"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." -Aldous Huxley

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wTuesday, May 07, 2002

RESOLVED: GET NEW LABELS: In what promises to be a fun public debate over campaign finance reform, The American Prospect's Ellen Miller and Tom Paine's John Moyers will be staring down John Samples of the CATO Institute and Mike Lynch, my soon-to-be colleague from Reason Magazine. The loaded resolution: "The Government is Still for Sale."

So far so good but the Prospect advertisement proceeds to call Miller and Moyers the "LIBERAL TEAM" and sticks Samples and Lynch with the "CONSERVATIVE TEAM" moniker. The problem is that neither Lynch nor Samples is a conservative in any recognizable sense. They are both employed by libertarian outfits that often fight with conservative shops over such issues as the legalization of drugs, immigration, cloning, privacy rights, the censorship of obscenity and… I could go on. They oppose campaign finance reform because they see it as a form of censorship, not because it will help or hurt the Republican Party.

Calling Lynch and Samples the conservative team – and calling the pro “reformers” the liberal team – may be a good way to draw crowds but it also stacks the rhetorical deck.

posted by Jeremy at 12:54 PM