- The Washington Times - Friday, October 27, 2000

The Greenspan cult

"Question: How many central bankers does it take to screw in a light bulb?

"Answer: One. [Alan] Greenspan holds the bulb and the world revolves around him.

"Greenspan's deft handling of the [1997] Asian Contagion turned him into a bona fide celebrity… . The [Federal Reserve Board] chairman was promoted to iconic status and joined the ranks of Harry Houdini, General Douglas MacArthur and Madonna… .

"As a technology revolution swept the nation during the turn of the 21st century, millions of Americans jumped into the stock market to get a piece of the action, and Greenspan became a touchstone. Even if it was unclear what the Fed did or perhaps precisely because of that he captured the popular imagination.

"Here was this enigmatic man who seemed to hold the fate of the nation's economy in his hands. As a consequence, Greenspan managed to achieve a level of acclaim never before bestowed on a Fed chairman and probably never to be bestowed again.

"Call it the cult of Greenspan."

Justin Martin, from his new book "Greenspan: The Man Behind the Money"

Feminist fare

"Perhaps if I'd had a Barbie and her hunky boyfriend, Ken, when I was a girl, it would be easier for me to live my life with a man now.

"Instead, when I was a child, my divorced, feminist, single working mom raised me on the good 1970s liberal themes: justice and equality. When I begged for a Barbie career Barbie, even my mother cut me off with 'I don't care if they make her a rocket scientist, you're not getting a Barbie.'

"The catchphrases my mother sprinkled over my childhood and adolescence were the standard feminist fare of the times… . 'You girls don't know how lucky you are to have access to birth control, but if you do get pregnant, we're taking you to Planned Parenthood for an abortion.'

"And, of course, there was always the feminist adage: 'A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.' …

"Somehow I came away with the idea that romantic relationships with men were on some level a battle, an ongoing power struggle. So when Gloria Steinem got married recently, it eased my own considerable discomfort as I sit considering the prospect of my own marriage… .

"But now that I am building a relationship with the man with whom I plan to spend the rest of my life, my own notions of feminism, masculinity, femininity, power and freedom are all being called into question."

Nancy Kruse, writing on "If Gloria can do it," Oct. 18 in Salon at www.salon.com

Elitism, elitism, elitism

"I am 52 years old and I can tell you that you have less freedom compared to what I had. You can measure it and define it. There are not more than 160 people in the House who believe in limited government… .

"We are declining as a nation because our leadership and our government now use force to state their cases, and there are too few people who are willing to stand up and challenge that, including the media. Consequently, the very tenets of our liberty are going to be taken away… .

"C.S. Lewis had this concept called the 'inner circle.' Man is constantly trying to get into the inner circle and the reason you want to be on the inner circle is because there is notoriety in it, but also because you can elevate yourself above those who are outside the circle… .

"[Being in Congress] is the ultimate inner circle. And then if you are a committee chairman, you are in the next inner circle. And then if you are in leadership, you are in the next inner circle. And then if you are in the conference committee in leadership, you are in the next inner circle. It is elitism, elitism, elitism chasing something to elevate yourself."

Rep. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, who is honoring his six-year term-limit pledge by leaving Congress, interviewed in the October issue of Reason

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