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By Paul Meekin

I feel like a 10 year old kid the Monday morning after Christmas break. I don’t want to wake up, I don’t want to go to school, and I don’t want to make tough choices. I want to stay home and play with my toys.

This is a silly way of saying I want to keep PBS. I want to keep PBS and NPR and the National Endowment for the Arts. Yes. I understand it is the opinion of the Libertarian party and readers of this very website these things are wasteful and useless and have no place being provided for by the Federal Government.

Yes. I understand Taxation is theft and the government is not paying for these programs – we, the citizenry, are. And yes, I understand there are tough choices to be made regarding our budget and deficit and debt.

But please mom, Can’t I play hooky today? I wanna watch “Sesame Street,” Mr. Rogers, “321 Contact,” “Arthur,” “NOVA,” and “Downton Abbey” all day. I want to feel secure in the knowledge that despite the insanity, bloat and overspending of the government, that at least a tiny little bit of that bloat does some fundamental good.

From a libertarian perspective I am of the mind that an all-or-nothing mentality is going to doom the party to closed Facebook groups and twitter wars and limit our appeal to only the most fiscally conservative.

You want to win an election? A meaningful, national election? You gotta compromise, and maybe, just maybe, getting our foot off the big long yellow neck of Big Bird is a decent place to start.

If push comes to shove and we REALLY need the 445 million dollars PBS gets, then fine, cut it, but we’re not there yet.

If Democrats refuse to compromise and Republicans refuse to compromise, and one half hates the other half, perhaps Libertarians become the party that does. Perhaps Libertarians agree that PBS is wasteful spending, but understand it’s small potatoes at this time.

In much the same way Barack Obama directed the Feds to not focus on Marijuana law violations, maybe we can direct ourselves to fry some fish bigger than the porcelain one on “Antiques Roadshow?”

If this sounds like the pleas of a lefty liberal who grew up with this station and its programming, it’s only because I am. They’ve covered Kevin Smith and Tarantino and gave us “Baseball” and “Prohibition” and “The Civil War”. They provided long-form, commercial free, informative content in a “world” dominated by the profit motive and advertising and giving the people what they want. PBS gives you what you need.

And yeah, this is thanks to the Federal Government (and viewers like you).I want nothing more than to sit on my butt at a smoking bar and light up a joint and watch a privately funded PBS without commercials and the same quality content I’ve come to expect.

But don’t take my word for it:

I very badly want a Libertarian utopia of freedom and liberty and people actively financially supporting the media they choose to digest – not being forced to do so.

But we’re not there yet. Cutting funding to PBS is like cutting life vests from a boat because you’d get hypothermia in the water anyway. Even if we don’t need it, even if it is, technically, useless ballast, there’s a boatload of people who take comfort and solace in the fact there’s something designed to protect them from the cold harsh realities of life – and that’s worth the 1.35 a year it costs the Citizenry if you ask me. 

EDITOR’s NOTE: The views expressed are those of the author, they are not representative of The Libertarian Republic or its sponsors.


  • peanut

    Is this an Onion article?

    • Gary Stefancik

      Sadly no.

  • Robert White

    Do what? Paul Meekin, are you being serious? You want me to continue paying for a program that is more than capable of being self sustaining? You want to continue taking money from my family to support an agenda driven government program? This program should have never been under the federal preview. So cut it and start saving every penny possible.

    • imogen88

      PBS kids provides educational shows to children for free, so even if parents work or are low socioeconomic class or don’t speak a word of english, kids can learn. It should be part of educational funding that comes out of our taxes.

      I agree with the author that libertarians have to learn to compromise and pick and choose their battles. Civil asset forfeiture and avoidance of unnecessary wars should be of much bigger priority than cutting the funding for PBS kids. I’d rather educate children (without indoctrination, I might add) than build a wall and give any more incentive or hope to the alt-right.

      • Robert White

        Free? These programs are constantly begging for money during their fund raisers and announcing their corporate supporters. There is no such thing as free and the shows are chocked full of indoctrination.
        Paying for liberal television is not compromising it is paying for indoctrination. Want to run these children shows great but let the free market decide what works and what does not.

        • imogen88

          Privatization does not guarantee quality. TLC provides an excellent case-in-point. Originally founded and funded by NASA and the precursor to the Department of Health and Human Services, TLC was once a public resource focused on truly educational programming. In the decade following its privatization, TLC’s programming slowly shifted to accommodate popular (and advertisers’) tastes, and today the network is best known for “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo”. Not exactly quality programming.

          Parents can choose what their children watch, but there are at least half a dozen kids shows that have no political or religious leaning whatsoever, nor do they indoctrinate. Teaching kids to enjoy reading and to find answers in books is the opposite of indoctrination; it teaches them to read more physical books and to think for themselves. Several of the shows teach critical thinking. And it’s nice to have one tv station/app that does not have commercials selling children soda and junk food.

          • Robert White

            I get you like PBS, I do not. I do not want to continue paying for unnecessary federal intrusion into entertainment/education.
            You believe that PBS is sometimes not indoctrinating, okay but sometimes is not sufficient for me. The kid shows may have some redeeming qualities, but what about the remainder of the day? Why should I pay for all the heavily biased, indoctrinating endowment programs? If I need children’s programs I can subscribe to any of several online sites that have the type of programming I want kids to watch. Or I can borrow videos from the public library.
            Point being, if you like your PBS then pay for your PBS. I do not trust it, nor believe in all the lessons they teach. More importantly, this is not a function the federal leviathan should be involved in at all.

          • junglepitts

            It’s so easy for you to say that you can “subscribe” to things online while many many parents don’t have the luxury to do that. Many parents can’t afford cable or internet, we don’t have Internet at home just what we have on our phones and we can’t afford cable either. Thanks to pbs my 4 year old can enjoy cartoons that teach him about animals and how to take care of the environment, something trump doesn’t care about doing. We couldn’t afford to send him to preschool so we teach him what we can and he learns so much more thanks to pbs kids. Pbs also has awesome documentaries that I enjoy to watch as well. This is going to hurt everyone, stop being so selfish just because you can afford it.

          • Robert White

            Stop being selfish because I don’t want to pay to entertain your kids? You think taking money, I earn, from my family to give your kids entertainment is somehow justified? You have access to the public library just as I did. There are videos and books available to educate and entertain your kids, without needing cable nor internet. Aside that, many of the children’s programs on PBS are more than capable of being self sustaining and do not require federal money to continue functioning.

      • Gary Stefancik

        The educational shows make money hand over fists. So cutting funding to them is no problem.

      • Lee O. Welter

        I like your intentions, but consider replacing the government monopoly K-12 schools with school choice for every family to be a better solution to the cost and quality problems intrinsic to monopolies.

    • soybomb315

      “So cut it and start saving every penny possible.”

      Yes, but this budget does just the opposite. It cuts these things and then spends them even more wastefully on the military….And I would argue it even increases the chances of us going to war.

      So basically, one step forward – two steps backwards. Let’s focus on the big picture.

  • June Genis

    There is a difference between cutting funding gradually and going cold turkey. The latter is difficult in any context. How about this for a starting compromise: The government will match contributions, over and above last year’s total private donations for an amount not to exceed 50% of last year’s government budget line. Repeat as necessary until its not an issue any more.

  • Dave

    While I disagree in principle with the concept of using tax dollars to support these sort of programs, I also understand the need for compromise, if we are to gain a wider following. That being said, if compromise is considered, I would favor keeping the funding for PBS TV and removing the funding from NPR. I have seen quite a bit of worthwhile programing on my local PBS station, but IMO NPR has become National Progressive Radio. As time goes by, they have made less and less of an attempt to maintain even an appearance of neutrality in their news reporting. Although the tone is different, they have pretty much taken the tact of most other liberal news outlets. Sort of like the Huff Post or WAPO, but with a soothing, intellectual tone of voice.

    • soybomb315

      yes, NPR is far from neutral. But even still, there is more actual information discussed on that radio station than all of the others put together.

      NPR/PBS is one of the last things I would cut…..If govt was going to spend a dollar, better it be on NPR/PBS than on the military – which is what all this is about in Trump’s budget.

  • soybomb315

    Of course federal funding for things like PBS shouldnt be there…..But in the BIG picture, there are hundreds and hundreds of items more wasteful and problematic than PBS…..PBS should be one of the last federally funded things to be cut…..Eliminate the warfare state….Eliminated the welfare state…etc etc. And THEN cut big bird.

    By focusing on small things and ignoring big things, they got it completely BACKWARDS. From my point-of-view, Trump is making a mockery of libertarian ideology. Sort of how I felt people like Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney were making a mockery of Tea Party just a couple years ago.

  • Gary Stefancik

    PBS is rolling in money. It needs no government money. The fact that PBS/NPR is a liberal biased network makes funding it even more of a problem.

  • Lee O. Welter

    PBS and NPR will surely survive and do well without tax money. Many years ago, I donated hundreds of dollars, but quit that when I learned they were dependent upon theft.

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