Vox, NPR publish doomsday prophecies after seeming death of Build Back Better

December 20, 2021

By Tim Worstall

It’s entirely true that if a law gets passed them some to all of us will change our behavior. What isn’t true is that the only way or reason any of us change our behavior is that a law has, or must have been, passed.

This is what so annoys about assumptions made by both Vox and NPR. 

We are all, in fact, thinking adults and we do change that behavior when necessary, even just when we desire to, without laws or politics. 

The specific here is about Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and the seeming death of the Build Back Better bill.

According to Vox, this means the near death of America’s fight against climate change: “Joe Manchin may have doomed American climate policy… This is the last best shot we’re really going to have.” 

No, America’s reaction to climate change – and the point here is that of America’s reaction to anything at all – will be what the 330 million of us do, not what 535 congresscritters tell us to.

NPR makes much the same inference: “The policies are crucial for President Biden’s goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions 50%-52% by 2030, compared with 2005 levels.”

Without BBB, without actually anything very much than we ourselves considering what we want to do, emissions have already fallen 25%. No, really, they have as a nation, as an average of each individual, those climate change emissions have been falling this past couple of decades.

This is not, though, about climate change. That’s just an example of the attitude. The attitude we should all be finding so objectionable. We’re a free people who elect a few folks to handle the details for us, not subjects who are ruled. Yet the attitude here from major segments of the media is that unless we are forced, by law, we’ll never do anything.

Vox is around 100 in the news and media listings, the site gains 20 million views a month. NPR rates number 3 by some measures and gains 75 million visits a month. Further, it’s even possible that we’re forced to pay for it from taxes, at least in part – NPR has been known to dispute how much.

 It’s a standard part of the media narrative that they speak truth to power. We’d like to see a little more of that, please. We are the power and the politicians are our hirelings. Assuming that, insisting that, we out here only do things because the law is changed to force us to is entirely contrary to that basic social structure.

Sure, the example here is about climate change but that’s not the point at issue. The media – as well as the politicians – need to remember that the whole thing started off with “We the people…”


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