Real Time Thoughts on Meet the Press (November 29, 2009)

(I’d think that Meet the Press will be starting off with some discussion about Pres. Zardari slowly relinquishing powers he inherited from President Musharraf.  But this is the tolling bell on Zardari’s tenure in office.  Any theorist of democratic transitions knows that it is not rational for an autocrat to liberalize, if he is motivated by tenure in office.  The only explanation of liberalization of regime is the wrongheaded assumption on the part of the autocrat that appeasement will ensure survival; but that move is viewed by the opposition as weakness.  The opposition parties–in this case, the Pakistani military and the opposition party led by former PM. Nawaz Sharif–are the anchors that are holding Zardari’s adminstration at bay.  This move only ensures that Zardari will be departing from office soon.)

Today’s broadcast of Meet the Press promises to be interesting.  As before, the quotes are approximations to the words spoken, but are close to the spirit of the truth.  Passages in parentheses, are my thoughts on the exchange between David Gregory and his guests.

(Okay, I was wrong, Rick Warren is talking on faith and charity; Bill and Melinda Gates is talking about public health.  Yes, its interesting, but not as interesting as I would like the conversation to be on Meet the Press.)

Rick Warren (whose book is the second most translated book in history, next to the bible): Love is spelled G-I-V-E.  We’re most like god when we’re giving. (He gives away 90% of his earnings.  I wonder if this is the case)

DG: citing a Rabbi, We are good not when we think good thoughts, but when we do good deeds over and over.  (This is a bit of Aristotelian ethics, that I find a bit too harsh)

(The thing about this talk is that I cannot shy away from the idea that in listening to Pastor Rick, he strikes me as a egoist who gets his ego rent by professing self-sacrifice.  He does not draw a pay check from Saddle Back Church, nor does he wear an expensive watch.  He does not profit much from his books, etc.  All with the intention of insisting that what he does he does not for money, but for the love of god.  I do think that his works do point to good outcomes and better life choices for the individuals so affected.  I just think that his claims to self-sacrifice are egoistic.  Does the psychological basis of his behavior matter much, in the long-run.  No, probably not.)

DG: Proposition 8.  Do you think that money spent have been better spent on the fight for AIDS. (This might be interesting.)

RW: I think we spent too much money on most things.  You know the biblical teaching, teach a man how to fish.  I think that’s too little.  You have to teach a man to sell a fish; you have to teach a man to build a boat.  Its all about free enterprise.  (This is a well-thought out argument for free-marketism.  The right should jot down talking points from this gentleman.)

DG: Would you fight for anti-gay legislation?

RW: My beliefs on gay marriage are biblical.  (That’s a honest take, of course)  But I think my job is to love everyone.  (This is a dodge.)

(Rick Warren is citing a Solomonic prayer that he gain power and influence to help the poor and the helpless.  Rick Warren just said that the supposed 46 million who are not here, because they were aborted fetuses, have suffered a holocaust)

DG: Is there a moral equivalency between the abortion debate and health care coverage?

RW: I’m not pro-life, I’m whole life.  Expand the agenda, care about the child after she’s born.

RW: There are fundamentalists in all and no religions.  Meanings change.  A Fundamentalist used to be a good thing: he was someone who believed in the fundamentals of the Bible.  But now I would say that a fundamentalist is someone who has stopped listening.  (I would agree with this assessment; I think in so far as I can take a Evangelical leader, I’d have to say Rick Warren is as smart and as respectable as anyone within the current leadership can be.  That is to say, he is the heir to Billy Graham.)

RW (To some question, I’ve forgotten, because RW’s response is so compelling):  Something like 70% of Americans are in the wrong job.  They are not wired for what they do, and are unhappy doing it. SOme people are wired to do deals, to be accountants, to be oceanographers.  I say do the thing that makes you fruitful and gives you sustenance.   Do what you would do for free.  I don’t draw a paycheck.  You’re net worth is not hte same thing as your self worth. Your value is not the same thing as your valuables.  Sometimes you might not even know what it is that you’re good at; someone might actually point out that you’re good at this one thing. (That is a damn good answer.  Very convincing. No wonder he’s sold the number of books as he has)

DG is talking to Bill and Melinda Gates.

(I think the big issue at question is how do you harness individual research projects to arrive at a particular goal: AID’s vaccines for example.  How do you deliver this research product to the poor and the non-empowered.  And how do you entice investors to invest in public health projects.  The Gates’ argue that allowing individuals to seek greater technology but focus it through one or another funding infrastructure. Deliver using technology the poor already have.  The poor now have cell-phones, through the Grameen Bank and other organizations.  Send a text message to a mother to come in to get her child checked, etc.  On the point of getting individuals to invest in public health: Link ego rents to investment opportunities.)

(Its interesting to think that Gates is arguing for health care, innovation and capitalism in the same way that Joseph Schumpeter would have defended each one of these substantive issues)

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~ by Faheem Haider on November 29, 2009.

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