by David Miller
Although I do not watch PBS, I am sure they show worthwhile programs. I have, however, vowed never to let my kids watch Barney. I started listening to NPR during the Persian Gulf War, and I continued listening regularly throughout the '92 election. I don't listen much anymore, but I do like having an alternative to the music and advertisement mix on other channels.
If there were an informal poll taken today asking simply if I like the overall offerings of public radio and TV, I would answer "yes". Asking if federal government should extract money from citizens to pay for these programs is a different question; a question that supersedes discussion of personal preference.
It is not good enough to say that PBS should be federally funded because I like it. I also like "Beavis and Butthead". Should the government pay for it?
Arguing that NPR is informative is not sufficient grounds for government subsidization. Rush Limbaugh is informative. He adds his own slant to the news (just like NPR), and yet government compulsion is not among his fund raising tactics.
The most pernicous reason for having coercively financed programming is
majority rule. If most people want public TV, and most people deem it to be
wholesome, it is still not right to force all people to pay for it. How can a group
govern themselves democratically when the majority can vote themselves benefits (i.e.,
money for TV shows) to be paid in part or in full by the minority? The answer is to
have a limited role for the federal government, one that does not lend itself to such
abuse. Entertainment, albeit quality entertainment, is not part of that limited
This page was last updated 07/02/00 01:50 PM