Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Stossel at St. Johns 

St. John's University/College of St. Benedict had John Stossel on its campus last night. I attended with about 250 other people. The talk was put on by the schools' College Republicans and the Students Fostering Conservative Thought.

If you watch most of Stossel's 20/20 specials, you probably know his views on economics, which was the focus of last night's talk. It was largely a blend of "Greed" and "Are We Scaring Ourselves to Death?" A few things I noted of interest to me:
  1. He made a specific point to say "I'm not a conservative, I'm a libertarian." This meant he was in favor of gay marriage, mildly pro-choice, and anti-interventionist. On the other hand, he was not as libertarian on the estate tax (something to the effect of "a tax on wealth over $2 million upon death doesn't bother me") or on immigration (several references to "islamofascists" coming over the border trying to kill us.) So he has a very mixed view of Iraq, favoring a muscular presence in the region but doubtful of our abilities at nation-building. That view, by the way, is not far from mine.
  2. His description of socialist economies was summed up by a picture of a Trabant. (This site is by a fan of the ugly little boy.) They are bad vehicles, but at least everyone had practice repairing one, making yours on the side of the road that much closer to running again.
  3. He's a bit dry; his best side is taking questions -- fast and direct, gets through a lot -- and audience interview. For a guy who is probably a five-figure speaker, he doesn't look all that comfortable speaking.
If you're in the Twin Cities, you can catch him tonight at Northrup Auditorium at the University of Minnesota, at 7pm.

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