40 Years of Excellence
KET commences its fifth decade of broadcast service for Kentuckians
Under the leadership of three superb executive directors – O. Leonard Press (1962-1991), Virginia Fox (1991-2002), and Malcolm Wall (2003-present), Kentucky Educational Television, the state’s public television network, has provided exceptional service to its viewers.
Winning national awards for its educational and public service programs, KET has become a valuable source of news, arts and information for millions of Kentuckians. The exciting news is that KET, as it moves into the era of digital television, will diversify and expand its programming on five broadcast channels. Kentucky has benefited from KET’s leadership during its first 40 years. Its signal is now loud and clear – KET will continue to be a leader in public television and an educational asset to the people of Kentucky.
Our Collective Candidates
By David Boaz
Barack Obama recently urged graduates of Connecticut’s Wesleyan University to devote themselves to “collective service,” not an unusual commencement theme. But while he discussed various kinds of nonprofit activism, he never mentioned the virtues of commerce or individual achievement.
He also did not cite the military as an example of service. This was a Memorial Day weekend speech to college-age students by a man seeking to be entrusted with the defense of the U.S.
Sen. Obama told the students “our individual salvation depends on collective salvation.” He disparaged students who want to “take your diploma, walk off this stage, and chase only after the big house and the nice suits and all the other things that our money culture says you should buy.”
The people Obama is sneering at are the ones who built America – traders and entrepreneurs and manufacturers who gave us railroads and airplanes, housing and appliances, steam engines, electricity, telephones, computers and Starbucks. Ignored here is the work most Americans do, the work that gives us food, clothing, shelter and increasing comfort. It’s an attitude you would expect from a Democrat.
Or this year’s Republican nominee. John McCain also denounces “self-indulgence” and insists Americans serve “a national purpose that is greater than our individual interests.” During a Republican debate at the Reagan Library on May 3, 2007, McCain derided Mitt Romney’s leadership ability, saying, “I led… out of patriotism, not for profit.” Challenged on his statement, McCain elaborated that Romney “managed companies, and he bought, and he sold, and sometimes people lost their jobs. That’s the nature of that business.” He could have been channeling Barack Obama.
“A greater cause,” “community service” – to many of us, these gauzy phrases sound warm and comforting. But their purpose is to disparage and denigrate our own lives, to belittle our own pursuit of happiness. They’re concepts better suited to a more collectivist country than to one founded in libertarian revolution – a revolution intended to defend our rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
One gets the sense that McCain would like to see us all in the armed forces. In a Washington Monthly essay published in October 2001, his vision of national service sounded militaristic. He wrote with enthusiasm for programs whose participants “wear uniforms and work in teams . . . live in barracks on former military bases, and are deployed to projects far from their home base,” and who would “gather for daily calisthenics, often in highly public places such as in front of city hall.”
Obama wouldn’t send us into the military. He wants our souls. His wife, Michelle, said at UCLA in February two days before the California primary, “Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. . . . That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.”
There is a whiff of hypocrisy here. Obama, who made $4.2 million last year and lives in a $1.65 million house bought with the help of the indicted Tony Rezko – and whose “elegant suits” and “impeccable ties” made him one of Esquire’s Best-Dressed Men in the World – disdains college students who might want to “chase after the big house and the nice suits.” McCain, who with his wife earned more than $6 million last year and who owns at least seven homes, ridicules Romney for having built businesses.
But the real issue is that Obama and McCain are telling us that our normal lives are not good enough, that pursuing our own happiness is “self-indulgence,” building a business is “chasing after our money culture,” working to provide a better life for our families is a “narrow concern.”
They’re wrong. You have a right to follow your bliss, to seek satisfaction in accomplishment. And if you chase the almighty dollar, you just might find that you are led, as if by an invisible hand, to do things that improve the lives of others.