Jewish World Review May 3, 2002 /21 Iyar, 5762
Musings, random and otherwise
Stop me if you've heard this, but:
To glimpse the cruelty that has always been a hallmark of Communist
regimes, you don't have to read "The Gulag Archipelago" or "The Black
Book of Communism." You need only gaze at pictures of the elderly
Koreans who were permitted this week to briefly visit loved ones they
hadn't seen since the Korean War divided their families 50 years ago.
The reunions, which were televised in South Korea, were wrenching.
The joy of embracing a mother or brother after nearly a lifetime of
enforced separation quickly gave way to the agony of trying to make up
for so much lost time in just a few hours -- and then to the crushing
realization that after this day, they would almost certainly never see
or hear from each other again.
Communism's savagery is not only measured in murder and torture. It
is also reflected in the heartbreak of millions of amputated Korean
families, whose suffering serves no cause other than the sadism of North
Korea's rulers -- rulers for whom totalitarian power justifies
everything, and ordinary human love, nothing.
A federal judge trying to reverse decades of overfishing has imposed
severe new limits on catching fish off the New England coast. The
ruling cuts to 70 the number of days allowed per year for catching
ground fish like cod and haddock, and closes some areas to fishing
None of this would be necessary if ocean fisheries were treated the
same way we treat farmland. Because farmers own their land, they have
every incentive to rotate crops and keep the soil fertilized. No one
has to forbid "overplanting;" farmers don't let their land become
depleted because they have a vested interest in its future productivity.
But ocean fishing areas are owned by no one. Fishermen own only
what they catch, so they have every reason to catch as much as possible
-- and no reason to conserve for the future. But if fisheries were
privately owned, overfishing would cease. Fishermen would have an
economic stake in protecting stocks; no longer would they rush to
outfish their competitors. Property rights work on land. They would
work just as well at sea.
Okay, so the Boston Marathon is a Boston tradition. But where is it
written that tradition has to paralyze traffic and bring the city to a
standstill? You want to run 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Copley Square,
be my guest. But why can't you do it on a day when the rest of us don't
have to work? New York runs its marathon on Sunday. It's long past
time Boston did the same.
"Newspapers fall short of diversity goal," read the headline over a
Do they ever. Intellectual diversity in the mainstream media is
indeed in short supply. On the staff of most big-city newspapers,
you'll find very few conservatives and only a smattering of Republicans.
There are almost no evangelical Christians, Orthodox Jews, or devout
Muslims. The ranks of reporters and editors rarely include military
veterans or pro-life activists or Rush Limbaugh fans. No question: When
it comes to America's leading news media, diversity of opinion is
pitifully hard to find.
But that headline was about something else. Sad to say, the only
kind of "diversity" the major news media care about is the trivial kind:
diversity of color. Hiring editors jump through hoops to recruit
journalists of the "right" race or ethnicity; rarely if ever do they
consider what their staff lacks in values, ideology, or political
outlook. The result is newsrooms filled with people who look different
-- but who mostly think alike.
Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.
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