You know, I’m a small government conservative type, but I have a deep, dark secret that shatters my credibility and totally dismisses any argument that I might have against a Federal mandates for purchasing Obama-approved health insurance: I watch some PBS programming.
It all started, as it often does, with Sesame Street, which I started recording for my children. Because I needed them to see a number of puppets praising Jessica Alba, Jenny McCarthy, and Michelle Obama. Then we started with the Dragon Tales so they would learn to embrace the cognitive dissonance of having a dragon, which can fly, in a wheelchair. That program started catching the beginning of the noon program, which was an adult program. So I started recording those programs for Daddy, which happen to be programs that Daddy can watch while the children are present.
So I watch the following on PBS regularly, even though I don’t think that the Federal government should replicate criminal laws that states already have just so its prosecutors can dip their beaks into headlines when crimes occur:
- Equitrekking, a program about where you can go worldwide to ride horses. I have a bunch of horses around me now, so I thought I’d like to learn more about them. The program is more about travel, though, to places where you can ride horses. Still, it’s interesting to see different landscapes, and the children catch glimpses of different wildlife than the demonic possums one sees around here. Also, Darley Newman is cute.
- Beads Baubles and Jewels [sic], a program about making things with beads, which I actively hobbied earlier this year. I get to see some of the people whose books I read and whose blogs I visited in action, and the live demonstrations of the bead stitches helped me understand them better than diagrams in books.
- Victory Garden, or as I call it, “An Aussie, A Brit, and a Hippie.” This program explores some gardening things and shows off a variety of plants and things to consider while worshipping Gaia. Actually, it does talk a little green and sustainably, but it’s not as bad as P. Allan Smith’s Garden Home, and the voices and accents on Victory Garden are easier to listen to for more than three minutes.
Now that I have unburdened my guilty soul to you, I ask of you: Why are these shows on public television?
Because they’re produced by public television stations!
But why are they produced by public television stations? Look at the content of these shows. Maybe in the 1960s and 1970s, you would not see these programs on the big three networks and might have needed someone to spend tax money to put them on the air, but in the 21st century, cable channels and nowadays the Internet pump these sorts of programs out all over the place. There are entire travel channels, entire crafting channels (well, DIY and HGTV run those sorts of shows), and so on. There are so many profit-seeking channels that quality shows like these are frequent and available. So why is public television still pumping them out?
Because there’s still a public television budget.
Until there isn’t, public television stations will continue to spend tax money to provide duplicate programming that other sources are providing on their own dime. Maybe you won’t get Victory Garden running for 60 years; my favorite programs Creative Juice and Small Space Big Style ran for 3 years and 1 year (IMDB indicates, but I think there were more episodes than that) respectively.
But you do get free market flexibility, and tax money savings the government could put to infrastructure projects or something else. Ha! Who am I kidding? In the 21st century, the government doesn’t spend money on public benefits. It spends money on private wealth transfers and government employees.
UPDATE: I just watched an episode of Victory Garden that included a segment, apparently forthcoming regular feature on the program, whose experts actually have their own program on DIY. You see how this sort of proves my point?