Feet on the ground – head in the clouds.

The formerly respectable Becker-Posner Blog

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I’ve read the Becker-Posner Blog for a while now and often enjoyed the insight. These two economists have a deep understanding of some of the forces that affect our lives. They also, like many academics near the top of their profession, are complete idiots outside of their area of expertise. No post made that fact more evident than a recent focus on “Hollywood and Liberals“, which was rife with absurd assumptions and spurious links. The comments on these two posts were (mostly) far more intelligent than either of the author’s comments. For two well-respected, usually well-researched economists I’d expect a lot higher standards, even for such a pathetic topic.

I believe the single most important reason why so many of these Hollywood creative personnel are opposed to the Republican party, especially to the more conservative members of this party, is that the personal morals of many filmmakers deviate greatly from general norms of the American population.

General norms of the American population? Look around you, Dr. Becker. Where in this country can you find those norms being practiced? For someone who grew up in a religious, conservative town of 2,000 in the Midwest I would expect to have my own first-hand experience. Instead, I could create a laundry list of deviations from that “norm” among the residents of my hometown that would rival any sample of the same size in Hollywood. Sure, we hear about LiLo and Britney Gone Wild, but how many people from small town America have Access Hollywood tracking their divorce proceedings?

Anyone living in small town America should notice the doublespeak about how their traditional values are the backbone of this country while rumors fly around town about the latest affair involving a City Council member. It’s not that Hollywood is more liberal, it’s that Hollywood is admittedly more liberal. It is viewed as being more dysfunctional, but in reality it is a matter of exposure and a marginal increase in reckless behaviors. Any construction team in this country contains the same percentage of casual drug users (based upon my own substantial experiences, if you fund the research I will prove this empirically).

Creative contributors to films divorce in large numbers, often several times. Many have frequent affairs, often while married, they have children without marriage, they have significant numbers of abortions, have a higher than average presence of gays, especially in certain of the creative categories, who are open about their sexual preferences, they take cocaine and other drugs, and generally they lead a life style that differs greatly from what is more representative of the American public.

Again, Gary Becker assumes that what-you-see-is-what-you-get. In fact, he just seems a bit out of touch with reality (as he accuses Hollywood liberals of being) and more concerned with what our public record indicates (which has absolutely no balance of coverage between small town America and Hollywood). It’s true that some in Hollywood love their bananas and blow, but I’ve never seen more blow than I did while partying with the daughters of the “traditional values” crowd throughout my high school and college years.

Here I am making unsubstantiated claims as I am certainly accusing Gary Becker and Richard Posner of doing, with two major differences. One, I am not supposed to be a well-respected academic with standards to uphold and two, I am using my own experience as my guide. If anyone cares to argue that Becker and Posner have observed these behaviors in Hollywood firsthand, be my guest.

By contrast, an important base of the Republican Party is against out of wedlock births, strongly pro life and against abortions, against gays, especially those who adopt an publicly gay lifestyle, against affairs while married, and very much oppose the legalization of drugs like cocaine and even marijuana.

This is the gem of the entire post. I’d like to thank Gary Becker for making my argument for me. It’s true that “the Republican Party is against out of wedlock births…gays…affairs while married…and the legalization of drugs”. The inherent flaw in that statement is that it admits they are not always behaving as such. I can think of one impending prominent out-of-wedlock birth from among the ranks of the same party. I believe I remember hearing about the McCain campaign pandering to their (obviously) selfless but underground gay Republicans. If I’m not mistaken Senator McCain actually began seeing his current wife while still married to his newly disfigured first wife. Then there is the example of Senator David Vitter of Louisiana who admitted to frequenting an escort service. I could continue, but this hypocrisy has already been exposed to any rational person who bothers to pay attention.

When I read further and noticed that Becker would attempt to explain away the instances of hypocrisy among Republicans, I decided to remove the link from my blogroll. These authors may continue to have some great posts about economics, but their social commentary only proves that is their only area of expertise. Maybe their next post should be “why are economists always wrong?”


Written by unastronaut

September 7, 2008 at 2:11 pm

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