Which Jew is Smarter? Part II. Answer: Ilya Shapiro

Last Tuesday we introduced you to the first part of the Second Annual Battle of the Ilyas. The competition pits Ilya Shapiro against Ilya Somin — two of DCs most prominent Jewish legal libertarians.

Josh Blackman, host of the competition, offered the following remarks after the second and final round the competition (which named former GTJ Guy of the Week, Ilya Shapiro, the winner).

The Battle of the Ilyas was fought, and won. Listen to this grueling match

Download the JoshCast here

I encourage you to listen to the entire JoshCast, but if you must skip around, the question and answer component begins at 4:40. The winner is announced at 14:00. Also listen to the new official JoshBlackman.com theme song, starting at 16:46. Win.

If you can’t listen, here is a blow-by-blow of this contentious bout. Results after the jump.

I opened the bout by noting that it was the first night of Chanukah, where we commemorate the Maccabi’s triumphant victory over the Syrians. It was quite fitting then, that we hold a battle of similar epic proportions tonight. Each contestant–unprompted—chose his side, and quickly bickered over which is better.

Shapiro- ”I want to be the Maccabees”

Somin- “I prefer Greek, I would point out that it was the Greeks who invented democracy. The Macabbees were clearly brutal tyrants.”

Shapiro- “The Maccabees did win the Israeli basketball title last year”

Somin- “Greece has won several European Basketball Championships, which is more impressive.”

They couldn’t contain themselves.

I referred to both of the contestants as Libertarians, but the friction persisted:

Shapiro- “I prefer Classical Liberal”

Somin- “I prefer Libertarian”

I asked each Contestant why they should earn the right to be called “Ilya.” Shapiro took a very Burkean approach, while Somin took a Libertarian view. Somin also whipped out his cite-count, noting he was more widely read than Shapiro.

Shapiro- “I believe in continuity. I don’t see any reason to change horses in midstream.”

Somin- “We are Libertarians, not Burkeans. The key point is I was the original Ilya, I was here first. In addition I have many more articles and widely-read blog posts so there would be more disruption involved in displacing my name than that of Ilya Shapiro.”

Shapiro- “Them’s fighting words”

The winner, after the jump.

Ilya Shapiro FTW

Ilya Shapiro is the reigning two-time champion of the Battle of the Ilyas.

What were Ilya Shapiro’s words of triumph? “It’s good to be king.”

Ilya Somin initially lodged a protest, claiming that there were “procedural irregularities.” At 16:00, I noted that when attorneys lose, they always seem to find procedural irregularities. However, after further reconsideration, Somin graciously conceded the match. The winner, and undisputed Ilya, is Ilya Shapiro.

Stay tuned till next year, when we host the 2011 Battle of the Ilyas.

Piece originally featured at JoshBlackman.com.

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  1. […] SBC:  Alan Murphy was last year’s king…  Although Ilya Shapiro is indeed the man and has been proclaimed king in other recent battles. […]

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