Living a Rumsfeldian lifestyle in the information age

Sam T. Harper

June 15, 2006

Several years ago, I had a chance to meet Donald Rumsfeld in a meeting. He is a no nonsense, to-the-point type of man.

I was amused and interested in his response a few weeks ago at a news conference to an exchange between Rumsfeld and a reporter.

"At today's Pentagon press briefing, a reporter said Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld didn't dispute or address a claim from a book about the run-up to the War in Iraq. Rumsfeld interrupted him and made him look like a fool:

RUMSFELD: You think I'm going to stand around reading your books and disputing things in them or validating or not validating? I have a real daytime job. You do nothing else but that if you did that. The fact that I haven't disputed something - I mean, if I disputed all of the mythology that comes out of this group and the books of the world, I would (not) have any time to do anything else."

(Thanks to for the above.)

I see, in this exchange, the seed of what I will call the Rumsfeldian lifestyle in the information age.

As well chronicled by many other people, we are bombarded by large volumes of information daily: radio, TV, internet, billboards, vehicles with signage, building signage, telephones, ... .

Do we need it all? No.

Do we complain about it? Yes. Ad nauseum!

The main stream media (MSM) is a favorite whipping dog of all the conservative radio and cable talking heads.

So I propose that we conservatives can live a Rumsfeldian lifestyle by becoming, like he seems to be, a media minimalist:

1. Cancel your cable or satellite service. We have neither here at the Harper homestead. I tell our 10 year old son, semi-jokingly, that on the day he leaves for college his mother and I will install digital HD satellite/cable service with Bose surround sound on a 40" Sony Bravia LCD screen. In the meantime, his job is to become a strong reader and to educate himself in preparation for college and life beyond; not to spend his childhood watching TV. Anyway, all the talking heads are monotonous and boring and very repetitive. So turn it OFF.

2. While in the car, listen to books on tape/CD. Turn off the radio while commuting/traveling and listen to a good history book or classic literature while driving down the road. On our summer vacation, the Harpers will listen to Huckleberry Finn (unabridged and in the original) and David McCullough's inspiring book, 1776. Will we listen to the radio broadcasts? Yes, to get traffic reports as we cruise through Nashville, St Louis, and Kansas City.

3. Read the Wall Street Journal editorial page. Daniel Henniger, John Fund, and the many guest writers provide some of the best insights into today's issue that you will find anywhere. At times, conservatives will not agree with the articles but because we are open minded individuals, we can handle it.

4.  Keep a few political internet sites on your Favorites list. (I hope becomes one as we earn your attention.) I keep, Drudge (though find myself looking at it less and less these days), and rotate a conservative blogger in a 3rd slot. Like, Rumsfeld, I have a daytime job that requires my focus so I spend little, but very focused, time reading what others have to say.

I don't know this for sure, but knowing what little I do about Rumsfeld, he spends his days looking at data, analyzing it, and making decisions. He has no time and no interest in knowing what the "nattering nabobs of negativism" have to say in response to his actions.

Take all the time you will save by implementing the Rumsfeldian lifestyle and get involved locally. That will be a better use of your energies than getting sucked into the media overload we now have.

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