Via Roy Edroso, we see that Megan McArdle made one of those awkward, badly made blogging videos, this time with Diane Sawyer and ABC News. Our Megan is moving up in the world, and our only regret is that Ann Althouse* hasn't found the same fame as well, because that would be much funnier. But we must go to video with the hack we have, not the hack we wish to have.
For some reason known only to the gods, ABC has decided that McArdle's English degree, MBA, and keen sense of the sweep of history make her the perfect person to interview about morality during a recession. Fortunately for McArdle, she specializes in what she would probably call the girly economic outlook, in which McArdle posts about her feelings about the economy instead of actual facts about the economy. Sawyer asks Professor McArdle about the biggest changes in morality during a recession, and McArdle replies that it is tradition to indulge in vice during good times because you have money to drink, gamble and party. During the Depression morality improved, McArdle said, because people had less money to spend on vice. Because evidently humans are binary creatures who only choose between two actions--spend money or not spend money. If you have money then of course you buy alcohol and have drunken parties, hire prostitutes, and gamble that money away. And when you have less or no money, of course you don't lie, cheat, or steal to feed your family. You don't use your last dollar to drink away your sorrows. You don't get into fights because you feel weak and worthless as a provider for your family. You don't prostitute yourself to feed your baby when your husband runs away in shame because he can't bear to watch you go hungry. You don't become a national hero by robbing banks.
My god, she's a stupid woman.
The morality of the young people was broken apart by the horrific war they had just endured. A Lost Generation, looking for someone to trust, something to believe in, something to help them forget. And the older generation clung even tighter to religion, condemning the immoral youth, just like in the sixties and eighties and any other time. In the 20s there was a resurgence of religious fundamentalism in response to the destruction in the social fabric that always occurs during and after a war.
McArdle must have read The Great Gatsby, but evidently concluded that Jay Gatsby was a superior businessman destroyed by the lower classes' envy, and the soulless, empty people in the mansions and nightclubs drank just because they could afford to buy alcohol.
So, Sawyer asks, should marijuana be legalized to provide revenue? That's an argument in favor of legalization, McArdle replies. She has perfected the art of saying nothing while talking endlessly, which is taking her far in the world of elite media. Sawyer next asks about morality after a great recession or depression. McArdle replies that during a depression people must depend on their community to help them survive, and therefore after the crises has passed, people are more moral and puritanical because they have more of a sense of obligation to those in the community and less to those outside the community. She does not mention that the US didn't' pull out of bad times until the massive government spending to prepare for and wage war, but this is, no doubt, why the 1940s were shining times of morality, instead of cesspool of murder, looting, rape, and god knows how many other atrocities, like genocide.
Stupid, stupid elite problem-solving Master of the Universe. With them in charge we're all going to die. Really. They'll bumble around and refuse to educate themselves and end up blowing up every damn one of us. I understand that people are very fond of faith-based thinking, but the lack of logic and rational thought out there is going to get us all killed.
Back in our recession, Sawyer asks McArdle about the biggest surprises of these times. McArdle replies that the biggest surprises are the relative mildness of the recession, [it's not over yet, cupcake] compared to what people predicted, and the speed in which anger at bank bailouts morphed into anger at any spending. If she wants to understand that phenomenon she should roll over in her bed of sin and talk to her tea-bagging boyfriend, who helped usher in these immoral, violent times.