Sunday, October 14, 2007

Interesting exchange by a Funny Paper editor

On (Jeff) Dan apes' political blog, there was an interesting and revealing exchange between some well known conservatives and Dan Hortsch, an (retired) editor at the Funny Paper.

The blog post was about the Oregon Catalyst blog criticising the Oregon Farm Bureau for its support of Measure 49. The Oregon Catalyst post pointed out that the Farm Bureau's support of 49 was simply for economic reasons - if people can't build on rural land, farm land prices will remain low.

Dan Hortsch, in the comments section, said:

"So, in the view of Tim Lyman on The Oregon Catalyst blog, farmers, nurserymen and women and vintners cannot look out for their own economic interests. What part of "conservative" does not include business people's right to look out for their own economic interests? "

Bill Sizemore and Steve Buckstein added comments pointing out the obvious: that conservatism involves respect for property rights, and the Farm Bureau position is essentially that they want to use government regulation to restrict their neighbor's property rights, to enrich themselves.

But Dan Hortsch just didn't get it. He responds with:

"... I still don't see how in protecting their interests farmers are doing anything out of bounds. It's free market, libertarian, capitalistic political/financial maneuvering. Everyone for himself."

Very interesting and revealing. It obviously is Mr. Hortsch's mindset that it is OK to use political influence to basically steal what is not your own, and that this is part of the "free market." Just another exercise of competition in a capitalist framework.

I guess, if you believed this, you would indeed support Oregon's land use system. If I want to lock down major tracts of Oregon lands because I think they are pretty, and I have the political power to do it, that is A-OK.

But what is strange is that he misunderstands conservatism so completely that he actually thinks it is not a violation of conservative principles to use government power to steal.


rural resident said...

One could get whiplash from Hortsch's logical lurchings. He supports M49 in order to stop landowners (including some farmers) from acting in their own interests. He believes they are selfish and holds them out as examples of those acting contrary to "the public interest." (As if one can precisely define what is in the public's best interests.)
Yet, he's OK with farmers protecting their own interests by using the government to steal the rights of other property owners.

Yikes! I guess it's Hortsch's view that, as long you're on the "side of the fairness and justice" it's OK to act in ways he considers (at least for opponents) to be immoral.

His cynical view of quasi-free market economics is even more troubling. It promotes an "ends justify means" philosophy that is both dangerous and intellectually troubling.

If his lack of understanding of M49 equals his ignorance of the fundamental importance of property rights in a regulated capitalist system, Hortsch and his pro-M49 cohorts are poor advertisements indeed for the validity of their stand on this issue.

OregonGuy said...

"Quasi-free"? Hate to use the "f" word, but it's really proto-fascist, innit? The Libertarian impulse is to reduce regulation in favor of individual choice. The Totalitarian impluse is to regulate use for desired outcome.

Recommended: more time in the mirror.

Anonymous said...

people like Hortsch and most, if not all, M49 backers simply believe that THEY KNOW BEST. Their motivations are morally superior (of course, that's only if you subscribe to THEIR me-centric code of morality), their logic unassailable, their goals noble and the clarity of their vision blindingly obvious.

With such a self-serving premise, everything's relative - rights, property, speech - you name it.

Watch out!

Dan Hortsch said...

Correction, Mr. Kremer:

It is Jeff Mapes, not Dan. Jeff has been a political reporter at The Oregonian for a couple of decades. One so knowing should know that much.

In addition, am not an editor at The Oregonian. I am retired and have been for going on three years. I get to say what I please now. Please get your facts straight.

As for the rest: I am simply saying that people in this system look out for their own interests. Within the law and ethical standards, it is hard to argue that they should not do that. Both sides are appealing to voters and seeking to protect their interests. One doesn't have to be on one side or the other to see that. The same is true of the cigarette tax and health care debate.

Read Jeff's look at the two campaigns in Monday's edition. Each side offers its best or most winning pitch (with a bit of shading of the facts here and there, unfortunately).

And get your names and titles right before you publish. That's another basic.

Rob Kremer said...

Oh I have been lectured by a retired Funny Paper editor. I am so embarrassed that I mistakenly wrote Dan rather than Jeff.

But, Mr. Hortsch, the question you asked was:

"What part of "conservative" does not include business people's right to look out for their own economic interests?"

The answer, of course, is that if looking out for your own interests include petitioning government to steal the property of others, then that is not part of the conservative philosopy.

It would seem like someone who spent a career in the political end of journalism would have that basic understanding of political philosophy.

Anonymous said...

So Dan as public editor of the Oregonian your job was to spin and justify the paper's coverage?

But you didn't mean it?

I'm shocked.

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear The Zero tends to get names and titles correct. Now they just need to get their facts straight on the really important stuff.

Once again Dan, there's a huge difference between the government taking away your property rights and the natural process of land valuation.

But, you leftists love the idea of an ever-growing government class controlling economic processes.

Anonymous said...

It's sad, in a way, that Mr. Hortsch cannot escape "Oregonian-think" even after he's been retired for 3 years. Now that he can "say what he pleases" he says the same things he said when he had to say what the paper wanted him to say.

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