Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 20, 2008

FROM RELIGION TO RECESSION.... Two weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed castigating Americans for not supporting George W. Bush. The president's low approval rating, the piece insisted, is a reflection of "our failure," our "disloyal" tendencies, and our willingness to strengthen "our enemies." It was, to my mind, one of the stupidest things ever published by a major American newspaper.

And yet, the editors at the WSJ continue to push the envelope in new and mind-numbing directions. The Journal published this piece from Daniel Henninger today, which aims to explain "how we went from Christmas to crisis." I've read the whole piece a few times, trying to understand it. I'm at a loss.

Henninger begins by repeating nonsense about Americans, en masse, being afraid to wish others a "Merry Christmas." This, on its face, is absurd. But he goes much further, connecting this non-existent trend in holiday-related rhetoric to the financial crisis, apparently blaming the prior for the latter: "A nation whose people can't say 'Merry Christmas' is a nation capable of ruining its own economy."

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."

It has been my view that the steady secularizing and insistent effort at dereligioning America has been dangerous. 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.

The point for a healthy society of commerce and politics is not that religion saves, but that it keeps most of the players inside the chalk lines. We are erasing the chalk lines.

Feel free: Banish Merry Christmas. Get ready for Mad Max.

So, let me get this straight. Some unnamed, nefarious forces are "dereligioning" America. This, in turn, has led to immorality. And this, in turn, has led to shady business practices. And this, in turn, led to the ongoing financial crisis.

If there's a coherence to this, it's hiding well. Indeed, each of Henninger's points seems more ridiculous than the last. There is no "dereligioning" of America. "Dereligioning" isn't even a word, but more importantly, the United States is the most religious of any industrialized democracy, and among the most religious countries on the planet. "Happy Christmas" has not been banned. The financial crisis is not the result of secular values. Morality is not being "erased."

Why anyone would attach their name to such transparent foolishness is a mystery to me. Why anyone would publish such inanity is even harder to understand.

Steve Benen 3:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (76)

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Comments

Merry Christmas, Steve!

Posted by: sheesh on November 20, 2008 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

I think it's easy to understand within the world view of hard Right. It's just this world view has nothing to do with reality.

Posted by: LB on November 20, 2008 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

I'm guessing that the grown-ups are not in charge at the WSJ. . .

Posted by: Michigoose on November 20, 2008 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

Man, those investors are just enjoying every minute of approving the Murdoch takeover, aren't they?

Posted by: August J. Pollak on November 20, 2008 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

My ancestors (and some who aren't) were hanged

in England before migrating to the New World in the

1700s.

I grew up in Philadelphia where, some of us remember, the nation was birthed.

The key to our City of Brotherly Love is because religion is NOT a factor as per doings as a citizen.

So, saying Merry Christmas isn't as important as being fine with not saying it.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on November 20, 2008 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

It was the "religious" right that pushed and supported deregulation and selfish economics (in contrary to their own religious scriptures!) The WSJ have become absolute vermin now:
W-whore-shiping Stupid Jerks!

Posted by: Neil B on November 20, 2008 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

WSJ = Murdoch = Faux News. I don't think any analysis of why the WSJ does whatever it does from now on can be done without acknowledging that connection of darkness and stupidity.

Posted by: burro on November 20, 2008 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

"A nation whose people can't say 'Merry Christmas' is a nation capable of ruining its own economy."

Damn Icelanders!

Posted by: martin on November 20, 2008 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Thank you sweet Jeebus for calling on Rupert Murdoch to buy the WSJ.

Oh and a very Merry Christmas to all. ;)

Posted by: Uncular1 on November 20, 2008 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

Every strength can become a weakness. The right wing has built an incredibly powerful message machine, but many people who now live and breathe completely within that machine have no way to tell when they're making total fools of themselves.

Mike

Posted by: MBunge on November 20, 2008 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

i laughed until i cried
i cried until i laughed again

we are truly surrounded by madmen and idiots.

the wall street journal, you say? in it? not tucked in it, some school paper by a third grader?

Posted by: neill on November 20, 2008 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

Hmmm. I wonder if there is any positive correlation between the foreclosure rates and church-going rates in any particular geographic areas. That would be interesting to know. Mr. Henninger probably has that information right there in his back pocket-if only someone would ask.

Posted by: JM on November 20, 2008 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

I know, let's say "Happy Christmas" and "Merry Holidays" instead!

The douchebaggery cries of the mewling morons continues.

Posted by: RememberNovember on November 20, 2008 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

Allow me, Mr. Benen.
I speak "nut".

1) Liberals discourage wishing Merry Christmas. This encapsulates their general efforts to de-emphasize Christianity's role in people's lives.

2) Christianity is the foremost source of morality in the world.

3) A total lack of morals led to the greed that produced the Wall street/Real Estate collapse.

4) Christianity rails against such greed.

5) If liberals had stayed out of the way of Christianty's power to instill morals, our economy would be humming.


Assuming you accept the premises, does it make sense now? There were admittedly some leaps of faith-logic that would have been useful to include.

Glad to be of service.

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on November 20, 2008 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

The war-on-christmas is just a sad hangover christians suffer from having stolen the holiday in the first place, from pagan non-believers, who only wanted briefly to distract their poor frozen minds away from the brutalities of the typical northern european winter. What could be worse for these crooks than to have the thing stolen back from them, and so find themselves forced to confront once again the laughing crazies, swirling wassail and dancing naked around the fire.

Posted by: scorekeeper on November 20, 2008 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

" Northerners and atheists who vilify Southern evangelicals are throwing out nurturers of useful virtue with the bathwater of obnoxious political opinions."

One of the reasons we "northerners" are trying our best to throw out the Southern evangelicals is that many of them are preaching from a Bible that they've made up. I don't recall anywhere in the Gospels that I read growing up where Jesus says,

"Screweth the poor! Blessed are they that cut the taxes of millionaires, for they shall be beloved of God above all other men."

Or,
"And when a man strikes thee upon thy right cheek, then bloweth him away using the handgun the keeping of which has been sanctified by The Lord. And likewise, remembering the Divine Doctrine of Pre-emption, bloweth away the man standing next to him lest that man too, at some future time, striketh thee upon thy cheek."

The "useful virtues" that they're advocating -- discriminating against homosexuals, bombing innocent brown-skinned people, giving to the rich by squeezing everyone else, and allowing corporations take total control of our lives -- have been soundly rejected by thinking Americans, Christian and otherwise, from the North, South, East and West.

Posted by: SteveT on November 20, 2008 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

Oh! So that's where all the money went -- the Grinch took it!

Seriously, I have to wonder just what "dereligioning" forces this guy may have in mind that are carrying out a sinister plot to destroy the American economy, and whether they have anything to do with the menorahs that you see alongside Christmas trees in a lot of shop displays. You know that THEY have an age-old plot to destroy us from within, don't you? It says so, right there in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Posted by: T-Rex on November 20, 2008 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

While I think the writers attempt to equate immorality with less religion is nonsense, I certainly agree that immorality is a part of our current economic problems. I lay the blame on greed--a pretty universal human emotion. The wrongheaded policy were tax cuts going back to the Kennedy administration which made it so much more profitable to act immorally. Back in Ike's time somebody screwing his/her neighbor, employer, country etc for an extra dollar could only expect to take home an extra 10 cents--pretty small reward for being so immoral. Under Dumbya, that same person would expect to see over 60 cents of that dollar.

Posted by: terry on November 20, 2008 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

I'm just so very pleased to see we've moved one giant step closer to "blame the Jews" for our financial crisis. Always good to see the unhinged right-wing going back to the classics. Because that usually ends well.

And I believe the term of art is actually "dereligionalizindinding" of America. Also acceptable is the "un-jesusification" of America, as is "Christ-killing". Frequent shouts of "POPERY!" are also encouraged.

Posted by: anonymous on November 20, 2008 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

The staggering thing is there the tiniest touch of truth in there. He's right on the lack of responsibility and restraint of the profiteers who lead us into this. He is equally correct that these people have acted immorally.

His mistake, and it's a horrifying common one, is that he views morals as only ever coming from religion. Ergo, they are (being immoral) non-religious, ergo, they're opposed to saying 'Merry Christmas'.

That's the source of the nuttery here. That said, I think this is a prime candidate for a Golden Wingnut award.

Posted by: Sean Riley on November 20, 2008 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

And the search for a suitable scapegoat continues. Good luck with this one, Rupert the Rednosed Pirate.

Posted by: Mark on November 20, 2008 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

Wow. Some people really become unhinged under stress....

The real shame of this is that there is a real dearth of sound financial perspective these days. Politicians and the media are falling all over themselves to demonstrate their understanding of how bad things are. Paulson and Bernanke also seem to think this is the only way of demonstrating that they "get it." Well guess what -- we all get it now. The economy is in rough shape. So let's start talking about how cycles like this play out. Amid all the bad news, there are some glimmers of the self-correcting economic forces that turn cycles around (i.e., the recent drops in inflation and mortgage rates). You'd expect the WSJ to be leading this type of discussion, not printing screeds from someone who sounds like the guy in the movie "Network."

P.S. Happy Thanksgiving (it is too early for "Merry Christmas)

Posted by: Richard on November 20, 2008 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

scorekeeper said:
What could be worse for these crooks than to have the thing stolen back from them, and so find themselves forced to confront once again the laughing crazies, swirling wassail and dancing naked around the fire.

Actually, we Pagans dance naked around the fire in the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice (and occasionally during really good drum circles). The Yule fire is a time for quiet reflection.

Posted by: Pagan and Proud on November 20, 2008 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

Think Murdoch. Then it's all clear. WSJ isn't a newspaper, it's a "news brand" that's not at all "brand new." Just as the Russian crime syndicate wants to pwn your computer, Murdoch wants to pwn the moronic masses. They are easy to control - faith based. He's also behind the "fairness doctrine" hoopla because he wants to disarm opposition to the poisonous hatemongering he's about to push in the name of free speech.

Posted by: LJR on November 20, 2008 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

Next thing you know they'll be burning crosses:

https://store.afa.net/pc-10000310-11-christmas-cross.aspx

(Thanks to Gabriel Winant in the War Room on Salon.com)

Posted by: Michigoose on November 20, 2008 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

I want to be Mister Humongous.

Posted by: DBake on November 20, 2008 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

The point for a healthy society of commerce and politics is not that religion saves, but that it keeps most of the players inside the chalk lines.

As with the rest of this crap, this isn't factually correct (the ardent conservatives are the most ardent deregulators), but it's interesting evidence of what liberals have known for a long time: the conservative elite is mostly irreligious and views it as a positive only as far as it keeps the rubes in line. Also see: Kathleen Parker.

Posted by: Jimmy Jazz on November 20, 2008 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

Um, we have had a born-again Christian at the head of our government for the past 8 years.

How is our country becoming less religious again?

Posted by: zoe kentucky on November 20, 2008 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

The reason why economic growth in recent years has been so much better in China than in the decadent west is because in China, they still know how to say Merry Christmas.

Posted by: Daryl McCullough on November 20, 2008 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

Now that these right-wing fruitloops are looking back at the election and wondering what went wrong, they're letting their true opinions of America and Americans show. These buffoons are so solidly anti-American they could cuddle up with Bin Laden without a whimper of doubt.

Which lets us see the true nature of the Bush administration, Faux News, and the rest of the wingnut establishment: they're not incompetent; they just hate America, and have done a damn fine job of setting the country well down the road to ruin.

Posted by: Cap'n Chucky on November 20, 2008 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

What a doof! Asked any wisened old geezer in the pool hall and he'll give you the scoop on why things are going to hell in a hand basket. It all started when they began shooting them thar satellites into the atmosphere. Pretty soon the Ruskies were racing us to the moon. Laser beams. I tell ya, you shouldn't be messin' with space and stuff. And then there' the way those colored boys wear their pants, that can't be good for fer nuthin, pretty soon cats and dogs be screwin' each other, I tell ya...................

Posted by: steve duncan on November 20, 2008 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

@SteveT FTW! Thou hast smote the nail on the top of its proverbial head, as it has been written.

Posted by: ajw_93 on November 20, 2008 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

yo, pagan and proud, some of us dance naked all year 'round

"The answer lies in the pagan origins of Christmas. In ancient Babylon, the feast of the Son of Isis (Goddess of Nature) was celebrated on December 25. Raucous partying, gluttonous eating and drinking, and gift-giving were traditions of this feast."

http://www.essortment.com/all/christmaspagan_rece.htm

Posted by: scorekeeper on November 20, 2008 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, it's simple. Coming from the WSJ such opinion is obviously referring to the lowering of Christmas sales caused by people who can only bring themselves to say "Happy Holidays," not "Merry Christmas." De-religionists are simply bad for the economy.

Many of them are probably the same people who gripe at seeing Christmas lights in stores the first week in November. They're a bunch of crabs & tightwads who only pay cash & stay within their budgets. Off with the lot of them! Bah, humbug!

Posted by: pj in jesusland on November 20, 2008 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

What I find particularly funny about this is that very, very smart, very, very amoral energy traders and brokers and stock analysts are looking at this idiotic fool in WSJ right now and laughing their asses off. Probably the best laugh they've had for weeks.

Capitalism neither has, nor particularly encourages, morality. And when it does, it does so because it makes business sense, as a brand enhancement or because it has a better return on investment. And of course, it was this kind of capitalist 'sensitivity' that brought about the rise of "Happy Holiday" greetings to begin with -- after all, why alienate other potential customers?

So you get into this bizarre universe the right inhabits, a place where history holds no appeal (slavery was a gigantic economic engine at the birth of the country, and the fuckers who supported it often used Scripture to justify it -- does this make 18th century capitalism more or less moral?), weird grievances are nursed to the point of mania (Fairness Doctrine? Really?) and where their rickety propaganda machine trots out these kind of incomprehensible rants that no sane person can believe.

Posted by: Jay B. on November 20, 2008 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

We do have a problem with ignoring religious values, but the problem is centered on Wall Street and everywhere else that greed reigns over such principles as avoiding usury (abusing superior economic power), taking care of the least among us (by taxes, for one) and caring about something other than how your compensation package stacks up against the other guys'.

That would seem to be something the WSJ might address if it really cared about the spiritual health of America. Which it doesn't.

Posted by: Mimikatz on November 20, 2008 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

Why anyone would publish such inanity is even harder to understand.

Because they need to keep those wingnut warriors on their side, to fight the communist Obama.

That article does one thing, it sure does explain why all the banks in the bible belt are doing so well. (ROFLMAO)

Posted by: Racer X on November 20, 2008 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

You write: "Why anyone would attach their name to such transparent foolishness is a mystery to me."

And, from Newsweek, I've learned that Obama may be the Anti-Christ.

"Oogedy-boogedy" right-wing nonsense is breaking out all over. Careful, Steve -- and Happy Holidays to you.

Posted by: CMcC on November 20, 2008 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

I've done my part. I canceled my WSJ subscription back in June and am now much happier with the more balanced, global, and insightful Financial Times. I couldn't stomach the WSJ's fascist editorial pages anymore.

Merry Christmas to all except Rupert Murdoch and his mouthpieces.

Posted by: BrianinMKE on November 20, 2008 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

I am surpised to learn Americans did not say 'Merry Christmas' in 1929.

Posted by: Brojo on November 20, 2008 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

Some unnamed, nefarious forces are "dereligioning" America.

What do you mean "unnamed"? It's right there in the piece: The evil fucking "northerners and atheists" are to blame for demonizing the Real Americans of the Edenic southern heartland.

Fie!

Posted by: ibc on November 20, 2008 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

The reason that this bilge is being published is that Rupert baby now owns the WSJ and as anyone who is acquainted with Fox "News" knows, Rupert's play toys are not exactly in the adult world. If everyone would stop considering his ornaments to have any relevance to our lives, everyone would be a lot happier and better adjusted to dealing with real crises. Lord knows, we now have enough of them.

Posted by: Texas Aggie on November 20, 2008 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and before I forget:

Merry Satantide!

Posted by: ibc on November 20, 2008 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

Rupert Murdoch's imprint on the already odious WSJ editorial pages. Expect more bogey men and women and straw men as well.
The right must needs to stoke more irrational fear to keep their flock in line during the Holidays.

mickster

Posted by: mickster on November 20, 2008 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

I think he's sort of on to something. Just as with the famous statistics showing that Red Staters are more prone to divorce and teenage pregnancies it appears dereligioning, or loss of moral compass if you will, is a problem mostly with the ones loudest at trumpeting their religious values. "Religion", as with so much else for the Bush half of America has become nothing more than words and jingos. We secularists aren't the ones abandoning accountability in favor of happy talk. That's where this writer and his kind have it wrong, again.

Posted by: dennisS on November 20, 2008 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

You're being way to generous to try to work out cause and effect here. It's more direct, and less coherent. Not saying "Merry Christmas" IS the cause of the meltdown. You've added too many steps.

Similarly, if you say, "There's no place like home" too often, you'll end up on a Kansas farm, probably in foreclosure.

I'm not sure if it's okay to clap for Tinkerbell.

Posted by: bluespapa on November 20, 2008 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

I would bet that the family who used to own the Wall Street Journal are regretting, big time, they sold the paper to Murdoch.

Posted by: impeachcheneythenbush on November 20, 2008 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, I'm going to agree with the interpretation that it has something to do with some group of people who don't observer Christmas and are manipulating all financial systems in the world. "Northerners and atheists"....nice dance around what he means.

Posted by: DonBoy on November 20, 2008 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

There's a rather large, pro-ignorant market for this drivel. There's still a lot of gold to be mined from them delusionals. Yeehaw!

Posted by: numi on November 20, 2008 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

The WSJ has always had a conservative pro-business tilt. But one could generally count on its editorial pages to have INTELLIGENT insight from conservative thinkers. I might have disagreed with their editorial slant but I could respect the intelligence behind them. And they always made me think.

Since Murdock took over that intelligent editorial has been disappearing. Replaced by dogmatic crap that actually makes Kristol look insightful.

The intellectual backrupcy of the conservative movement is stagerring. In barely a generation we've gone from William Buckely to William Kristol.

It's actually kind of sad. A vibrant democracy requires intelligent voices from many different viewpoints.

Posted by: thorin-1 on November 20, 2008 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

As a big fan of Christmas and one who really thinks it is primarily a religious holiday (though one who hasn't practiced any religion for a very long time) I do believe that the word Christmas has been severly downplayed. I think there is reluctance among many to use it, and I think it's too bad. People are rather thin-skinned nowadays. I would like everyone to relax on this point.

But the WSJ piece is bizarre to the max. Even to the mad max. While "the United States is the most religious of any industrialized democracy, and among the most religious countries on the planet," it isn't nearly religious enough for the "christian" ayatollahs. ("Christian" as practiced in the US is, in my mind, no longer a religion at all but a far-right political ideology.) And these people have disproportionate political power, so what are they bitching about?

Posted by: SteveB on November 20, 2008 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

I heard those two bimbos --Kathie Lee and Hoda Kotb) on the 'Today show' who now are in the late extended version beyond 10:00 am even--whine they longed for the "good old days' when you could just say "Merry Christmas". Kathie Lee especially seemed so sarcastic and annoyed...

How does the phrase: 'Happy Holidays' vs. 'Merry Christmas' make things worse? How does this continue to be an issue wherein folks protest? Because it's new? Because it's a bit unfamiliar or uncomfortable?

I don't buy it, and I think it's religious arrogance exemplified...

Is it that difficult for them? For crying out loud! It's not about being 'Politically Correct' as Limbaugh or O'Reilly might frame it...it's about being expansive and tolerant enough to recognize we are land of many people....

God forbid we might make a few adjustments with our language as times change.

Are folks still that religiously intolerant?

Posted by: God forbid we might prefer: "Happy Holidays" on November 20, 2008 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

How did the Wall Street Journal go from smug passive-aggressive pussies in ties to a barking shithouse rat with bat wings?

This is unintelligible.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on November 20, 2008 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

Thank you, SteveT -- you said everything I wanted to say, but better. Henninger wouldn't know Christianity if it ran him over in a Mack truck.

Posted by: Stacy on November 20, 2008 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

The annoying yet apropos phrase, "are you on drugs?" comes to mind. Or perhaps his prescription ran out and he can't afford to renew it? This man's mind is not right.

Posted by: Karen on November 20, 2008 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

Someone should point out the "Is God Dead?" Time Magazine cover and story to Henninger at http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,941410-1,00.html

My how times have changed since then (1966). They could never do that today. We've become a nation of religious fanatics, the opposite of "dereligioning" ourselves. We've actually been religioning ourselves to death. Those were the days when Kennedy had to promise that he would uphold the separation of church and state. Now you have to denounce it if you want to get elected.

What a word, "dereligioning," huh? "Dereligionizing or "dereligionating" would be better choices, if you're going to coin a word, I think.

But whatever, this is piece is absolutely ridiculous. Off the wall silly. A suitable piece for generating merry-making and mirth.

Posted by: hark on November 20, 2008 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

Dude, you got soooo punked. That's from The Onion, not the WSJ!

What?

What!?!

FSM save us.

adm

Posted by: admadm on November 20, 2008 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

I have a friend, who always not only said "Merry Christmas", but who anticipated the holidays with a twinkle in her eye and celebrated them with zeal, even though it meant days of cooking and baking for extended family and listening to the silly Christmas songs for weeks. Even though I'm a dyed-in-the-wool atheist myself, I always, politely, wished her a Merry Christmas first, just so she wouldn't feel awkward about it...

So, yesterday, I get an e-mail from her where she says that her husband came home from work (thankfully, he's a doctor; not likely to lose his job), put on a record with Christmas songs for her and she burst out crying. It appears that, although the words of one of them were "Have yourself a *Merry* little Christmas", she kept hearing it as "have ourself a *Very* little Christmas", which is what the general situation has reduced her to (3 kids in college, extended family cannot afford to travel, etc).

If there's any relationship at all between religion and recession, then Henninger has got the cause and effect transposed...

Posted by: exlibra on November 20, 2008 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

All this right wing frothing at the mouth seems now to be tinged a holiday appropriate shade of red!
I just knew we scored a lung shot.

Merry Christmas to All and to the Wingnuts, good night!

Posted by: greywolf1014 on November 20, 2008 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

"It has been my view that the steady secularizing and insistent effort at dereligioning America has been dangerous. That danger flashed red in the fall into subprime personal behavior by borrowers and bankers, who after all are just people."

And, apparently, secular people, too. Who refuse to say "Merry Christmas."

I had no idea.

I thought a big majority of Americans were religious folk who went to Church on Sunday (or Temple on Saturday). Of course, those in this country who go to mosque are not really Americans, so I guess they didn't have anything to do with the collapse of the economy.

Funny, but I didn't see a lot of church message boards saying "Thou shalt not borrow."

Posted by: Cal Gal on November 20, 2008 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

"And I believe the term of art is actually "dereligionalizindinding" of America."

And here I thought it was disestablishmentarianing.

Posted by: Sarah Barracuda (and I'm NOT giving up - my jaws are engaged) on November 20, 2008 at 9:04 PM | PERMALINK

Funny thing about the economic crisis, the people at the top who propagated it were very good at saying "Merry Christmas." They did so at their lavish Christmas parties and through their extravagant Christmas bonuses. Heck, they even gave themselves Christmas presents through their bonuses, stock options and other perks from having the luxury of living large off of other people's money.

This whole war on Christmas crap is just "flag pins= patriotism" in new sheep's clothing. People who don't know the difference between substance and lip-service get obsessed over this window-dressing.

Posted by: petorado on November 20, 2008 at 9:16 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not even 40 yet, and I can remember the days when the Christian complaint at the holidays was that Christmas was too commercialized and materialistic, not that we weren't buying enough stuff or being aggressive enough with our holiday wishes.

And how freakin' much of a novelty can it be to hear the phrase "Happy Holidays" be when Bing Crosby made the song a hit over 60 years ago?

Posted by: Mnemosyne on November 20, 2008 at 10:05 PM | PERMALINK

Never thought of it that way. 'None of you get any presents this year' is a twofer: one last stomp on the balls of the Bush economy, and a thumb in Jesus' eye. Hell yeah!

Posted by: madeline on November 20, 2008 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

"Northerners and atheists who vilify Southern evangelicals are throwing out nurturers of useful virtue with the bathwater of obnoxious political opinions."

As a Northern atheist, I don't vilify Southern evangelicals - I laugh at the fucking morons.

As Garrison Keillor once noted: if you take a Southern Baptist fishing with you, he'll drink all your beer; but if you take two, they won't drink any.

Posted by: TCinLA on November 21, 2008 at 12:29 AM | PERMALINK

There is a serious undertone to this--the nation's "record" financial daily is insipid and delusional. This piece will be a definitive footnote on the Bush era, should we survive to write the history. My God. You can't have financial opinion leaders who are this stupid. And there is no point in sugar-coating it. The Wall Street Journal is edited and staffed with astoundingly incompetent and STUPID ideologues. We need a thorough purge of dimwits in the media. That was an Idiocracy-level editorial. Jaw-dropping.

Posted by: Sparko on November 21, 2008 at 1:17 AM | PERMALINK

"The point for a healthy society of commerce and politics is not that religion saves, but that it keeps most of the players inside the chalk lines. We are erasing the chalk lines."

Asinine as this statement is, it does nicely illustrate the cynically instrumental view the money Right takes toward its more faith-based brethren.

Noble lies, and so forth.

Posted by: Wally Ballou on November 21, 2008 at 2:45 AM | PERMALINK

The MSM could have made this "hard news", something like this:

(New York) The Wall Street Journal, a global newspaper with 1.5 million readers, has begun to show the ultra-conservative bent of its new owner Rupert Murdoch, to the point of adopting Fox News's dubious, annual "war on Christmas" campaign.

Two weeks ago, the Journal published an op-ed castigating Americans for not supporting George W. Bush. Yesterday another op-ed contributor wrote: "A nation whose people can't say 'Merry Christmas' is a nation capable of ruining its own economy." Etc.
-------------
It should not be left to bloggers alone to show the public how Murdoch tries to dumb down the nation for his ideological and business purposes. Its news! Every medium he touches takes on a tinge of fascism.

Posted by: LeRoy on November 21, 2008 at 2:53 AM | PERMALINK

Murdoch owns a whole slew of papers-and they are all the same- The Sun= the NY Post
Minus the page 3 topless girls.

Posted by: RememberNovember on November 21, 2008 at 8:21 AM | PERMALINK

Damn you, Charles Darwin, for causing our economic woes!

Posted by: mark on November 21, 2008 at 9:42 AM | PERMALINK

Let's not take the bait this time. The story was likely to be just fodder for gnashing of teeth, etc.
And if the author is that far gone, let him go quietly...

Posted by: GVC on November 21, 2008 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

Lots of guys on Wall Street were looking forward to the addition of a Page Three Girl in the WSJ. I guess that's out, now that the Journal is a Christian Evangelical publication.

Posted by: Mandy Cat on November 21, 2008 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

If we remove the conventional verbal furniture from this, what do we get?

Responsibility restraint sentiments. Remorse product conscience. grow trees. learned, taught, passed down. disappearance "Merry Christmas."

has been view secularizing insistent effort dereligioning America dangerous. danger flashed red fall subprime behavior borrowers bankers, are just people. Northerners atheists vilify Southern evangelicals throwing nurturers useful virtue bathwater obnoxious political opinions.

point healthy society commerce politics is religion saves, keeps players inside chalk lines. erasing chalk lines.

Feel free: Banish Merry Christmas ready Mad Max.

It's just the form of words that distinguishes this guy from someone yelling at traffic with guts on their face.

Posted by: Alex on November 21, 2008 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

Northerners and atheists who vilify Southern evangelicals are throwing out nurturers of useful virtue with the bathwater of obnoxious political opinions.

Of course! How did I miss that? I'm taking that to the bank right now.


Posted by: Squeaky McCrinkle on November 21, 2008 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

Lots of guys on Wall Street were looking forward to the addition of a Page Three Girl in the WSJ.

You don't want that. It'd wind up being someone like the Coultergeist, and they don't make enough brain bleach to rid your mind of that image...

Posted by: thalarctos on November 21, 2008 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

I find it odd that Rupert Murdock's is a life of privilege and wealth while his publications pump out articles on the sacredness of a religious holiday which is not in danger. The WSJ is using fear-mongering dressed in Christian robes for nothing more than to sell papers.

How about the right getting some real leadership with real convictions, instead of this sad substitution of media figures whose paychecks are based on profit margins? That is itself might go a long way in reestablishing the authenticity of the conservative religious message.

Of is that too the liberals fault, why Christians aren't Christian enough?

Posted by: Zli on November 21, 2008 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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