Buiter on Gun Control

Buiter on Gun Control July 16, 2008

Willem Buiter is one of the smartest economists in the business. Born in Denmark, adopted by the United Kingdom, he is a professor at the London School of Economics, a past member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, and a blogger for the Financial Times. He is also renowned for both his keen wit and his blunt no-nonsense maverick style. His reaction to the recent US Supreme Court on gun control will probably not garner too much respect in this country, but it fairly typically sums up the view in Europe, is consistent with the teaching of the US bishops, and has the benefit of being right:

“If ever there was an example of  an activist Supreme Court making law, indeed making policy, driven by the personal views, opinions, biases, prejudices, phobias and instincts of its members, this is it…..Second Amendment freedom – my foot.  The Second Amendment states that the armed forces ought to be armed.  I fully agree. The decision of the Supreme Court is not just wrong, it is evil. It will contribute to the ongoing dilution of the rule of law in the US, the growth of vigilantism, fenced, gated and caged communities, and ultimately the complete breakdown of any sense of community and society.

Fear and suspicion by all towards all will become the norm in a country with 200 million individual self-defence forces.  Only I myself can secure my safety against the imminent threat of violence/oppression from my fellow citizens and from the state.  Therefore I must be armed to the teeth.  Every gun in private ownership infringes on the rights and liberties of others.

The Supreme Court decision is a triumph of American infantilism – a monument to the country’s determination not to grow up. A nation that cannot get itself motivated and organised to ban the use of silly boys’ toys that kill, main and wound countless thousands every year is clearly not ready for self-government.  Perhaps another century or so under benevolent colonial rule might help.  The Brits had a go at it and failed.  I suggest the Danes.”

How ironic that it takes a Dane to lament the downsides of a Calvinist culture in America.

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