Enter Stage Right hands out its monthly awards...

The February 1998 Earth is Flat Award

A celebration of the inane, insipid and asinine...

It should not surprise, I suppose, that U.S. President William Jefferson Clinton is the recipient of this month's Earth is Flat Award.

As this is being written, a deal for immunity for Monica Lewinsky appears not to be reachable. Whether it eventually weakens the case against Clinton only time will tell, but until then there are some important points to remember.

Though Clinton's Hollywood friends and much of the public says that character isn't important, or that a person's private character is different from that person's public character, they are both wrong. Character does matter.

Do you see Clinton speaking glowingly about the sanctity of the American family in the next few years? How about women's rights? The importance of law and order? Faithfulness to one's wife? Respect for children? Trust? At a minimum, on all of these Clinton faces a serious credibility gap if he did receive favours from Lewinsky. Do you till think there is such a thing as a difference between "private" and "public" character?

And though adultery is not a crime, it still weakens the office itself, even if Clinton's approval ratings continue to be very strong. His voice is weakened not only in the United States, but across the world. How must have Palestinian Authority chieftain Yasser Arafat felt sitting next to Clinton as the later was pounded by reporters over the alleged marital infidelity!

The office of the President, along with things like the American dollar and the Statue of Liberty are/were symbols of the very essence of the United States of America. If Clinton did attempt to suborn perjury and obstruct justice, can one really make the argument that a person who commits felonies while in office should remain that kind of symbol?

Clinton's arguments rest on telling the entire truth. Period. Even if he has not broken any laws, his own denials that he never had sexual relations with "that woman, Miss Lewinsky" and that he "never told anybody to lie" gives him no room to maneuver. As the Economist stated in a piece on the matter, if there is but a shred of truth to the allegations, Clinton must resign.

His alleged sexual dalliances have destroyed his and the office's dignity. If he has broken the law, he must resign.

For destroying on that last shred of dignity that you and your office had, one Earth is Flat Award.

The February 1998 Vinegar in Freedom Award

There is an old Serbian proverb that says vinegar in freedom tastes better than honey in slavery. This award is meant for events and people Enter Stage Right considers to be positive.

Although I am a member of the media -- outside of Enter Stage Right I actually have a paying job reporting on events in my little city -- I have to profess a profound dislike for most of the profession. At least those who occupy the highest levels of visibility.

To a man and woman they are typically products of a society that believes in the subordination of rights in favour of a collectivist society. Except at least one.

"I started out by viewing the marketplace as a cruel place, where you need intervention by government and lawyers to protect people. But after watching the regulators work, I have come to believe that markets are magical and the best protectors of the consumer. It is my job to explain the beauties of the free market." -- interview in The Oregonian Newspaper.

John Stossel of ABC's 20/20 has long been a crusader for rationality and the free market. Over the past several years his prime time specials on ABC have punctured traditional liberal ideas...whether it is the cult of victimology, the government's role in protecting citizens from false threats, the second hander...and now the forces arrayed against the free market.

On February 3, Stossel brought his insight to the topic of greed. The program, entitled "Greed", finally brought the other side to the North American public, showing them that the free market is indeed the best mechanism for the progress of individuals.

Let his detractors say what they will, but for those who love capitalism, Stossel is a beacon in an otherwise anti-free market media society.




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