Sunday, July 29, 2007

The YouTube Debate:
Send In The Clowns

by Ken Connor - July 29th, 2007 -

George Washington. Abraham Lincoln. Franklin Roosevelt. John F. Kennedy. Ronald Reagan. Who among these men would answer, with a straight face, a question posed by a snowman?

One wonders about the seriousness of a nation that considers the YouTube debate hosted by CNN a success and a triumph.

The failure of our teachers of the last two generations to teach may not have been their fault. There is a strong argument that you can lay the blame at the feet of the unelected tyrants on our federal judiciary and the Democrat Party's love for the union bosses at the NEA. However whoever is at fault, the consequences are starting to become obvious when such a childish event is praised because our citizens cannot think through the consequences.

I remember back in the 90s when so-called serious investors forked over billions to finance companies whose business plans were based on hyperbole. Such business plans as the idea that we would order our groceries over the Internet and they could be delivered to our homes for free for the savings. Fred Smith, inventor of Federal Express, commented on the concept when one company was selling this premise. His review was that the cost savings of the Internet order process were expected to be $2 per order, and the delivery costs were going to be $8 per order. "How long can this company last?" was his question. The company failed, like thousands of others based on nothing but Internet bubble hype. Many could not see the clear consequences of investing in businesses that experts could tell were nonsense.

The YouTube phenomenon is starting this non judgemental acceptance of technological revolution again. This debate side show adds nothing to helping citizens determine who is the best candidate to vote for. As noted in the article, it makes the debate more entertaining while trivializing the process of selecting a President. Even the argument that it makes the debate about more personal issues misses the point.

The President's job is not to be there to tend every Alzheimer's patient, teach every child, and arbitrate every labor dispute. The President is not supposed to solve every problem in America. Families, local communities, and local governments are often better equipped for dealing with personal tragedy.

When standing before an image of someone who is suffering, the natural reaction is to say, "Listen, I want to help you. Here's what I can do," even when on careful reflection one realizes that may not be good national policy. It is tempting for politicians who can wield the levers of power, to see themselves as the Savior who will wipe away every tear and heal every hurt. But, lest we forget, a government that is big enough to heal every hurt and right every wrong is one that is big enough to dictate every aspect of our existence.

That is the key poiint. Do we want to live in a dictatorship or in freedom? When the Soviet Union failed, a large part of the Soviet population recoiled at the responsbility of being citizens in a free nation. America is free. However there has never been a time when there were not citizens who would just as soon let the government tell them how to live and think. Is that our future?


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