Finally

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Let me first say that I am not at all happy about the current financial crisis and recession. Indeed, it has affected me personally — for the past few months I’ve been doing contract attorney work, which is basically temp work for lawyers, and I’ve now been out of work for three weeks with no prospects in sight because contract work dries up overnight when the economy heads south. I am living a few months away from personal economic disaster, and only my confidence that I will get another job before that day comes allows me to sleep at night.

But there is a ray of sunshine here, and it’s one I’ve been on record as hoping for for only the last, like, ten years or so. I’ve always said that what we need is a good depression to reverse the devastating effects of the Reagan Revolution and usher in a new era of semi-progressive politics (hey, I’m realistic — we’re not going to get anything more than semi- in this country no matter how high the unemployment rate goes). It appears that such a thing may be on the verge of coming to fruition. It is unfortunate that it takes the personal tragedy of many hundreds of thousands of people in order to get there, but I for one am willing to endure some anxiety in order to get us back on track to being a better nation than we’ve been for the past almost-thirty years.

So when I read this article, I wanted to stand up and clap. Hurray for sending crotchety old Ayn Rand and her ilk into the dustbin of history!

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12 Responses to “Finally”

  1. urbino Says:

    Sadly, libertarianism (and Ayn Rand) will always be with us. It’s too attractive to a certain kind of mind. Like Calvinism, it starts from a small set of assumptions and proceeds with ruthless logic and purity to absolute conclusions that can be correlated 100% with the moral good. That’s comforting to some people. (It also strokes a certain sense of superiority and self-sufficiency.)

    The fact that it’s also frigid and inhuman either doesn’t occur to them or is outweighed by the beauty of its internal logic. So both libertarianism and Calvinism linger always.

    (I know you and Weisberg are dealing in hyperbole; nonetheless, them’s my thoughts.)

  2. Sandi Says:

    Of course there will always be people who cling to failed philosophies — Weisberg made that point about unreformed Marxists as well. But hopefully their numbers will be diminished.

  3. urbino Says:

    I don’t think it’ll make any difference, really. The people who go in for that kind of thinking have True Believer personalities. As I saw someone say elsewhere on the web in a different context: they’re the kind of people who, when reality doesn’t behave the way their philosophy predicts, see that as evidence of a defect in reality.

  4. urbino Says:

    Matt Yglesias makes a good point on this front.

  5. Joe Says:

    Really? Vigorous regulation is the way of the future? By whom?

    Let’s see. Congress can’t really act fast enough to to counteract major changes in the economy. We need a group of really, really smart people that share similar goals and ideology so they won’t waste time bickering and can just get straight to action. I know… let’s make it a committee. It’ll be at the center of everything, so let’s call it the “central committee.” They can react and “fix” the market quickly whenever things start to go astray. Heck, the “market” is really just a conglomeration of individual yokels that make their own competing personal economic decisions. Personal economic freedom sucks! It’s the root of this entire problem. We can make way smarter decisions with our new Central Committee.

    What do you say, Comrade? Let’s give it a whirl.

  6. Sandi Says:

    Um, I think that regulated capitalism is actually the middle road (or “center-right” if you prefer) between Marxism and the kind of irresponsible and unchecked greed that led to the Great Depression and that has led to the current financial crisis. Letting the self-interest of the individual actor rule has demonstrably led to bad outcomes. Common-sense regulations that guide the market to help prevent crises such as the one we are in are simply not the same thing as communism (or even socialism), and to imply that they are is intellectually dishonest.

  7. urbino Says:

    Do I really have to start listing all the “free” markets that have been created, driven, or otherwise improved by regulation?

    Again, Joe, as you admitted in our discussion of Adam Smith, etc., in Al’s thread a while back, nobody (well, almost nobody) on your side actually favors unregulated markets, either. You just want different regulations. Nor does anybody actually want the government to stop redistributing wealth; they just want it redistributed differently.

  8. urbino Says:

    BTW, Sandi, one point bolstering your argument would be that Alan Greenspan always told congress not to regulate these markets, and Greenspan is a libertarian.

  9. Michael Lasley Says:

    And then Greenspan says he was wrong about regulation: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/24/business/economy/24panel.html?ex=1382500800&en=00af9d0fc1ae268f&ei=5124&partner=digg&exprod=digg

  10. urbino Says:

    From libertarian to socialist in one article. Remarkable.

  11. Michael Lasley Says:

    he’s been watching too much of the liberal media, is what has happened!

  12. urbino Says:

    Oh, the humanity!

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