Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Calling the Kettle Black

Sunday's Chronicle editorial attacks Congressman John Culberson for opposing Metro's University Line:
It doesn't take a psychic to predict Houston Rep. John Culberson's future stance on light rail through his district. The five-term 7th District Republican has been predictably and consistently obstructive and dishonest in concocting an endless stream of rationales for opposing the University Line route down Richmond and Westpark.
One could make very similar statements about the Chronicle's editorial policies: It doesn't require a psychic to predict the paper's future stance on any proposed government intervention. The paper has been predictably and consistently "progressive" and dishonest in concocting an endless stream of rationales for supporting more government control over the economy and our lives.

For example:
  • The paper supported taxpayer funding for the health care of "illegal" aliens.
  • The paper supported strengthening the Texas Open Beaches Act, which allows the state to seize private property.
  • The paper has opposed the Ashby High Rise and applauded the city's efforts to institute tougher land-use regulations.
  • The paper has supported restrictions on billboards, and has called for outlawing many existing signs.
In short, the paper has yet to oppose a government proposal to impose more controls, regulations, and mandates on individuals or businesses. There may be exceptions, but they are just that--exceptions. The paper's solution to virtually every problem--real or imagined--is more government.

Such positions might be excusable if they were taken by a young adult. But when they are taken by mature adults sitting on the editorial board of the only major newspaper in America's fourth largest city, we cannot explain those positions as youthful indiscretions. The editorial board does not consist of uninformed youths.

There is an abundance of evidence that demonstrates that government control over the lives of citizens always leads to misery and suffering. The history of every communist regime shows this quite clearly. We can also look at American cities--such as Detroit--and American states--such as California--and see what government regulations and controls do in this country.

There is also an abundance of evidence the demonstrates that individual freedom leads to economic prosperity. The history of America shows this quite clearly. We can also look at American cities--such as Houston--and American states--such as Texas--to see the results of less government controls and regulations.

For example, in its editorial calling for more restrictive controls on signs, the paper stated:
Visual blight seriously damages Houston's public image, impairs quality of life and impedes economic development.
Such a claim ignores the fact that Houston has been among the nation's leaders in job growth for years. The paper refuses to identify the fact that Houston's relative freedom in land-use is a primary reason for this job growth, and wants us to believe that by emulating the decaying cities on both coasts we can somehow avoid the resulting self-destruction. Nor does the paper explain how this alleged "visual blight" impeded economic development here, or its absence in other cities explain their economic decay.

Or, consider the paper's statements arguing that all Americans should be forced to pay for the health care of "illegal" aliens:
We believe history and fairness argue persuasively that responsibility for caring for those here illegally must not be left only to the region most affected. The burden must be shared.
The paper completely ignores the meaning of "fairness". It fails to tell us what is fair about forcing anyone to pay for the health care of another. It fails to tell us what is fair about regarding one man's need as a claim on the property of another.

Honesty is the refusal to fake reality. It requires an intransigent devotion to the facts, even when those facts are uncomfortable. It requires one to draw conclusions from the facts, rather than seek out facts that support one's conclusions.

Time and again the Chronicle editorial board fails to meet this standard. Time and again the editorial board presents carefully selected facts while ignoring contradictory facts. Time and again the paper makes assertions without offering evidence. Time and again the paper attempts to justify its conclusions through misrepresentations, half-truths, and disingenuous claims.

The fact is, the paper has an agenda and it is not about to let the facts get in its way. As a typical conservative, John Culberson isn't any different in this regard. But if the paper wants to lecture the congressman about dishonesty it would be well advised to get its own house in order first.

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