Patterico's Pontifications


Another Foreign Leader Swims Against the Current

Filed under: General — JVW @ 10:33 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Dana had a great post yesterday about Benjamin Netanyahu’s magnificent speech at the United Nations. I wanted to draw everyone’s attention to another tour de force from an overseas leader who is not content to happily follow along conventional wisdom from the political/academic/journalistic elite. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán delivered a speech to the Hungarian Parliament in which he lacerated the arrogance of the demands of the EU (led in this case by Germany) for its member-states to accept emigres from throughout the Middle East all the way to South Asia. This speech is 17 minutes long (and it is subtitled in English; click on the Subtitles/CC icon if you don’t see them) but it is a masterpiece of rational thought, careful argument, and assertion of national sovereignty.

If you can’t find time for the full 17 minutes, I want to share with you some highlights:

4:45: “We take the view that it is the most natural thing in the world to want to protect one’s own family. . . . Hungary has been a valued member of the larger European family for a thousand years. It is its historic and moral duty to protect Europe, as Hungary also thereby protects itself.”

5:20: “Thanks to the mass media and the Internet, it is now clear to everyone that Europe is rich, but weak. This is the most dangerous combination possible.”

7:29: “A Europe which requires its half billion citizens to respect its laws is unable to persuade migrants to undergo a simple registration process.”

12:00: “The Hungarian people have decided: the country must be protected.”

14:40: “All 28 member-states should take a share in the protection of the southern borders of Europe. . . . We should not set up refugee campus — or whatever they may be called — within the European Union, but outside of it.”

I want to mention too that throughout his entire speech, Orbán was interrupted exactly once with applause, when he thanked the Hungarian police and military for their efforts 45 seconds into his speech. Contrast that with the awful Presidential addresses to Congress which are scripted so that “spontaneous” applause lines appear approximately every 30 seconds. It’s almost as if these Hungarian legislators are interested in solving problems, not grandstanding for their favored interest groups.

Hat tip to Powerline.


New Podcast Refutes Paul Krugman Every Week

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:48 am

Last night marked the debut of the long-awaited Contra Krugman podcast. The podcast is hosted by Tom Woods and Robert P. Murphy. Tom Woods is a well-known libertarian and best-selling author with a daily podcast I listen to regularly. Murphy is the author of Choice, a summary of Mises’s Human Action which I have been summarizing in a series of posts you can read here. (12 down, just 5 to go. I will finish!)

The idea of the podcast is that they take on Paul Krugman, every single week, and refute his columns and blog posts in an entertaining way. I have already begun listening and have already learned things. More importantly, I have really enjoyed it.

There are three episodes up so far, all of which you can listen to at the Web site for the podcast, Go there, listen, and subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher.

Murphy has been reading Krugman for a long time. He describes reading Krugman as being like playing with a canker sore — it’s annoying, but you can’t stop. And he has been trying to debate Krugman forever. To whet your appetite, I am going to link a video that Murphy did years ago, when he was trying to get Krugman to agree to debate him. Murphy is a very funny guy (he says on podcast #1 that he has been told he is “pretty funny for an economist”) and this video shows the lengths to which Murphy was going to prepare for that debate, which never happened. I laughed out loud at this one.

How many economists do you know who would be willing to put out a video like this?

Obama: This Mass Shooting Is “Something We Should Politicize”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:35 am

President Obama politicized the Oregon mass shooting yesterday. He made it difficult for his hackish supporters to deny he was doing so, telling assembled reporters that gun violence is “something we should politicize.”

Obama did not explain how any particular law would have prevented the shooting yesterday, since basic facts were not known when he spoke — such as whether the gun had been obtained legally, or whether it had been a so-called “assault weapon.” No matter. His was a simplistic argument for a simple-minded audience: it was a shooting, so we need more gun laws. The details of whether any new laws would have actually mattered were irrelevant details, as they always are.

Notably, the fact that the shooting happened in a “gun-free zone” — as these mass shootings almost always do — was not mentioned.

The closest Obama came to making an argument about the efficacy of gun control was to refer to the case of Britain. But as economist Thomas Sowell has noted, gun control laws have never made America safer — even when New York had them and London didn’t:

The few counter-examples offered by gun control zealots do not stand up under scrutiny. Perhaps their strongest talking point is that Britain has stronger gun control laws than the United States and lower murder rates.

But, if you look back through history, you will find that Britain has had a lower murder rate than the United States for more than two centuries – and, for most of that time, the British had no more stringent gun control laws than the United States. Indeed, neither country had stringent gun control for most of that time.

In the middle of the 20th century, you could buy a shotgun in London with no questions asked. New York, which at that time had had the stringent Sullivan Law restricting gun ownership since 1911, still had several times the gun murder rate of London, as well as several times the London murder rate with other weapons.

Neither guns nor gun control was not the reason for the difference in murder rates. People were the difference.

Sometimes it helps to look at trend lines. Truths emerge that you might otherwise have missed.

Meanwhile, early reports said the shooter was singling out Christians:

“[He started] asking people one by one what their religion was. ‘Are you a Christian?’ he would ask them, and if you’re a Christian, stand up. And they would stand up and he said, ‘Good, because you’re a Christian, you are going to see God in just about one second.’ And then he shot and killed them,” Stacy Boylen, whose daughter was wounded at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., told CNN.

Does that sound like a guy who was going to be stopped by a law? Or only by a bullet?

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