Sunday, March 2, 2014

Where dumb ideas come from

Do you ever wonder where rightwingers get their nutty ideas about economics? I mean, they are too uniform for them to be all arriving at the same place independently. I know I got my rightwing ideas primarily from the Readers Digest. I abandoned them when I was 16 and stopped picking up pocket money from mowing neighbors' lawns and painting their fences and got a wage job in private business. It was soon apparent that business did not work in real life as I had been told it did in the RD. Where else could these ideas be found? Not every young person reads the Readers Digest. Well, other obvious places might be the Saturday Evening Post, the canned op-ed pieces in small-town newspapers and -- church. The close association between nutty economics and fundamentalist religion is clear enough. An amusing example was turned up in today's installment of "Sundays with the Christianists," Doktor Zoom's hilarious weekly autopsy of fundie home-schooling American history textbooks. Both books under deconstruction come out of the highest reaches of fundie intellectualism, Bob Jones University and Pensacola Christian College. This week's lesson concerns the prosperity of the '50s. The kiddies are taught:
Under President Eisenhower, free enterprise (capitalism) thrived. In 1956, the Federal Highway Act provided funds for interstate highways. Soon road crews were constructing great roadways, linking the states with an Interstate Highway System. Many Americans took to the new highways and toured the country in the late 1950s.
I have had people with advanced degrees argue with a straight face that public highways are not socialist. To them, my response is Roy Zimmerman. Dok Zoom helpfully recalls some other Big Gummint programs of the '50s, like the St. Lawrence Seaway. Today the Tea Partiers have departed so far from GOP policies of the Eisenhower period that they don't even want to pay to keep the Interstates in repair. Those highways are, after all, over 50 years old and showing their age.

1 comment:

  1. I have had people with advanced degrees argue with a straight face that public highways are not socialist.

    Actually, mere access to wikipedia is sufficient:

    Socialism is a social and economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and co-operative management of the economy, as well as a political theory and movement that aims at the establishment of such a system.