Time To Give Up the Ship?

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The front page of the Wall Street Journal for Monday, January 29, 2001, featured a piece lamenting the absence of the Bush administration at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Lamenting?

Of late, I have criticized a pair of the Journal’s editors — fellow Notre Dame philosophy grad William McGurn, and Max Boot — over differences in political philosophy. I am willing to wager that both are good guys with whom one can enjoy a beer. That being said, I don’t agree with things they have written. I think that I have sufficiently explained why.

The Journal itself, however, stands in need of criticism.

If the Wall Street Journal is the flagship of the daily newspapers of capitalism, then it is time to give up the ship. There has been a mutiny.

Instead of defending the free market philosophy on a daily basis, the Journal merely pounds out the proverbial "drumbeat against capitalism."

Front-page headlines repeat the most hackneyed assaults on capitalism. Has Karl Marx returned to his former job as a journalist in New York?

It is a good thing that Bush did not go to Davos. Why should the United States lend credibility to such a gathering of central planners?

The January 18 front page features a piece entitled "Measuring Bush as Regulator in Chief." I’m sorry, I had not realized there was such an office in the federal government. Even if there were, surely a free market paper ought to demonstrate the follies of such an office.

Worse, the January 16 edition features an article entitled "Amtrak Boss Struggles to Get Train Service on Track in the U.S.: As Subsidy Deadline Looms, Mr. Warrington Focuses on the Bottom Line."

How much more in the thrall of statist economics can a newspaper get? Hint: Amtrak will always struggle because it is not a private company. So long as it is controlled by the government, it is not operating by the profit motive, and will never work properly.

Those at the Journal should have a look at the works of a former editor of another New York paper — the New York Times — for an explanation of the free market. One title is particularly easy to remember: Economics in One Lesson, by Henry Hazlitt.

The Journal, it appears, has been skipping school.

Mr. Dieteman is an attorney in Erie, Pennsylvania, and a PhD candidate in philosophy at The Catholic University of America.

© 2001 David Dieteman

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