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  #1  
Old 10-06-2008, 06:58 PM
Bloggingheads Bloggingheads is offline
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  #2  
Old 10-06-2008, 08:20 PM
laurelnyc laurelnyc is offline
 
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This may be a shallow point, but one reason I hate physical newspapers is 1. my fingers are black from ink after reading and I hate dirty fingers 2. I feel very guilty buying physical papers because I feel bad about using so much paper (even though I recycle 95% of them).

I think newspapers are going through an awkward phase, but eventually there will emerge a good economic model for the news biz and there will be profits to be made. Unfortunately, too many are clinging to past models and are bemoaning the death of the newspaper, but I believe the news biz is entering a bright phase...think of the expanded global market that a news article can reach now. I thinks it's fantastic. The profit model will come for sure.

I pay for WSJ online because I read it regularly, but there are other papers I may link to from a blog and I'm not willing to pay for a yearly subscription if required. If online advertising isn't a sufficient model for profits and papers turn to online subscriptions, then I would recommend a membership fee to a group of papers...similar to a Netflix model where one could upgrade/downgrade easily how many papers one wants in one's plan. It would work for people like me who are unwilling to sign up for a year plan but want to try out different papers. Papers could also offer exclusive news for members as WSJ does so the paying member feels like he/she is getting something valuable.
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  #3  
Old 10-07-2008, 02:15 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laurelnyc View Post
This may be a shallow point, but one reason I hate physical newspapers is 1. my fingers are black from ink after reading and I hate dirty fingers 2. I feel very guilty buying physical papers because I feel bad about using so much paper (even though I recycle 95% of them).

I think newspapers are going through an awkward phase, but eventually there will emerge a good economic model for the news biz and there will be profits to be made. Unfortunately, too many are clinging to past models and are bemoaning the death of the newspaper, but I believe the news biz is entering a bright phase...think of the expanded global market that a news article can reach now. I thinks it's fantastic. The profit model will come for sure.

I pay for WSJ online because I read it regularly, but there are other papers I may link to from a blog and I'm not willing to pay for a yearly subscription if required. If online advertising isn't a sufficient model for profits and papers turn to online subscriptions, then I would recommend a membership fee to a group of papers...similar to a Netflix model where one could upgrade/downgrade easily how many papers one wants in one's plan. It would work for people like me who are unwilling to sign up for a year plan but want to try out different papers. Papers could also offer exclusive news for members as WSJ does so the paying member feels like he/she is getting something valuable.
Interesting thoughts, laurel. I share your view of physical newspapers as far as environmental concerns go (I don't care about ink on my hands). I'd add that it's becoming increasingly hard for a print channel to be on top of the news, given the way many people demand instant reporting these days.

If print is to survive, I think one thing they should do is to focus more on investigative journalism and week-in-review-type analysis, and get away from trying to cover breaking news. They'll have to accept a smaller, though hopefully more loyal, audience, which might not work as long as they are publicly traded companies. Their online branches could still cover the breaking stuff, of course.

I, like you and Eli, think good news sources are worth paying for. I used to pay for TimesSelect and Salon, more in support of the idea than because I thought the content was actually worth it. The first went away, of course, and I stopped paying for Salon because their content has gone too far downhill to even make it worth paying for out of idealism.

I like your Netflix-type model. I always wished micropayments could be made to work, but I now accept that almost no one else likes them. Your idea strikes me as an improvement in the same spirit.

I also agree that there will always be a market for high-quality information. We could see a long and painful transition, but ultimately, there will always be a demand for real reporting.
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  #4  
Old 10-06-2008, 08:30 PM
osmium osmium is offline
 
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Sorry to hear about the Sun, Eli.
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  #5  
Old 10-06-2008, 08:30 PM
laurelnyc laurelnyc is offline
 
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In addition, I would love to see more video (interviews, analysis, etc) on news sites. I don't have much time for cable news and would love to have short videos of the key stories of the day, especially interesting interviews I may not see otherwise. There's so much potential online, but newspapers need to use a bit of creativity. They can't see themselves as merely a newspaper, but must see themselves as a multi-media news source. If they produce a top quality product, people will be willing to pay for an online subscription.
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  #6  
Old 10-06-2008, 08:38 PM
JuliaDM JuliaDM is offline
 
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Eli, I thought the free market would referee the survival of media. If newspapers can't earn their readership, shouldn't they go out of business? So interesting to see how conservatives cope when they lose control.
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  #7  
Old 10-06-2008, 08:55 PM
bkjazfan bkjazfan is offline
 
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I can remember in Los Angeles when there were the "LA Times" and "Herald Examiner" in the morning. The afternoon had "The Mirror News" and another local paper. I am up on newspapers since I delivered 2 of them and am a reader. Now, there is just the "Times" and from what I gather it is struggling. I can't believe the "Times" may disappear since it's been around easily over 100 years but it may. What did Dyaln say "The Times Are A Changin."

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  #8  
Old 10-06-2008, 09:19 PM
Whatfur
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JuliaDM View Post
Eli, I thought the free market would referee the survival of media. If newspapers can't earn their readership, shouldn't they go out of business? So interesting to see how conservatives cope when they lose control.
Being a fan of Eli, I almost got ahead of myself in his defense but...
It is, they should, and it was.

Last edited by Whatfur; 10-06-2008 at 09:35 PM..
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  #9  
Old 10-06-2008, 10:14 PM
Eli Lake Eli Lake is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JuliaDM View Post
Eli, I thought the free market would referee the survival of media. If newspapers can't earn their readership, shouldn't they go out of business? So interesting to see how conservatives cope when they lose control.
Go back and listen again to what I said. I am not arguing for a newspaper fairness doctrine or a federal bail out of the new york sun. I am saying that the economic model for all newspapers is not sustainable in that our product is essentially free on the internet. There is web advertising, but the rates have not caught up to the old print model. What's more, many newspapers have lost businesses like classified sections to the internet that made the news economically viable. All the major newspapers in New York, except I think the journal, lose gobs of money now. Interesting enough, the journal is the only paper that charges readers to read their content online. And finally, my idea is not against the market. I am saying that readers who appreciate a news source should pay a conscience premium in the same way an investor might purchase a portfolio free of Sudan related concerns, or a gourmet may wish to purchase an heirloom tomato. That is a free market argument.
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  #10  
Old 10-06-2008, 10:29 PM
uncle ebeneezer uncle ebeneezer is offline
 
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Eli, you should do a detailed diavlog with Eric Alterman on this. He's written some excellent stuff about the plight of print media and I think you guys could have a very interesting discussion.

And as an audiophile you could call him out on his excessive worship of Bruce Springsteen.

Later edit: Sorry Eli, i hadn't listened to the diavlog yet and didn't realize you had mentioned Alterman already. Good points you made on supporting papers. I do follow that logic with music (buy the actual cd). I look forward to a longer discussion about the newspaper industry.

Last edited by uncle ebeneezer; 10-10-2008 at 01:18 PM..
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  #11  
Old 10-07-2008, 01:31 AM
JIM3CH JIM3CH is offline
 
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Great suggestion..., but Eric Alterman only comes to BH's when he has a new book to plug. He's into "free" enterprise as in free advertisement. I do like to listen to him though when he is gracious (or greedy) enough to show up.
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  #12  
Old 10-07-2008, 05:06 PM
uncle ebeneezer uncle ebeneezer is offline
 
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Well, EA used to be somewhat of a regular, and he always has a book to promote, so I don't think it's THAT implausible.
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  #13  
Old 10-07-2008, 05:35 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Originally Posted by JIM3CH View Post
Great suggestion..., but Eric Alterman only comes to BH's when he has a new book to plug. He's into "free" enterprise as in free advertisement. I do like to listen to him though when he is gracious (or greedy) enough to show up.
He has offered other reasons. Excerpt:

Quote:
And don't forget, Silverstein is quoting something I said in conversation, not something I wrote in a monthly magazine. Ann Althouse did the same thing to me in both her blog and in a New York Times op-ed. This is one reason, aside from a lack of time, I stopped doing bloggingheads.tv. It's ridiculous to say something in conversation and to have people treat it as if, well, as if you wrote it in a fact-checked monthly magazine.
I do wish he'd rethink that. I miss him.
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  #14  
Old 10-07-2008, 05:47 PM
uncle ebeneezer uncle ebeneezer is offline
 
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Another reason that Ann Althouse=BH-poison :-(
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  #15  
Old 10-07-2008, 12:15 AM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Stop the kvetching and shmuling, Eli. You'll be fine.

You're a great journalist (in spite of your right-wing politics). I'm betting you have a better gig within a month or two.
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  #16  
Old 10-07-2008, 02:20 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eli Lake View Post
Go back and listen again to what I said. I am not arguing for a newspaper fairness doctrine or a federal bail out of the new york sun. I am saying that the economic model for all newspapers is not sustainable in that our product is essentially free on the internet. There is web advertising, but the rates have not caught up to the old print model. What's more, many newspapers have lost businesses like classified sections to the internet that made the news economically viable. All the major newspapers in New York, except I think the journal, lose gobs of money now. Interesting enough, the journal is the only paper that charges readers to read their content online. And finally, my idea is not against the market. I am saying that readers who appreciate a news source should pay a conscience premium in the same way an investor might purchase a portfolio free of Sudan related concerns, or a gourmet may wish to purchase an heirloom tomato. That is a free market argument.
Thanks for checking in to the forum. I heard you say this the first time, and I appreciate you restating it. I'm with you -- I don't think what you're talking about here is an abandonment of free market principles. It strikes me more as an appeal to consumers to recognize that there are things worth paying for that have to be evaluated in ways other than optimizing individual immediate gratification.
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  #17  
Old 10-06-2008, 11:45 PM
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I totally agree. Mr. Lake doesn't understand basic economics very well. That's not surprising though in the journalism professionalism.
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  #18  
Old 10-06-2008, 09:59 PM
russell120 russell120 is offline
 
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The key cause of failure in our current financial problems is financial leverage.

The typical investment bank in the US is leveraged at 30 to 1 (Europeans somewhere around 50 to 1). That means that if they buy a widget for $100 dollars, they only need to provide $3.33 of their own money and borrow the remainder.

That means that if the value of the widget goes up to $103.33 they have made 100% profits less the cost of borrowing. This is why the interest rate was so low on many of these bonds. The buyer of these bonds could borrow such a high percentage of the bond that they needed very little upside to make money. So long as prices of houses go up, so that everyone can keep churning the market, everything is great.

Unfortunately, it also means that if the widget drops only a small amount in value ($3.33 less the cost of finance) the buyer is wiped out. All their principal is gone. If they are forced to settle up, they will go broke. When the bubble turns, if even a small amount of the defaults bleed into the AAA slices of the bonds, it becomes a disaster.

It is at this point that all the items about lack of transparency, etc. mentioned in this blog become relevant. Nobody knows who is broke and who is not. So they need someone who is willing to step in buy their garbage at a price that will keep them from going broke (they hope). Thus Paulson wanting his $750 billion.
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  #19  
Old 10-06-2008, 11:40 PM
Lyle
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Eli,

If I have to pay for a daily newspaper, I'm not reading it. A weekly or the WSJ (it's specialized) I'll pay for, but just a general paper with general political punditry... no.

Last edited by Lyle; 10-06-2008 at 11:47 PM..
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  #20  
Old 10-06-2008, 11:50 PM
laurelnyc laurelnyc is offline
 
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I think it's perfectly fair to expect consumers to contribute somehow for the good they've just consumed. We've become spoiled with so much free media online, but the fact of the matter is that these organizations must pay salaries and bills, therefore, they need revenue to survive. Unless people want to live with a state-owned and state-controlled media, we must be willing to pay something or be patient enough to watch some ads if we're too cheap to pay. Regardless, we will have to pay for media even if we had state-owned media -- so we can choose to voluntarily pay for the news sources we prefer or we can be forced to pay for state-owned media through taxation. I prefer free market media, despite its faults.
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  #21  
Old 10-07-2008, 12:04 AM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Originally Posted by laurelnyc View Post
I think it's perfectly fair to expect consumers to contribute somehow for the good they've just consumed. We've become spoiled with so much free media online, but the fact of the matter is that these organizations must pay salaries and bills, therefore, they need revenue to survive. Unless people want to live with a state-owned and state-controlled media, we must be willing to pay something or be patient enough to watch some ads if we're too cheap to pay. Regardless, we will have to pay for media even if we had state-owned media -- so we can choose to voluntarily pay for the news sources we prefer or we can be forced to pay for state-owned media through taxation. I prefer free market media, despite its faults.
There's no need to talk about this theoretically. Ad revenue currently pays for practically every news site on the internet.
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  #22  
Old 10-07-2008, 02:34 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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There's no need to talk about this theoretically. Ad revenue currently pays for practically every news site on the internet.
I disagree. The ad revenues that nytimes.com earns are dwarfed by what they earn and used to earn from their print version. This has caused them to shrink their reportorial and editorial staff. Ditto the WaPo, LA Times, etc. Even the most robust news organizations have had to cut down on the number of people who do the hardest kinds of reporting, like long investigative efforts and international coverage. Many others have had to go out of business, or at least completely give up certain aspects of what they used to offer.

Now, maybe online ad revenue will continue to grow. I expect this, in fact. But I don't know if it will get to where it has to be soon enough to prevent real losses in the diversity of coverage. I worry that we'll end up with too few survivors. A one-newspaper town has always been bad for informing the citizenry, and I think even in the globally-connected age that we're in now, the parallels are there. Think about how much of the news Rupert Murdoch already controls.

Maybe you'll respond by drawing an analogy between print newspapers and alt-weeklies that spring up in one-newspaper towns. In this case, I won't be comforted. It seems to me that these don't appeal to anything but niche audiences, whose ideology matches that of the paper to the point where the paper and audience reinforce each other, and in any case, have very few resources for competing in the arena of gathering hard news.
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  #23  
Old 10-07-2008, 06:48 AM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
I disagree. The ad revenues that nytimes.com earns are dwarfed by what they earn and used to earn from their print version. This has caused them to shrink their reportorial and editorial staff. Ditto the WaPo, LA Times, etc. Even the most robust news organizations have had to cut down on the number of people who do the hardest kinds of reporting, like long investigative efforts and international coverage. Many others have had to go out of business, or at least completely give up certain aspects of what they used to offer.

Now, maybe online ad revenue will continue to grow. I expect this, in fact. But I don't know if it will get to where it has to be soon enough to prevent real losses in the diversity of coverage. I worry that we'll end up with too few survivors. A one-newspaper town has always been bad for informing the citizenry, and I think even in the globally-connected age that we're in now, the parallels are there. Think about how much of the news Rupert Murdoch already controls.

Maybe you'll respond by drawing an analogy between print newspapers and alt-weeklies that spring up in one-newspaper towns. In this case, I won't be comforted. It seems to me that these don't appeal to anything but niche audiences, whose ideology matches that of the paper to the point where the paper and audience reinforce each other, and in any case, have very few resources for competing in the arena of gathering hard news.
Well, I didn't mean to suggest that papers aren't hurting badly, or that the ad revenue generated today is sufficient to keep the papers running as they did in the past. I was only saying that the ad revenue model for news sites already exists, and there is no need to talk about it as some kind of theoretical thing that might happen in the future. I take your points that there is a need for much more revenue than ads are currently generating, and also the importance of preventing further concentration of newspaper ownership.

I honestly wonder how many city papers, especially in small towns, the market will be able to support in the future. My town has about 40,000 residents, and one small local newspaper. If their print edition ever goes away, I don't know that they will be able to support themselves with online advertising. It seems that if small town papers are going to survive in the future, they are going to have to charge for the electronic version, above and beyond what they get from ad revenue. A big site with a national audience may be able to generate signficant online ad revenue, but I doubt the same is true for a paper with only a few thousand subscribers.

Last edited by TwinSwords; 10-07-2008 at 07:02 AM..
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  #24  
Old 10-07-2008, 07:36 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TwinSwords View Post
I was only saying that the ad revenue model for news sites already exists, and there is no need to talk about it as some kind of theoretical thing that might happen in the future.
Agreed.

Quote:
I honestly wonder how many city papers, especially in small towns, the market will be able to support in the future.
I have heard that some of these, at least, can survive because the local grocery store or big box store needs a way to be able to advertise their daily specials and other sales, and a lot of the customers who care about these ads don't spend much time online. Plus, people always like reading about their kids in Little League, the police blotter, and so on. Probably won't take care of every last paper, but in some ways, I think the more local, the better the chance for survival. The real problems are experienced by the not-quite-biggest fish who want to play at the national or at least regional level, it seems to me.
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  #25  
Old 10-07-2008, 01:12 AM
Christopher M Christopher M is offline
 
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It's too late for Eli's idea to take off. At this point the majority of local and regional newspapers are aiming themselves too lowbrow to appeal to the kind of people who want to pay extra to feel good about themselves. Seriously, take a look at the new Chicago Tribune and the new Baltimore Sun. They're like the offspring of a three-way between Cosmo, the Enquirer, and the Pennysaver.
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  #26  
Old 10-07-2008, 03:53 AM
banco banco is offline
 
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Always liked your column Eli. Sure you'll get a gig soon.
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  #27  
Old 10-07-2008, 04:54 AM
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Having followed politics in three countries (USA, UK, France) for some time, I beg to differ with the view that Americans are nastier when it comes to talking about politicians than the their European cousins. But what IS true is that Americans have much less respect for intellect. I sometimes feel that Americans choose their president on the basis of his lack of intellect.
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  #28  
Old 10-07-2008, 06:45 AM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Francoamerican View Post
Having followed politics in three countries (USA, UK, France) for some time, I beg to differ with the view that Americans are nastier when it comes to talking about politicians than the their European cousins. But what IS true is that Americans have much less respect for intellect. I sometimes feel that Americans choose their president on the basis of his lack of intellect.
Good point. You're not the first to make this observation about American voters. This has been a well known problem since at least the 1952 race between Dwight D. Eisenhower and Adalai Stevenson. In fact, if you look up the word "egghead" in Wikipedia, it says the following in the first paragraph:

Quote:
In the slang of the United States, egghead was an anti-intellectual epithet, directed at people considered too out-of-touch with ordinary people and too lacking in realism, common sense, virility, etc. on account of their intellectual interests. The term egghead reached its peak currency during the 1950s, when vice-presidential candidate Richard Nixon used it against Democratic Presidential nominee Adlai Stevenson.
So, yeah. You're exactly right. It's definitely one of our major national shortcomings. Perhaps with the election of Obama and the nation facing greater challenges than any since the Great Depression, we will finally shake off this national preference for stupidity.

Last edited by TwinSwords; 10-07-2008 at 07:04 AM..
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Old 10-07-2008, 07:12 AM
Francoamerican
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Good point. You're not the first to make this observation about American voters. This has been a well known problem since at least the 1956 race between Dwight D. Eisenhower and Adalai Stevenson. In fact, if you look up the word "egghead" in Wikipedia, it says the following in the first paragraph:

So, yeah. You're exactly right. It's definitely one of our major national shortcomings. Perhaps with the election of Obama and the nation facing greater challenges than any since the Great Depression, we will finally shake off this national preference for stupidity.
Thank you for the quotation TwinSwords. I hope you are right. But I fear that anti-intellectualism may be too ingrained in American politics to vanish overnight. Europe has certain advantages in this respect: an aristocratic past and a respect for intellectuals and educated elites (notably in the civil service). What always strikes me about the US is the contrast between the intelligence displayed by so many people in American civil society and the abysmal stupidity of those who represent them!
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  #30  
Old 10-07-2008, 04:57 PM
Lyle
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I don't disagree with you at all Franco... I've lived and worked in Europe as well.

The reasons for anti-intellectualism in the U.S., I think, have to do with power or control. In Europe the elite run things. They tell the whole populace what to think, what to do, and how to live. Just look at how Brussels is trying to control the minutiae of European life.

Americans on the otherhand were running away from that control when they emigrated from Europe. Americans are wary of groups of people trying to control them by telling them what to think and how to live. This is simply anathema to the American way of life. America isn't about the collective, it's about the individual. Americans are also much more uncomfortable with authority than Europeans are I think. Europeans like government holding their hands; Americans not so much.
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Old 10-08-2008, 07:02 AM
Francoamerican
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I don't disagree with you at all Franco... I've lived and worked in Europe as well.

The reasons for anti-intellectualism in the U.S., I think, have to do with power or control. In Europe the elite run things. They tell the whole populace what to think, what to do, and how to live. Just look at how Brussels is trying to control the minutiae of European life.

Americans on the otherhand were running away from that control when they emigrated from Europe. Americans are wary of groups of people trying to control them by telling them what to think and how to live. This is simply anathema to the American way of life. America isn't about the collective, it's about the individual. Americans are also much more uncomfortable with authority than Europeans are I think. Europeans like government holding their hands; Americans not so much.
I agree and disagree. I think Tocqueville had a more accurate view of American society: yes, Americans are self-reliant individualists, strong believers in equality and distrustful of political authority (for all sorts of historical reasons). But they are also in some respects much less independent than Europeans: In their thinking and mental habits they are timid conformists, much more under the sway of the tyranny of public opinion than Europeans. Although we live in very different times, I think that Tocqueville's judgment is still valid. Europeans may be "collectivists" (I prefer the term "social democrats") but there is much more diversity of opinion here than I have ever encountered in the US---outside the major universities that is...

I was referring, though, to a slightly different problem: populist distrust of intellect and competence in government. This distrust is no doubt a reflection of a strong egalitarian social ethos (which, oddly, from a European point of view, has always coexisted with tolerance for very unequal social conditions--from slavery to the contemporary extremes of inequality of wealth), but I wonder if it doesn't also reflect the same forces of conformism Tocqueville found so distasteful? When Tocqueville visited America the ruling class, as he observed, was made up of highly educated and competent men (admittedly he formed his opinion in Boston and New York...). Today, I just don't see that... And I wonder how long a society can exist without competent elites to govern it?
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  #32  
Old 10-08-2008, 08:00 AM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
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Without going to much back in history, and just considering the last century, the sociopolitical conditions in Europe and the U.S. have been very different. The U.S. is a large, diverse country in its geography and in its population. In many ways it has been isolated and protected from some of the more dramatic political events that shaped the rest of the world, and specifically Europe.

The educational system in the U.S. is very U.S.-centric. There has been an "American Tale" created from which a peculiar worldview developed. The lack of tolerance for truly dissenting voices has also had a great impact. In order to grow and develop there has to be self criticism. But, here, it hasn't been allowed. America the Great is beyond criticism. This process has been intensified in the last couple of decades. America's political and ideological growth has been stalled.

I'm hoping that a new political current within this country will start to facilitate a critical revision of our sociopolitical situation and that this, in turn, will lead to a much needed change.
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  #33  
Old 10-08-2008, 01:04 PM
Lyle
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You're kidding right? How exactly did the U.S. get over slavery and segregation, but through self-criticism? McCarthyism: something to be proud of or hate?

Europe only criticized itself after two great Wars, mind you... and still genocide happened in Europe just a decade ago.
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  #34  
Old 10-08-2008, 01:23 PM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Lyle View Post
You're kidding right? How exactly did the U.S. get over slavery and segregation, but through self-criticism? McCarthyism: something to be proud of or hate?

Europe only criticized itself after two great Wars, mind you... and still genocide happened in Europe just a decade ago.
No, I'm not kidding. If you read more carefully, you will notice that the time frame I'm referring to when talking about lack of self-criticism is specifically the last couple of decades. So the end of slavery and segregation, as well as the Civil Rights movement were not included. As a matter of fact, I think those represent the last truly noble attempts at self-criticism and political change.

In terms of Europe criticizing itself after the two Wars, I agree with you. It was too divided before that. I hinted at that on my first paragraph when I said that the U.S. has been protected, in the last century, from the dramatic political events that shaped the world and specifically Europe.

From a conservative's perspective things are good as they are now, and perhaps they were even better yesterday. From a liberal's perspective there is always room to grow, roads to be built and mistakes to be corrected. That's why liberals seek progress. And progress doesn't develop from conformism. You have to be critical first. It's constructive.
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  #35  
Old 10-08-2008, 01:48 PM
Lyle
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The problem with your argument is that it isn't smart to criticize just for the sake of criticizing, cause you might end up throwing out the baby with the bath water so to speak. Wanting change for the sake of change isn't actual progress or intelligent self-criticism.

I think you are also wrong about America in the last 20 years, America has changed a lot. So much so that Barack Obama is probably going to be the next President of the United States. There is a non-white Republican governor in the State of Louisiana (Piyush "Bobby" Jindal). You know, where like that dude David Duke is from. And gays and lesbians can actually marry or join in a civil union in a handful of states, not to mention the myriad domestic partnership laws that exist in the most conservative of states, like Louisiana and Alaska.

At least conservatives understand what it is they're looking at unlike the close minded liberal who just sees the worst in things.

Last edited by Lyle; 10-08-2008 at 03:04 PM..
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  #36  
Old 10-08-2008, 04:09 PM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
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I think you are also wrong about America in the last 20 years, America has changed a lot. So much so that Barack Obama is probably going to be the next President of the United States. There is a non-white Republican governor in the State of Louisiana (Piyush "Bobby" Jindal). You know, where like that dude David Duke is from. And gays and lesbians can actually marry or join in a civil union in a handful of states, not to mention the myriad domestic partnership laws that exist in the most conservative of states, like Louisiana and Alaska.
Yes, there have been some positive changes, promoted mainly by the liberals. I'm glad that's the case and we should give ourselves credit for that. I still think that there's still much work needed to solidify that progress and to continue moving forward. But, at the same time there has been significant pressure to adopt more conservative values, some of which are actually trying to undo the progress that you mention. So, I acknowledge the modest progress, I'm concerned about the "backwards" tendencies, and I expect to actively continue to pursue progress by continuous revisions of our current status and goals.

Quote:
The problem with your argument is that it isn't smart to criticize just for the sake of criticizing, cause you might end up throwing out the baby with the bath water so to speak. Wanting change for the sake of change isn't actual progress or intelligent self-criticism.
*****
At least conservatives understand what it is they're looking at unlike the close minded liberal who just sees the worst in things.
And what authority do you have to determine what's smart or intelligent?
Or perhaps this is your opinion? Well, guess what, I disagree. And you should know that attaching these judgments to your comments isn't helpful. It doesn't add information. It's just a judgment that can create animosity without adding meaning. It doesn't strengthen your argument, it degrades it.

Your last sentence is also plainly wrong. I think I argued sufficiently that the process of self-criticism has the purpose of correcting mistakes, and setting new goals that will lead to progress. How is that close minded?

It takes a lot of strength and confidence to look at one's mistakes or shortcomings. And it takes a lot of courage to change accordingly. I am confident that, under the appropriate kind of leadership, this country will be able to have the confidence and the courage that will be required to rise from the ditch in which we are. We certainly don't need to bury ourselves any deeper.
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  #37  
Old 10-08-2008, 06:23 PM
Lyle
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Yes... but liberals aren't the only one's doing it and to think so is ignorant and 'close-minded'.

The gumption you people have to think you're the only 'good' people in America.
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  #38  
Old 10-08-2008, 08:19 PM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
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Yes... but liberals aren't the only one's doing it and to think so is ignorant and 'close-minded'.

The gumption you people have to think you're the only 'good' people in America.
The arrogance you people have to think that you can cover up your faulty reasoning with insults...

You want to be considered 'good'? Do something to deserve it!
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  #39  
Old 10-09-2008, 11:40 AM
Lyle
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Invading Afghanistan and Iraq was pretty goddam progressive I'd say. It doesn't get any more moral or 'good' when you end horrible regimes such as Saddam's regime in Iraq or the Taliban's regime in Afghanistan.

The world is a much better place without either of these awful people in it.

I'm also a conservative who supports gay marriage.

You guys aren't the only caring and morally righteous people in the world... so get the hell over yourselves!!!

Last edited by Lyle; 10-09-2008 at 11:44 AM..
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  #40  
Old 10-08-2008, 12:59 PM
Lyle
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Oh I disagree about the diversity of opinion in Europe. I think it is Europe that is conformist in its thinking. Like you say, they are more 'collectivist' than Americans and they are like that in their thinking as well. Conventional wisdom says it is Europe that is more intellectually diverse, but I think it is the other way around. For example Europeans refuse to challenge their views on their social economic systems. Instead of fixing their system, they're holding on to it. The Free Democrats in Germany and in other countries who would like to liberalize the markets in Europe are small to fringe political parties who sometimes have no power whatsoever in their countries' government.

... and most Europeans have only a couple of choices from where they get their news and punditry from, whereas Americans have hundreds of weeklies and local papers to choose from, not to mention the myriad blogs that exist on the internet.

I know you were referring to America's populist tendencies and I was responding to that. When the elite screw up or are perceived to have fail, that is when populism's ugly head rises. This isn't anything new in American history. What de Tocqueville saw back in the day is alive and well. Andrew Jackson, was he an educated elite? I don't think so. Zachary Taylor? William Harrison? Ulysses S. Grant? What about William Jennings Bryan? He was smart as hell and a great speaker, but don't you think academics at the time hated him? Huey P. Long, bumpkin or socialist revolutionary?

We should give our country a lot more credit than we're taught it deserves, I think.
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