Most of us probably will admit that we keep resolutions only slightly better than politicians keep campaign promises. Even President Obama couldn’t keep a promise not to raise taxes on all but the wealthiest Americans, as the current “fiscal cliff” deal does not extend the 2% payroll tax cut, which impacts every person earning a paycheck.
So don’t look to Washington to keep any resolutions in the new year. Instead, we’ve come up with a list of suggestions for our readers to continue stoking the flames of liberty, or at least keep them flickering a little while longer. (Editorial resolution for TLS: drop the tired metaphors for liberty already.)
1. Play with guns (and invite a non-gun owner to come with you)
Guns, and more to the point gun control, promise to figure prominently in the media and in Congress this year, as the country still grapples with its most horrific school shooting yet. But the public debate is largely fueled by hysteria, misinformation, and outright lies. For the vast majority of gun owners, they are simply tools for self-defense, hunting, and having fun. And what better way to demonstrate the latter than an outing to a shooting range? For a lot of people, that’s the only legal place to try their hand at firing some types of guns. Actually handling an AR-15, the so-called assault rifle that is the focus of both media pundits and gun policy wonks, may help demystify them and return some sanity to the average non-gun owner’s perspective on these useful and important tools.
Pretty much everyone knows–or should know–that many, and maybe most, of the points made by most politicians are of little value, amounting to little more than equine feces at best. A commercial I saw the other day illustrated that the same is true of TV commercials. (Yes, I realize that’s no discovery. But still…) The advertisement I saw featured a clean-cut young man making a pitch to “buy American-made gasoline at Kwik Fill” because doing so “strengthens our economy.” Do people believe that type of thing? The short answer is: Yes. How do I know? Because presidents–and presidential candidates–have been saying pretty much the same thing for close to 4 decades, beginning with Nixon and continuing right up through Obama.
Economist Brad DeLong has come out swinging against Austrian economics again, and once again he’s punched himself in the face. But he’s too numb to realize it. There’s a great response on the Mises Economics Blog by Jonathan Catalán, and I take a stab on my site, Wirkman Netizen.
It’s interesting that neither Catalán nor I attack, in our respective longer efforts, the worst calumny of DeLong’s, his insinuation that the Austrian distrust of fiat money comes down to anti-Semitism: “[I]n its scarier moments this train of thought slides over to: ‘good German engineers (and workers); bad Jewish financiers.’”
Since Mises was a Jew, and was treated badly for anti-Semitic reasons at times — why does DeLong think Mises left Austria? — and that Mises never, ever supported anti-Semitism (nor did Hayek, for that matter), this is especially vile. It’s just another example of those leaning left (which means: technocrats who mislabel themselves as “liberals” and “progressives”) playing the racism/anti-semitism card when they lack a good hand.
DeLong should be ashamed of himself. But, then, one of the perks of being in the managerial class of the technocratic state means never having to say you are sorry.