The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Two major newspapers get new owners

Yesterday I read that The Boston Globe, which had been owned by The New York Times since 1993, had been sold to John Henry, who currently owns the Boston Red Sox and a soccer team. And today I read that Jeff Bezos (the founder of, has bought The Washington Post. These are major players in the United States' newspaper business; what do these sales mean?

For one thing, it has been noted that when the Times bought the Globe, they paid over a billion dollars, while John Henry paid only $70 million to purchase it. This is a sign that the Globe, at least, has lost over 90% of its value; many people point to this and say that the newspaper business is in general a dying one. But I can't imagine that John Henry would pay $70 million just to fold the Globe; he must expect that he can do something with it. And Jeff Bezos certainly must feel that The Washington Post is viable; he is not accustomed to throwing money down the drain, but he is known for nurturing an unprofitable company for years in the hope that he can make it profitable.

The amount that Bezos will pay to buy the Post has not been divulged, and since it was last sold in the 1930s, there is no easy comparison, as there was for the Globe, of past and present values. But in both cases, it is clear that the new owners have gambled that newspapers can still function. It will be interesting to follow both papers' fortunes.

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