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Shoot from the Hip: How to Lose a Debate in One Shot

Written by Gary North on February 10, 2015

Years ago, I came up with this phrase:

When you shoot from the hip, you risk blowing off an important appendage.
As a debater for over 55 years, let me tell you the best way to be upended: go after your opponent for having argued A, only to learn in the rebuttal that he was arguing for B.

You are supposed to ascertain this before the debate begins.

Worse, the audience expected you to respond to B.

Still worse: your attack on A makes you vulnerable to your opponent’s re-stating of B. He is probably pretty good at defending B.

The person who does this without giving careful consideration to his target’s argument has shot from the hip. He has not devoted enough time to thinking through his opponent’s position and possible response.

A critic made this mistake with me recently. I thought you might be like to see what can happen to someone who makes this mistake.


I wrote a detailed article last week with this title: Nine Reasons Why Putin Is Not Planning to Adopt a Gold Standard.

In it, I argued the following:

First, central bankers run the world. Forget about all the talk about somebody else running the world; central bankers run the world.

There may be outposts where they do not run a nation. Communist China is one of them. There, Communist apparatchiks who are secure in their positions, and who care nothing about economics, but who care everything about power, have pressured the central bank to follow expansionary policies. But these policies are essentially Keynesian, although we might call them Keynesianism on steroids. I have no doubt that they tell the central bankers what to do, but what they tell the central bankers to do is to keep the economy growing. The central bankers have received their advanced educations in Western universities, where they were taught by Keynesians. So, they are Keynesians. They are also mercantilists, but then so is Keynesianism.

I then went on to this:

Fifth, Russia is run by Putin, and Putin is an ex-Communist who made his way up the chain of command inside the KGB. He knows nothing about economics. He is not an advocate of the free market. He is an advocate of central economic planning. He is, in short, a mercantilist who runs a gigantic bureaucracy. That is all that Russia has ever been, and he is part of the Russian tradition.

Sixth, a gold coin standard, or any gold standard, places limits on centralized planning. It places limits on central banking. It reduces the influence of the central government over the economy. It is, in short, a move in the direction of the free market. It restrains government. There is no indication anywhere in the history of Russia of any movement at the top of the Russian government in favor of restraining the power of the Russian government. It is one long history of empire and centralization. This is why it was so easy for Lenin to set up a Community tyranny. He simply took over the existing one and extended it. There is no judicial tradition of liberty in Russian history.

(For the rest of my article, click the link.)

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