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Superhighway to Serfdom, Part 2

June 26, 2013

“The younger generation of today has grown up in a world in which, in school and press, the spirit of commercial enterprise has been represented as disreputable and the making of profit as immoral.”

                                                                                         F.A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom

Hayek’s quote above comes from a book written in 1945, but it certainly fits today’s world.

Few “in school and press” understand how capitalism works, never mind coming to its defense.  It’s a revelation, though, that the anti-capitalist drift in school and press began so long ago.

My personal experience being preached to about the evils of capitalism dates back to my college days in the 1970s.

As a student at the University of Massachusetts, some of my professors were avowed Marxists and worked their beliefs into courses in American history and literature.

They were earnest and enthusiastic about their beliefs and had an influence on my young mind.  My English professor encouraged me to forego my career in journalism and, instead, work in a factory, where I could become a union rabble-rouser.  Having had my share of factory work for several summers during college, I fortunately decided to do what I wanted to do, instead of what my professor wanted me to do.

But like most others today, I graduated from college without having a clue about how capitalism works and with little knowledge of what it is.  I had a vague notion that it was practiced by greedy people who wanted to keep everyone’s money for themselves, because that was what my professors taught me.

That belief changed little as I pursued a career in journalism.  In the late 1970s and early 1980s, when anything to do with the environment or homelessness were big news.

Gradually, though, switching to a business beat, earning an MBA and, finally, starting my own business, I learned how capitalism works.  I wish our President, members of Congress and others whose decisions affect our lives were as fortunate.

SNAP Challenge? Congress Should Try the Taxpayer Challenge Instead

June 18, 2013

Last week my Congressman, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Cuba) was one of two dozen Democrats to take “the SNAP Challenge” and live off of a $31.50 food allowance for a week in response to proposed cuts in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Funding for SNAP has soared from $18 billion in 2000 to $74 billion in 2011.  It’s now used by 45 million Americans.  Yet Congressman McGovern believes that the program should not be cut. 

If, as he claims, 50 million Americans are going hungry in spite of this growth in the SNAP program, SNAP is not working.

The Privacy Double Standard

June 17, 2013

Liberal logic (pardon the oxymoron) can be confusing.

Liberals strongly endorse government control of healthcare, government control of the economy, government control of the energy we produce, government control of the food we eat, government control of the water we drink and government control of the air that we breathe.

And yet they balk at every attempt by the government to control terrorism.  Keeping us safe may be the government’s most important job – and it’s a job that the federal government has historically done well.

Dads Deserve a Little Respect

June 16, 2013

When I was growing up, fathers were held in respect.  You never crossed dad.  The words you feared most were, “Wait until your father gets home.”

We thought dads had all of the answers.  Television shows like “Father Knows Best,” “My Three Sons” and “Leave It to Beaver” reinforced this opinion.

Newsletters Shouldn’t Be Snoozeletters

June 7, 2013

If properly developed, an e-letter or newsletter can be a valuable tool in any company’s marketing program. Unlike most communications, e-letters and newsletters can keep you in contact with your market on a regular basis. They can make your services tangible, enhance your image and help to position your company as a leader in its field.

But e-letters and newsletters often fail to accomplish these goals. Most newsletters are snoozeletters. E-letters are often too copy heavy and unattractive.  The typical newsletter is a two-color rehash of company press releases and is filled with the kind of photos no other publication would print – the slightly out-of-focus photos of people shaking hands and smiling at the camera.

The Eyeless Generation

June 6, 2013

The eyeless people are everywhere.  Even when driving or crossing the street, they don’t look up.

They are in a trance-like state, induced by the electronic device in their hands.  Their whole world is below eye level and nothing else matters.  Not the person they’re with.  Not the other people on the crowded sidewalk.  Not the other drivers.

Confessions of a “Right-Wing Fanatic”

June 5, 2013

In a democracy, people are entitled to express their opinions. 

I have many friends who think differently than I do, but we respect each other’s opinions.  But I was a bit startled when an associate of mine expressed his opinion that I’m a “right-wing fanatic.”

Public Relations vs. Propaganda

June 4, 2013

In more than 20 years of business, I have never had a client ask me to cover up the truth.  If one did ask, I would walk away.  Dishonesty is not only morally wrong, it’s almost always disastrous for the client.

Dead People Need Help, Too

June 3, 2013

You’d think Massachusetts Auditor Suzanne Bump would be singled out for praise for finding that Massachusetts is paying welfare benefits to dead people.

But no.  Based on the reaction of Governor Deval Patrick and others, you’d think Ms. Bump was the one doing something illegal.

Influencing Behavior

May 30, 2013

Guest post from Tom Hagley Sr.:

I like to challenge people to define public relations in two words. Other professions define themselves in two words—doctors practice medicine, lawyers practice law, accountants keep records. People in these disciplines define their work in two words, issue invoices and get paid accordingly for their expertise.

Not everyone in PR can do the same because many people—yes, many people— in public relations cannot define what they do.