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BBC Harvard ‘Philosophy’ is based on lies

Many people say that the poll tax funded BBC no longer matters – but I do not agree.

The BBC matters less than it once did, but it (or rather parts of it) is still considered a source of serious discussion – and things said on the BBC go into the schools and colleges (via teachers and university lecturers – the sort of people who still actually listen to things like BBC Radio Four) and even into the entertainment media – as BBC money is still a major source of funding for comedians, and actors and even pop singers like to be thought of as “intellectual” so they follow what other people tell them are serious ideas.

The BBC is not all “Eastenders” and other soap operas; it still considers itself in the business of spreading ideas (although, of course, even the soap operas spread ideas and attitudes) and the Reith Lectures, named after the founder of the BBC, John Reith, is what BBC thinks of as the high point of its “High Culture” mission.

Of course the vile taxpayers may not actually listen to the Reith Lectures, or understand them if we did, but watered down and adapted forms of the ideas expressed in the Reith Lectures will be used to “educate” our children and even “inform” popular entertainers, so whether we listen or not is not really relevant from the point of view of the BBC.

The Reith Lectures this year are to be delivered by what the BBC’s advertisements describe as “one of the world’s great philiosphers”, Michael Sandel, actually a Harvard professor who has spent his entire academic life repeating the statist mantras of the late John Rawls. In this context, see Antony Flew’s examination of the ideas such men stand for, which Flew gives in such works as “Equality: In Liberty and Justice”. As for the “philosophy” the lectures will contain – the ads tell us what this will be. “The last 30 years has seen market mania and deregulation” leading to the present financial crises, says the “great philosopher”. Of course, this is a mixture of economic history, a claim about the past 30 years and economics (a claim that certain economic policies have led to certain results) which is not “philosophy” at all – but lest us examine the case on its own “merits”.

In the United States, I can think of one bit of financial deregulation over the last 30 years. In the Clinton years, the block on the same company being involved in both retail banking and merchant banking was removed. However, overall there has been a vast INCREASE in financial regulation in the United States – for example the Community Reinvestment Act forcing banks and others to lend money to people unlikely to pay it back, was past about 30 years ago but was only given real teeth in the years of Clinton and Bush, thanks to Congressman Barney Frank and Senator Chris Dodd. But it is not just the Community Reinvestment Act – there are thousands upon thousands of pages of financial regulation, every detail of operations (from the conditions of lending to bonus structure) is regulated by the government.

As for Britain there was actually very little internal financial regulation 30 years ago (although exchange controls were only formally abolished in 1979). For example “insider trading” was legal and the FSA (the British counterpart of the SEC) did not even exist. Thirty years ago the City of London still was governed by given word and handshake – not the endless regulations (and the vast corporations and ever present lawyers they lead to) that dominate the place today.

So are we to assume that the “great philosopher” is totally ignorant of the fact that his claim of vast “financial deregulation” is not just false but actually the opposite of the truth? I am sorry but I do not believe that it is ignorance – it is dishonesty, trying to spread a political message by deception. “Philosophy” based on lies.

As for the causes of the present crises these are no secret.

The statism that caused the present crises is exposed by such works as Thomas Sowell’s “The Housing Bubble: Boom and Bust” and Thomas Woods’ “Meltdown”. Both best selling works in the country of which the “great philospher” is a citizen.

It was the expansion of the credit money supply by the Federal Reserve system and the “affordable housing” policy pushed, via Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – “private” institutions under government control, by such people as Congressman Barney Frank and Senator Chris Dodd that caused the present crises. It was not caused by “making things object for sale that should not be a matter of money at all” – although the Harvard Prof is welcome to campaign against Federal subsidies (via the banking of student loans and so on) for Harvard.

After all, the “moral” thing to do would be for him not to take money for “educating” the young, a basic “right” no doubt, and to support himself by taking an ordinary job whilst lecturing and writing books (books that he would not accept payment for) in his spare time.

Actually I am not against the “great philosopher” be paid for his work, although I regard his work as being utterly without moral worth – not matter how much financial worth it may have, a distinction I am sure he would agree with, as long as there is no taxpayer support for his institution of for students who choose to go to the place. Let people go and listen to blatant lies if they wish – but let them pay for all this “education” themselves.

6 comments to BBC Harvard ‘Philosophy’ is based on lies

  • Michael Taylor

    I listened to it – an easy-listening hum-along to a list of bien-pensant faves – and after deciding I couldn’t be bothered even to critique it seriously, I was left wondering whether the Reith Lectures were always so poor. You see, I have a memory of a time long long ago in my youth, when they intrigued me. Have they always been this bad/bland? Or is the Received Pronunciation of Opinion now simply more tedious than it was of yesteryear?

    God I feel old. I remember when I had to read Rawls. Seriously!

  • A quick question on Rawls. What was reason did he give that his Rational Calculators would think they where coming out into a Zero Sum world? There has to be some reason because if the world that they are going to live in then they would not chose Maximin as the correct strategy, since in any world that is not Zero Sum (like our world) Maximin is provably not the best strategy.

  • Rational decision making wasn’t the only thinking in Rawls’ original position. Maximin had something to do with being able to justify the position of the least well off in any given society, so that every individual would be aware that their interests had been considered under the principles of justice.

    I am still studying it, and it is indeed rather grim.

  • Paul Marks

    Nothing to do with a zero sum game Chris Strange (Rawls would have been less bad had he been making that mistake).

    Let us say you proved that something you (Chris Strange) were doing would make you better off and NO ONE WORSE OFF (no one at all).

    John Rawls would still say you should be forbidden to work at your project – unless you could prove you were making the “least favoured” better off.

    This is because he held that increased inequality (you getting better off without EVERYONE ELSE GETTING BETTER OFF) was evil as it undermined the feelings of self worth of the very poor. John Rawls also denied that this was envy – by redefining the word “envy”.

    As for Prof S.

    President Barack Obama a sign of “hope of a new morality” in politics. This of the man who spent decades supporting the Chicago Machine and has a long record both of personal corruption (such as the earmark he got for the Chicago hospital in return for the big cash payoff for his wife) and of lying – lying about just about everything.

    “Morality” and anti materialism from this Obama guy and his wife in her 600 Dollar training shoes.

    The problem for me is that is dangerious to laugh and throw up at the same time. So I turned off the lecture.

    However, if Prof S. mentioned that that the government dominated the economy (via regualtions and vast government spending – taking more than 40% of the economy in Britain and close to that in the United States) at exactly the time he claims there was ultra capitalism and “market mania” then I will eat my cap.

    Just as I will if he mentioned that the Federal Reserve system increase in the credit money supply was the basic cause of the current crises – not market “deregulation”.

  • Paul Marks

    By the way John Rawls’ “A Theory of Justice” (a book that has nothing to with justice) falls apart by about page 3 – when he says that people going beyond his “veil of ignorance” have no conceptions of good (no idea about right and wrong – good or evil).

    Someone with no such conceptions, no opinions on what is right and wrong, is not human – and I am not interested in what such flesh robots are doing behind some veil of John Rawls.

  • Paul Marks

    The new “child poverty” statute that the British government is propising is a good example of Rawls/Sandle type thinking, in that it is not really about “poverty” at all.

    It defines “poverty” as 60% or less of average income (regardless to whatever average income happens to be). So the proposed statute is really about inequality – not poverty.