Whether a large New York-based conglomerate buys The Register-Guard or Phil Knight and other private donors in effect buy the University of Oregon through Oregon taxpayers’ sheer abdication, we need to grasp a broader issue: economic interests colonizing and steering all our institutions — even a longtime, family-owned, local daily newspaper.
Instead of op-ed pages, coffee houses, universities and other forums where a free exchange of ideas and opinions form, corporate and government imperatives control the direction in which our society goes. Means — money and power — become ends.
This market-is-god tendency has been intensifying over that past half-century or so. It’s not absolute. But it’s hard, I find, to deny.
The market economy and administrative state impose an ethos of instrumental rationality — knowledge for wealth and power — on journalistic, educational and other institutions.
Truth is not good in the deepest sense; rather, we have “fake news.” Values are not what are in fact valuable; rather, we have “alternative facts.” Reason is seen only in its means-end, instrumental sense, not in its practical or moral sense.
Being human and the natural environment have no intrinsic value, and what it means to be human or a citizen has no higher or shared purposes, only individual purposes.
In such a culture, is there any reason The Register-Guard, the UO and other institutions should continue to have loyalty and consensus from within, respect among citizens and freedom from tight corporate and state control? Will efficient management for externally imposed objectives be The Register-Guard’s rational role?
Sam Porter, Eugene