Capitalism

'The World Is More Complicated'

David Simon, creator of The Wire and Treme, on New Orleans, private prisons, drug policy, newspapers, and letting down libertarians

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“At some point during the run of The Wire, I became a fellow traveler of the libertarians,” says acclaimed writer and television producer David Simon. “And then a great disappointment to them.”

A self-proclaimed “lefty,” Simon is the creator of the celebrated HBO series The Wire, which depicted with tragic realism the devastating impact of the drug war on inner-city Baltimore. Over five seasons from 2002 to 2008, The Wire told a series of complex, interwoven stories built around major problems afflicting the modern American city: failing schools, faltering newspapers, the decline of the working waterfront, the unseemliness of local politics, and, more generally, the frustration of would-be reformers by bureaucratic institutions.

In writing The Wire, Simon drew on his 13 years as a Baltimore Sun reporter plus the year he spent embedded with the Baltimore Police Department in preparation for his 1991 book Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets. Producer Barry Levinson later turned that book into an Emmy-winning series that ran on NBC from 1993 to 1998.

Simon also co-wrote (with David Mills) The Corner, a 2000 HBO miniseries that depicted inner-city Baltimore ravaged by drugs, and HBO’s Generation Kill, a miniseries based on a book by Evan Wright about a Marine Corps unit during the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. 

Simon’s blistering indictment of the drug war frames Eugene Jarecki’s new documentary on the subject, The House I Live In, and he is an outspoken critic of the state of the newspaper industry. Simon in 2009 testified before the Senate Commerce Committee on the future of journalism.

HBO’s Treme, Simon’s latest project, offers a multifaceted look at post-Katrina New Orleans and the music scene that makes the city unique. Treme premiered in 2010, and its third season began this fall.

In September reason.com Editor in Chief Nick Gillespie sat down with Simon in Baltimore to discuss Treme, the drug war, school choice, Simon’s general antipathy toward libertarians, and more. Watch video of the interview, listen to an audio recording of the unedited exchange here at reason.com.

Editor's Note: Simon reacted negatively to the Reason interview, claiming that Reason had "shanked" the interview. For links to his response, posted on his personal website, go here.

reason: Let’s talk about Treme. Watching the first three seasons of the show, I kept thinking of the William Faulkner line, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” Your show seems very much focused on people who are trying to maintain New Orleans culture, but then there’s also a recognition that things have to change.

David Simon: There’s always a tension between tradition and the past and organic creativity. That’s probably true in any city, but it’s particularly dynamic in New Orleans. And the amazing thing about New Orleans is they’re not willing to let anything go.

reason: Does that make them kind of like cultural hoarders?

Simon: In a way. I mean if you’re familiar with their actual culture, the music scene down there is more dynamic pound for pound than any I’ve ever seen in the world. I mean, there is a punk sea-shanty band. On some level that’s just gorgeous. Only in New Orleans, as they say.

reason: It’s a complex text. When I first started watching, I have to say I saw the character played by John Goodman, and I was like: “Wow, this is awful. This is a white-guilt liberal.” And I was kind of happy when he died at the end of the first season.

Simon: You might want to reflect on that.

reason: Believe me, I will. But in fact, the show is very layered.

Simon: The reason I think The Wire was intriguing to a lot of people once they found itâ€"and not initially intriguing at all to many peopleâ€"is they realized it was actually shaped a little bit differently than most television shows. We weren’t interested in straw men. So you could be a conservative and you could come to some conclusions that gratified you. Now I would not agree with those conclusions, but there was at least evidence in there for you to proceed down your path and be moderately content with the storytelling. 

You could do that if you were a liberal. You could do that if you were a socialist. You could do that if you were a libertarian. That doesn’t mean that it didn’t have a point of view. But the trick to making anything that matters is not to treat the source material as if you can indulge your own political dialectic by picking and choosing. The world is more complicated than that.

A lot of people who were very opposed to the Iraq warâ€"and I was opposed to the Iraq War as a war of choiceâ€"had a hard time with the initial episodes of Generation Kill. The Marines are very profane and hungry to go to war. It’s what they do, it’s what we trained them for, and I don’t blame them in the slightest. But some viewers wanted a dissertation from Ed Burns, David Simon, and Evan Wright about why this war was wrong. 

I don’t know how to write for that kind of person. I’m not interested in writing for that kind of person. I’m only interested in writing for the kind of person who first wants to know what it was like and who are these guys.

And when John Goodman’s character says things like “San Francisco is a cesspool with hills,” that’s a clue. San Francisco is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. But it’s very hard to do TV on that level because most people expect somebody to say something and right afterwards somebody else to say, “That’s not right.” To actually correct the record within the scene.

reason: What is it about the HBO model that allows for a kind of Balzacian complexity to emerge?

Simon: Did you just call me a ball sack?

reason: I called you a ball sack, yeah.

Simon: I thought so. I knew we were going to get down to this. Damn you, libertarians! 

That’s true of all TV. I didn’t used to pay for television 25 years ago. I had rabbit ears like you did. And it beamed three or four channels, and that’s what you got. And when they hooked you up to the cable that created a revenue stream and they were able to create more programming, it was a remarkably shrewd and effective way of expanding the television universe and for the better. And I would argue that, tellingly, the newspaper industry went the opposite way. 

What happened was Wall Street. The great sin was taking what were community-based, family-owned newspapers and linking them together in chains, making them public companies and going to Wall Street with them because Wall Street did to the newspaper industry what it did to other industries.

(Interview continues below video.)

reason: When you say â€œWall Street,” do you mean â€œthe Tribune Company”?

Simon: I mean the operating dynamic of Wall Streetâ€"capitalism. Talk to any Baltimorean about what The Baltimore Sun has become. There are 130 people in the newsroom now. There used to be 600. At a certain point, nobody’s covering the city courthouse.

reason: I don’t know Baltimore, but I know a lot of people at the Los Angeles Times. And it would be hard to argue it’s any worse than it was in 1995, or 1955.

Simon: I don’t know what to say to you. You’re bringing things that are not rooted in empiricism. You have some emotional disconnect.

reason: No, I’m just saying that the Los Angeles Times has always been first and foremost a booster for the idea of Los Angeles.

Simon: You’re bringing some sort of weird ideology into it.

reason: What are you doing?

Simon: I’m bringing the amount of ground covered. When it’s healthy and you have enough to do and you have enough people to do it, the agenda is to cover the ground and to cover it smarter and to find out what really the fuck is going on. 

Like anything worth trying and anything worth doing, you fail as much as you succeed. But I never had anybody say to me, “We’re doing this, and we think this is good or we think this is bad.” They basically just planted me on the beat. And they planted five of us on the crime beat. There was a court reporter every day that you could work with. There were three police reporters at any given moment. There were general assignment reporters that could be thrown into law enforcement issues. 

And we covered more ground. There’s one guy left. There’s one guy. He’s working his ass off. That’s true at The Baltimore Sun. That’s true at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. That’s true at the Cleveland Plain Dealer. That’s true at the Los Angeles Times.

reason: What I’m saying is that you might have more people covering stuff, but you did not have a moment where the Los Angeles Times was interrogating the power structure in Los Angeles, even when it had twice as many reporters. Now, you can read many sources coming out of Los Angeles, including the Los Angeles Times. I think probably city hall and the power structure are more aptly covered than they were under a traditional model.

Simon: I couldn’t disagree more. And I can only cite what’s going on in Baltimore. There’s more commentary. There’s more debate. There’s more discussion. The Internet is a great democratization toolâ€"

reason: I would argue there is also more firsthand reporting, observational reporting.

Simon: I don’t know what to tell you. It’s not happening here in the city in which you are sitting. It’s not happening in New Orleans. It’s not happening in any city where mainstream media has retrenched. It is not happening.

reason: In a recent interview you did with Bill Moyers you said, and I’m paraphrasing, â€œI don’t believe in institutions anymore; I believe in individuals.” Have you boxed yourself in? If you don’t believe in institutions then what? How do individuals change them?

Simon: I’m a grownup. And this is where I get exhausted with the notion that there has been corruption there so let’s throw up our hands and declare there’s too much government.

What is your freaking alternative? There’s never going to be permanent institutional stasis. Everything will corrode. Everything will rust. Everything will need to be replaced. Everything will need to be challenged and continually policed. Somebody much wiser than meâ€"my fatherâ€"used to say at every single Passover Seder, “Freedom can never be entirely won, but it can be lost.” And the way in which you lose it is not by acknowledging the inevitability of communal action and institutional necessity. But it’s by walking away from our collective ownership and demand on the performance of those institutions.

reason: Things like charter schools, like school vouchers, getting out where you can, getting on a lifeboatâ€"these are libertarian ideas. They are a way of changing the institutions so they serve the individuals they’re supposed to serve.

Simon: If it’s funded. If you’re willing to take the same dollar that you were giving to a public school system.

reason: We have not stinted on increasing the amount of money we spend per pupil over the past 40 years. We have nothing, literally nothing, to show for it.

Simon: You will not get me defending the performance of public education. But the idea of public education, lower case p, lower case e.

reason: As we go through the third season of Treme, would you say that you start to show the green shoots?

Simon: Yes, individuals start doing what they can. And there is nothing in The Wire and there is nothing in Treme that argues against individual responsibility toward the collective. And that’s where I find patriotism and citizenship. You’re not seeing people in Treme in Season 3 begin to police themselves and to make their neighborhoods safer. That’s beyond their capabilities. For that they need law enforcement professionals. But you do see them start to stand up on their hind legs and say: The way you’re behaving, as an institution, is unacceptable.

reason: And by creating alternatives. I mean, they’re building their businesses, or they’re creating art that is empowering to themselves and the people around them.

Simon: Well, they’re seeking reform. And sometimes that involves trying to reform the necessary institution. And sometimes if they’re starting a new business, that’s a new business. I’m not arguing against venture capitalism. What I am arguing against in that piece is disaster capitalism.

reason: Or disaster socialism. And the two things may be inextricably linked.

Simon: Disaster socialism?

reason: Disaster socialism. I mean the amount of public money that floods into New Orleans and the way that it gets diverted from meaningful purpose is part of the show.

Simon: Where do you think it went? You think it actually got to people?

reason: I know that it came from the government, and it came from taxes. I think we’re talking about twin sides of the same process.

Simon: Let’s journey down this road together because Louisiana is the jurisdiction in the world that jails more human beings per capita than any other state. That’s pure market forces. There’s profit to be made. They’ve monetized the poor down there. That’s what they’ve done. Laissez-faire. We’re all paying for that. But people are getting rich.

reason: In California the single most powerful group in state government is the state prison guards union. And they’re not lobbying to get people out of jail.

Simon: Right, and they damn near bankrupted the state. Look at the Rockefeller drug laws. Look at the drug war. There are some things that the market is not supposed to dictate.

reason: But is it the market?

Simon: Of course it’s the market!

reason: In the case of immigrant incarceration and deportations, it’s the Obama administration, which has doubled the rate.

Simon: Absolutely. Very disappointing.

reason: I understand where you’re coming from, but these people might be drafting off of policies that were put in place ahead of time. Nelson Rockefeller didn’t need drug laws to get rich or to make his cronies rich. He was doing that already.

Simon: No, he needed them to get elected, but I absolutely agree with that. It has got to be across the board. Politicians will follow the path of least resistance if you let them and reward them for that. The whole idealized notion that the private sector can do this better than governmentâ€"I don’t want the private sector doing prisons better than government. I want government doing it reluctantly. I want my prison department. I want my corrections department in the state of Maryland or any state that I’m in to be a reluctant agent of government.

reason: About drug laws, do you see any positive trends? I mean, there are marijuana legalization initiatives out there.

Simon: I do. The only positive trend that I see that really matters is that more people are calling bullshit. And this is where at some point during the run of The Wire I became a fellow traveler of the libertarians. And then a great disappointment to them. But the libertarian position on drugs absolutely works. It absolutely works because it’s morally correct.

reason: Do you take Obama at his word that The Wire is his favorite show? Because it seems odd that he and Attorney General Eric Holder would have watched the show and then be pursuing the policies they have.

Simon: I do take Eric Holder at his word because he hosted the actors, and they told me he knew the show. And I don’t disagree with Obama’s fundamental politics or some of his purposes. I’ll be voting for Obama. I have a choice of two, and I’m not wasting my vote. It can always get worse.

reason: Do you think New Orleans is getting better? The show is a couple of years back in time, but the actual number of people who have returned is higher than the initial projection or expectations. Is it actually flourishing?

Simon: It depends on who you are. They called the area that didn’t go under the water “the sliver by the river,” “the isle of denial.” There is a schizophrenia. You go out to the Gentilly area, and there are blocks where you’ll see two or three people back and house after house still not restored.

But before the storm, 77 percent of the population was born there. That’s unheard of in America. Everyone is from somewhere else in this country. But if you’re born there, if you grow up with that culture and that essence, it’s very hard to say goodbye. 

It’s not a museum piece. The number of Latinosâ€"Central Americans and Mexicansâ€"that came to New Orleans to do construction work after Katrina and now have stayed on means you’re going to start seeing some version of the Mariachi second line band, and it won’t just be on Cinco de Mayo. They’re going to contribute to the musical culture and to the cuisine.

All the attendant problems of the American city are there, and I think city living is what Americans have to master. But, man, they make it hard. That’s the 21st-century challenge, among other things. There are a lot of 21st-century challenges, but one of them is how do we learn to love a city for what it is because we have no choice.

NEXT: Brickbat: Road Kill

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  1. At some points I grok what he is saying. At others it almost reads like he didn’t hear the question or didn’t understand what you said. Weird interview.

    And no, the video was not a hackjob.

    1. Yeah, I haven’t watched the video, but his answers seem like typical statist demo-tard, who is the tiniest sliver disappointed with The One, since they have to actually deal with poor people every once in a while.

      How anyone ever thought of him as a libertarian, or even having libertarian leanings, I have no clue.

      Just because you’re occcasionally tacitly for pot legalization, doesn’t make you a libertarian.

      1. Just because you’re occcasionally tacitly for pot legalization, doesn’t make you a libertarian.

        Bill Maher went around for years basically claiming exactly that. Politically Incorrect was an interesting program to watch as a young libertarian. What was most hilarious was when he would take the most left-statist position possible on a given topic and end with something like, “But what do I know, I’m a libertarian.”

        Hell, we have Mike “Fuck Due Process” Godwin and Steve “Ends Justify, Well, Whatever” Chapman running around calling themselves libertarians and even being allowed to present articles here as libertarians.

        1. “Hell, we have Mike “Fuck Due Process” Godwin”

          You know who else said “fuck due process?”

  2. Also, watching all five seasons of The Wire is a great way to feelspecial.

  3. Why is Reason so obsessed with this guy?

    1. Just to annoy you. Leaving us all to wonder if reason‘s real obsession is with JeremyR.

    2. If I remember correctly, when they “published” the virtually uncut interview online (on reason TV, Drink!) he had an aneurism and put out some screed that said they set him up and edited the interview to make him seem libertarian-ish.

      Probably all of his leftist authoritarian friends threatened to not give him any more work if he didn’t get back on the party line. I’m not sure what the hell he said that wasn’t on the party line in any case, but that’s just my read.

  4. Damn Simon is an obtuse ignorant shithead.

    Newspapers failed to cover their respective “city beats” just as much when they had 600 reporter newsrooms as they do now. The reasons may be different (leftist selective editing and general cowardice v. low manpower), but the end result is the same. The mental gymnastics this moron goes through to blame the failure of papers on WALL STREET!!!!!!, when it is in fact Wall Street that has made the failing unrepresentative, left-wing editorial, declining readership papers survive as long as they have.

    And his whole riff on how laissez-faire capitalism has “monetized” the poor as a prison commodity???? I’m going to have to smoke piles of dope just to be in the state of mind required figure out how he could possibly have come up with such a convoluted and factually challenged theory.

    1. I’m going to have to smoke piles of dope just to be in the state of mind required figure out how he could possibly have come up with such a convoluted and factually challenged theory.

      Nah, it’s actually quite simple: Everything good is the result of government, and everything bad is the result of the Market. No further thought is needed.

      1. It’s all about intentions.

    2. It’s simply the classic mental disconnect between wanting to Do Something and being completely ignorant about the expenses required to do it. Wall Street didn’t cause newspaper revenues to vaporize. But to people like Simon, revenues are irrelevant, because they are icky capitalist things.

    3. I agree his “capitalism monetized the poor” argument makes zero sense whatsoever. Yeah, there’s a lot of money in coercing people, but there’s a lot of expense in incarcerating them. A private system isn’t trying to make up for it in volume, and it’s basically just a tax dollar transfer to a “private” system anyway. So it’s basically not even valid to call it “private” – it’s not more private than an other GSE.

      Simon’s point about newspapers is valid though. Not all of them were started with the same goal – some were nothing but civic booster rags, others actually had the goal of informing their readers. When the papers became parts of conglomerates, any credo an individual paper followed was shitcanned. Maybe you can’t tell the difference at the L.A. Times which was started as a civic booster and devolved into simply printing government press releases – one can barely tell the difference in overall “purpose”. The Baltimore Sun though is a different animal entirely. For a very long time it was actually two different newspapers: this is a unique situation that neither Simon nor Gillespie acknowledge. But at least Simon lived it and while he may be wrong about newspapers in general, he’s more right about the Baltimore Sun than Gillespie.

  5. If I could understand this guy’s take, I’m sure I could understand people on the left a lot better, but when I see politicians and government employees profiting off incarcerating people or government employees profiting off delivering poor service under the guise of public education, those just aren’t examples of capitalism to me.

    It’s almost as if he defines capitalism simply as the desire for money and then the love of money as the root of all evil. So, when government employees enrich themselves at the expense of the people they’re supposed to help, that’s his idea of capitalism?

    When he uses the word “capitalism”, I don’t think he means the same thing we mean when we use the word “capitalism. We’re talking about individuals being empowered to pursue their own interests without being preyed upon by government institutions, but when he’s talking about “capitalism”, he’s just talking about the greed in people’s hearts.

    I think in his world, if you’re a government employee who’s in it for the money, then you’re a capitalist. I think that’s the disconnection.

    1. Some people really do not understand the distinction between voluntary transactions and coercion.
      Because of this they see no difference between capitalist free markets and government monopolies.

      1. Coercion is not binary, it is analog. Think long and hard about that and you might figure something out.

    2. It’s almost as if he defines capitalism simply as the desire for money and then the love of money as the root of all evil. So, when government employees enrich themselves at the expense of the people they’re supposed to help, that’s his idea of capitalism?

      I strongly suspect this is the case.

      1. addendum: I strongly suspect this is the case with all leftists.

    3. If what you suspect is true, then it should only be a matter of semantics and once everyone knows the proper definitions, then debate can begin. Semantic schisms are likely the cause of much disagreement, or widening the breach between partisans, and defeats any sort of dialog/meeting of the minds. At the very root who likes misery? Poverty? “Intentions” distorting greed? Force? The human element of outcome isn’t all that different from one creed to the next, the devil is in the details – what must have permanence and what must be left variable.

      But discussion can’t even be attempted when the semantics of the debate aren’t even in sync. We all should fear rent-seeking capitalists AND rapacious bureaucrats. But since we can’t even agree on definitions we are left so far apart from each other, and given so few practical options that “lesser of two evils” has flourished as reasonable economic and political structure. And the rent-seeking capitalists among us and the rapacious bureaucrats have forged a corpora-fascistic economy and the ever increasing totalitarian political structure that is needed to support it.

      In the end, libertarians are not supposed to be left or right. It’s the individual against Force. The only hope of undoing the dystopia – economic and political – that attacks and destroys individualism is to gather together those who are partially right and partially wrong, working out the semantic disconnects, and seeing what can be done to crack the Establishment.

      1. I am almost certain leftists play a game of semantics tag specifically so they can avoid any meaningful discussion of a topic, because they’d then be forced to defend what they know to be an indefensible (on top of being completely anathema to what they claim to stand for) position.

        1. Just to be clear, what do you mean by “left”? Do you include the fiscally liberal elements of the Republicans with that definition? Because they are just as fast and loose with terms. Also, those who broadly support capitalism refuse to discuss exactly what they mean by such when one points out the rent-seeking portion of the term as it is used in general. My own family are “righties” and they are just as dogmatic as lefties after their own causes.

          But it stands that until the semantic sleights of hand are minimized, there can be no dialog. And the sharpest blade in cutting through the gibberish is laying out an a priori reason for why Force is necessary as part of the espoused public policy, economic or political, regardless of what you call it. In the case of capitalism, that word MEANS the free market, not rent-seeking. So once it is defined in terms of Force versus non-Force, then and understanding can be forged as to what is meant, whether you call it free market, or capitalism, or splunge. But we seem to have people broadly support capitalism when what is encompassed in that modern definition is filled 70+% with rent-seekers who have long ago made their peace with interventionists and learned to prosper with the mutualism between themselves (crony-capitalists) and Pull selling bureaucrats/politicians.

          1. Cont.

            In the end, I have a belief (perhaps a naive superstition on my part) that there has to be enough socially liberal/fiscally conservative people out there that once the horrible fiscal and monetary policies bring down their inevitable damage upon us that a “third way” can be forged into the future. But that is a lot less likely to happen if people demand semantic purity of meaning despite the fact that the reality is opposite, or at least sustain confusion between interpretations.

          2. Do you include the fiscally liberal elements of the Republicans with that definition?

            You just answered your own question.

            I suppose I should have used the term progressive, though it is generally interchangeable with leftist.

            And to the rest of this post:

            The Left will argue the definition of the word Force and turn any conversation about Force into a spinning logic loop semantics game just like they do with any other “serious” discussion.

            But that is a lot less likely to happen if people demand semantic purity of meaning despite the fact that the reality is opposite, or at least sustain confusion between interpretations.

            I’m sorry, maybe I’m stupid, but isn’t this statement pretty much the polar-fucking-opposite of this:

            But it stands that until the semantic sleights of hand are minimized, there can be no dialog.

            1. Redmanfms, it’s very convenient for people like you to view coercion as binary. In fact, it’s necessary for you overly simplistic worldview to make any sense. Unfortunately, coercion is NOT binary, it is analog.

              1. I didn’t give my definition of force, so how the fuck would you know if it is binary or not?

                The Left plays a game in which they assign arbitrary definitions to words then changes the definitions once the conversation starts. Words do, in fact, have meaning dipshit, and the only people who play games with them do so because they don’t wish to argue the substance of a matter because those people know they will be proven wrong regardless of how they define a word, so long as that definition is concrete.

                BTW, we were talking about Force, not coercion you illiterate fucking twat. Coercion can exist without force, but force most certainly is binary. There is either force or there is no force, and your disingenuous repurposing of my statement to play a dipshit semantics game just proves my whole fucking point.

  6. I think he does a lot of good research for his writing, and everything comes together nice and neatly. It’s his craft after all. But when he puts down the sources of information and has to put regurgitate what he has learned in his own words, he falls short of an enlightened discussion.

    I, myself, could probably research and write a 5 paragraph article about quantum mechanics. But that wouldn’t make me an expert.

    1. I wish he’d do some research on a bunch of small businesses trying to get by, but I guess that’s not as interesting on television as people’s lives being destroyed by drugs in whatever way.

  7. He seems to be motivated by a combination of nostalgia for a bygone era and liberal logic breakdowns.

    Sure some things were better in the 80’s or the 50’s or whenever. The newspapers might have been better when they had 3 times the staff – and nobody had an alternative source of information.

    Then he gets hostile when confronted by the liberal failures in the cities. Welfare breaks down the family (The Wire documents perfectly), but we need more. Education is bad – just because. Capitalism in bad because Wall Street and stuff. It bores me.

  8. Sounds like the dude might be onto something.
    http://www.Anon-Tru.tk

  9. BTW, Treme is fucking boring. There.

    My first job out of the Navy was working for Bollinger in New Orleans. This was circa summer ’06 to early ’08. NOLA is a far more “interesting” (good and very bad) place than this TV show makes it. I watched the entire first season and most of the second and kept waiting to see what I experienced as a very well-paid 40-hour-a-weeker with weekends off in the most famous party town in America and it never happened. This pretentious douchebag Simon peeled the orange, threw away the fruit and the rind, and gave the world the fucking Sunkist sticker (that’s a shitty, “he completely missed all the neat shit, as well as the gritty, not as neat, but still interesting shit” analogy).

  10. reason: I saw the character played by John Goodman, and I was like: “Wow, this is awful. This is a white-guilt liberal.” And I was kind of happy when he died at the end of the first season.

    Simon: You might want to reflect on that.

    reason: Believe me, I will.

    -this is why my fantasy football team was called The Black Leather Jackets (before I renamed it “The Fuck You Obamas”

  11. “No, it’s really not.”

  12. And as a life-long newspaperman, I can say without hesitation that Simon doesn’t understand shit about newspapers. But his nostalgia/entitlement/reporter-as-hero complex certainly isn’t rare in the business.

    1. Isn’t it possible that people don’t care as much about what’s going on at city hall as he wish they did?

      Anyway, I’m not sure things aren’t being covered as well at city hall as they used to be. It may just be that they’re not being covered by newspapers as much anymore.

      We don’t go to the classifieds in the newspaper to find a job or sell our used cars anymore either, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t interested in finding jobs or selling their cars. They just go to other sources.

      Everywhere I look, it seems like cops can’t get away with brutality as easily as they used to. I hear about brutality cases in towns with local papers now that I’d never have read.

      There are lots of bloggers covering what’s going on at city hall these days, too–and you don’t have to buy a subscription to read them. …and you don’t have to go out in the cold on a Sunday morning to fetch the paper out of the driveway to read about city hall, either.

      1. ‘Isn’t it possible that people don’t care as much about what’s going on at city hall as he wishes they did?’

        Not just possible, but pretty much guaranteed. Newspaper revenue was always driven by two things: The classifieds and the sports section. There were newsstands that figured out that you’d make more money if you put the papers out with the sports section up instead of the front page.

        Simon really just longs for a world where he’s the arbiter of truth and he doesn’t have to listen to opinions he disagrees with. It’s bizarre that someone like him can make such complex T.V. and have no complexity in his worldview.

        1. “Simon really just longs for a world where he’s the arbiter of truth and he doesn’t have to listen to opinions he disagrees with.”
          —————-

          It’s so disturbing to me that it seems like there’s an awful lot of that going around these days.

  13. Just because you’re occcasionally tacitly for pot legalization, doesn’t make you a libertarian. Bill Maher went around for years basically claiming exactly that. Politically Incorrect was an interesting program to watch as a young libertarian. What was most hilarious was when he would take the most left-statist position possible on a given topic and end with something like, “But what do I know, I’m a libertarian.” Hell, we have Mike “Fuck Due Process” Godwin and Steve “Ends Justify, Well, Whatever” Chapman running around calling themselves libertarians and even being allowed to present articles here as libertarians.

    He seems to be motivated by a combination of nostalgia for a bygone era and liberal logic breakdowns. Sure some things were better in the 80’s or the 50’s or whenever. The newspapers might have been better when they had 3 times the staff – and nobody had an alternative source of information. Then he gets hostile when confronted by the liberal failures in the cities. Welfare breaks down the family (The Wire documents perfectly), but we need more.
    (Click Here to view more) Education is bad – just because. Capitalism in bad because Wall Street and stuff. It bores me.

  14. Simon: Let’s journey down this road together because Louisiana is the jurisdiction in the world that jails more human beings per capita than any other state. That’s pure market forces. There’s profit to be made. They’ve monetized the poor down there. That’s what they’ve done. Laissez-faire. We’re all paying for that. But people are getting rich.

    I am so disappointed when I read quotes like this from intelligent people. Clearly Simon is a talented, intelligent person, and here he is, claiming that Laissez-faire policies are responsible for the government incarcerating people. As if the drug war is one big exercise in limited/no government. Sigh.

    People will look back on us and wonder how we could get out of bed in the mornings and tie our shoes, all while remembering to put our pants on first.

  15. Simon’s life from day one was one of privilege and monied connections. He’s a buffoon at best, an evil prick at worst.

    It’s telling how Reason, which laughably posits itself as champion of liberty and freedom, treats this moderately talented doofus (who hit the gene pool lottery) with respect. Yet will go out of its way to slam Paul Ryan, Sarah Palin and Dick Cheney, even though those 3 are (unfortunately) some of the best defenders of limited government we have today.

    1. Sarah Palin – please remove her from the pantheon of defenders of limited government.

      Her signature piece of government intervention into the private markets – AGIA – called the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act – has crashed and burned, leaving Alaskan taxpayers on the hook for $500 million to TransCanada and ExxonMobil.

      Fracking technology has made the Alaska Pipeline to the lower 48 a mute project, as it is now awash in plentiful supplies of natural gas.

      Instead, because AGIA also handicaps any other alternative to a pipeline to the lower 48, the discussion in Alaska is now to import LNG and leave the 35 trillion cubic feet of natural gas on the North Slope…

      The quicker Palin disappears from the national dialogue the better. Couldn’t happen soon enough in Alaska.

  16. “Paul Ryan, Sarah Palin and Dick Cheney… some of the best defenders of limited government we have today.”
    Good one, haha. You had me goin’ for a minute.

  17. I think culture is not similar with ours, and different place have different culture.

  18. the world with many parts ,so that More Complicated
    yes, it is

  19. Instead, lawmakers spent the windfall. From 2002 to 2007, overall spending http://www.cheapfootballcleatsairs.com/ rose 50 percent faster than inflation. Education spending increased almost 70 percent faster than inflation, even though the relative school-age population was falling. Medicaid and salaries for state workers rose http://www.nikefootballcleatstrade.com/ almost twice as fast as inflation.

  20. This world is more complicated than what we think.

  21. Agreed – Treme is boring.

    I guess the reason the New York Times, or Baltimore Sunshine, only write from a biased liberal slant is that they have had to downsizetheir staff size and had to lay off all the conservative or libertarian voices in their midsts.

  22. We have been combing through classified and unclassified documents and have tough questions about State Department threat assessments and decision-making on Benghazi. This requires a public http://www.cheapbeatsbydreonau.com/ appearance by the Secretary of State herself.

  23. First time have watched it and really impressed by the scenerio.
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  24. It’s simply the classic mental disconnect between wanting to Do Something and being completely ignorant about the expenses required to do it. Wall Street didn’t cause newspaper revenues to vaporize. But to people like Simon, revenues are irrelevant, because they are icky capitalist things.
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  25. Coercion is not binary, it is analog. Think long and hard about that and you might figure something out.

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  26. I’m going to have to smoke piles of dope just to be in the state of mind required figure out how he could possibly have come up with such a convoluted and factually challenged theory.
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  27. Fracking technology has made the Alaska Pipeline to the lower 48 a mute project, as it is now awash in plentiful supplies of natural gas
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  28. Yeah, I haven’t watched the video, but his answers seem like typical statist demo-tard, who is the tiniest sliver disappointed with The One, since they have to actually deal with poor people every once in a while.
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    How anyone ever thought of him as a libertarian, or even having libertarian leanings, I have no clue.

    Just because you’re occcasionally tacitly for pot legalization, doesn’t make you a libertarian.

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