The Corner

Whose Business?

Peter — On point number one, I think you make some fine points, though I am unconvinced that Grasso deserved an extra $5 million for doing what he was already paid — what? — 25 million to do.

But on point number two I say “Booooooo!” No offense, but I’m not a big fan of the “whose business?” rejoinder. Many colleges, museums, newspapers, rock bands, magazines, think tanks, baseball teams are “private institutions.” If that is a bar to public comment or criticism I’d better go back to my dream of writing comic books and sci fi novels because I don’t want to write about politics for the rest of my life if culture is off limits. I am not proposing — I don’t think — that the Feds should arrest or regulate anybody or anything in the Grasso matter. But does that mean I can’t comment on it? It seems to me that if conservatives are going to be for limited government we should be for more unlimited criticism. After all we are the ones who say that society and culture can be self-regulating through the application of norms, shame etc. Well, that only works if we are allowed to actually comment negatively on those things we believe the state should not tamper with. I think this is a major fault line between two brands of conservatism — those who are anti-left and anti-State, or at least that’s what I’ve been arguing for a while.

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