Daniel Henninger proves once again that you can write for the Wall Street Journal and have your head up your ass.
In an article titled "Mad Max and the Meltdown," Henninger bemoans the fact that too many people are afraid to "say 'Merry Christmas' and perchance, give offense. Christmas, the holiday that dare not speak its name."
Ah, jeez. What a terrible problem!
No, wait, that's not the problem! The problem is that "A nation whose people can't say 'Merry Christmas' is a nation capable of ruining its own economy."
Yes, he really wrote that!
But there's more. It wasn't the chicanery of the financial industry, per se, that caused our current financial crisis. In fact, says Henninger, "The path to 50% wealth reductions and the death of Wall Street was paved with good intentions." The bankers really, truly, out of the goodness of their hearts, wanted everyone to own a house "even if that required giving away the house to untutored borrowers with low-to-no-interest loans."
Isn't that sad? Those poor beleaguered bankers who only wanted to do the 'right thing' are now caught in the maelstrom of financial meltdown?
Yup. And, says Henninger, "This good intention set off history's largest chain of moral hazard. The bankers' good intentions led them to do bad things like misrepresent loan applications and underwrite subprime loans "poorly." Plus other stuff.
Henninger explains further: "What really went missing through the subprime mortgage years were the three Rs: responsibility, restraint and remorse. ...
"Responsibility and restraint are moral sentiments. Remorse is a product of conscience. None of these grow on trees. Each must be learned, taught, passed down. And so we come back to the disappearance of 'Merry Christmas.'"
Oh, if only we had been able to say "Merry Christmas"!
You knew he'd get there, right? Well, Henninger thinks that when you dig deep enough into the muck and mire of our national psyche, you'll find "that the steady secularizing and insistent effort at dereligioning America has been dangerous." You can tell because we can't say "Merry Christmas" anymore without the gnashing of teeth!
No, really, he said that. Furthermore, according to Henninger, "That danger flashed red in the fall into subprime personal behavior by borrowers and bankers, who after all are just people. Northerners and atheists who vilify Southern evangelicals are throwing out nurturers of useful virtue with the bathwater of obnoxious political opinions."
Okay. Let's see if we've got this straight: Northerners and atheists have been bad-mouthing Southern evangelicals, who know right from wrong. So, it's the "Southern evangelicals" who can lead us out of this mess because, why? They got that ol' time religion? They got Jesus? They got TV preachers? They got racists? They got the Klan?
And we're having so many problems because "Northerners and atheists" vilify these poor Southern evangelicals, who are "nurturers of useful virtue"? I suppose he's speaking of the likes of George Wallace, and Jesse Helms, and Mike Huckabee, and Saxby Chambliss. Maybe Santa Claus? [Santa says "Merry Christmas" more than anyone! Oops! I think Santa's a "northerner." Bad!]
Notice that Henninger doesn't seem to much care what religion one follows. Just get a little religion because it will keep "most of the players inside the chalk lines. We are erasing the chalk lines," he says.
And you can tell because we can't say "Merry Christmas" anymore without "perchance," giving offense. Yup! Chalk line gone!
Can you say "bullshit"?
But what in the world does Henninger mean by "nurturers of useful virtue."
If it means tolerance, openness, fairness, decency, concern for the less fortunate, concern for upholding the Constitution, then Mr. Henninger is way off the mark. For, far from being "nurturers of useful virtue," those Southern evangelicals whom Henninger seems to think hold "virtue" which translates into solutions to our financial crisis, are too often, fundamentalist theocrats, who would impose their peculiar and particular "Christian" values on the rest of the nation - values which lack any semblance of tolerance, openness, fairness, decency, concern for the less fortunate, and/or upholding the Constitution!
Or, to paraphrase another famous bullshitter, the B-movie actor icon of the right, Ronald Reagan: Religion is not the solution; religion is the problem!
Happy Holidays! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Kwanzaa! Happy Winter Solstice! And, oh, yeah, Merry Christmas!
Read all of Henninger's article here.