s not obvious that nudity even incites much ‘lust’ once you’re used to it anyway — men live in nudist colonies surrounded by naked women and don’t get turned on. (It’s the visitors who are easy to spot, because they aren’t used to it and it makes them stick out, so to speak.)”
Read the rest here and let me know what you think.
I’m listening to Jerry Bowyer right now. He just read an email that described an amusing antedote to much ado about bird shot. Let’s send as many brown paper bags as possible to the major news outlets so they can stop hyperventilating. 😉
[On 02/26/06 I changed the title of this entry. I did so not because I feared personal retribution from radical Muslims but because I feared for Christians in less safe parts of the world, like Nigeria. – Funky]
"Cast of ‘Will and Grace’, in fear for their lives, go into hiding after lampooning Christians.
"Oh. Sorry. I meant ‘Danish cartoonists, in fear for their lives, go into hiding after lampooning Muslims’"
Ah, Mark Shea has such a way with words.
I’m getting real sick of all the news surrounding Mohammed-gate. I really have nothing substantial to add to millions of opinions on the net, so I’ll keep this short. These "foaming Bronze Age fanatics" (Mark’s phrase) who are throwing a temper tantrum over some bloody cartoons, combined with the great number of Islamic terrorists, are really changing my view of Islam. I’ve been trying very hard to accept Islam as a religion of peace and give people the benefit of the doubt when they say that the nutjobs are the exception and are perverting the religion. However, the more often I see stuff like this, the harder that is for me to believe. I’m starting to susepct that Islam has always been a fanatically violent religion and that the peaceful sects we see today are splinter groups. IOW, they’re the fluke, not the psychos. I hope someone can prove I’m wrong.
Addendum: The Catholic League‘s response to all the hubbub is worth quoting in its entirety.
"The decision of most mainstream media outlets not to reprint or show the controversial cartoons is the right one: the Catholic League sides with the U.S., Britain and the Vatican in denouncing the inflammatory cartoons. Regrettably, the decision by the media not to offend Muslims is motivated by fear, not ethics. Worse than this by far is the violent reaction, and calls for violence, that have sprung up all over the Muslim world. This is pure barbarism."
"Whenever the Catholic League criticizes a work of art, cartoon, movie or TV show, we are told that (a) we’re the intolerant ones (b) what is offensive is in the eye of the beholder (c) art is supposed to make people uncomfortable (d) no one can criticize anything until they have seen it (e) protests have a ‘chilling effect’ on free speech (f) it’s not real anyway, and (g) get over it. So why have Muslims been spared this lecture? Because the extremists in their ranks—and they are not a tiny minority—have shown they may respond with beheadings."
"Why, according to the Washington Post, did European newspapers reprint the cartoons? It was ‘not their love of freedom but their insensitivity—or hostility—to the growing diversity of their own societies.’ The Los Angeles Times says it won’t reprint ‘these insensitive images.’ The Miami Herald boasts that it ‘must take great care not to offend.’ The New York Times says it is wrong to publish ‘gratuitous assaults on religious symbols.’ The San Francisco Chronicle says ‘insulting or hurting certain groups’ is wrong. Both CBS and NBC say it isn’t necessary to show the cartoons in order to report on them. CNN even went so far as to say that it ‘has chosen not to show the cartoons out of respect for Islam.’ Now if Catholicism were treated with such sensitivity and respect, we would have to shut down the Catholic League."
"Ethics, not fear, should guide the media. As for Muslims offended by the cartoons, they should learn what a civilized response entails."
Addnedum 02/11/06: Greg, at the Discerning Dilemma offers some interesting thoughts.
"First off, Islam does not mean ‘peace.’ It means ‘submission’, and the peace that comes from that submission. Islam itself, not necessarily its adherence, plain and simply is not a religion of peace. Mohammed was a warmongering lunatic. In the centuries after Jesus Christ died, Christians hid in the catacombs for fear of their lives, yet being willing to give up their lives (if things happened that way) as witnesses to Jesus Christ (in fact ‘martyr’ actually means ‘witness’). In the centuries after Mohammed died, his followers A) had to keep the masses from reverting to their old ways under threat of death, and B) went on a campaign of blood across North Africa and into Spain."
"Now how about today’s Moslems? The majority of them are not like that, and love peace and freedom. The majority of Moslems are peaceful folks. In other words, they are polar opposites of Mohammed. They are dissidents and good for them, too. When a Catholic dissents, they contribute to a decaying society and a culture of death. When a Moslem dissents, they lead a life of serenity and maybe even freedom."