September 6th, 2011
Mark Steyn is a bestselling conservative author. Frank Pastore is the host of the biggest Christian radio talk show in the US. The radio host has been promoting Steyn’s big lie about economist John Maynard Keynes.
I’ve written about this in depth elsewhere (go here, if you’re a policy geek), but to summarize, Steyn writes this in his new book:
In his pithiest maxim, John Maynard Keynes, the most influential economist of the 20th century social-democratic state and the patron saint of “stimulus”, offered a characteristically offhand dismissal of any obligation to the future: “In the long run we are all dead.” The Greeks [currently in upheaval over their economic crisis] are Keynesians to a man: The mob is demanding the right to carry on suspending reality until they’re all dead. After that, who cares?
He’s got the quote right, but the interpretation is pure dishonesty.
Keynes wrote that in 1923, snapping back at classical economists who believed the government should do nothing when the economy goes wrong. It’ll fix itself in the long run, they said — which Keynes viewed as small comfort to hard-working folks who lose their jobs or homes or savings before the long run finally arrives. As Keynes put it:
The long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead. Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us that when the storm is past the ocean is flat again.
Keynes wanted the government to even out the business cycle by running budget deficits in bad times, balanced by surpluses in good times. That way we’re not passing down debt or a wildly unstable economy to the next generation.
I learned about Steyn’s lie when Frank Pastore repeated it on his talk show. Their agenda is clear: Those who want to stimulate the economy aren’t just bad — they’re horrible, selfish people who care nothing about the future.
But what does this have to do with gays?
Well, nothing, I thought, until my Friday evening commute when I heard Frank Pastore interviewing Steyn on his radio show. Here’s my transcription (or you can listen here):
Frank Pastore: Mark, I was just checking the Drudge Report: the lead headline right now is talking about the United States for the first time in history is ten trillion dollars in debt, and of course the reality that in the West at large and specifically here in America we just can’t continue to pay for a social welfare state. Where’s the money coming from and it goes back to something that Keynes said, “In the long run we’re all dead.” Explain that.
Mark Steyn: Yeah, I’m always struck by that line. He’s the most influential economist of the 20th century. Barack Obama is a Keynesian to a fault, they fall back on Keynes to defend the stimulus and all the rest of it. [dramatic pause] Keynes was a childless homosexual, he was a libertine in many ways in his personal life. And I think that reflected his particular view of the purpose of life: “In the long run we are all dead.” That’s his most famous quote, it’s the one that’s in Webster’s, it’s the one you can — if you’ve only got one if you’ve only got one quotation from Keynes, it’ll be that one in whatever quotations book you look up. And I think that’s not how humanity works, that human existence is a compact between the present and the past and the future…
Keynes just says, “Huh! Nuts to that, in the long run we’re all dead.” And that’s what you see in the streets of Athens, when those guys are rioting, and that’s what you see in Madison, Wisconsin –-
Frank Pastore: Yes!
Mark Steyn: — when those union workers are saying they’re going to defend those –- they don’t care if their privileges bankrupt the state. In the long run they’re dead, as long as they keep the checks coming till they’re dead, they don’t care what it does.
Frank Pastore: Yeah, and who’s going to end up paying for this? And, well, basically, screw our kids and our grandkids. And we’re doing that, and it’s like it’s the mindset of, “Well, hey, after all, in the long run we’re dead.”
Steyn isn’t just continuing to bear false witness against Keynes and Keynsians. No, he offers up Keynes’ sexual orientation as an obvious explanation of how the man could be was so awful: Surely Keynes wasn’t as terrible as that — wait, he was a homosexual? Oh, well then of course he was a selfish bastard!
You almost have to admire Mark Steyn’s big brass balls. He’s attacking Keynes’ character and he’s doing it by telling a lie! But that’s just the start. During the middle of dishonest rant about the debt crisis, Steyn also manages to toss in a smear gay about people in general (though to be fair, he might only want to slander childless gays, and he’d be just as eager to demonize straight people who aren’t parents — ya think?). It’s as if he’s doing a product placement for homophobia in the middle of his movie about the recession. People are selfish, don’t care about community, want to steal from our kids, yada yada yada — oh, and it’s all because we trusted a homo.
Sadly enough, that’s one product that still seems to sell.
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Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
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