we’re perpetually told the fundamental cause of the ongoing meltdown is Wall Street “greed,” as though that somehow counted as an explanation. How, pray, would we describe it if mortgage lenders had rejected many more applications from lower-income folks, on the grounds that they were poor risks? Well, greed, of course. Pretty much whatever they did, they’d be doing because they expected it to maximize their profit; the issue is their judgement, not their motives. Or put another way: The problem isn’t that people were greedy, it’s that they weren’t very good at being greedy.
Simply put, if congressional Democrats manage to acquiesce in a plan that spends $700 billion on a bailout while doing nothing for average working people and giving the taxpayer virtually no upside in a way that guarantees that even electoral victory would give an Obama administration no resources with which to implement a progressive domestic agenda in 2009 then everyone’s going to have to give serious consideration to becoming a pretty hard-core libertarian.
I listened to the Republican Debate from Sunday and heard Tom Tancredo repeat his strategy of nuking Mecca if terrorists launch another attack on the United States. It’s just silly. Everyone is sold on the notion that religions are “of” something, like peace or justice.
Nuking Mecca is a way of fighting on technicalities and hoping that the other side believes in them as much as we would like them to. It’s like trying to fight LSD use by threatening to build a Starbucks on Jim Morrison’s gravesite.
John Allen Paulos has a new book out soon, I think it’s going to a more civil (and knowing Paulos well written and interesting) version of the recent Richard Dawkins screed. My favorite blurb from the Amazon page “A Lifelong Unbeliever Finds No Reason to Change His Mind”
I’ve decided to start a more or less weekly series about the people and forces of that don’t get enough credit in our society. I call it the Friday In Appreciation Series.
We live in age when sanctimonious piety rivals hydrogen as the most common thing in the universe. Be it suburbanites railing against city-dwellers not having children, Ultra-Calvinist urbanites railing against Bushies standing in the way of progress, or Muslims from loser countries blaming Danish cartoons for their crappy lives, it’s hard to walk five feet without getting smacked in the face by righteous outrage, backed up by the usual litany of reasons people have for telling other people to run their lives.
But there’s one group that not only walks the walk and talks the talk; they also handle the snakes. Yep, I’m talking about Snake Handlers. It’s refreshing to see someone use the fine print and not bother other people. They actually follow the fine print just because it’s there. They even keep going when their leaders die of snake-bite. Now that’s faith!
“That’s the problem with religion: you beat your way past the clerics, fight your way through the demons, stand before the holy of holies, and when you rip away the veil, there’s nothing there but a mirror.”