Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The End Times?

Jonathan Schwartz catches The Mustache of Self-Regard speaking a tiny sliver of truth:

This is from a new interview with Thomas Friedman in Scientific American:

Q: Is it a good idea to meddle so extensively with the free market for energy?

FRIEDMAN: [Laughing] Oh, yeah, a totally free market dominated globally by the world’s biggest cartel, dominated domestically by fossil-fuel companies who have written all the rules in Congress—pages’ worth of depletion allowances and tax shenanigans that these guys have written in to give themselves advantages. We wouldn’t want to upset that free market, would we? There is no such thing as a free market, no more than there is a farm or a garden that grows without fertilizer, without proper plowing, without intelligence brought into it. Markets are shaped by rules, incentives and disincentives, and right now our market is shaped by the dirty fuel system.

Schwartz goes on to display just a few highlights from Tom Friedman's lifelong career spent worshiping and exalting the deity he now admits does not exist. As you may recall, Alan Greenspan also confessed to apostasy before a congressional committee. However, these counter-epiphanies are far from typical. The Free Market™ acolytes who still completely control the intellectual establishment have demonstrated a truly impressive capacity for double-think. Even as they scream and yell for massive government intervention to save their investment portfolios, they still maintain that all this trouble is just a temporary difficulty caused by fair housing laws, capital gains taxes and a few bad apples.

Just you wait -- the instant it suits the interests of wealthy and powerful people to claim that one or another proposed action by the Obama administration violates the sanctity of the Free Market™, it will be back on the altar and the votive candles will glow on every op-ed page and every TV gabfest. You think this is a Christian country? Believe me, the Christian God is a subsidiary deity.

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