Friday, January 2, 2009

When's the Franken/Jackson Debate?

Victoria Jackson was never funny on Saturday Night Live, but she's hilarious now.

Making the case that Barack Obama might be the antichrist she writes:

[A]ll I remember from my Bible college training is that in the end times, a political leader would arise who would:

  1. "arise", appear gradually on the scene
  2. come from "the north"
  3. encourage and create a one world government
  4. do signs and wonders
  5. amass a huge following
  6. persecute Christians who wouldn't bow down to him
  7. something about "666" or "the mark of the beast"...if you don't have it, you can't get food
  8. appear to solve world problems for a time
  9. be against Christ

Her website is full of glorious bits.

She misuses the "freedom of speech" argument, thinking it means that no one should be critical of her for what she says. Then she argues that if something is not a curse word it shouldn't be offensive. Especially if it's simply a term in eschatology.

She protests:

It's funny that the word "Antichrist" was used in reference to President Bush many times, and no one seemed to mind.

Well that's because Bush is the antichrist.


Casey said...

The one world government thing isn't funny. NPR was talking all about "Breton Woods Two" today while I was driving...

You're all gonna say "I told you so" when the crap hits the fan. All I ever asked was that you watch Commanding Heights and follow-up as you see fit!

No really, Victoria Jackson sucks. Do a "predictions 2009" post.

Casey said...

Wait -- you're all gonna say "You told us so" when the crap hits the fan...

That is, I'll be the self-righteous one.


fenhopper said...

i watched commanding heights. all six or so hours.

question(s): why does any economist at any point in history think that more or less government control is the telling variable? if more control works here then it doesn't then less control saves the day except under those circumstances... no wait... THESE circumstances... no wait... we don't know the circumstances...

so what exactly are the theories good for?

Casey said...

WOW! -- six hours?!? You're dedicated. I hope you didn't hate it...

What I loved about the documentary is that it really teaches a debate, rather than a solution.

I'll take a stab at your question: "why does any economist at any point in history think that more or less government control is the telling variable?"

Ans: An economist thinks that because an economist is a theory-haver and theory-maker. Not much different from a psychiatrist, probably -- let's think in terms of Freudian psychology: if we see a six year old who resists potty training and continues sucking his thumb, and if during the interview with the parents we discover that the child's oral impulses were "overindulged," we Freudian theorists might start to suspect an oral-fixation pattern.

Of course, the line between indulging and overindulging is fuzzy and there might be other factors (was the child nursed, for example?) and so on...

But as a Freudian theorist, at least I have some theory for why the child is behaving as he's behaving. That's what the economist does. Critiquing is important, but relatively easy... developing a counter-theory or a better theory is much more difficult.

Insofar as economics exists as a respectable discipline, it hasn't yet transcended the debate about laissez-faire vs. collectivist government.

In other words, economists fixate on the "amount" of government as the controlling factor because no one has produced a better set of indicators -- astrology doesn't do it; Bible-reading doesn't do it; etc.


Anyway, I'm glad you watched Commanding Heights -- it makes me feel less isolated, knowing that at least someone else knows about John Maynard Keynes (on the progressive side) and the Austrians (on the "other" side).

It makes stuff like this SOOOO much more engaging:

(From yesterday's NPR show on the drive from Providence, RI to Charlotte, NC)

In my mind, the most interesting thing is the unresolved nature of the debate -- Austrians and Keynesians both seem fundamentalist-ish to me... but no moderate "theory" has been born yet. No synthesis.

Casey said...

Sorry about that sloppy cut/paste job. Here's a link to the NPR piece (it's worth listening to):click this link maybe.

Casey said...

Jeeeez... I'm totally disorganized. While you're listening to that NPR piece, click the "PLANET MONEY STORIES" link to the story called "Economists Duke It Out Over Stimulus Plan."

I think that's a little better.

You can delete all of these comments if you like -- my goodness... how'm I gonna write a conference paper proposal tomorrow?

fenhopper said...

i see the it's-gotta-be-better-to-be-one-of-the-other reasoning pretty easily. just remember that in a better developed freudian analysis both over-indulgence and repressed desire can contribute to the fixation. but more importantly was that some key psychosexual development is simply not achieved and that's what leads to the fixation.

in other words: it's not about too much or too little. it's about appropriate response.

surely the economists can come up with some theory that will put this dosomething!/stayaway! argument to sleep.

fenhopper said...

oh yeah... i'm subscribed to the planet money podcast. the best thing i heard while listening on the drive to minnesota before xmas was how silly it is to think that a politician can be a relevant economic voice. the best politicians will never get beyond spewing bromides.

i think maybe i agree. but here's what i'd like to hear a president say:

"listen people... yall's got to admit that you're not supposed to get everything you want. and if you can somehow work it out so that you do, it'll have nothing to do with any of my policies."

Casey said...

I think it's difficult to theorize balance and moderation... maybe we need less theory and more balance and moderation? Is that sort of what you're suggesting?

I could almost get on board with that -- except that whereas you see capitalism-run-amok as the cause of this economic slide, I see a mire of regulation as one of the major culprits.

So which way to the center?

fenhopper said...

but i guess i'm not really arguing for moderation. i'm arguing for kicking asses when necessary and also for letting some houses burn.

i'm for aggressive antitrust regulation. for heavy taxation of corporations. but also for no bailouts. for less fiddling with interest rates. for moderate health care provisions at best.

to change the subject some: i'm not all that sold on gov't health care. it'll still be the rich who get the best care. and the poor will still rely more on emergency care and they won't be able to afford the same level of preventive.

Casey said...

Post forthcoming on your last point.