A thoroughgoing liberalism rules the Minneapolis Star Tribune from stem to stern with the exception of metro columnist Katherine Kersten — and one columnist who has asked us to protect his or her identity. S/he writes that s/he has become the self-appointed “Anti-Keillor” to rebut Keillor’s liberal rubbish whenever it appears in the Star Tribune. This past Sunday Keillor provided his deep thoughts on matters related to the subpriime mortgage market. The Anti-Keillor writes:
In his latest column — “Why I Didn’t Invest In Subprime Mortgages” — Garrison Keillor takes on the current mortgage “crisis,” with predictable results:I sit in wonderment at the story of W. Lance Anderson, the president of NovaStar Financial in Kansas City, who while handing out subprime mortgages to any applicant wearing shoes and a shirt managed to sink the company’s stock from $40 in June to $1.72. This is a man who earned $1.7 million in salary and bonuses last year, plus $711,386 in deferred compensation, plus more dough in various arrangements that dopes like me can’t quite grasp….I myself would never invest money in a company headed by a man named W. Lance Anderson. The very name inspires distrust. What’s the W for? Wolfgang? Whoopee? Weasel? A man who goes by W. Lance is likely to wear tinted glasses and two-toned shoes, smoke Kools, and have a gun fetish. Nonetheless, a small army of hopeful investors bought into the idea that you can make money on bad loans and now they are left holding the bag while W. Lance goes on toYou can almost see Keillor’s face twitching, Inspector Dreyfuss-like, as he points out the usual suspects:
his next great idea…
* Rich White Guys (“This is a man who earned $1.7 million in salary and bonuses last year, plus $711,386 in deferred compensation …”),
* Unregulated Capitalism (“Nonetheless, a small army of hopeful investors bought into the idea that you can make money on bad loans …”),
* and The Unholy Trinity of W, Tobacco and Firearms (“What’s the W for? Wolfgang? Whoopee? Weasel? A man who goes by W. Lance is likely to…smoke Kools, and have a gun fetish.”).
The rest of his column caroms from topic to topic, from high school basketball played by pimply-faced farm boys, to the Smoot-Hawley Tariff, to spongy woodpecker brains…down, like a pachinko ball, toward the inevitable conclusion that, whatever mess we may be in, it must be the fault of George W. Bush:The idea that time is wasting and our jets are idling and we must figure out the code and then we can take the great leap forward and fly up in the air — this is what inspires people to invest in the subprime mortgage business, or the Jerusalem artichoke, or the Florida time-share.If you don’t recognize it, Keillor is playing that parlor game, wildly popular at Manhattan cocktail parties, “One Degree of George Bush.” That’s when you take any piece of bad news occurring anywhere on earth and link it directly to Bush.
It’s what makes people see the Current Occupant as a conservative. He is no more conservative than I am Eleanor of Aquitaine. He saw an America of plodders and pluggers like me and he put the government at the service of the W. Lances among us and he appointed a whole regiment of W. Lances to high office and here we are, seven years later, holding the bag.
Presumably, liberals have a solution to the “mortgage crisis,” if you define a situation involving about 0.5% of mortgages nationwide as a crisis.
To liberals, a government that can do anything should do everything, from providing free health care, to footing the bill for our retirement, to protecting us from making bad real-estate investments.
If most Americans are too stupid to understand that the “A” in ARM stands for “adjustable,” and that mortgage rates can, in fact, adjust upwards…
…if our business leaders are too greedy to avoid making bad decisions …
…if we’re all somehow left “holding the bag” for problems caused by the aforementioned stupidity and greed…
…then, the logic of Keillor and other Nanny State fans kicks in, like this:
a) We are smart, unlike you;
b) We are free from greed, unlike like you;
c) Therefore, we must save you from yourselves, by regulating more of your life.
Higher taxes? Less freedom? A sclerotic, French-style welfare state? These are but a small price to pay for a total absence of suffering, bad decisions, worry and fear.
Which brings us to a fundamental difference between conservatives and liberals. Conservatives want the freedom to pursue happiness on their own terms. Liberals think they have a right to happiness and that it should be delivered, like a pizza.
When you understand this, you understand why the liberal version of the American dream — no worries, free health care and a guaranteed income, among other things — would be like living in your parents’ basement, for life.
Put another way, modern liberalism is exactly like modern art: Ordinary people take one look and say, “Blech,” while its elite defenders say, “You don’t understand — this is better than it looks.”
Liberals still believe that, like Communism, the top-down economic planning of Carter and Clinton didn’t succeed only because it wasn’t given a fair chance. Which is why liberals so desperately want to try, try again to exercise command-and-control over our economy from 2008.
We elect them at our peril.
Our correspondent signs off as “the Star Tribune’s other conservative columnist.”
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