Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

October 30, 2005

Peace and Opportunities

Filed under: — Different River @ 1:51 pm

A reader writes:

Somehow, I think the headline to this article is over-hopeful:

“Israelis, Palestinians to Cease Fighting”

By IBRAHIM BARZAK, Associated Press Writer

Not only is it over-hopeful, but it underscores the futility of Sharon’s withdrawal from Gaza:

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Israel and the Palestinians have agreed to halt nearly a week of fighting after militant groups pledged to halt rocket fire on southern Israeli towns, Palestinian officials said Sunday.

The deal, which Israeli officials refused to confirm, would bring an end to the second serious round of violence since Israel completed its withdrawal from the Gaza Strip last month.

Remember the whole point of the withdrawal from Gaza was that it was supposed to reduce violence. Palestinians in Gaza were attacking and killing Jews with rockets, suicide bombers, and sniper attacks, and the “solution” was clear — get the Jews out, and the Palestinians will stop fighting, because they are jusdt upset that Jews live among them.

Turns out, of course, that they are upset Jews live anywhere, and they’ll attack Jews anytime they can get within rocket range of them. And it’s a lot easier for them to obtain, set up, and use the rockets, now that they have Gaza all to themselves.

Of course, the article has yet another example of how the media can use the pretense of objectivity to mislead people as to what’s going on:

While many had expected the withdrawal to restart peace efforts, the two sides have so far failed to capitalize on the opportunity.

The “two sides”? Read that carefully: one side withdraws from an area and expels their own citizens for the sake of peace, and the other side responds by shooting rockets into the other side’s residential neighborhoods. But “the two sides” have “failed to capitalize on the opportunity”? One of them created the opportunity! It was the other side that failed to capitalize on the opportunity — or more precisely, they capitalized an the opportunity: the opportunity to shoot more rockets and kill more Jews, not the opportunity for peace.

Peace which, apparently, is not their objective. Any policy predicated on the assumption — contrary to all evidence — that peace is their objective is doomed to failure.

Free Trade and Trinkets

Filed under: — Different River @ 12:50 pm

Don Boudreaux of Cafe Hayek notes that one popular argument against free trade is not only in error from an economic standpoint, but it doesn’t even make any sense:

A rhetoric strategy used by opponents of free trade is to describe the things that domestic consumers buy from abroad as superfluities — cheap, pathetic, contemptible indulgences that consumers selfishly gobble up from foreign producers and, in the process, damage the domestic economy.

I first noticed this strategy in early 2001 when I heard Patrick Buchanan speak at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Buchanan criticized free traders who, in his view, are content to see the U.S. economy destroyed by policies whose only ‘benefit’ is to allow American consumers to buy self-indulgent, unnecessary gadgets “down at the mall.”

[Two other similar examples]

If it were true that American imports indeed are mostly low-value, insignificant, contemptible knick-knacks, then this fact would imply that the American industries destroyed by foreign competition are those that compete with such foreign producers — that is, American industries that produce baubles, trinkets, and T-shirts.

If protectionists such as Patrick Buchanan and Lou Dobbs dismiss as worthless the things that American consumers buy from foreigners, consistency demands that these pundits also dismiss as worthless the things that American industry would be prompted to produce by higher tariffs and other protectionist measures.

These protectionists certainly should not be permitted to get away with suggesting that protectionism would create domestic industries and jobs that produce worthwhile, cutting-edge goods and services. Instead, these protectionists should be forced to admit explicitly that the American industries they seek to reinvigorate are those that produce worthless baubles, trinkets, and T-shirts.

I sometimes wonder if opponents of free trade really want to prevent foreigners from having jobs so intensely that they are willing to impoverish Americans to accomplish that goal — or if they’re just really, really ignorant.

A Datum for Thought

Filed under: — Different River @ 2:43 am

Percent of all births in the U.S. which are to single mothers: 35.7%.

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