"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse." --John Stuart Mill (1806 - 1873)

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Idiotarian Watch

I watched Dennis Miller's show tonight, and there were a couple of howlers worth mentioning.

Idiotarian #1--Hill Harper, an actor, graduate of Harvard Law, and Barack Obama supporter--pointed to the depressed dollar as evidence that the prestige of the U.S. is at an all-time low. Now, I work downstairs from the largest trading floor in New York, and I can tell you that currency traders do not base their actions on Abu Ghraib or George W. Bush's speaking truth to power at the U.N. They look at interest rates, monetary policy, the balance of trade, and other economic factors. As an economist, Hill Harper makes a very good actor/lawyer.

Idiotarian #2 was one of the two authors of The Yes Men, a book that describes the writers' madcap adventures of fraudulently representing themselves to various parties as spokesmen for the World Trade Organization. This genius, an opponent of "globalization", explained to Dennis that before 1980 all was hunky-dory in the world because, see, Keynesian economics prevailed. He made this pronouncement in a grand, didactic manner. The kicker was, he pronounced it kee-NEZ-ee-an instead of CANES-ee-an. John Maynard Kee-NEZ is rolling in his grave.

Idiotarian #3, his partner in crime, averred that he did not want to see all corporations go the way of the dodo bird; he just wants them to "serve people" rather than their own interests. Apparently, he has never heard of Adam Smith*, The Wealth of Nations, or the "invisible hand" of capitalism.
By pursuing his own interest [the individual] frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good.--Adam Smith, 1776

*Hint to idiotarians: It's pronounced "Uh-DAM Smythe".