Sunday, November 23, 2008

and the prize for the dumbest explanation for the current economic crisis goes to...

...the Wall Street Journal editorial page. Daniel Henninger argues (OK, just says) that the reason why we are in this economic mess is because of a bunch of northern atheists who have no morals.

If were thinking: "wasn't it something to do with subprime loans, too much liquidity and a dysfunctional rating system?" then read on...

He starts off with
A nation whose people can't say "Merry Christmas" is a nation capable of ruining its own economy.
And then offers the following explanation...
What really went missing through the subprime mortgage years were the three Rs: responsibility, restraint and remorse. They are the ballast that stabilizes two better-known Rs from the world of free markets: risk and reward.

Responsibility and restraint are moral sentiments. Remorse is a product of conscience. None of these grow on trees. Each must be learned, taught, passed down. And so we come back to the disappearance of "Merry Christmas."

It has been my view that the steady secularizing and insistent effort at dereligioning America has been dangerous. That danger flashed red in the fall into subprime personal behavior by borrowers and bankers, who after all are just people. Northerners and atheists who vilify Southern evangelicals are throwing out nurturers of useful virtue with the bathwater of obnoxious political opinions.

The point for a healthy society of commerce and politics is not that religion saves, but that it keeps most of the players inside the chalk lines. We are erasing the chalk lines.

Feel free: Banish Merry Christmas. Get ready for Mad Max.

Wow. That has to be the stupidest thing I have ever read in the opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal, and frankly, there has been a lot of competition. Of course, now that the Journal is controlled by Rupert Murdoch, we should hardly be surprised that the opinion pages sound like Fox news.

But the tired old argument that the only reason people behave well is because they are religious has been shown time and time again to be completely wrong. For example, see this article in the Times of London.