Tuesday, June 14, 2016


from President Obama's remarks in PBS video, June 2, 2016:
"First of all, the notion that I or Hillary or Democrats or whoever you want to choose are hell-bent on taking away folks’ guns is just not true.
And I don’t care how many times the NRA says it. I’m about to leave office. There have been more guns sold since I have been president than just about any time in U.S. history. There are enough guns for every man, woman and child in this country.
And at no point have I ever, ever proposed confiscating guns from responsible gun owners. So it’s just not true.
What I have said is precisely what you suggested, which is, why don’t we treat this like every other thing that we use? I just came from a meeting today in the Situation Room in which I got people who we know have been on ISIL Web sites, living here in the United States, U.S. citizens, and we’re allowed to put them on the no-fly list when it comes to airlines, but because of the National Rifle Association, I cannot prohibit those people from buying a gun.
This is somebody who is a known ISIL sympathizer. And if he wants to walk in to a gun store or a gun show right now and buy as much — as many weapons and ammo as he can, nothing’s prohibiting him from doing that, even though the FBI knows who that person is.
So, sir, I just have to say, respectfully, that there is a way for us to have commonsense gun laws. There is a way for us to make sure that lawful, responsible gun owners like yourself are able to use them for sporting, hunting, protecting yourself, but the only way we’re going to do that is if we don’t have a situation in which anything that is proposed is viewed as some tyrannical destruction of the Second Amendment. And that’s how the issue too often gets framed."

Monday, June 13, 2016

We Now Have More Examples of Libertarianism In Practice, But It Still Isn't Modern Economic Theory

For quite a while, the best example we could give fans of Ayn Rand regarding how their libertarian notions would work out in practice might have been Somalia. But, as Denise Cummins outlines in "What Happens When You Believe in Ayn Rand and Modern Economic Theory," recent times have seen at least two more examples: Sears and Honduras.

If there's one obvious quibble with Cummins' work there, it's in too blithely describing libertarianism as "modern economic theory" and equating libertarians with economists. While there are all too many libertarians who claim to be economists, there are quite a few economists who feel that these libertarians' claims are shaky (at least without inserting the adjective "shoddy" or at least "misguided" in front of "economists" when speaking of the libertarian ones). And there's strong argument that rather than "modern economic theory", libertarian would better be described as a throwback to neoclassical or Walrasian economics (albeit with some updating via Friedman). Friedman's Randian apologetics for neoclassical economics do not make it particularly "modern", even if his efforts combined with the eager fanboys of Rand have made libertarianism all too popular.