Wednesday, June 08, 2011

About Jon Stewart

I see Jon Stewart is getting some criticism for soft-soaping the scandal involving his friend Mr. Weiner, target of jokes far and wide. Stewart's a genuine good guy, but one can question the mental universe he inhabits.

There's a YouTube video of Stewart debating libertarian Senator Rand Paul. What's noteworthy is that both men are talking past each other like religious believers of different sects convinced they're right, unwilling to concede a point from the other side. (Which, after all, is the format.)

Which worldview is right?

No one really knows. Which economic theory works best is guesswork-- though we can see what works now and can study analogies from the past to help decide.

I find this irony about both philosophies. While Stewart's managed economy ideas stem originally from Marx, it's a philosophy whose antecedents are in a Judeo-Christian view of the universe-- meaning, fairly static, predictable, on a predictable course with a predictable outcome, and the overall belief that the economy and society can be wisely managed from on high.

Rand Paul's view of the universe is that of a more chaotic and unpredictable place with multiplicities of changes and variables taking place constantly, with progress dependent on sudden mutations. In other words, fairly Darwinian-- which still allows for a broader order to the whole thing. Marxian theory says that eventually, inevitably, our system's contradictions will bring the machine down. Rand Paul's ideas believe the machine will have ups and downs but will be able to renew itself. It allows for-- it expects-- the occasional free agent Steven Jobs-style innovating entrepreneur to bring new energy and growth to the massive entity, and thereby save it.

Everything in life is a living breathing changing organism, even economies. Even arts. Even literary scenes.

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