I would call this "overreaching". From the Wall Street Journal, columnist Daniel Henninger writes:
This year we celebrate the desacralized "holidays" amid what is for many unprecedented economic ruin — fortunes halved, jobs lost, homes foreclosed. People wonder, What happened? One man's theory: A nation whose people can't say "Merry Christmas" is a nation capable of ruining its own economy.
Uh… come again?
One had better explain that.
Yes, one better had, sir.
Now, I will spare you the forest into which that Mr. Henninger drags his readers. Basically, he talks about the economic crisis and its roots, which he lays at the feet of borrowers, lenders and "secularized shamans" operating in a moral-free, greed-above-all-else environment.
Except for the "secularized shamen" (on which I'll plead ignorance), I'll grant Mr. Henninger's premise with regard to the moral-free world of high finance.
Finally, he brings it home:
What really went missing through the subprime mortgage years were the three Rs: responsibility, restraint and remorse. They are the ballast that stabilizes two better-known Rs from the world of free markets: risk and reward.
Yes, I'm with you….
Responsibility and restraint are moral sentiments. Remorse is a product of conscience. None of these grow on trees. Each must be learned, taught, passed down.
Okay, still with you….
And so we come back to the disappearance of "Merry Christmas."
Bam! You lost me. Come at me again.
It has been my view that the steady secularizing and insistent effort at dereligioning America has been dangerous. That danger flashed red in the fall into subprime personal behavior by borrowers and bankers, who after all are just people. Northerners and atheists who vilify Southern evangelicals are throwing out nurturers of useful virtue with the bathwater of obnoxious political opinions.
Wow. So borrowers and bankers are Northerners and atheists who vilify Southern evangelicals? Any data on that? (And isn't that kind of an "obnoxious political opinion"?)
And assuming that's true… that relates to saying/not saying "Merry Christmas" how?
The point for a healthy society of commerce and politics is not that religion saves, but that it keeps most of the players inside the chalk lines. We are erasing the chalk lines.
Look, pal. Religion isn't the ONLY thing that keeps players "inside the chalk lines". Believe it or not, one CAN be an atheist AND a moral person. By the same token, one can be religious AND corrupt as hell.
But even granting that premise, is failure to say "Merry Christmas" really "erasing the chalk lines"? Is this man suggesting that had the checkout girl at K-Mart been allowed to say "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays", greedy Wall Street bastards would have shown responsiblity and remorse and not been so get-rich-quick? Seriously?
I wondered if Mr. Henniniger had gone off the deep end, and then the final sentence of his editorial came along:
Feel free: Banish Merry Christmas. Get ready for Mad Max.
Yes, he means that Mad Max. In his view, that's what will happen to the world if we stop saying "Merry Christmas" (which, by the way, isn't remotely likely to happen).