Well he won the theatrical argument anyway.
I'm a big fan of John Stossel. The guy does a terrific job articulating libertarian arguments and backing them up with empiricism.
Though he does have his blindspots...
For one thing, I believe he doesn't quite get the foolishness, or should I say, the *impracticality* of legalizing pot that describes much of today's libertarian movement.
I'd be all for it, so long as the welfare state was eliminated, and so long as one could legally put a bullet in a junkie who breaks into their house (kidding here, partially). Just as I'd be FOR *open borders* in an ideal no-free-lunch country.
Look, if there's an unfair caricature out there of libertarians it's one that portrays them as complete *anarchists* - as people who want ZERO government anywhere.
So all establishment politicians, and establishment Big Media, have to do is scoff, "Hey look at that guy, he's advocating for legalizing heroine and crack cocaine...ha ha ha."
Now it was a different issue, but Warren Redlich, a libertarian running for governor of NY, was completely mocked by Carl Paladino in a debate this year. He (Carl) pretty much chose for his *rebuttal* on one segment to be a smirking silence that played well to the room for 30 seconds or whatever.
With a government as large and as invasive as the one we have, there's no need to *shoot for the moon* in terms of political strategery (that's a word, right?). Just start with say reducing government by 25%.
Whatever libertarians do, they ought not to paint the caricature themselves!
Another area that Stossel is weak on is *education*.
Without going into detail here, the sense I get is that he's a gullible advocate of *vouchers*. What's wrong with that? Well, a libertarian staunch enough to legalize drugs ought to even more clearly see the devastation wrought by government *education*. He should see that the only goal of vouchers is to offer (theoretical) competition within the sphere of government schools. EXCEPT, those schools have no Constitutional or logical mandate in the first place! It's a typical half-a$$ed, let's-clear-the-low-hurdle Republican solution.
And today I was displeased to hear John Stossel mocking vaccine critics:
My segment on vaccines last night (it will repeat tonight at 10pm ET and over the weekend) did not go over well with Claire Dwoskin, of the National Vaccine Information Center, a group that criticizes vaccines. She emailed one of my producers:
I just saw the show and am so sorry to hear that other than what Chris had to say, not a word of truth was spoken by Stossel or Offitt. What a travesty – I hope someday he will recognize the error of his ways and realize the fear and damage that he is contributing to by allowing falsehoods to rule the air. At least his daughter is alive, smiling, educated and enjoying life. That cannot be said for the hundreds of thousands of vaccine injured children in the US. What his daughter went through is NOTHING compared to what the families of autistic children go through every day of their lives. No disease can match this record of human devastation. Vaccines are a holocaust of poison on our children’s brains and immune systems. Shame on you all.
A "holocaust of poison"? No good studies show that vaccines cause autism and the National Academy of Sciences has reviewed the evidence and ruled out causal links. Autism is a challenging condition that affects about 300,000 Americans. The holocaust was the systematic massacre of millions based on their ethnicity.
Now I don't have anyone (save Larry Bird) up on a pedestal so Stossel being wrong on this one issue isn't what upsets me. After all, we're all at different points on the learning curve - I was ignorant of many things in the not-so-distant past as well.
Stossel probably just hasn't, for whatever reason, done any real research and thinking on vaccines. What upset me is how weak Stossel's counter-arguments were.
All he puts forth is a study from government funded *scientists* - the same scientists, no doubt, who unanimously think planet Earth has only 10 years left before burning up! - asserting that vaccines are fine.
Furthermore, I have no opinion on the link between autism and vaccines...
There are plenty of reasons to be skeptical and deeply cynical about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines OUTSIDE of possibly causing autism.
So in grabbing this woman's argument, Stossel avoided the issue via strawman.
Homeschooling - No Voucher Required
Stossel - Highly Recommended!
The Exiled John Stossel