Magazine | October 19, 2009, Issue

Letter

Populists Are Sometimes Right

Normally I look forward to Florence King’s “Bent Pin” column, but her commentary on the recent town-hall protests, “Put Down That Pitchfork” (September 21), disappointed me. Perhaps a better title for the column would have been, “Rustics You Are and Rustics You Shall Remain!”

It’s not that I don’t sympathize with her disdain for populism. That is typically very easy, since populists have a habit of endorsing the wrong policies for the wrong reasons. But the case of the town-hall protests is a bit complicated, for the populists are on the right side of the issue, even if their reasons are questionable. Instead of accepting this, King jettisons her principles.

Her waxing poetic about “Ma Bell” is a case in point. I am old enough to remember AT&T before the breakup, and there is nothing to lament about its passing. Sure, there was a low monthly rate — if you made just local calls. Depending on where the local switching station happened to be, it might take a long-distance call to reach someone only a couple of miles down the road. Once long-distance charges started kicking in, you quickly understood where “Ma Bell” made her money. The long-distance companies that came along in the wake of the breakup of AT&T, plus the rise of cell and Internet telephone service, have given us markedly better service for less money. 

The example shows that markets are efficient. And this truth is not soiled or rendered false when a populist agrees with it.

Still, King most often writes great columns, so an occasional hiccup here or there is no tragedy. I will be looking forward to another “Bent Pin.”

Michael Minnott

San Clemente, Calif.

Out in Left Field

I just got through reading Jay Nordlinger’s article about writers’ interjecting politics in sports stories. Finally, someone has said something! After blogging on Fox Sports and ESPN about this very subject for years, I thank Jay and hope many read his story. As prevalent as the liberal ideology is in the mainstream media, it is even more so in sports media. While I can ignore the fraudulent tripe in news, I’m addicted to sports and thus can’t escape the idiocy. 

I think Jay is correct, also, in the root cause he adduces for this bias: envy. It might be said that those who can’t teach, coach; and those who can’t write, write sports. Jealousy of players’ salaries might also contribute to liberal rants.

John Heavner

Via e-mail

Members of the National Review editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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Sections

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Letter

Populists Are Sometimes Right Normally I look forward to Florence King’s “Bent Pin” column, but her commentary on the recent town-hall protests, “Put Down That Pitchfork” (September 21), disappointed me. Perhaps ...
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