Is there more irritating nonsense than usual floating around these days? Or am I just getting old? (OK, both.) Instead of writing a column about each of the things driving me nuts, here are a few observations on a number of them:
1. Former "Today" show staffer Addie Zinone decided to come clean about her affair with Matt Lauer, which – although consensual and completely voluntary – she now says was "an abuse of his power." Give me a break. No one forced her, threatened her or conditioned her advancement opportunities on sexual favors. She messaged him after a lunch at which he made it clear he was interested, and then ran up to meet him in his dressing room for a tryst. Being "under his spell" (her words, not mine) is not duress and not abuse of power. Zinone says she only wanted Lauer "to see her as a human being." Did she see Matt Lauer's wife as a human being?
There's a larger message lost in the legitimate outrage about male exploitation. One reason so many of these creeps think they're entitled to any woman who crosses their path is because so many women have made their availability abundantly clear. Even if he's married. (Ask any woman married to a famous, successful or powerful man. Or any man, for that matter.) Here's the takeaway: If you're willing to sleep with another woman's husband, you're part of the problem.
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2. No, President Trump never banned words. Please stop posting them on your Facebook pages to show how brave and revolutionary you are. Real bravery would be getting up onstage at the Golden Globes and announcing that you voted for Trump.
3. Children in Venezuela are starving to death. Physicians are forbidden by the Venezuelan government from reporting the cause of death. American newspapers aren't, but they're reluctant to admit that it is socialism and government control over the means of production that has killed these children and destroyed Venezuela's economy, rich though it is in natural resources. The level of misery and death that collectivist political and economic systems has caused is almost immeasurable. Defending these systems in the face of such vast human suffering is inexcusable. And yet 44 percent of U.S. millennials said in a recent survey that they would rather live in a socialist than a capitalist country. Shame on them. And shame on those who have instilled such foolish, fatal ideas in their empty, impressionable heads.
4. Here's further proof of how anti-intellectual and ahistorical the defense of socialism is. Two years ago, the American Enterprise Institute published a statistical chart, showing that the world's worst poverty – defined as those living on less than $1 a day – was reduced by 80 percent in just 36 years. In 1970, 28.6 percent of the world's population lived on less than $1 a day. By 2006, it was only 5.4 percent. The cause of that remarkable transformation was the spread of the free-enterprise system, which AEI President Arthur Brooks calls "the best anti-poverty measure ever invented."
5. The Internet evolved to be the information and economic powerhouse that it is without much in the way of government control. Yet now, people scream that the Internet will be destroyed unless the government controls it, under the guise of "net neutrality." Hysterical nonsense. The "net neutrality" rules have been in place for only two years. The FCC under President Obama asserted sweeping jurisdiction over the Internet by reclassifying broadband as a public utility under Title II of the old Telecommunications Act. There could hardly be better proof of how ill-equipped government is to run disruptive technology like the Internet – that law was written when Bell Telephone was a monopoly. (Three-quarters of those reading this won't even know what I'm talking about.) Analogizing the Internet to Ma Bell is not just an anachronism; it's an absurdity. Title II rules include the power to set prices and control business operations, which the FCC promised not to do, saying it would regulate using a "light touch." Who on earth believes that would last? (A pithy tweet I read this week said, "Net neutrality is 'neutral' the way the Affordable Care Act was 'affordable.'") It's bad enough that Facebook, Google, YouTube and Twitter are actively censoring conservative content; can you imagine what a left-wing government could do with complete control over the Internet? (Or right-wing, for you antifa types.)
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6. And finally, tax cuts. Every time a policy benefits business, we're made to think it's "big business." Here are some facts: Of roughly 28 million firms in the U.S., only 6.8 million employ anyone other than the owner(s). Of those 6.8 million firms, 4.5 million (or 66.5 percent) employ fewer than 20 people. And 47.8 percent of all U.S. employees work for companies that employ fewer than 500 people; most work for companies with fewer than 100 people. Most business in this country is small business, and small-business owners desperately need tax cuts.