Ideals of freedom should be guide in search of goal

Freedom Newspapers

The following statement was written in the 1960s by Freedom Communications, Inc. founder R.C. Hoiles, who died in 1970. Freedom is the parent company of the Clovis News Journal, Portales News-Tribune and Quay County Sun in Tucumcari. This statement was recently found among his files:

I have been asked to put in written form the editorial policies we believe should be followed in order to make the newspapers controlled by Freedom Newspapers Inc. better serve the community, the state and the nation. So unless someone can show us wherein the following policies violate principles that will promote more and better jobs, and at the same time more good will among mankind, the following is an outline of our beliefs.

Since no one can determine right from wrong or reason without some starting point from which to reason, it is necessary to set down a starting point. That starting point is that no individual, no group has a right to initiate force or use coercion against another individual or group to get part of his life energy.

It seems to us that this principle is embodied in the commandments “Thou shalt not murder,” “Thou shalt not steal” and “Thou shalt not covet anything that belongs to a fellow countryman,” and that it is also included in the Golden Rule and the Declaration of Independence. This is the guide that we think should be used in determining our editorial policies.

This policy makes us take a stand against any actions of any individual, or group or government that initiates force. This principle requires the newspaper to be very careful in selecting the columnists and editorials it runs.

It should also be a guide as to the letters to the editor that we run. We do not believe that any letter to the editor that reflects on the honesty or character of an individual should be run without the writer giving concrete evidence substantiating his accusation. This is true because it is just as immoral to repeat a falsehood as it is to originate it.

The same policy of course should be followed in news reporting. Any time the newspaper is in error, it should be glad to make a correction.

Editors and reporters gain understanding by permitting their suggestions or ideas or statements to be questioned, and if they cannot defend them without contradicting themselves or facing a dilemma, they are evidently in error. This is so because one truth or principle is always in agreement with another. It seems to be the best way known of discerning fact from error.

We know of no other U.S. newspapers that use as a guide the theory that no man or group of men should initiate force. This makes us oppose any discriminatory legislation. It makes us take the stand that no government or no subdivision of the government has a moral right to do anything that each and every individual does not have a right to do. If we are consistent with this principle we have to be against tax-supported schools, minimum wages, Social Security and any law that interferes with people making voluntary contracts and any law that interferes with an unhampered market.

This also makes us take a stand against any form of taxation, because taxation is a form of initiating force. If one believes in taxation or initiating force, it would seem that he must discard the commandments against stealing and coveting, the Golden Rule and the Declaration of Independence, which says “governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Since no man can give another’s consent, then if we believe in this principle, governments should be supported on a voluntary basis. If a man does not consent to voluntarily paying, he should not be compelled to pay. The minute you compel him, you are violating moral principles and cannot tell the difference between that form of government and the compulsion of communism other than by degree.

And if a man is compelled to pay, in order to promote any semblance of justice, he would have to help run the government. This class of people would soon get control of the government and use it to exploit those people who had not thought through the principles on which this government was formed.

While, of course, we never expect to have a perfect government — that is, a government with the consent of the governed — we want to use these ideals as guides to the direction we want to go. Just as if we were lost in the desert at night we would use the North Star as a guide, although we never would expect to get to the North Star.