Last Friday, a lone gunman entered two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, opening fire and killing 50. All of these people were innocent Muslims who were simply partaking in Friday prayer. As a result, many politicians across the globe are calling to end hate towards Muslims and increase gun control. Particularly in the United States, though, most of these voices are wildly inconsistent. The majority of Congress, according to voting records and funding they accept, cares very little for Muslims. Or, at least, they have no regard for the ones overseas. In reality, it looks like quite a few politicians are simply using Muslims as a tool to ban guns.
In the wake of the Christchurch massacre, we once again see calls for change in the world of guns. We also once again hear a ruckus in favor of adopting the ‘Australian Model’ or Australian buyback system. It seems to be a tried and true example of mass gun reform that has concrete results, right?
Well, not exactly. The facts tend to be inaccurate around this method of gun reform. Whenever that happens, it poses a threat to constructive discussion. To find out what to do about the Australian model of gun reform, we should first see what it actually was, see what the results are, and lastly figure out if it would work in the United States.
Joseph Perkins | @counter_econ
In the wake of national tragedies, governments tend to take action without thinking about the future consequences of those actions or whether they would be effective in stopping a future, similar tragedy. For example, the United States passed the PATRIOT Act in the wake of 9/11 which was a direct assault on all American citizens’ Fourth Amendment right to privacy. Since implementation, multiple studies have shown it was useless in stopping future terrorist attacks.
In the wake of New Zealand’s mosque shooting, hearts are broken and people are angry. 49 people were murdered in the name of a vicious and poisonous ideology; we are right to be angry. But what the media seems to be running with is the memes the primary shooter shouted and the memes he engraved on his weapon. “Meme Culture” as the internet has dubbed it, has been associated with the right since its start as a sort of comedic underground. This fascination with memes is a modern mirroring of punk culture, which attracted neo-nazis in the 1970s-1990s. It is another example of “Comradery of the Accused”.
In the fast-paced news cycle, there is a tendency to forget about news stories as they age. However, this does not mean they forget about us, and sometimes, they come back to haunt us. Just over a year ago, President Trump withdrew the United States from the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Essentially, this move ceded leadership on trade to other participating nations, which will produce real consequences for the American economy.
Where We Stand
Currently, the 11 participating TPP nations are working to open the marketplace, eliminating many tariffs in a $14 trillion market. However, as President Trump removed the U.S. from this agreement, they will not directly benefit from it. On the contrary, after much deliberation, Canada has decided that inclusion in the partnership will bolster their economy. Naturally, the ten other member countries agree as well. It is true that the United States, through trade with Canada via the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), will still benefit to some degree, but these slim figures will pale in comparison to the growth that they could have seen through continued membership in the agreement.
Can Anything be Done?
Despite a poor outlook, it appears that leaders will not finalize the agreement until the end of the summer. Due to this, it is both possible and ideal that the more market-oriented members of Trump’s cabinet may persuade him to rejoin the agreement. Unfortunately, however, the president’s tough view on trade makes this re-entry appear unlikely.
Though Trump vehemently opposes the deal, he often forgets the massive benefits of free trade agreements, such as NAFTA. In the two decades following this deal, cross-border investment surged from $290 billion in 1993 to $1.1 Trillion in 2016. Member states of the TPP will likely see a similar surge due to the deal. Despite the existence of obvious benefits, our anti-trade president makes it highly unlikely that the U.S. will see them.
(Image courtesy of tpp.guide)