In the supermarket yesterday I noticed a new tabloid by the checkout counter, called The Sun. Apparently it is the new incarnation of the late, lamented Weekly World News. According to the front page headline, a secret prophecy found at the Vatican says the world will end this month. Also, President-elect Obama has appointed the space alien to be ambassador to Mars. I’m sure we can look forward to new adventures of the Bat Boy in future editions. It was good to see that not everything worthwhile in Western Civilization is lost.
But this morning I see that Circuit City is closing completely. There is a big Circuit City about a mile from my home, and I’ve bought a lot of stuff there, including the computer I’m keyboarding on right now. I would have bought more stuff there, but I tended to avoid the place because it was always crowded. This particular store, at least, was very popular. I’m sure the crowds are lining up right now for the liquidation sale. I say stay home and wait for the stuff to be on ebay.
California is so broke that it is postponing payments for tax refunds, student aid, social services and mental health programs. Naturally, righties are screaming about government theft and blaming welfare recipients (lucky duckies!). There’s not a peep of concern from them about how the state came to be in such dire circumstances, nor the least thought about what might be done to set things right.
At the New York Times, David Brooks muses that just maybe the “classical economic models” do not work.
The classical models presumed a certain sort of orderly human makeup. Inside each person, reason rides the passions the way a rider sits atop a horse. Sometimes people do stupid things, but generally the rider makes deliberative decisions, and the market rewards rational behavior. …
..In this new body of thought, you get a very different picture of human nature. Reason is not like a rider atop a horse. Instead, each personâ€™s mind contains a panoply of instincts, strategies, intuitions, emotions, memories and habits, which vie for supremacy. An irregular, idiosyncratic and largely unconscious process determines which of these internal players gets to control behavior at any instant. Context â€” which stimulus triggers which response â€” matters a lot.
The “reason rides the passions” notion always was a pile of hooey, and any honest reading of history and human behavior reveals it to be a pile of hooey. It is a fantasy created by a panoply of instincts, strategies, intuitions, emotions, memories and habits, not to mention greed.
Brooks goes on to inform us that people have biases and don’t think objectively. Wow. Who knew? But by the end of the column, Brooks manages to subjectively reassure himself that the Left’s economic models are just as deluded.
Reading Brooks’s column is sometimes like watching a child in sixth grade social studies. It’s kind of fun to see what he’s learning, but it’s all stuff you’ve known for many years.
Bat Boy is more fun, anyway.