Monday, June 3, 2013

Motley Fool Attacks With Headlines, Few Facts

Yesterday, the Motley Fool ran a story about the 26th anniversary of the nomination of Alan Greenspan, an event for which I was woefully unprepared. In fact, I seem to miss this holiday every year.

Why?

Because it's a completely insignificant milestone to most of the world. But for the Motley Fool, it's a perfect occasion to blame "libertarians" for the late 'oughts Housing Crisis and other bad Republican/Democratic administration policies.

I welcome the opportunity to debate what supposed libertarian ideas were at fault, but since the story fails to cite any, I have only the unfamiliar characterization that Alex Planes hoists up to knock down like a piƱata. And in this case the one holding the bat is similarly blinded.

Just because Greenspan called himself a libertarian and read Ayn Rand novels does not mean his policies or the policies of the government that lead to the housing crisis or the dot-com bubble were in any way libertarian. It's like Bush calling himself a conservative or Joe Biden calling himself sane.

Since libertarianism has been gaining steam in mainstream circles, lots of people are using the term to cast their political views in a new cool, hip light. That's how you end up with a broad spectrum of people from Bill Maher to Glenn Beck calling themselves libertarians.

But when you're trying to paint a growing freedom movement with the brush of disasters, why let facts get in the way?

So what if many un-libertarian, centralized-government policies more likely led to our recent troubles? We wouldn't want to upset the current status quo of government interference causing problems that require even greater government interference.

But I shouldn't accuse a news source custom-tailored to the very class that libertarianism threatens of intentionally misleading people. That being stated, the timing of this story is curious.

Rand Paul's recent popularity has given the hope of relevance to many long-frustrated libertarians, even though many still, including this author, have some bones to pick with the Kentucky senator.

In a world of news by keyword, did the Motley Fool put "libertarian" in the headline of a mainly GOP-bashing article to create guilt by association? I can't say for sure, but it is clear from the article that introducing facts to the public is a motive that can be ruled out...

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