There was a funny Saturday Night Live sketch (unfortunately I don’t think they allow YouTube to host clips, since there’s barely anything from SNL on it) with Jon Lovitz playing “Frenchie,” who says really outrageous things and then acts stunned when people react. “Oh I’m sorry!” he exclaims. “Didn’t mean to offend anyone. Everything good? Good. I’m Frenchie!”
I was reminded of this sketch when reading the continuing battles of George Selgin vs. Joe Salerno on the issue of methodology in economics. In response to Joe and me, George opens by saying: “It seems that, even when I’m not trying to do so, I manage to raise the hackles of some of the 100-percent crowd.”
In the interest of avoiding future, unintentional fights, let me clarify exactly what George innocently wrote that raised the hackles of the hypersensitive 100% reservists. And to be clear, I’m not grabbing something buried in his original post; this is how he opened up the discussion:
At the close of my last post here, I referred to myself as a “non-Austrian,” causing one of our regular commentators to wonder why. “Because,” I answered, “belonging means conforming.”
That admittedly cryptic reply (I was anxious to get back to the book I was reading) led to speculation to the effect that I was inclined to identify “Austrian” economics with the economics of Murray Rothbard, and particularly with his and his devotees’ opposition to fractional reserve banking.
But although it’s true that I have a low opinion of the ideas and arguments put forward by the 100-percent crowd, and that I’d rather swallow a dozen toads than have anyone confuse my thinking with theirs, I don’t believe they’ve yet succeeded, despite trying their damnedest, in hijacking the “Austrian” brand name. There are, thank goodness, still plenty of non-Rothbardian “Austrians,” including my fellow blogger and former colleague and mentor Larry White.
There are no ellipses in the above; that’s exactly how George opened his remarks on this topic. Can anyone see why Rothbardians who advocate 100% reserve banking might have perceived an attack, and responded defensively?
Everything good, good. I’m Georgie!