John Stossel Videos
Because of "junk science," government bureaucracies gain more power, millions of dollars are squandered, useful products are forced off the market, and many people are wrongly imprisoned, ABC TV's John Stossel shows in this controversial report.
Junk science begins with scientists, but it isn't all their fault, he says. His cameras reveal how bureaucrats twist the truth to protect their turf, activists twist it to fit their agendas, lawyers to win cases, and the media for higher ratings.
Can't Say That!
What's Happening to Free Speech?
Great footage, questions and points scored for liberty as Stossel dramatically defends free speech. He speaks out against those who suppress it to satisfy the hypersensitive among us. "Who gets to decide what's okay to say?" he asks.
He shows how government speech codes have intimidated private companies into censoring what employees say with their computers and email. Miller Brewing fired a man for using a single 8-letter word which wasn't anything hateful. A bar owner, forbidden to use a certain word on his own property, defied authorities by having the word tattooed on his bald head!
You meet three vengeful teachers who were so offended by the peaceful words on one student's website that they demanded criminal charges be filed against the boy. "Lighten up, ladies," Stossel suggests, but they won't have any of it. He notes that he has been called all kinds of really hateful things, including "the fingernails on the blackboard of television." Terrific.
We Scaring Ourselves to Death?
Government regulations shorten average person's life 7-10 years
ABC-TV 20/20 reporter John Stossel is a rarity, a television network personality who cherishes liberty and understands how free markets work. In this video of a popular network special, he boldly reports controversial findings.
He tells how the mass media stir needless hysteria about crime, hazardous chemicals and other risks which seem to justify increasing government restrictions on our freedom. He explains why few people actually die from these risks. He has a face-to-face confrontation with famed fearmonger Ralph Nader and challenges the boss of the powerful Environmental Protection Agency.
Far more dangerous, Stossel reports, are government regulations. He provides dramatic illustrations--government-mandated asbestos removal, for example--where regulations actually increase health risks for children. He goes on to make clear how government regulations destroy jobs and increase the cost of living, thereby making people poorer which means more serious health problems. Indeed, he demonstrates how by impoverishing people, government regulations cut the average person's life seven to ten years. He reveals government regulations to be even more lethal than cigarette smoking.
Stossel has an appealing on-camera presence. His script scores important
points in an entertaining way. The footage, filmed around the country,
is striking. What a pleasure!
Give Me a Break!
Give Me a Break!
Because John Stossel's weekly "Give Me a Break" feature is the most popular showcase for pro-liberty ideas on network television, we asked ABC to put together a special video for us.
Stossel shows how American taxpayers spend some 6 trillion hours annually figuring out the complex forms for taxes which cost them more than food, clothing and shelter combined. Supposedly the gasoline tax pays for road repairs, but you'll see how the government spends it on other stuff, too, like an expansion for the Greyhound Bus Museum. Give me a break!
You'll see how a clergyman tried selling caskets for $500 so that grieving people wouldn't be hurt by excessive funeral costs, but the government threatened to imprison him for violating a law which suppresses competition with funeral directors who charge $3,000 for the same caskets. Give me a break!
Greed is revealed to be one of the most important engines of human advancement and prosperity. [Executive Producer: Victor Neufeld/ Journalist: John Stossel/ 50 min/ Documentary-Educational]
Greed is a much deprecated motivation. It is discouraged at its first manifestation in young children. It is blamed for untold evil in fiction and in real life. The very word greedy is a pejorative. However, as ABC's John Stossel demonstrates in this solidly libertarian documentary, greed doesn't deserve its bad rap.
Yes, says Stossel, greed may motivate some people to steal and cheat, but (government aside) these are exceptions. Greed motivates most of us to work harder, to innovate, and to cooperate with each other. More importantly, it motivates those few creative geniuses among us, on whom everything else depends, to bring to life the new ideas that move the whole world forward.
Why then is greed so vilified? Stossel invites Objectivist philosopher David Kelley to answer that one. Kelley says that because greedy people get rich, they appear to be getting a bigger piece of the economic pie at the expense of everyone else. What is missing from that perception, continues Kelley, is that greedy people make whole new pies--including products that never existed before, like high-speed computers and lifesaving medical treatments.
This argument is important to libertarians, because government force, to which libertarians are opposed, is often justified as a necessary counter to the effects of greed. If greed isn't so bad after all, then maybe that force can't be justified. Moreover, if greed is an impetus of human progress in a voluntary society, then everyone should be concerned about the effects of making it a moral crime.
Of course, the observation that self-interest is socially beneficial isn't new. Adam Smith noted that people intending their own gain tend to promote the public interest as though "led by an invisible hand." And Ayn Rand even wrote a book on the Virtue of Selfishness. But this may be the first time that this point has been made in such a concentrated way in a documentary. And in a day and age when people are many times more likely to watch a film than read a book, that makes this something of a milestone.
Stossel has done his usual outstanding job of making his points in an evenhanded manner and with crystal clarity, employing a variety of colorful examples. Even more importantly, he has done so without pulling any punches, at one point favorably comparing the good done by junk bond king Michael Milken to that done by Mother Theresa! This is Stossel's best work so far. Yes, as long as theft is illegal, greed is good. This film is recommended for outreach material.
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