Here’s a letter to the New York Times:
C. Fred Bergsten claims that eliminating America’s trade deficit is a costless way to boost employment in America (“An Overlooked Way to Create Jobs,” Sept. 29). He’s mistaken. Among his several errors is his illegitimate assumption that all dollars that foreigners don’t spend on American exports remain idle, effectively withdrawn from circulation.
Consider two cases. First, Americans buy $1 million worth of textile imports from the Chinese who then buy $1 million worth of pharmaceutical exports from Americans. The result: balanced trade.
Second case: Americans buy $1 million worth of textile imports from the Chinese who then buy $1 million worth of land in Texas. The American seller of the land immediately spends this $1 million on American-made pharmaceuticals. (Perhaps the Texan is opening a pharmacy.) The result: a $1 million U.S. trade deficit.
In both cases, Americans producers sell an additional $1 million worth of output as a consequence of Americans importing $1 million worth of goods. So – although America runs a trade deficit only in the second case – the employment effects in both cases are identical.
Such an example, being entirely plausible, is sufficient to prove the absence of any necessary negative connection between trade deficits and employment.
Donald J. Boudreaux
Here’s a letter sent yesterday to the Boston Globe:
Jeff Jacoby exposes the flawed presumptions and conclusions in Elizabeth Warren’s insistence that wealthy Americans are morally obliged to pay more taxes because each individual’s success in the market requires the efforts and cooperation of millions of other people (“Professor Warren’s ire,” Sept. 28).
Pop quiz: Who described the term “self-made man” as “an incredibly naive and arrogant expression”?* Is it someone who, apparently like Prof. Warren, assumes that proponents of limited government fail to understand that each individual in modern society critically and ceaselessly depends upon countless numbers of his or her fellow human beings?
No. These are the words of economist Thomas Sowell, here referring to the fact that modern prosperity requires a vast system of social cooperation that is, and can only be, coordinated chiefly by market prices. Insofar as taxes distort these prices and thwart incentives, social cooperation is diminished.
So Prof. Warren’s pointing out correctly that each person (I put it here in the words of Adam Smith) “has constant occasion for the help of his brethren”** is an insufficient justification for raising taxes.
Donald J. Boudreaux
* Thomas Sowell, Knowledge and Decisions (New York: Basic Books, 1980), p. 110.
** Adam Smith, An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776), Bk. 1, Chapter 2, para. 2.
Here’s a letter to the Washington Times:
You report that “A federal judge on Wednesday said Alabama law enforcement officers can try to check the immigration status of those they suspect are in the country illegally” (“Federal judge upholds key parts of Alabama immigration law,” Sept. 29).
So it has finally come to pass that in America agents of the state go about demanding from peaceful people “Your papers, please.”
The fact that the armed officials speak, not ominously accented German, but familiar American English when demanding to see documentation that someone has government approval simply to be in a certain jurisdiction – the fact that the words spoken literally are “Your papers, please” rather than “Ihre papiere, bitte” – does nothing to make this spectacle any less heinous an affront to freedom and to civilization than it was in Nazi Germany.
Donald J. Boudreaux
… is from today’s column by George Will:
Fond of diversity in everything but thought, a certain kind of liberal favors mandatory harmony (e.g., campus speech codes). Such liberals, being realists at least about the strength of their arguments, discourage “too much” debate about them (e.g., restrictions on campaign spending to disseminate political advocacy).
(My only dissent is that I refuse to call such closed-minded believers in their own capacity to order other people about “liberals.”)
Andrew Bolt – Friday, September 30, 11 (12:31 pm)
A tip: Julian Burnside refused to defend my own free speech, but may have to now apologise for his own - at least to Tony Abbott if not also to me.
He endorses an abusive book, tweets offensive tweets but refuses to defend my own right to free speech about how people of mixed ancestry identify themselves - a right removed in part on the grounds that I was rude:
The prominent QC said the tweet, which was seen by users of the social media service as a reference to pedophilia, was a mistake for which he unreservedly apologised.
He said he thought he was sending the message to just one person, not his more than 5000 followers.
“I don’t think this is true of Tony Abbott and I apologise,” Mr Burnside told The Australian Online.
“I don’t understand the way it works. It came through as a text on my phone. It was a pun.
“I’ve always thought texts go to just one person. I replied with a similar pun that I had heard on Matt and George, a BBC comedy program.”
Mr Burnside said the comment was supposed to be a one-to-one reply to someone in a conversation about pedophile priests.
I am left with the strong suspicion that Burnside tends to defend sides, rather than principles.
Andrew Bolt – Friday, September 30, 11 (09:56 am)
Michael Gawenda, the former Age editor, once wrote about how very, very hard he tried - honest - to find a conservative opinion writer for a newspaper that now has not a single one on its staff:
[Most Age journalists were] on the left: pro-environmentalist, pro-feminist (and) anti-American, especially when it came to American popular culture and American patriotism…
It was perhaps my greatest failure that in seven years as editor I had not discovered enough fresh talent for the op-ed pages... Finding conservative columnists was particularly hard.
Really? Most other editors have managed to find one, but Gawenda ... well, maybe, he could not find one that would quite suit his own tribal preferences:
I voted Labor. I could not imagine voting any other way. To do so would be a betrayal of my past. I had never voted for the Coalition.
Gawenda now admits he once toyed with the idea of hiring me:
When I was editor of The Age, I thought about hiring Andrew Bolt as a columnist. Indeed, I think I even met with him to see whether he had any interest in coming back to the Age. (Bolt was on the Age staff when I joined the paper in the early 80s.) I thought Bolt might add … how should put it ... a certainly unpredictability to The Age oped page. As it was, I don’t think Bolt had any interest in joining the red rag I edited and looking back, I’m glad it never happened. That’s because inevitably, sooner or later, Bolt would write a column that I would refuse to publish. And then I’d have a martyr to free speech on my hands.
I’m not sure Gawenda realises how weak this makes him sound on the one hand, and how censorious on the other.
Oddly enough, he never had a problem with keeping on staff the cartoonist Michael Leunig, whose offensiveness so far surpasses mine, in my opinion, that Gawenda felt obliged to make him “a martyr to free speech” by refusing to publish this cartoon:
Leunig remains to this very day an Age staffer - and, not co-incidentally, a patron saint of the Left. It appears to me that Age editors are quite prepared to have someone of the Left be a martyr to free speech - and to defend that person - but do not wish to go to quite that same effort for a conservative, even when it’s a conservative whose argument is that we should look beyond racial divisions and not seek to institutionalise them. Radical stuff like that.
Gawenda’s apparently fussier attitude to conservatives may help to explain why The Age has lost every single on-staff conservative columnist it ever had in the last generation.
Gawenda goes on:
I would not have published the two columns for which Bolt was found to have contravened the Racial Discrimination Act. I would not have published them firstly because (I hope) in the editing process, there would have been questions raised – by me, by the oped page editor, by our lawyers perhaps — about the “facts” on which Bolt built his pieces which basically argued that some people had chosen to identify themselves as Aborigines to reap material rewards of one kind or another. I would not have published them even if the columns were factually accurate because I thought the tone of the columns was nasty and demeaned the people he was writing about.
I am unable to defend myself on the charge that the arguments in my columns rested on “facts” that were false - a meme that many in the Left have seized upon to justify their refusal to defend my free speech.. The judge has ruled that some opinions and statements I’d advanced were advanced as facts and were false, and while I have said that none of my errors seemed to me of much consequence, it would be most unwise of me to argue any more than that. I believe I have a case to make beyond what I have suggested, but the judge has found as he’s found and so I must stay silent on this matter.
But it’s very telling that Gawenda concedes that he would not have published my columns even had they been in every single detail correct. Not only does this suggest that the real offence I’ve cause to so many of my critics is not my “sloppy journalism” and other such slurs, against which I do not dare defend myself, but my opinion and the manner I expressed it. And Gawenda now confirms that it could have not expressed that opinion as I wished to in any paper he edited.
This is a rather curious edict, given what The Age did feel free to publish in the period in which Gawenda was the editor. Take this nasty and demeaning charge against a conservative Catholic leader - a slur published on the front page of The Age:
Australia’s most powerful religious leader, George Pell, yesterday stood aside as Catholic Archbishop of Sydney to allow an investigation into claims that he sexually abused an altar boy more than 40 years ago.
Dr Pell has been accused of abusing a 12-year-old boy at a church camp at Phillip Island during his time as a trainee priest.... Dr Pell, 61, stood aside a day after he received inquiries from The Age about allegations made by a Melbourne man to the church’s National Committee for Professional Standards. The committee examines abuse claims under the church’s “Towards Healing” process.
Hrere’s what The Age failed to note:
But after reading key bits of the evidence, I’m not surprised X refused to go to the police about Pell, as church officials had urged. I can’t imagine them thinking the case, on this material, was worth prosecuting.
Yet we’ve now had Pell’s name dragged though the garbage tip, thanks to claims dragged out of an apparently reluctant ``victim’’ in part by an outfit he claims tempted him with huge dollars, and then helped to arrange publicity that could only hurt Pell.
Any apology for the damage done to Pell’s name when the inquiry found no proof of any abuse?
In the end, and notwithstanding that impression of the complainant, bearing in mind the forensic difficulties of the defence occasioned by the very long delay, some valid criticism of the complainant’s credibility, the lack of corroborative evidence and the sworn denial of the respondent, I find I am not “satisfied that the complaint has been established”, to quote the words of the principal term of reference.
Here’s is another nasty and demeaning slur against an individual that The Age published on its front page under Gawenda’s leadership - this time against a conservative historian who’d challenged the group-think on our ‘genocidal” past:
Controversial Australian historian Keith Windschuttle has been accused of plagiarism by one of his critics, La Trobe University professor Robert Manne.
Professor Manne said the plagiarism was contained in the Sydney historian’s new book The Fabrication of Aboriginal History, which aims to debunk the idea that Tasmanian Aborigines and European settlers were engaged in a violent struggle.
Professor Manne said plagiarism had been committed in an “extraordinarily cold” passage which argued that Tasmanian Aborigines were a maladapted people who treated women badly and were ill-equipped to cope with the impact of European civilisation.
He said that when he followed a footnote in Mr Windschuttle’s book to a work by American anthropologist Robert Edgerton, he discovered that several pages presented Mr Edgerton’s work without proper acknowledgement.
Here’s what The Age then had to publish, after discovering the smear was baseless:
But yesterday, after reading Windschuttle’s book, Alexandra recanted with a letter to The Age: “I have now looked over Windschuttle’s book, where extensive referencing to the sources for the relevant factual claims is to be found. Therefore, I apologise unreservedly to Keith Windschuttle for making the incorrect claim that he had not provided adequate referencing for such factual claims, and for any adverse inferences concerning his professional integrity that might have been made on the basis of that claim.”
It strikes me that one side of the ideological debate is held to far more punitive standards than the other, and is far less likely to find an editor willing to publish them. It also strikes me that some classes of people are able to be abused with far greater impunity than others, and have far fewer laws to protect them.
The Age editor refuses to defend my right to speak as I did on racial identity on the grounds that I am guilty of “sloppy journalism” in describing the background of people who identified as Aboriginal even though, I argued, they had other ancestry and influences they could have identified with (an opinion the Federal Court has found to be wrong).The Age gives only a single example of this sloppy journalism of mine:
The European ancestry he supplied for them was sometimes wildly off the mark: for example, he wrote that Aboriginal lawyer and academic Larissa Behrendt looked as German as her father - yet her father was Aboriginal and dark-skinned.
It would be very unwise of me to comment on The Age’s assertion. All I would do is urge you to read and view the obituary that the Sydney Morning Herald, the sister publication of this same newspaper, published on Paul Behrendt’s death.
(Thanks to reader Gab.)
Andrew Bolt – Friday, September 30, 11 (07:13 am)
Thank heavens he’s not a (SNIPPED FOR LEGAL REASONS) or people would be even more precious about this robust debate than they are:
The BBC has apologised to the EU after a Brussels official was repeatedly called an “idiot” when taking part in a flagship news broadcast on the eurozone debt crisis.
TV bosses said they contacted European Commission economic affairs spokesman Amadeu Altafaj Tardio to apologise for “discourtesy” that led him to walk off the Newsnight show during a video-link appearance from Brussels on Wednesday night.
Andrew Bolt – Friday, September 30, 11 (07:09 am)
It’s a pretty easy argument to make to the two or three dozen backbenchers likely to lose their seats under Julia Gillard:
(A) Galaxy Poll for The Daily Telegraph revealed 60 per cent of voters would prefer Mr Rudd to lead Labor, compared to 26 per cent support for Ms Gillard.
And in terms of winning an election, 68 per cent claimed he was Labor’s best chance, with only 22 per cent backing Ms Gillard. The poll comes ahead of the expected announcement today by Treasurer Wayne Swan of a $2 billion revenue hit to the budget bottom line, putting the promise to return to surplus further in doubt.
Andrew Bolt – Friday, September 30, 11 (06:09 am)
The key passage in Bromberg’s decision is:I am satisfied that fair-skinned Aboriginal people (or some of them) were reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to have been offended, insulted, humiliated or intimidated by the imputations conveyed by the newspaper articles.
“Fair-skinned Aboriginal people (or some of them)”? Any idea of the percentages? What proportion were offended and what weren’t? This is a case without victims, in which the judge has ruled that it is “reasonably likely” there are some victims out there somewhere or other. As to it being “reasonably likely” that they were offended, is it “reasonably likely” beyond a reasonable doubt? Or does every bedrock principles of English law have to subordinate itself to the human right not to be offended?
ON Twitter, after the Andrew Bolt judgment was announced on Wednesday, the reaction was overwhelming glee.
The cesspool of hate that threatens to engulf most social media was at its vociferous worst when commenting on the Federal Court ruling that my colleague, Andrew Bolt, had violated Australia’s racial discrimination laws.
Violent, obscene language that cannot be printed in a family newspaper was employed against Bolt by people who hide behind anonymous avatars.
Serial Twitter offender and former Age columnist Catherine Deveny wrote: “The boys in the big house are going to love #Bolt. He has such a pretty mouth.”
The Twitterati voiced delight as well: “Great victory against Andrew Bolt, hope one day he will be removed from radio and TV”.
One tweet said: “now for Alan Jones”.
The irony, of course, is that the chortlers are so stupid that they don’t realise they are next.
WHEN, in 1995, the Keating government amended the Racial Discrimination Act to outlaw “racial vilification”, the opposition warned that the prohibition went too far. Then Liberal Senate leader Robert Hill said the language of the amendment, “by making it unlawful for a person to do an act in public that is reasonably likely in all the circumstances to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or group of people if that act is done because of the race of the offended person or persons . . . presents an unacceptable threat to civil liberties in Australia”.
The government dismissed with contempt the Liberal Party’s concerns about the effect of the new provisions on freedom of expression. Then minister for immigration and ethnic affairs Nick Bolkus, apparently oblivious to the Orwellian resonances of his rhetoric, described the conduct that the bill sought to outlaw as “speech crimes”. He said: “They are crimes which society and government have recognised need a legislative response because the behaviour that attaches to them is such that we can do without it and it has a deleterious effect on our community.”
Last Wednesday, when the Federal Court gave its judgment against Andrew Bolt in a case brought against him by a group of “fair-skinned Aborigines” relying on the 1995 amendments (in particular section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act), the prescience of Hill’s warning became apparent for all to see. The opposition does not criticise judge Mordecai Bromberg for reading the act in this way. Whether he was right or wrong in law is a matter on which, should there be an appeal, a higher court will have the final say. What his judgment reveals is just how far-reaching the effect of those amendments is.
Andrew Bolt – Friday, September 30, 11 (05:35 am)
GEOFF Clark has admitted that he took part in a class action against Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt over the general “tone” of his opinion pieces.
Mr Clark said in an interview with the Herald Sun yesterday that Bolt’s writing on a range of racial issues, not just the two articles reviewed in the court case, prompted him to take legal action.
“He’s got a wide audience and, subject to what he says, that audience is swayed and he has a lot of influence,” he said.
Mr Clark was part of a class action involving nine “fair-skinned Aboriginals”, who were the subject of two articles written by Bolt in 2009.
He said the “tone” of Bolt’s writing was part of the reason he sued.
“Certainly the tone, but the frequency - it wasn’t just one article, it was a number of articles. At the end of the day it became unbearable,” he said.
“It was based on the articles (but) there was certainly other ranges of views too numerous to comment."…
Mr Clark was charged in 2000 with two counts of raping a 16-year-old girl in January 1981 - but those charges were later dismissed....
A County Court jury in a civil case in 2007 found Mr Clark had twice raped Carol Stingel and ordered him to pay her $20,000 compensation.
Mr Clark confirmed to the Herald Sun last night that he had not sued for defamation over any articles previously published about him, including those that reference the rape allegations.
Mr Clark said his action against Bolt was not an attempt to curtail free speech in Australia.
When asked if the ruling would make Bolt think twice about writing articles in the future, he replied: “Not necessarily think twice, the fact is he has to consider what he says is not hurtful or harmful in how he expresses things - he certainly has to think about that if he is going to write articles.”
In republishing the Herald Sun article, I am aware that references within it to Clark’s past would be hurtful to him. That already puts me at risk, at leat by Clark’s rules limiting free speech.
I would also note that that Clark outside the court called me a ”serpent”. That, too, breaches the rules Clark sets on free speech.
(No comments for legal reasons. I apologise for our inability to allow you to express your own views,)