Background Probability

The Agnostic Popular Front has moved to its new home at Skeptic Ink, and will henceforth be known as Background Probability. Despite the relocation and rebranding, we will continue to spew the same low-fidelity high-quality bullshit that you've come to expect.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Shocking Doctrine from "Mainstream" Baptists

My friend Bruce Prescott is a comrade-in-arms for whom I've great respect and from whom I've learned much over the years. I enjoy his blog and usually tune in to his radio show. However, a recent post entitled Shock Doctrine and the SBC has a few points with which I beg to differ. I’m not going to comment on Naomi Klein's book (seeing as Tyler Cowen has already published the definitive takedown) but rather on Bruce’s post itself.

First off, if you want to dress down the neo-liberal free-marketeers, Chile is not your best bet. From Wikipedia’s list of countries by GDP per capita :

Note that the only other bright-green spot on the entire continent is actually a region of France (Guyane) and thus heavily subsidized by the EU. Evidently, Chicago school thinking has not exactly chilled Chile’s economic growth and prosperity, which would explain why other South American countries are queuing up for a taste of free markets and the good life.

Secondly, this comment is too much of a gem not to lampoon:

Fundamentalism has been as disastrous to Baptist life as Friedman's economics has been to capitalism.

Replace "disastrous" with "essential" and I would heartily agree. Friedman's economics are essentially capitalism, just as Baptist life has now become fundamentalism in both theory and practice. As much as I would like Bruce's approach to theology and ethics to be mainstream among Baptists, this ceased to be the case well before Naomi Klein graduated secondary school.

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