Saturday, November 15, 2008

Doug Bandow gives economics lesson

If you've been looking for some free economics education, here's your chance. The lecture series is co-sponsored by the Cortopassi Family Foundation and the Pacific College Republicans and you are invited to attend and even ask questions if you wish. Pictured is last Tuesday's lecturer, Doug Bandow, a "Bastiat Scholar in Free Enterprise" and former Cato Institute scholar (don't ask).

Ok, you had to ask. Bandow has been criticized because among his supporters was an infamously corrupt Washington lobbyist. But all of these talking heads are paid by someone who supports their viewpoints and wants to help them spread the word. But in this case since the lobbyist was highly unliked it sparked complaints. Maybe unwise. Or not. Who knows.

I didn't know about this "controversy" at the time but it does explain a few things. First, I did get the feeling he was ready to jump out of his skin when I approached to ask a question. (Fortunately my disarming good looks let me slip past the handlers.)

I asked two questions. First, I wondered how he thought the young people received his message of the value of the free market? He hoped so but said we should ask the young people. Good point. In the next round of questions I asked about "global warming."

This is where I realized that although I loved the lecture and it was most informative, Bandow, like a lot of Californians suffers from "CPS" - Californian Political Syndrome. One of the characteristics of this disease is when a person can't answer a simple question or express a viewpoint without first trying to ascertain what you want to hear.

My question about the climate was met with questions and back and forth to try to determine my opinion of the matter. As if there's some rule that you aren't allowed to disagree with anyone so you have to figure out what that person believes and then answer the question accordingly.

As an aside, I first noticed this syndrome when talking to the guy who was doing the "restaurant" study in Manteca. And his assistant. Both of them simply refused to answer any question on any controversial topic without first asking what I thought. But once I expressed an opinion, they would enthusiastically agree.

For the record after going back and forth Bandow agreed that his position could be summed up as "maybe the earth is warming a little, but it's nothing to worry about and we should just deal with it instead of trying to destroy civilization in a vain attempt to stop any climate changes." Which he could have said right away without all the questions and answers. Maybe that's CPS or maybe I just looked like Jack Abramoff's brother in law.

The lecture was worthwhile and I even got a little book for free. You might want to mark your calendar. The next lecturer will be Jennifer Roback Morse, Founder and President of the Ruth Institute. Whatever that is. Hm. From the looks of the website I might have a few questions. She will speak on Markets and Morality at 6 pm December 2 at the Pacific Theater, McCaffrey Center at the University of the Pacific. For more info contact or 800-526-7022 ext 147.

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