Quick Roundup 426

Friday, April 24, 2009

Feds to Take over Banks?

Dick Morris says that a stock conversion move by the Obama Administration will result in the government nationalizing all the major banks in America. (Obama wants to the government's majority shares to have voting rights.) Morris elaborates a little later, saying, "That's called socialism." He's not completely right, and it is a little late to become alarmed since the government needn't legally own everything to be calling the shots -- i.e., acting as central "planner." (Just read later on in the same piece.) What we have now is closer to fascism -- government control of the economy with only a pretense of private ownership of property.

Nonetheless, two things interest me about this move. First, as Morris points out, this would cement Obama's control over the financial sector from a political and legal perspective. What I think he misses is an additional ideological motive. This is also a chance to chip away at a fundamental aspect of American culture: Private ownership of property.

Second, the role of our "alternative" in the last election is not to be ignored. At best, any federal intervention in this crisis would have been extremely dangerous, and some Republicans did at least seem to realize this on some level. John McCain, however, was not one of them.

When the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) intervention was first outlined by the Bush administration, it did not call for any transfer of stock, of any sort, to the government. The Democrats demanded, as a price for their support, that the taxpayers "get something back" for the money they were lending to the banks. House Republicans, wise to what was going on, rejected the administration’s proposal and sought, instead, to provide insurance to banks, rather than outright cash. Their plan would, of course, not involve any transfer of stock. But Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) undercut his own party's conservatives and went along with the Democratic plan, ensuring its passage. [bold added]
During his campaign, McCain repeatedly admitted being clueless about economics and suspicious of "greed". The idea that he would not be nationalizing the banks on McCain's watch strikes me as preposterous.

Perez Hilton's Impropriety

Yesterday, I started my post by noting that several things in Wednesday's paper struck me as worthy of comment. One of these things was a very short AP piece on a dust-up between Perez Hilton, an openly gay entertainment commentator, and a contestant in the Miss USA beauty pageant, that may have cost her the crown. (The Houston Chronicle has the very annoying habit of not posting the entire contents of its print edition on line, and I cannot find this anywhere else. It was titled, "Beauty queen, Hilton spar," and it concerned an appearance of the contestant on the Today show.)

While I disagree with Carrie Prejean's opposition to gay marriage, I must note that she has been treated very unfairly by Hilton and the news media. Hilton, who apparently solicited her opinion on gay marriage during the contest, slammed her for not, "[leaving] her politics and her religion out because Miss USA represents all Americans."

So what was she supposed to do, lie? Whatever one thinks of Miss Prejean's views, to demand that she leave her personal opinions out when formulating an answer to a question that is philosophical in nature is to take a stand against freedom of speech and freedom of conscience. This is reprehensible.

Furthermore, it is also foolish. If Perez Hilton were genuinely concerned with government protection of individual rights, including those of homosexuals, he would be loathe to make such a stand. How, after all, did homosexuality go from unmentionable to much more socially acceptable, except because people were free to discuss it, as unpopular as it was?

Oh, and then we have this...

Speaking of illiberal modern leftists, we have Janeane Garofalo spouting nonsense about the recent Tea Party protests being "racism". Both Bill Brown and Harry Binswanger have already pointed to the video.

Staring about 3:10 into the clip at New Clarion, Garofalo starts spouting a bunch of pseudoscientic claptrap about defective limbic systems in the brains of conservatives -- and "Stockholm syndrome" among the non-white-males at the protests, just to account for the fact that the crowds were not, in fact all-white. Or all-male. Or all- racist. Or mainly racist. Or significantly racist. Or angry.

One further comment is in order here. For all her posturing as an enlightened foe of judging others on the basis of skin color, it might be helpful to recall what racism actually is when considering Garofalo's remarks:
Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man's genetic lineage -- the notion that a man's intellectual and characterological traits are produced and transmitted by his internal body chemistry. Which means, in practice, that a man is to be judged, not by his own character and actions, but by the characters and actions of a collective of ancestors.
Is Garofalo claiming that the mental disorder she alleges is inherited? If so, she is guilty of the same sin as the most virulent racists. If not, she is still guilty of determinism, and thus still has no room to make moral stands on anything. In any case, she is making things up as she goes along, demonstrating that she is hardly qualified to speak on behalf of ... of anything.

This video is useless in political discourse, but valuable as a cultural diagnostic. It is an indication of the political bankruptcy of the left, as well as its insularity. The most striking thing about the entire segment was the fact that it was an almost textbook example of psychological projection -- from Garofalo attributing racist/deterministic attitudes to her intellectual opponents to her notion that Fox News is only an echo chamber (!), and failing to engage all demographics.

Sickening and fascinating all at once.

A Brown Student's "Discovery"

A doctrinaire leftist from Brown University decided to brave the wilds of a fundamentalist college campus for a semester to write a book about it, and was surprised to discover that many of the students there live close to normal lives. At least, his encounter with the phenomenon of compartmentalization -- common among people (including leftists) whose professed beliefs would make life impossible if fully practiced -- is what I take Glenn Reynolds' use of the term "discovery" to refer to.

(I note in passing that I experienced the same feeling in reverse upon finding decent barbecue sauce at a grocer in Boston yesterday. If you could approximate the flitting emotion with words, it would be something like, "I didn't know people still ate meat or burned charcoal up here!" Yeah. And I bet they babble about global warming and serve tofu burgers at their cookouts up here, too.)

Also noteworthy about the piece is that his experience made him more religious. I attribute this in part to the hypocrisy of Liberty University's students making religion seem less noxious than it really is, and in part to the fact that leftism offers nothing of positive value, philosophically, to people of about Kevin Roose's age, many of whom are looking precisely for philosophical guidance on how to lead their lives.

And speaking of tofu, ...

... leftists, stereotypes, and low humor: Given how free-spirited hippie chicks are reputed to be, I would replace "other than" with "in addition to" in this hilarious news clip.

-- CAV


C. August said...

A few things...

I agree with your assessment of McCain and his penchant for nationalizing the banks, but the one thing that might have tempered it would be that the people around him likely would have been advising against it, at least a bit. Not that it matters. I'm sure he would have made up for it with something else even worse.

A note about Boston -- yes, they still, for now, allow us to barbecue actual meat. There is even a Brazilian restaurant that serves unlimited amounts of various meats for $30... it's in Cambridge. Good times.

And I just wanted to say thanks. My computer models predicted that if someone would fly from Houston to Boston this week, there CO2 levels would kick up just high enough to give us really great weather this weekend. Nice job!

Gus Van Horn said...

Beautimus, as they sometimes say in Cajun Country!

We're also benefiting, as we know another couple who moved up to Boston one at a time about when we did -- but THEIR trailing spouse got up here faster than I will -- and we're doing a cookout Saturday evening.

Oddly enough, I wasn't barbecuing yesterday, but making my chili for the first time in Massachusetts.

Fun WIth Gravity said...

The mention of both parties' responses to TARP brings to mind the following: that neither is really interested in fixing the economy (which would entail simply leaving it alone, or freeing it). Republicans, in wanting to provide bailouts, wish to channel money to business, and Democrats, in wanting control, want to channel money to "the people". Both want too much control over our lives and money.

As for Garofalo, my take was: "It's ironic for her to be speaking of racism and simultaneously offering condescending comments about brain structure, which suggest a biological basis for political behavior. If our biology is off-limits, then it must be so for Garofalo as well. "


Gus Van Horn said...


I like the blog post, especially this:

"Saying that people have ingrained irrational behaviors also offers the same polemical payoff as racism does: it relieves her of the responsibility of rational persuasion, because her opponents are too stupid to be reasoned with. This type of disrespect for others is always the bedrock justification behind government policies aimed at forcing us to do what we are too stupid to do for ourselves."

Also, I was shocked at how bad Olbermann is. Amusingly, he started out as a sports commentator, and yet lives up to the leftist stereotype of "dumb jock."

Of course, since he's a leftist, they don't call him on it.

Clay said...

Still haven't forgotten when Dr. Peikoff was on Politically Incorrect and to point out the absurdity of something proprosed that the government create an "Office of Fabulous Salaries" to deal with people not having enough money(which was hilarious in its own right), and Garafalo being dumb enough to ask in all seriousness "Can they do that?"

Unfortunately Broke Obama thinks it is possible to create an Office of Fabulous Salaries.

Gus Van Horn said...

Nah. He just has to make sure his constituency keeps believing it while also not noticing that he hasn't yet gotten around to magically making all of us fabulously wealthy.

C. August said...

I was just looking back at some of my posts leading up to the election last fall -- and by the way, do you ever look back at something you don't even remember writing until you get a paragraph in, and then suddenly say, "Hey! This is really good!"? -- and I found something about the left's use of the race card that I thought was relevant to Gruffalo's vitriolic rant, at least in its profound irrationality.

You may remember that McCain tried to brand Obama as a socialist in the dying days of his campaign. A writer at Salon.com responded, calling out the tactic as... racist.

The Pot, the Kettle, and the Race Card

Gus Van Horn said...


Yes. I'll look at it again, later, but I do remember that as being a very good post.

RE: Being pleaantly surprised by old posts, I know what you mean. I find that one often needs the distance of time to appreciate one's own best work.

Thanks for mentioning that post.