Tag: wamu

Cato Pledge Drive

Public radio talk show host Diane Rehm said during WAMU’s pledge drive yesterday:

“Whenever I meet someone who says, ‘Diane, I love your show, I love what you do,’ the first thing I ask them is, ‘Are you a member?’”

“Member” means financial contributor, of course, and she went on to make the point that if you value public radio, you should contribute. Of course, every taxpayer is a contributor to public radio, whether he values it or not.

But that’s not true for the Cato Institute. We don’t accept government money. Indeed, a few years ago, we rejected a large contribution from Fannie Mae when that entity announced that it was going to add Cato to the vast list of Washington organizations and politicians on whom it showered its ill-gotten gains. We also, as it happens, got only 2 percent of our funding from corporations last year. The money that enables Cato to do its work comes overwhelmingly from 15,000 individual contributors.

So Diane Rehm’s question is much more valid in our case: Do you visit the Cato website or enjoy seeing our scholars on television and in the newspapers? Do you value the work we do on behalf of liberty and limited government? Are you a Sponsor? If not, shouldn’t you become a Sponsor and help make sure we can continue and expand that work?

And if you are a Sponsor, thank you!

King Canute, Abraham Lincoln, and Wishful Thinking

King Canute famously demonstrated to his advisers that even a king couldn’t stop the sea from rising. Abraham Lincoln told his visitors that calling a dog’s tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg. But lots of people these days think that passing a law automatically makes things happen, that you can pass a law against drug use or racism or homelessness and solve a problem.

Today I heard a traffic reporter on WAMU public radio demonstrate just how widespread that assumption is, at least in Washington. About 9:20 a.m. he said, “The federal government opened on time today [after a week of closings and yesterday’s delayed opening], so most federal workers are already sitting at their desks.” Well, I was stuck in a miles-long backup on snow-blocked roads, and I’m guessing that a lot of the people in the other cars were federal employees. Just because you declare that the federal government will open on time doesn’t automatically mean that federal employees will get there on time. You have to take into account realities like weather, slow clearing of roads, and people’s unwillingness to start their commute much earlier than normal.

Reality, alas, interferes with a lot of grand plans.