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Summer Fun with the New York Times

Western opinion leaders continue to offer preposterous and dangerous “solutions” to world problems.

Pick a card—any card. Actually, pick a New York Times editorial, any editorial, and have some fun.

Here’s one by Mark Malloch-Brown who, the Times tells us, is president of the Open Society Foundations and a former U.N. deputy secretary general—so you know trouble’s on the way. The title of the column is “The World Needs More Than Crumbs From the G7’s Table,” which means the man has an idea of how to save the world.

Such men are dangerous.

He tells us that “the Group of 7 summit in Germany ended last week with leaders of the world’s richest countries pledging to support Ukraine for ‘as long as it takes’” and that a call for a Marshall Plan for Ukraine is appropriate. But Malloch-Brown says G-7 leaders are “missing the bigger picture.”

Malloch-Brown is a big-picture man. And he says the big picture is “terrifying.” 

“Even before the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” he writes, “global food prices were near record highs. But the ripple effects of the war now threaten to cause hunger and suffering on an enormous scale.”

Well, yes: wars have a way of doing things like that. Actions have consequences. That may have been why some people opposed the war. In 2017, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was overheard to ask at a meeting of G-7 foreign ministers, “Why should U.S. taxpayers be interested in Ukraine?” Listen carefully and you can still hear the cries of anguish.

“Besides food prices,” Malloch-Brown tells us, “crude oil breached $120 a barrel recently, fertilizer costs have soared, and interest rates have shot up. Add in extreme weather, unsustainable farming practices, high debt in many countries, lingering effects of the pandemic and other violent conflicts, and more than a billion people are at risk from what the United Nations has called a ‘perfect storm’ of hardship.”

How much of that is a surprise to “professionals” like Malloch-Brown who are paid to worry about precisely those things?

Malloch-Brown tells us that “the summit’s headline announcement was $4.5 billion for food security—a fraction of the $22.2 billion that the World Food Program needs now, and a minuscule pledge for a bloc that accounts for around 45 percent of global G.D.P.”

Then the Madison Avenue punchline: “The world needs a Marshall Plan. It got a Band-Aid.” Nice.

Malloch-Brown gets petty and complains about where the meeting was held: “a luxury resort and spa nestled in the Bavarian Alps.” Where did he expect the big-wigs to go? A Motel 6?

“The leaders of Argentina, India, Indonesia, Senegal and South Africa were invited to discuss problems such as food, health and climate, but just 90 minutes of the three-day gathering were devoted to those concerns,” he laments.

“By treating the global food, energy and debt pressures as secondary to the war in Ukraine, the Group of 7 missed a golden opportunity to help the world’s hungry and disprove Vladimir Putin’s narrative of the liberal world order as a spent force that cares nothing for the poor,” Malloch-Brown writes. Do we know Putin thinks that? Does Putin think about anything other than how to make Russia great?

But why are all those people so poor, hungry, and sick? Whose fault is that, anyway? Ronald Reagan’s? Donald Trump’s? Donald Duck’s?

Maybe it’s Malloch-Brown’s fault. As a former high-ranking U.N. official, he’s an expert, presumably, at spending other people’s money to solve precisely these problems. Does he know how to do even that effectively? His only business experience seems to have been working at a public relations firm. Does he know anything about economics and production, markets and incentives? What was he doing all that time at the U.N.? Dining at fancy New York restaurants?

“Three months ago,” Malloch-Brown tells us, “the Western world mustered global support for a U.N. General Assembly resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with 141 countries voting in favor. But even then, China, India and half of Africa abstained. As the war has progressed, the West has found it more difficult to rally the world, with subsequent resolutions drawing fewer votes partly out of concern that further measures to punish Mr. Putin could add to the global economic volatility.”

Why is he so surprised? And could he really have wanted unanimity? Isn’t diversity our strength? Do we really want everyone saying the same thing? And isn’t it correct that “rallying the world” to punish Putin further will add to the global economic volatility, precisely the point Malloch-Brown is making in this piece?

Maybe the people in those countries who think Putin could and would make even more trouble than he has already are on to something. If Ukraine is destroyed—destroyed even more than it already has been—who’s going to pay for rebuilding it? The United States? The G-7? George Soros?

And then how much will be left over to feed the world’s poor, whose diverse economic systems seem, er, inadequate—as they have for decades.

Naturally, something has to be done about Russia’s exports of oil and gas that are funding their war effort. “The Ukraine war also has laid bare the security risks of fossil-fuel addiction, which gives leaders like Mr. Putin leverage.”

Malloch-Brown’s solution? You know what’s coming. “[T]he most critical long-term step regarding energy is the transition to renewable sources.” Oh, please! South Africa, he tells us, plans to do that, at a cost of about three percent of its GDP. Other countries must do it too, which means another Marshall Plan—which means, he says, the U.S. must contribute around two percent of its GDP toward the effort.

Surely the whole world shouldn’t go renewable. What about the diversity angle?

Besides, shouldn’t Americans—Malloch-Brown’s piece was published in an American newspaper—worry about crime in Chicago (where 68 people were shot and eight were killed in shootings over the July 4 holiday weekend) and about poverty in Detroit (which has the highest rate of people living below the poverty line of all U.S. cities) before worrying about crime and disease in places they couldn’t find on a color-coded map with coaching?

We’re going to sacrifice Chicago and Detroit for the world’s poor and their decrepit and utterly corrupt economic systems? The economist Lord Peter Bauer described foreign aid as poor people in rich countries sending money to rich people in poor countries. And Malloch-Brown wants more of it?

This man is batty.

But then you knew that when you opened the pages of the New York Times. And tomorrow there’ll be another piece just like this one.


July 7, 2022
American Greatness

Boys, Girls, Guns, and Blacks

If Congress is going to discriminate against 18-21 year-olds by requiring them to jump through certain hoops to buy a gun, shouldn’t it also impose the same rules on “similarly situated” people?

Ten Republican senators apparently have signed onto a proposal to make it more difficult for people under the age of 21 to buy a gun. Four of the 10 are retiring, and the other six are not up for reelection this year, which suggests they know the legislation will be unpopular with Republicans. If 10 Republicans vote with Democrats, the legislation (which has not been fully drafted yet) would survive an attempt to filibuster it. 

There are at least three obvious points to make: first, if the 18-to-21-year-old group (for convenience they’ll be referred to as “kids”) are not considered to be as wise as people 21 years of age and older, why are they allowed to vote? That’s the kind of query that the kind of Republican who would limit the gun rights of the under-21 crowd tends to shrug off without comment—because there really is no comment that makes sense.

Second, what’s the reason for picking on the kids? Presumably their ages (18-to-21) aren’t random numbers on a roulette wheel or a Ouija board vouchsafed to us. There must be some sort of correlation between something and something else: presumably between the number of murders by kids and the number of murders by . . . a different group. And presumably the number of murders by the kids must be sufficiently higher than the number of murders by any other group you could think of to justify picking on the kids and not also picking on that other group.

Well, almost. If it turned out that the number of murders committed by the 118- to 120-year-old group was significantly higher than the number of murders committed by the kids, it might be fair to conclude that that still wasn’t much of a problem. How many people of that age are there, after all? If there are only 10 of them, and they commit five murders, that means 50 percent of them committed murder, but five murders are hardly a national catastrophe—with inflation going through the roof, baby formula in short supply, hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens streaming over our southern border (bringing disease, crime, and fentanyl with them), crime rising in our cities (mostly run by entrenched Democrats), and a whole lot more. We really haven’t got time to focus on a few trigger-happy centenarians.

Also, how many of the kids who have committed murder, in any given year, were girls? Does that matter to anyone? Does that matter to the aforementioned 10 Republican senators? Can they tell the difference between boys and girls? And if they can, would they admit it in public? As of February 2017, 93.3 percent of federal inmates were men, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. That suggests that whatever the problem is with kids and guns, it’s a problem with boys not with girls. And in that case, whatever rule the Congress is about to produce should apply only to boys, not to girls. Place your bets that the Republicans will make a distinction between boys and girls? Please! And where are the feminists when we need them? 

Here’s a third, two-part problem: part one is that, as Crisis Magazine reports, contrary to popular belief, most mass shooters are black. “Consider that young black men make up less than 6% of the population. Yet, according to an aggregation of news sources, this demographic committed 68% of mass shootings in 2019, 73% of the mass shootings in 2020, and so far [April 2021], 70% of mass shootings in 2021. For those same years, white men committed 14%, 14%, and 14%. Latinos held steady at 14%, 14%, and 16%. Asians committed 4% in 2019, and none in 2020 and 2021.” 

Part two is that blacks commit “regular” murder (i.e., not mass shootings) at about the same rate as the kids (the boy kids), and that rate is higher than the rate at which the rest of the population commits murder. 

If Congress is going to discriminate against kids (by passing special legislation that requires them to jump through certain hoops to buy a gun, hoops that older people don’t have to jump through), shouldn’t it also impose the same rules on “similarly situated” people? If blacks commit murder at the same rate as kids, or if blacks commit more mass shootings than whites, shouldn’t the legislation now supported by the 10 Republicans, as well as by all the Democrats, include, specifically, blacks?

If not, why not?


June 16, 2022
American Greatness