Poll for atheists and libertarians

I know there are a number of you out there who read my blog. Do you agree or disagree with this flippant remark made by economist Paul Krugman on Real Time with Bill Maher?

“There are no atheists in a foxhole, and no libertarians in financial crises.”

Also, if you don’t follow Bill Maher’s show, check it out. He’s had some of the best discussions and analysis of current events anywhere around these days. On his most recent episode Naomi Klein and Andrew Sullivan got into a heated debate about, essentially, whether capitalism works as a philosophy, especially in light of the current economic crisis. Here’s some quotes from the debate:

And the disaster is far from over. They’ve actually just relocated the disaster. The disaster was on Wall Street, and they have moved the disaster to Main Street, by accepting those debts. And, you know, you said they didn’t have to bomb, but the bomb has yet to detonate. You know, the bomb is the debt that has now been transferred to the taxpayers. So, it detonates when – if – John McCain becomes president in the midst of an economic crisis, and says, “Look, we’re in trouble; we’ve got a disaster on our hands; we have to privatize Social Security; we can’t afford health care; we can’t afford food stamps; we – we need more deregulation, more privatization.” (Naomi Klein)

At this point, we have – that’s the crisis. And, now, look. Wall Street is to blame for – for giving these people these loans, but no one is ever forced to take out a bad loan they cannot repay. And, to some extent, the American people are responsible for the crisis they’re currently in. If you had a sensible capitalist tax system which did not direct people to buy one thing rather than another and allowed the market to take place, this wouldn’t have happened. I believe this is a failure of capitalism because capitalism hasn’t been properly put into operation.” (Andrew Sullivan)


~ by realsupergirl on September 29, 2008.

5 Responses to “Poll for atheists and libertarians”

  1. I happen to see the episode you are speaking of. Both of these individuals are speaking to only one aspect or side of capitalism. Capitalism is a paradox in that it has a creative and also a destructive aspect (as it re-orders resources). From the destruction comes new creation (products,etc.) with a higher potential than before (higher standard of living). The problem is we don’t like the destructive aspect and the two individuals on Bill Maher’s show were addressing only one side from two perspectives.

  2. I misread your title and thought it was a poll for atheists and LIBRARIANS. I’m still feeling confused by that.

  3. I have never been in a foxhole, so I can not say for sure whether my brain would kick into the god delusion, but… I am no libertarian, so perhaps I shouldn’t answer. Not that I will let that stop me.

    I agree with what the second speaker said about America not practicing real capitalism (Not with the rich so tightly in control of everything: padding their own pockets while being either grossly negligent or grossly incompetent). That being said, I am not for libertarian deregulation, which helped us into the whole mess because as much as we (America as a whole) deserve a depression, it would only hurt the already hurting leaving the wealthy to sail off on yachts to the Mediterranean.

    I think capitalism would work in a democracy, and it is our democracy that is seriously flawed (so flawed that is more of an oligarchy).

  4. Not having ever been a libertarian, I feel unqualified to address the second half of the quote except to say: capitalism isn’t a bad way to make interesting use of limited resources; however, it’s an absolutely terrible way of making sure everyone’s needs are met.

    As a part-time atheist, however, I’d like to point out that the “no atheists in foxholes” trope is deeply cynical: the implication is that when humans get desperate, they’re willing to believe anything. To quote Babylon 5: “You know, I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, wouldn’t it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them? So, now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe.”

  5. There are no Babylon 5 fans in foxholes

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