The Obnoxious Uselessness of the Paralysis Narrative

I just finished reading Nicholas Kristof taking to the Times to lament our collective national failure to legislatively combat gun violence. As if the average American citizen has any political power anyway. He says that, in most basic terms, Americans begrudgingly accept the surveillance state in exchange for a sense of safety, but this sounds like his own perspective as reinforced by his selection of articles and surveys, and the conclusions he extrapolates from them.

The truly amazing thing is I spent years of my life reading these columnist thinking they were something special or had some special information. Nope. By and large, editorial writers are just sharing their unique perspectives on why conventional wisdom is awesome and currying favor with those in power to whom they want access. Obviously. And why are they sharing their opinion anyway? It’s not like the New York Times has a fiduciary responsibility to serve the public interest; indeed, when I loaded up the page with Mr. Kristof’s opinions, before I could even scroll down, I had noticed ads for two banks. And if you haven’t already figured it out, if you’re not paying to use something, you are the product, not the customer. In a cynical world, Mr. Kristof is writing his columns to stimulate a consumer response for the page’s advertisers, not trying to stimulate broad public discourse and political engagement. Anyway, it’s just something to read if they don’t care about or have access to the style or sports section.

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