Way, way, way, way over there? I mean, over somewhere east of Madagascar. Here's why. Stossel shot to prominence in the 90s when he produced a news special that outraged feminists by insisting men and women are different. That was good. News specials that point out common sense and reality in an age that values neither have their place and are good.
Over the years he became a sort of libertarian spokesman, appearing on Fox News and espousing a libertarian spin on things, often to a fault. Now if libertarianism is anything, it isn't easy to pin down. I think if I asked twenty libertarians to define libertarianism, I would get nineteen definitions, since there's always that one person who will jump in with someone else.
That has been used to devastating effect by those opposed to
liberty libertarianism. It's always easy to pick the worst apples to condemn a whole barrel. That tactic is made easier, however, when each apple insists its way is the true way of the barrel. So people against liberty libertarianism have often found the worst representatives of that particular way of thinking and made quite a lot of noise about that being what libertarianism is all about.
Like anything, libertarianism has its bad actors, its radicals, extremists, and those you wish would never be within a hundred miles of anything you're advocating. Stossel has emerged as one of those bad actors. Embracing an almost caricature of what people criticize libertarianism for, he often spends his time smacking down any and all criticisms of anything done the way it's done because, well, liberty?
Let people imagine that legalizing drugs may not help our drug problem, and it' just crazy old wives tales. Let people suggest that maybe STEM has had a few bumps in the road, and he preaches the sacred doctrine of progressive infallibility louder than a progressive. Imagine someone thinking that maybe there should be some level of accountability for people to use guns beyond just the standard hunting/home defense instruments, and you'd think you just proclaimed worship of Big Brother.
Beyond that, he also embraces that Darwinian Capitalism idea of survival of the best. This world is for the strong, the smart, the best. Those who aren't up to that level of made-to-win, who aren't willing to invest themselves solely in the acquisition of things to the exclusion of any other priority? Well suck on it buster brown.
Some years ago, when I still had cable, I was sometimes guilty of channel surfing. Always with the volume muted of course. Contrary to some common accusations, I didn't watch much cable news, and that included Fox News. One night I was clicking down the list and I passed Fox. Stossel was interviewing someone, and the little ticker underneath said something to the effect of 'Teaching children that sharing is wrong.' I thought 'Oh brother, one of those news segments that finds some crazy person out there and makes a national crisis out of it. Some bonehead teacher said sharing is bad, and Fox is going to whip up the hysterics like the Daytime Talk Shows of old.'
But no. Just because of morbid curiosity, I unmuted the show and to my astonishment, they were saying no such thing. The guest interviewed by Stossel was saying that isn't right to teach kids to share. Screw sharing. You teach those kids to extract that last drop of blood from anyone nearby. You have two chocolate bars and a friend asks to share? Screw them. You give it to them at top market value. You have a couple toys and a buddy wants to share, you demand payback first. Someone asks you for a cloak? Why, you squeeze every penny out of them, that's what you do. I couldn't tell from the part I watched if Stossel was in agreement, but if he was offended, he didn't make much noise about it with the part I watched.
Which is why this piece, as troubling as it is, doesn't shock me. Apparently Stosssel has joined the movement to use STEM the way nature intended, and that's to build the better baby. That would be the 'aren't we entirely better than ever before' strain of his libertarianism coming out in him. After all, we can do it and that means we should do it. Yes kiddies, as this piece suggests, that could be categorized under eugenics without much difficulty. And yet it is in no way inconsistent with the brand of libertarian thinking he, and others, espouse.
Warning for libertarians and especially conservatives. You can't stop everyone who may agree with you sometimes from embracing evil, but you can check who you associate with. Many who aligned with, and even identified as, conservatives over the decades espoused things hell and gone from basic conservative decency and virtue, let along Christian morals. Work is important. Responsibility is important. Earning your way and taking care of yourself and your loved ones are important.
But saying the world belongs to the wealthy and strong and sorry about your luck if you/'re not one of them is closer to Mammon than the Messiah. It's also a good way to turn off the masses, most of whom will not chair Microsoft, found Amazon.com, contemplate the Theory of Relativity, or form a world changing music group with four lads from Liverpool. If you act as if the world belongs only to those who do such things, you're saying a microscopic sampling of humanity is ultimately in your corner. Leaving the masses to look for someone who at least pretends to care about them.
One thing that cost Hillary Clinton the election in 2016, beyond just running a embarrassingly bad and smug campaign, was her being linked to the Left's new 'the wrong industries will just have to suffer' ideals. That led people in those industries, many who never voted Red in their lives, to support the man - Donald Trump - who at least said he cared. Many accused Trump of lying and not caring. Possibly. But for many in those industries, they took their chances with a potential liar who may not care over someone telling the truth about how much they didn't care.
Same with conservatives. Most probably don't want socialism, and wouldn't take it if they thought about it. But if all they're told is they deserve what they get and deserve even less unless they can make it to the top of the hill, they'll at least try their hand with the socialists who insist they're there to help, no matter how false such a claim happens to be. And if your solution is to use STEM to start building the better babies so everyone can be the next best and brightest, you're not learning a thing from history you insist is so important to study.