left biblioblography: Another Episode Of Scapegoat Theater – Guess What, Folks? Atheism Is The Reason For The Economic Meltdown

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Another Episode Of Scapegoat Theater – Guess What, Folks? Atheism Is The Reason For The Economic Meltdown

Cross posted @ God Is 4 Suckers!greenspanshrugged

"I used to get disgusted, now I try to be amused" – Elvis Costello

(Hat tip to Hairy Fish Nuts for this one)

Items keep jockeying into position for Top Ten Stupidest Things I’ve Ever Heard:

Alan Greenspan, central figure in financial collapse is devout Atheist - Why it Matters

Many believe the unregulated growth in financial derivative products,vigorously supported by Alan Greenspan, has led to the gigantic fall in our stock market, a multi-trillion dollar loss to American savings and a ruined economy.

Yeah…let’s bypass the AIG fiascos, Enron, and a foreign war we’re hemorrhaging money into.

Mr.Greenspan, in his powerful position as Federal Reserve Chairman, had consistently and forcefully thwarted all government efforts to regulate the exploding growth of the trillion dollar derivative market place. His testimony before Congressional hearings lauded the benefits of the derivative markets, claiming they reduce market risks despite warnings from Warren Buffet and others.

Warren Buffet called the financial derivative markets as a ticking time bomb and“financial Weapons of Mass Destruction”. 

Way-ell, Buffet’s an agnostic, so I guess it’s okay to quote him.

Greenspan dismissed the criticism and insisted his  support for the unregulated financial derivatives market actually lowed the risks of a financial melt down. At all times he insisted Wall Street would be a stronger and more efficient regulator of financial risk than governments, claiming that due to their selfish interests, Wall Street’s collective wisdom would avoid excessive risk.

Hmmm…according to the wiki entry, “He was lauded for his handling of the Black Monday October 19, 1987 stock market crash, which occurred very shortly after he first became chairman, as well as for his stewardship of the Internet-driven "dot-com" economic boom of the 1990s. This expansion eventually ended in a burst in March 2000 leading to an economic downturn which Greenspan famously predicted as the result of ‘irrational exuberance’.”

Well, we now have a stupendous economic disaster that is historic in nature and we can thank Mr. Greenspan, the “Oracle” for bringing our economy not only to its knees but effectively nationalizing our banking system to the extent that would perhaps make the most liberal  democrat proud.

I can imagine the author spitting that last part out.

We think it is relevant and important to understand that Alan Greenspan is a devout Atheist.  More importantly his belief system can be directly connected to the financial meltdown. Many people are not aware that Alan Greenspan was a disciple of devoted  atheist ,Ayn Rand,  and a member of her group known as the “Collective“.  After earning his Masters in `1950,Greenspan became a 20-year associate of famed philosopher Ayn Rand, author of books "The Virtue of Selfishness,""Atlas Shrugged". Greenspan wrote for Rand’s newsletters and authored a chapter for a Rand book.

Some of this is true:

“Greenspan was initially a logical positivist but was converted to Objectivism by Nathaniel Branden. During the 1950s and 1960s Greenspan was a proponent of Ayn Rand's philosophy, writing articles for Objectivist newsletters and contributing several essays for Rand's 1966 book Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal including an essay supporting the gold standard.

During the 1950s, Greenspan was one of the members of Ayn Rand's inner circle, the Ayn Rand Collective, who read Atlas Shrugged while it was being written. Rand nicknamed Greenspan "the undertaker" because of his penchant for dark clothing and reserved demeanor. Although Greenspan was once recognized as a proponent of laissez-faire capitalism, some Objectivists find his support for a gold standard somewhat incongruous or dubious, given the Federal Reserve's role in America's fiat money system and endogenous inflation. He has come under criticism from Harry Binswanger, who believes his actions while at work for the Federal Reserve and his publicly expressed opinions on other issues show abandonment of Objectivist and free market principles. However, when questioned in relation to this, he has said that in a democratic society individuals have to make compromises with each other over conflicting ideas of how money should be handled. He said he himself had to make such compromises, because he believes that "we did extremely well" without a central bank and with a gold standard. Greenspan and Rand maintained a close relationship until her death in 1982.

In a congressional hearing on October 23, 2008 Greenspan admitted that his free-market ideology shunning certain regulations was flawed. This has caused backlash from Objectivist intellectuals, blaming the economic crisis on Greenspan's pandering to the mixed economy and betraying his laissez-faire views.”

And in fact, he is not well loved among the Objectivists:

Admirers of Rand, however, generally see Greenspan as a traitor, since he never advocated anything that approaches Rand's absolute laissez-faire capitalism. In House hearings during the second month of the market meltdown of 2008, Greenspan testified that he had "found a flaw" in his market ideology, and conceded that he had been "partially" wrong in opposing regulation of derivatives.

Ayn Rand, well known atheist, and famous author  is also renowned for her central role in the creation of the philosophy known as “Objectives. This philosophy espouses  a deep commitment to atheistic values, celebrates the virtue of the individual and, despises government regulation of any kind other than for crime control.  She has said "Money is the barometer of a society's virtue." She also said about religion that “it was untrue in all its manifestations and that its consequences were disastrous.”

About the only place I actually agree with Rand is in that last sentence.

Alan Greenspan was a devoted follower of Objectivism and he was well aware of the philosophies’ contempt for religion.

So…we shouldn’t have high government officials who aren’t religious? (Rhetorical question.)

Ministry Values believes Alan Greenspan’s adherence to Objectivism and its celebration of money as virtuous, and religion as contemptuous was ultimately a contributing factor to the financial catastrophe. With his devotion to the disturbing idea that “the pursuit of man’s own-self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life“ and the implied immorality of God and religion unquestionably led to our financial debacle.

Of which the 8 years of Republican leadership had no part? Must be soothing to be so naive.

He allowed the Wall Street cowboys to run wild as he naively held to his devotion of “Greed is Good”  or  "Greed is God."  

I’m sorry, but do they give out a sheriff’s badge with the Chairman position? Were the ‘Wall Street cowboys’ atheists too? I’m betting they weren’t.

We gave the keys to the store  to a man deeply committed to Atheism and money as virtuous and he went out and nearly bankrupted the country.

Ah…hello? "For every complex question, there is a simple answer-- and it's wrong." – H. L. Mencken. The author also doesn’t understand that not all atheists are Objectivists.

MinistryValues.com  would  love to have had  a  moment  with Mr.Greenspan.  At a  recent Congressional hearing, we would  have asked him to first  pull a dollar out of his wallet  and  then we would have asked him to comment on the  well known words  found on the currency. We would have liked to hear his  comments about the words everybody is familiar with, except it seems Alan Greenspan, and those words are "In God We Trust" 

Yes, and we haven’t seen anything resembling divine intervention in…how many millennia? Ever?

Isn't it ironic. The Trustee of "In God We Trust"  was  an  Atheist. 

Ummm, sorry, IGWT is actually a recent addition – wouldn’t ya know it, right around when Greenspan joined the Objectivists.

Had our elected leaders, simply asked Mr. Greenspan, years ago, if he believed  the United States was a nation under God ,  perhaps  we may not be in the financial catastrophe we find ourselves in today. 

And why is this? Because they wouldn’t have allowed an atheist to become Chairman. Yeah, that’s good sense (face palm).

Why is it we can try an label politicians as "socialists"  in attempt to ruin careers, yet we defend  and tip-toe around "Atheists" like they are Bambis . 

Nice that somebody finally cops to trying to ruin politicians via labeling them ‘socialists’, but I have yet to see anyone ‘tip-toeing’ around us at all.

Atheism is a man made construct, like communism or socialism and without a concern in the world we put them in charge of our financial system , for decades. This man was beholden to an ideal and   Nobody seems to get and nobody seems to care.

That’s because

  1. everything we do is a man-made construct,
  2. Greenspan’s ‘ideal’ wasn’t exactly what the Objectivists had in mind, and
  3. it’s about actions not ideology

Would we have put a known "Communist"  in the position of Fed Chair, of course not.  Yet the Atheist who destroyed our economy and a man who believes "money is the barometer of societies virtue" gets a free pass.

I think this was written by a high schooler. Obviously Greenspan’s philosophies are more complex than that. And yet, our society does give specific pay scales free passes. One only has to view the latest celebrity driving debacle, the OJ Simpson trial, the Matthew Broderick fiasco, or any of the white collar echelon that commit crimes. I wonder if these folks said anything about Kenneth Lay being a Methodist? W being protestant? Oh wait – they should give their own folks special treatment.

The next is an eye crosser:

We strongly believe in a separation of Church and State, our troops are dying in Iraq to defend that prinicipal  but  we  are still  a country of  "One Nation Under God" and now our Government, like never before, needs to defend that principal and defend it with pride and resolve.  The words need to mean something.

How on EARTH is the war in Iraq any way related to the SOCAS? It isn’t. Iraqi officials didn’t pop into our schools and demand prayer, nor did they insist on mangers on public land. And of course that irritating “ONUG” (One Nation Under God) nonsense that was implemented 54 years ago in a nation that’s well over 200 years old.

Funnier still, is this:

The Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy (1855-1931), a Baptist minister, a Christian socialist, and the cousin of socialist utopian novelist Edward Bellamy (1850-1898). Bellamy's original "Pledge of Allegiance" was published in the September 8th issue of the popular children's magazine The Youth's Companion as part of the National Public-School Celebration of Columbus Day, a celebration of the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's discovery of America, conceived by James B. Upham.

Bellamy's original Pledge read, "I Pledge Allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all."

The pledge was supposed to be quick and to the point. Bellamy designed it to be stated in 15 seconds. He had initially also considered using the words equality and fraternity but decided they were too controversial since many people opposed equal rights for women and blacks.

But of course, Bellamy was a Christian socialist, and therefore, it’s not quite the stark red ‘A’ brand, I’d bet.

Let’s see, as I’ve pointed out in the past, there are more than enough examples of people who are markedly godfull, who will ply their trade for trinkets and money. We can go into how the Bush administration lied and thousands died (and still are dying) because ‘gwad’ told him to invade Iraq.

The fact is, that people do foolish things, regardless of their ideology. Sometimes because of it, but more often than not, it’s an easy excuse easily accepted, an automatic mulligan.

(As a side note, I always wonder why the fundagelicals can’t seem to spell the word ‘principle’ properly. Likelihood is they never went to the principal’s office, I bet.)

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Janus Grayden said...

Anything to prove to themselves that their way of life is correct, I suppose.

I would feel sorry for people who require validation at every turn and will force everything they can into a justification. However, the fact that people like that shape enormous decisions for our country really scares me. It honestly does.

I'm glad that there seems to be growing support for atheism in the United States, but, without any unification, it looks to be pretty slow going.

Hopefully in my lifetime, eh?

Krystalline Apostate said...

Hi Janus.
Yes, hopefully in our lifetimes (though I'm 50 yo., so probably more in yours).