Feed on

When I read the top AP headline this morning. I really did think it was a joke. For now on, I will simply call him Saint Obama. If the Peace prize had anything to do with doing work to promote fraternity between nations, and the abolition or reduction of standing armies, then my colleage Walter Oi is far more qualified, and another terrific economist and former Rochester professor, David Henderson should have been considered. For God’s sake, even Bono has done far more to promote world peace. But we have long since moved past recognizing meritorious achievement for such a prize.

I am in the middle of reading Tyler Cowen’s, What Price Fame?, and in it he argues that one benefit of commercial society’s separation of fame from merit is that it tended to discipline political leaders and limit the power of political leaders (think of the top 10 famous people today versus 100 years ago) … but what about when political leaders are elevated to rock star status in modern society, even if they are not meritorious? At least when we idolize Brittney Spears, all we get is some awful music and we can change the channel. When we idolize a sitting President, we get a remaking of the American economy, psyche, and position in the world. And I don’t get to change that channel.

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