Voices of America

Every weekday morning, I wake up, fix myself a cup of Cafe Bustelo (rah!), and put C-SPAN on the TV. The early morning hours give us "Washington Journal," which is, in my opinion, the best television show (in existence and probably ever) on politics. If you've never watched, there are a handful of neutral hosts who bring on wonky, knowledgeable, sometime partisan sometimes nonpartisan  guests, and read long excerpts from the days major daily papers. Then they ask people to call in with questions and comments.


The call-ins are the best part. They generally vary from laughably moronic to "ooh, good point," to absolutely enraging. The host answers nothing but (occasionally) attacks on CSPAN itself, which it defends with a recitation of its practices and the elaborate efforts they take to be "fair." It is the nearest thing television (or all of broadcast) has to a democratic/republican Forum, in the truest sense that word.

This morning they're talking about the chaos on Wall Street with Floyd Norris, the chief financial correspondent from the NYTimes. Now when normal people try to talk about high finance, they sound like idiots. Seriously. I don't claim to know anything about this subject either, but I can tell when people are making claims by the sight of their nether eye. 

And for the first time, CSPAN has become boringly repetitive: 

Call from a supporter of Barack Obama: Bush and the Republican party caused this! Obama will fix it!
Call from a supporter of John McCain: Bill Clinton caused this! McCain will fix it by finishing the tax cuts Bush started!
Call from our independent line: Flat Tax/Fair Tax/Ron Paul/Free Market
Call from a supporter of Barack Obama: Republican Wall Street gets what it deserves!
Call from a supporter of John McCain: Save Wall Street, but screw individual mortgage holders! They're a bunch of "whiners" and I have to pay my mortgage so they should too...
Call from our independent line: Flat Tax/Fair Tax/Ron Paul/Free Market
etc.

What's odd about this? Well, Democrats have been supporting the policies that led to this disaster, Republicans have been supporting the policies that led to this disaster, and Ron Paul would move the country into a state of permanent disaster. 

Yet Democrats think Obama will bring order, Republicans think McCain will eliminate some government meddling and return a nest of greedy Ferengi-esque rat people to a paradisiacal state, and the Paulites believe that the best remedy for a bleeding wound is more plunging motions with that knife.

So on this subject, more than any other I've seen, the United States of America is completely out of its mind. And the problem absolutely stems from ignorance. As confident and assured as each of these sides sounds that it is absolutely RIGHT, it is obvious that they're ALL absolutely wrong, and probably not even operating with half the information that would be necessary to "fix the problem," nor even with an idea of what a "fixed problem" would look like, or what the goal of the "fixin" would be.

So on this I think I can help out: Happiness. (The pursuit of which is a right aligned with Life and Liberty. Not true of money.) The only rational purpose for the market is to increase happiness, both in quantity and quality. It is a happiness machine. Anything we can do to make the machine pump out present and future happiness in greater quantity and quality, with a lower investment of present and future misery (efficiency), is a right action to take.

If we could all just agree to that, it would be a start.

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