From The Becker-Posner Blog: ‘Why Is Hollywood Dominated By Liberals?’

Full post here.

Interesting quote:

“What troubles conservatives about Hollywood is less the promotion in movies of left-liberal policies than the breakdown of the old taboos.”

Good art tends to have trouble with politics. political ideologies, religion, religious doctrine, and can even challenge/subvert moral thinking and moral authority.  In Hollywood, the creative imagination of one writer/artist is often molded by hundreds of people working on a project that is often aimed at millions of people.  It can be quite interesting to see how the sausage is made, and even the old studio system appears to be having a lot of trouble this summer in keeping up with the new technology.

The creative arts, from acting to dance to theater, tend to attract people who had trouble with the ‘old taboos.’  L.A. and coastal California also generally tend to have a rather liberal/Left-Of-Center culture, which can affect the people who move there.

So, how much influence does Hollywood really have on culture, and thus politics, and thus people who seek to influence culture and politics?

From Gary Becker’s response:

‘Since it is well established that political views are greatly affected by the attitudes of people one interacts with closely, it is not surprising that some of the liberality of the media rub off on actors and others in the filmmaking industry. In addition to their concern about political approaches to personal morality, their association with the media helps make filmmakers anti-business, especially big business, and strongly pro-union.’


‘So all in all, I believe Hollywood is a very minor contributor to general political views, but I do not think their influence can be fully dismissed.’

I’m not sure myself if such a thing can be known, but I remain wary of those seeking such influence for its own sake.

More culture wars?

If you don’t like ‘They Live,’ like a shining beacon of freedom in the fog, you can always turn to the day the Cubans and Russians invaded a small Colorado town…:

Who really looks to Hollywood for all their questions and answers?


Repost-From Becker And Posner: ‘The Controversy Over the Milton Friedman Institute’

Post here.  (You will then have to navigate to get to Becker’s post)  From Posner.  Originally posted Oct 2008:

“There is a whiff of the 1960s in the effort by faculty (joined by a number of students) to move the University of Chicago leftward.”

I suppose if Friedman’s work is deep enough (which it often seems to be), it will outlast the current disagreements.  From Becker:

“A university names an Institute after a former professor because of 1) his contributions to the university, 2) his contributions to scholarship or science, and 3) his intellectual honesty and character. On all three grounds I believe Milton Friedman eminently deserves having this Institute bear his name.”

See Also:  How Would Obama Respond To Milton Friedman’s Four Ways To Spend Money?Dissent Review Of Naomi Klein’s Book-The Shock Doctrine: The Rise Of Disaster Capitalism

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From Becker-Posner: Mortality From Disease And The American Health-Care System

Full post here.

“Still, these calculations suggest that America should hesitate without additional evidence of the type I have used before jumping on the European bandwagon, and conducting radical surgery on the American health care delivery system.”

Genuine problem + politics + ideology= a solution?  a compromise?

See Also:  From Reason’s Hit And Run Blog: Obama And The Mayo Clinic…From Clive Crook: Is Health Care Reform On Track?…From The New Yorker: Atul Gawande On Health Care-”The Cost Conundrum”

And:…are we becoming more European?  Charles Murray Lecture At AEI: The Happiness Of People…From Reason: Going Dutch?

From The Becker-Posner Blog: The Future Of Newspapers

Posner’s post here

The argument isn’t bad:  we’re living off the fat of newspapers’ news-gathering abilities.  Such costly news-gathering was maintained by advertising revenue.  Online ad-revenue is not able to provide the same news-gathering depth and breadth.  So, at some point, all this free-riding may have to be addressed legally to protect some form of news-gathering:

Expanding copyright law to bar online access to copyrighted materials without the copyright holder’s consent, or to bar linking to or paraphrasing copyrighted materials without the copyright holder’s consent, might be necessary to keep free riding on content financed by online newspapers from so impairing the incentive to create costly news-gathering operations that news services like Reuters and the Associated Press would become the only professional, nongovernmental sources of news and opinion.”

No more free access!

I understand that there is more here in this post than just a conservative (conservare) impulse to maintain the institutions of newspapers for their own sake.  The free press is vital to our democracy, and journalism at its best is reaches highs that can maintain that freedom.  

Among other things, news organizations have allowed young writers to gain valuable experience and wisdom.  They have served as important social institutions, with obligations to the public good.   They can uncover corruption, hold the maneuvering of politicians to light of day, and inform the public, providing a bridge to the laws, law-making, and law-breaking…that affects us all.

At their best, they can even highlight injustices of which most men benefit by being aware (and I am a person as averse to the democracy-threatening idealism and over-zealousness that accompanies the pursuit of justice as you’ll find).

Yet despite all these abstract reasons…why do newspapers themselves need to be protected by such a top-down approach?

I’m not convinced. 

And as for news-gathering, won’t such needs be filled by other venues?

Related On This Site: Here in Seattle, Bill Virgin says newspapers built up their value, and slowly let it die: From The Seattle Post-Intelligencer Via Sound Politics: Why Did The PI Die? From Slate: Jack Shafer On The Pulitzer Prize-Who Cares?  Who Reads The Newspapers?

The Newseum Opens On The Mall: More From The Weekly Standard


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