Saturday, July 11, 2015

Donald Trump and The Problem with Anecdotal Cases

By Robert Wenzel

Donald Trump trotted out Jamiel Shaw Sr at, of all places, FredoomFest.

Shaw's son was killed by a Mexican illegal, which of course is horrific.


Trump trotted out Shaw to make a point: Illegal immigration should be stopped because "Mexican illegals are killing us in large numbers."

The idea of this mass of killing is certainly in dispute. Linda Chavez: presents data (see Fact Checking Donald Trump) that Mexicans and other undocumented male Hispanics are less likely to be violent crimminals than natural-born American males.

I have not attempted to verify the data. We all know that data can be insightful or it can be designed to deceive. It takes careful, long-term study to determine which is which. But one thing I can say for sure, arguing by anecdotal evidence to prove a point is a very dangerous game. Lefties, for example, can trot out case after case of children being shot becasue they were playing with hand guns. Or they can trot out the case of the Charleston church shooter, the Aurora Colorado movie theater shooter, the Newtown, Connecticut school shooter. You could go on and on just with schools shootings in the US. But I wonder how many of those jacked up against illegals by Shaw's anecdotal case want to have hand guns banned based on anecdotal cases.

Trump (via Shaw) is not making a strong argument. It is what Hayek called a simplified argument that appeals to the emotional unthinking masses:
It is in connection with the deliberate effort of the skillful demagogue to weld together a closely coherent and homogeneous body of supporters... [that an] important negative element of selection [occurs.] It seems to be almost a law of human nature that it is easier for people to agree on a negative program--on the hatred of the enemy, on the envy of those better off--- than on any positive task. The contrast between the "we" and th e"they", the common fight against those outside the group, seems to be an essential ingredient in any creed which will slowly knit together a group for common action. It is consequently always employed by those who seek, not merely support of a policy but the unreserved allegiance of huge masses. From their point of view it has a great advantage of leaving them greater freedom of action than almost any other positive program. The enemy, whether he be internal like the "Jew" or the "kulak," or external, seems to be indispensable requisite in the armory of a totalitarian leader.
According to a Pew Institute study, there are probably around 11 million undocumented in the United States. If they were mostly killers and robbers, we would all be cowering, if not already dead. The idea is absurd.

I personally don't have any problem with those who don't want to deal or associate with Mexicans, though I view it as a goofy position. (SEE: About My Racist Friends, My Homophobic Friends and My Own Prejudices). Indeed, I don't have a problem with any races. I will continue to take my clothes to a Chinese laundry,  buy sundries at the Arab owned convenience store and eat at San Francisco restaurants where most of the busboys are Hispanic. And I will never ask any of them to show me their green cards.

If there are others that don't want to use these establishments, well that's fine with me. But if I want to hire Mexicans, or any others, to work on my property or if the other Hayek or a girl from Guadalajara, who snuck over the border,  asks me to dinner, Donald and his crowd of followers should bud out.

Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher at and at Target Liberty. He is also author of The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bank. Follow him on twitter:@wenzeleconomics

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