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Brad Harrington

Liberty's Torch's Opening Editorials

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The following are the three editorials that will open publication of Liberty's Torch, scheduled to print its 1st issue on September 2nd, 2011. Reason as applied to journalistm. Or so I hope...

LIBERTY'S TORCH'S OPENING EDITORIALS

WHO WE ARE

When a new publication starts up in order to lend its voice to the thoughts of its community - as we are now doing - openness, honesty and intellectual integrity all demand that we should identify ourselves, discuss who we are, and declare at the outset our motives and purposes for doing so.

At this point in time, Liberty’s Torch is essentially the work of the two of us, Bradley and Barbie Harrington. We’re it. The membership on our “editorial board,” if you want to call it that, consists of us two and us two alone.

Which is not to say that we don’t have the writings of other writers present in this issue, because we do; and we intend to continue and expand that policy in the future. Nor is that to say that several other people haven’t contributed to other aspects of this newspaper’s production, because they have and they do. Skip Eshelman, Ethan Eshelman, Peter Aras and Duncan Philp, in particular, have all played enormous roles in getting this newspaper off the ground - from layout to writing to finances to distribution - and our contributors and advertisers, of course, have also made the whole adventure possible by helping to fund our operations.

But when it comes to “editorial policy” and where this newspaper is headed, that would be us, and us only. As President Harry Truman was fond of saying, “The buck stops here” - so if you’ve got kudos or problems, we’re the ones to thank or berate. And we’d both love to hear from you in either case. It’s integrity and the truth that we seek and stand for, and neither one of us are arrogant enough to think we hold monopolies on either. We welcome your Letters To The Editor, and our website will soon have interactive capabilities as well.

As for who we are in terms of our “editorial policy” - Bradley sums it up best in his interview on Page One: “Liberty’s Torch will proudly promote and assert rational opinions that foster individual freedoms wherever they are to be found, whether on the “Left” or the “Right” - and we will always tell you why we believe what we do, giving you our reasons for it… Liberty’s Torch is out to provide not only more positive and objective news, but real-life solutions and input to real-life problems. And, as the name suggests, those solutions will be based in capitalistic principles of individual liberty, private property and personal responsibility.”

And, speaking of the “Left” and the “Right” - yes, we are proudly and profoundly pro-freedom, a position normally construed by most people as being “Rightist” in nature. But that all depends upon how one chooses to define the “Left” and the “Right,” does it not? (For Bradley’s thoughts on these definitions, see his commentary, “A Rainbow With Two Red Edges?” elsewhere in this issue.)

It is extremely important for our readers to grasp, however, that we are not “conservatives.” Our take on individual liberty is best summed up through the words of the philosopher Ayn Rand: “We are radicals for capitalism; we are fighting for that philosophical base which capitalism did not have and without which it was doomed to perish.” (Introduction to “Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal,” 1967.)

We view both the “Left” and the “Right,” in the meaning of these terms as they are commonly accepted today, as self-contradictory in many respects, and we don’t wish to have “conservatives” and “Republicans” controlling our personal sexual choices and marital decisions any more than we want “liberals” and “Democrats” controlling our bank accounts and pocketbooks. Neither “side” represents a principled and consistent approach to maximizing individual liberty, but that is exactly what you’ll be finding here.

And while we believe that political action, in and of itself, has a tremendous level of importance in today’s society and culture, we also know that such actions are really just an expression of, and an outgrowth to, the underlying ideas on which they are grounded. It is the philosophical principles of a free society that are now under attack, and that is where the battle most needs to be fought. Political action, for us, even when correct on any given particular issue, has no meaning outside of the wider intellectual context in which it is embedded and operates, and can often create more problems than it solves if not properly rooted in sound precepts. Arriving at the right answer through wrong means does no one any good, and it is in the realm of being concerned for, and paying attention to, those fundamental precepts that we prefer to devote our efforts.

Regarding that larger picture and the approach you can count on us to take in the future, we’d like to borrow another paragraph from Ayn Rand: “The task of defining ideas and goals is not the province of politicians and is not accomplished at election time: Elections are merely consequences. The task belongs to the intellectuals. The need is more urgent than ever.” (“The Wreckage of the Consensus,” 1967.)

So, now you know who we are and what we are about: We intend to provide the content and the intellectual focus so rarely found in today’s media outlets. As for what that means for how we will be running the Torch and what you can expect from us in the future - you need only read on.

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FROM US

There’s all kinds of agendas out there, and a lot of people aren’t going to bother telling you theirs. Especially the ones that are up to no good. Secrecy and stealth are such folks’ weapons of choice, because most of what many of them advocate wouldn’t stand the light of day if properly and justly exposed.

Well, you’re not going to have that problem here. Liberty’s Torch is “dedicated to informative, responsible and objective journalism, and to proudly re-igniting freedom’s flame in Cheyenne, Wyoming and the United States of America,” and we are about to tell you just exactly what that means.

Many people, including ourselves, frequently bemoan and decry the lack of “objectivity” in journalism, but that’s easier said than understood. What, precisely, does “objectivity” mean in this context?

Perhaps we can best approach this discussion by first focusing on its absence, i.e., on what “objectivity” is not. As far as straight news is concerned, there are several ways in which a media outlet can “slant” a story:

 By inserting opinion, other than quoted opinion from a source, into the story, thereby smuggling a hidden agenda into the readers’ minds under the guise of news;

 By juxtapositioning the placement of multiple stories in such a fashion as to give one story precedence over the other in a manner not relevant to the newsworthiness of the stories, but highly relevant to that hidden agenda;

 And, finally, by deciding whether any particular new story is even going to run at all, i.e., by pretending that the news didn’t happen by simply omitting any reference to that news by ignoring and eliminating it.

All of these tactics, and more, are engaged in by most of today’s media outlets on a regular basis, and the discerning reader will find no need for a laundry list of examples here. Look at most of the newspapers in the country and you’ll quickly find your fill.

Regarding Point One: Our readers will never find such news stories published in Liberty’s Torch. We will always strive for the neutral objectivity that the proper dissemination of legitimate news demands, and any opinions we might (and will) have on such news will be restricted to clearly-labeled op-ed pieces and pages. Period!

As for Point Two: What one paper considers “newsworthy” can be another paper’s trash, not even fit to print, and the definition of “newsworthiness” will vary from outlet to outlet. For the Torch, we intend to focus upon local news only, relevant to and concerned with the residents of the City of Cheyenne, Laramie County and the State of Wyoming. We will cover local political events, such as City Council and County Commissioner meetings, school and state legislative actions, and so forth, to the best of our ability, positive or negative, as we believe the function of watching, reporting and discussing the doings of our administrative officials to be a major responsibility - if not the major responsibility - of a free press.

Outside of such stories, and other news stories we might consider as relevant based on the level of impact they might have on our readers, preference of positioning will be granted to positive as opposed to negative news.

Finally, regarding Point Three: Please be advised, here at startup, there’s just the two of us. We both have a host of other commitments, and we will do the best we can. Should our community find our efforts worthwhile enough to actually promote the Torch monetarily, we can do this all the way - and we are, of course, open to suggestions from our readers on stories to cover. Until that point arrives, however, there are going to be holes. Things we won’t have the time or resources to cover. Things we are going to miss. Tell us when we screw up - and, if we decide you’re right, we will seek to correct such lapses to the best of our ability.

Now, onward into the area of “objectivity” of opinion: Aren’t all opinions, by their very nature, biased and subjective?

“Yes” in some respects and “No” in others. Yes, in the sense that all opinions originate with individual human beings, and are often colored by those people’s own personal experiences and thought processes, which are unique to them.

Just because one has a “biased” opinion, however, does not preclude the possibility of comparing that opinion to the facts of reality. There is, after all, an objective world out there that functions independently of any particular observer, and the last 350 years of the scientific method make it clear that some things can be proved wrong and others proved right. So, when we talk about “objectivity” as far as opinion is concerned, what we mean is this: That the facts of reality are to be respected in their formulation - and that contradictions, either externally with respect to those facts, or internally with respect to other components of the opinion, cannot exist and are not logically permitted.

We intend to assert opinion that follows logically from the facts of reality - for we believe that the more freedom granted to a man, the higher that man can rise, should he choose to do so by expending the voluntary effort needed to achieve his goals. We believe that the wider the offerings of individual liberty and private property, the greater the depth, breadth and scope of our peaceful social interactions.

So, to sum it up, here’s what you can expect from us:

(1) We will never lie to you, attempt to manipulate you or use our newspaper as a means for achieving any hidden agendas;

(2) We will always strive to be open and honest in our news, just and rational in our opinion, and fair and forthright in all of our dealings with you, our readers. And our goal? To have you say that you know it’s true, because you read it in the Torch.

WHAT WE ARE OUT TO BRING ABOUT

As discussed earlier, our primary focus in our editorial/opinion regarding political action will be the “wider intellectual context in which it is embedded and operates,” but that certainly doesn’t preclude having such opinions either. We just prefer to have sound reasons for them. Trust us, we have opinions aplenty, and a partial list can be found below.

The items on this list are not meant to be all-inclusive, nor are their defenses elaborate or listed in any particular order; all of them, and more, will be discussed and advocated in much more detail as further issues commence and actual socio-politico-economic events occur. The point here is to simply be up-front with our readers, giving you a small taste of what you are in for, and to clearly and honestly spell out our agenda for what we are out to bring about:

Government Spending: Way too high, on whatever level you care to name: Local, county, state or federal. Our national debt is a disgrace to a supposedly free nation and an incredible mortgage on the future of our grandchildren. Cut spending, balance the budgets, live within our means, sunset ignorant programs, and ask ourselves: Do these programs act to enhance or impede the protection of lives and property? Keep them, if so; get rid of them if not.

Economic Regulation: Unnecessary and completely out of control. We have destroyed our free-enterprise system with stupid, stifling and non-competitive rules and regulations, and none of it needed but good tort law, the arbitration of contractual disputes and the protection of private property. And we wonder why our economic “growth” slows year by year? Separate the State and Economics in the same fashion, and for the same reasons, as we separate Church and State. Then sit back and watch our economy roar its way into the stratosphere.

“Environmentalist” Controls: For what purpose? Protecting property? A sane court system is all that is needed for that. Our so-called “environmentalists” have hogtied our industries, caused jobs to be shipped overseas, destroyed our energy capabilities and jacked our prices sky-high - and it’s all just a last-ditch effort on the part of the collectivists for ever-widening control. Intellectually bankrupt and scientifically decrepit, the “Friends of the Earth” are proving themselves to be the enemies of Man.

Education: An absolute travesty on every level. Johnny can’t read or write, can barely think, and parents are being made to pay through their extorted income for all of it, when half as much money invested into the private sector would increase both free choice and resulting conceptual capacity. Abolish the Department of Education and let the free market rule. When the government controls educational funds, it will control the content as well - and what you get is indoctrination and day-care camps.

“Victimless” Crimes: A gross infringement upon our individual liberties, and for what gain? The spread of disease, the establishment of organized crime, rampant property theft to support the high black-market prices, drug cartels murdering thousands - and more drugs than ever. As well as ever-more “drug war soldiers” to fight a problem created by their very involvement. “Do-gooders” telling us what to do. The “War on Drugs” is a joke. Did we learn nothing from Prohibition?

Money: Our dollars, which were once gold and silver, the market choice for over 6,000 years, have been pirated by our politicians and subjected to inflationary pressures (not possible with real money) to pay for bloated government expenditures. Consequently, our monetary “system” verges on the cliff of collapse. Get rid of the Federal Reserve, return to a commodity currency and get the government out of the money business completely.

Energy: Quit subsidizing worthless forms of so-called “large-scale, industrial-level” energy sources, such as solar and wind (which are truly neither), and go with what we know works: nuclear, coal, oil and natural gas. Energy - domestic energy - is out there to be had by the giga-watt, if we’d only wise up and push the Department of Energy out of the way. Instead, we place our faith and our future in the hands of 4th-century Middle-East tinpot dictators. Sheer insanity!

DOMA (“Defense Of Marriage Acts”): Another gross infringement upon the rights and liberties of voluntary, consenting adults. What free individuals decide to do with their lives, their bodies and their sexual relations is not the business of the State. Get the government out of our bedrooms and leave us alone. And, neither should gay and lesbian individuals be granted or given any special preferences or allowances either. People have the right to be who they are, and other people have the right to like it or not like it as they will. Isn’t that what being a “free country” is all about? Why do some people just not feel right unless they are controlling the lives of others?

Abortion: While it is not our belief that abortion should be used as a form of birth control, and we would always support heavy social and ethical mores opposed to thoughtless decisions regarding such use, nor do we believe the government has a right to involve itself in the matter either. Which includes a very strong opposition to taxpayer funding of such choices. No one should ever be forced to pay for the choices of another. Pay for it yourself and keep your hands out of the rest of our pockets!

Foreign Policy: We spend billions a year to prop up international thugs, while we deny our fighting men their right to blow the Hell out of our sworn enemies in combat action. We seem more concerned with how others think of us than in accomplishing the mission. Our current foreign policy is a disgusting, shameful, self-sacrificial shambles and needs a complete overhaul. End foreign aid, stop supporting those who hate us, and - if we must fight - let’s flatten the target and then come home. Our enemies can build up their rubble themselves.

Social Security: Giving the federal government control over our retirement was one of the biggest mistakes the United States ever made, as the current state of Socialist Insecurity more than attests to. All we’ve managed to accomplish is to convert our senior citizens into a poorly-paid and highly-dependent class, when a private trust plan at the same rates of investment and interest would yield each and every one of them thousands of times more retirement money. (Do the math yourself - or just stay tuned and we’ll do it for you, sooner or later.) Privatize this Ponzi Scheme gradually over time and eventually phase it out completely.

Other “Entitlement” Programs: With the exception of Social Security, Medicare and Veteran’s benefits, which our seniors have paid into and our soldiers have earned with their very blood, the rest of the “welfare” state only merits abolition. We’re creating poor people by the millions, on the back of the producers who pay for it all, when what these people really need are jobs. Get the state out of the way and those you’ll have in plenty. Work, or depend upon your family or private charity. Your “need,” as such, gives you no rights at all. Think you’ve got a “right” to the property of others? So does every burglar.

Immigration: In typical knee-jerk government fashion, our entire approach on this issue is flawed. Liberal Democrats would flood the country with freeloading immigrants seeking “free” handouts, while conservative Republicans would slam the borders shut and cut off our best source of new blood. What we really need is closed borders and open immigration, whereby anyone who seeks to come here that isn’t a criminal or carrying a disease is allowed in. It’s not immigration that’s our problem, it’s the “free” lunch and the special favors that are being tied to it that needs to end. Produce, or go back to whatever socialist hole you came from.

Taxes: As lovers of individual liberty, we always believe taxes are too high. Taxes, in essence, are theft, and there’s only one thing that could even remotely and possibly begin to justify such action: Collective defense of life and property. Short of that, leave our money alone to spend as we best see fit. In view of the other positions taken in this editorial, it should be pretty obvious that we can slash taxes to a fraction of our current levels and still have plenty left over for where it needs to be spent: The police, the military and the courts.

Radical? Some of it. But we warned you about that ahead of time, remember? And some of it not. That all depends on your source viewpoint.

Radical…but consistent. Observe the common strains that run throughout all of it: Individual liberty. Private property. Personal responsibility. The right to your own life, to be lived as you peacefully see fit. Some of these positions, as you can see, are associated with what are commonly considered to be positions of the “Left,” and others, to the “Right.” All of them reflect our core belief in the right and ability of a free people to govern themselves, the great message of the original American Revolution. And if neither the “Left” nor the “Right” can grasp this, what does that say about either of the two? And what, therefore, can we expect in the future from both? A competing political war regarding who wants to be the controller, and what it is they’ll seek to control.

None of that, of course, has a damn thing to do with individual liberty, property rights or personal responsibility - but it appears that, today, both the “Left” and the “Right” have forsaken those dreams. Yet those were the social conditions that made the United States of America the greatest country in all of man’s history - and it is only by returning to them, and clearing out such errors as were originally made, that we can ever hope to experience even a shadow of that greatness again.

And that, dear readers, is our dream, and what we intend to bring about.

Bradley Harrington

Publisher, Liberty's Torch

publisher@libertystorch.us

Barbie Harrington

Editor, Liberty's Torch

editor@libertystorch.us

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Leave no prisoners, Marine!

Congrats!

No prisoners at all, and they can build up their own damn rubble. :)

And thanks!

Brad

timeforeverymantostir@yahoo.com

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