Mike Konczal is disappointed in the behavior of one of the members of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (‘FCIC’), Peter Wallison, movement conservative and member of the rightwing faith tank, the American Enterprise Institute. Like many conservatives, Wallison blames the housing crisis on efforts to provide African-Americans with loans, even though, as Konczal explains, that’s simply not true. Here’s what the FCIC was charged to do:
First off, let’s remember what this document is. The FCIC report was designed to be our age’s Pecora Commission, a collection and investigation of original documents and primary sources along with summary document that scholars, historians, economists and reporters will use for generations. It is designed for our government’s investigative powers to get to the bottom of what went wrong in the bubble and the subsequent crash. It was important that honest conservatives and libertarians were on this to provide balance and insight. The panel required serious scholars and investigators, those whose ultimate agenda and requirements were to the truth and the public.
Konczal is disappointed in Wallison’s behavior:
Think about this. Wallison is putting pressure on his fellow Republican members to write their FCIC report to serve the political ends of the Republican party and its backers in their legislative quests. Not goals of the public, which we as taxpayers were paying him at the level of a level IV of the Executive Schedule to do, a pretty nice pro-rated six-figure salary, and not the goals of disinterested research. This is the person who leads the financial reform team at the American Enterprise Institute.
It seems silly to say now, but in the aftermath of the financial crisis I had expected more from movement conservatives on dealing with this nightmare. It’s been very disappointing.
Why would he expect this? As I often write on this blog, nothing in movement conservatism makes sense except in the light of creationism (to borrow Dobzhansky’s phrase).
Distortion and cherry-picking of facts to serve a preconceived notion? Check.
An edifice of intellectual fraud, in this case, multiple pseudo-scholarly articles that repeatedly cite the same flawed study to provide the illusion of a large body of literature? Yup.
A need to sugarcoat and hide what they really think (in this case, the other Republicans realized that Wallison’s conclusions were politically awkward and tried to exclude them)? You betcha!
This is no different than what creationists do on a routine basis. When it comes to dealing with the professional creationists, no biologist expects an intellectual search for truth from them. They are nothing more than propagandists, just like Wallison. The consequences of their lies are important, as the majority of biology teachers in the U.S. avoid teaching evolution due to political concerns. And it’s not like evolution isn’t critical to many fields of biology, or that biotech is a $128 billion industry. But, like Wallison, consequences don’t seem to concern creationists either. Given the overlap between creationists and movement conservatives, this isn’t surprising.
If you see a professional movement conservative, assume he is a propagandist. You’ll save time that way. Hopefully, Konczal has learned what biologists figured out long ago out of necessity.