Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mad Max and the Meltdown

one DANIEL HENNINGER has an opinion article in the WSJ today that made me mad. combine that with the fact that its about stuff i dont know much about (anything outside of computer science and comparative literature) and we have the makings of a blog post.

link to aritcle.

the so called "war on christmas" is one of the most ridiculous notions that so-called conservative talking heads talk about. the idea that stores would put up signs with "happy holidays" instead of "merry christmas" actually offends them. they need to feel offended that badly, for reasons i think Glenn Greenwald has written a book about (though i havent read it).

here are my two biggest issues with the article:

1) "Little or nothing that has occurred through this crisis discredits the system of free-market capitalism. Across several centuries of rising world incomes and social gains, the system has proved its worth. In this instance, the system has been badly used -- by mere people. "

isn't that the exact argument agaisnt socialism/communism? i am no history buff, i know very little about political theory, but "from each according to his means, to each according to his need" sounds like a great idea. i need a tv, someone knows how to build tvs, he gives me a tv, now i have a tv. the guy who made me the tv needs a website, i know how to make websites (i dont, btw), i make him a website. of course we're just doing this out of the goodness of our hearts, so no money changes hands.

but it would never, ever work in reality, and has the potential for extreme, horrible abuse, as i think we've seen.

now it looks like the same is true for zero-regulation free-market capitalism, but this time its not the idealogy's fault, its the people's fault for not implementing it correctly? wtf?

for the record i'm all for regulated, sane free market capitalism. just like i'm all for individual freedom. but my individual freedom doesnt extend to me scamming, stealing, or killing others in order to enrich myself. when i do those things the state intervenes and throws my ass in jail. why should the economic freedom be any different? i dont want the government making aribtrary regulations just for shits, i dont want it preventing hostile takeovers because they aren't "fair" or some childish shit like that, but clearly we need some rules (laws) so that some actions (murder, predatory lending, fraud) are illegal and then we need to actually enforce those. government closing its eyes and ears to the financial world makes just as little sense as it does to the criminal world.

2) (and i cant believe these are actually coming up in the same, short article)
"Northerners and atheists who vilify Southern evangelicals are throwing out nurturers of useful virtue with the bathwater of obnoxious political opinions.
The point for a healthy society of commerce and politics is not that religion saves, but that it keeps most of the players inside the chalk lines. We are erasing the chalk lines."

this is offensive bullshit rooted in the concept that atheists can have no morals. that merely because we dont believe in god, we have no concept of what's right and whats wrong. i'm not even going into this one but it angers me and is bullshit on its face.

and wait, i thought greed was the driving force of the free market? wouldnt that mean acting in my own depraved self interest should be good for the system, not bad? i mean, one of my few readers correct me if i'm wrong, but isnt his argument then:
1) morality and rules have no place in the free market system, and implementing them would be a determent to that system
2) a cause of the financial meltdown is the secularization of modern society which is underminding its moral base

clearly those two can not both be true. so as i see it we have a couple options here

1) I'm off base in my understanding of some of the core concepts, or the article itself; probably oversimplifying something
2) this guy is a fucking idiot
3) this guy is a selfish prick

i'm going with 2 and/or 3 (after all these arent mutually exclusive). someone let me know if 1 is also true.

how weird is it that the current GOP is made up of 3 (separate?) coalitions that think we should 1) police the world, 2) police the bedroom, and, 3) for the love of god, not police the market?

Friday, November 7, 2008

community is definitely a positive thing about religion. of course, you also definitely dont need religion to have a community.