They Can't All Be Walter Williams -- Part Two
by L. Neil Smith
Exclusive to The Libertarian Enterprise
I used to be a regular guest, specializing in Second Amendment issues, of Dr. Norm Resnick, unrivaled star of right-wing shortwave radio. Norm and two other local gents of our mutual acquaintance are held by Morris Dees (of the Southern Mental Poverty Center) to be among the 100 most dangerous individuals in America, with an implication that a major component of their dangerousness is anti-semitism. Trouble is, two of them are Jewish (which gives us an idea how credible Dees is) and furthermore, anyone who knows us knows that I'm more dangerous than all three of the others put together. I'm thinking about suing.
Norm is an educator who may change the course of history. Working at the opposite end from JPFO's Aaron Zelman, he's shamed much of the dumb-ass right out of its hatred for things Jewish. My problem with him -- more accurately, with his listeners -- is that they're suicidally depressing and uninterested in solutions. My publisher and Laissez Faire Books ran ads on Norm's station while I was on; over six weeks, we didn't sell book one. Maybe I'm taking it personally, but unlike Norm himself, his audience of political paralytics would apparently rather whimper like P.J. O'Rourke's "bedwetting liberals" about how bad things are, than actually take charge and do something about it.
I've recently been steered to Mike Reagan, but his show airs here in the evening, and, as horrible as television gets (primarily because even those like FOX and UPN, who produce the best of it, still want to be -- perversely -- just like ABC, NBC, and CBS) anyone with a wife and daughter has better things to do with his evenings than listen to radio. Lately we've been going ice skating, and anyone who knows me will appreciate how comical that must look.
Eat your heart out, Lucy.
Parenthetically, all network radio news is awful. The oddest phenomenon in communications today is the ideological broadcaster who runs, say, Gordon Liddy and Ken Hamblin, but whose news feed comes from Associated Press and, given AP's NEA-jerk leftist interpretation of events, might as well be an extrusion of NPR. What's more -- with the highly notable exception of the family who own Norm Resnick's home station -- all the local operators of my acquaintance are unspeakably cheap, molishly shortsighted, and ineffably ... grimy.
I used to listen to Chuck Adler. My wife Cathy and I have filled in for Mike McNulty on his Saturday morning show on Norm's station. A problem with all these guys is that they suffer to varying degrees from the triple malaise Ayn Rand warned us of, mysticism, altruism, and collectivism. (Phoenix's Sam Steiger may be a legitimate exception -- my friend Maryann Watkins surely is -- but with due respect to legions who believe otherwise, I've never heard anything to convince me that Howard Stern or Gene Burns are genuine Libertarians.)
Mostly they're promiscuously religious, which I can't help but see as a pathetic confession to intellectual enfeeblement. (There -- I said it, and I'm glad!) They're anti-individualists (no matter what they say), right-wing collectivists who wouldn't hesitate a second longer than Comrade Hillary to sacrifice your life, your property, or your rights to whatever they consider a worthy cause. Despite their religious-based assertions of moral certainty, they drift, ideologically, because they haven't any real principles to anchor them. They're not the free-market freedom-fighters they claim, but second- and third-hand New Dealers, upholding policies they'd have opposed 60 years ago.
Michael Medved is, perhaps, the worst, an obnoxiously godly prude whom I'm always deeply disappointed to hear replacing Rush Limbaugh. He's the reason (along with Henry Waxman) that I coined the expression "dogwhistle" in the first place. It's too damned bad he became a conservative; he'd fit perfectly into his dear friend Hillary's administration as a sort of miniature Robert Reich.
Tony Snow, another Limbaugh stand-in is a political weakling so thoroughly typical of the Republican Party in general that I'm surprised he wasn't Bob Dole's running mate. With Tony around to temporize and water principles down, Jack Kemp better look to his laurels as "coward of the country" in the year 2000.
I get mad at all of these guys from time to time, and I swear I'll never listen to them again. But in the end, I never can hold a grudge. Most of them unquestionably brighten my day and -- as occasional fellow travelers -- they help to make what Rudyard Kipling called "The Great Game" a trifle less burdensome.
The great tragedy is that -- with the exception of the precious few hours every year that Dr. Walter Williams takes the air behind the "Golden EIB Microphone" -- there doesn't seem to be any genuine libertarian talk radio yet. I'd love to do it myself, and perhaps I will, someday, given a suitable offer.
But perhaps there never will be any libertarian talk radio. The left wing socialists own television, where they communicate in pretty pictographs and can emote to their bleeding hearts' content -- instead of offering ideas and logical argument. The right wing socialists own radio, the "Theater of the Mind".
It's the internet, in many ways, the city of the future, that belongs to us.
It could be worse.
Permission to redistribute this article is hereby granted by the author, provided it is reproduced unedited, in its entirety, and appropriate credit given.
L. Neil Smith's award-winning The Probability Broach opens a window onto a Libertarian civilization. More of his books (see THE WEBLEY PAGE: http://www.lneilsmith.org//) are available at bookstores everywhere, at http://www.amazon.com, at Laissez Faire Books, (800) 326-0996, or Frugal Muse Bookstore, (608) 833-8668. Neil will speak at the AZLP annual convention in Phoenix, 4/19/97.
Imagine a government bent on sharing its sensitive, caring, environmentally friendly ways with an entire universe. Then imagine the army it needs. CLD - Collective Landing Detachment. Dark military SF. By Victor Milan. From AvoNova.
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