02 Jan 2009

TIME Blogger Digs Himself Deeper

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Intrigued by Lew Rockwell’s raised hackles, the TIME econ blogger Justin Fox gives a follow-up post. Now look, I am a relative young pup in the field and have thought all these big schisms in Austrian economics are dumb and counterproductive. But this is just silly. After explaining that Lew Rockwell responded to his earlier piece, the TIME guy quotes from David Gordon’s version of the Koch/LvMI feud and then the TIME guy says:

Now I get why citing Tyler Cowen on matters Austrian so raises the hackles of some Austrian true believers. He’s an apostate! Notice how Gordon makes no attempt to explain what’s wrong with Cowen’s critique of Misesian and Rothbardian ideas–it’s enough just to point out that he has strayed from orthodoxy. Theirs is the true path, and all others are in error.

This kind of thing happens a lot, so let’s be clear, Mr. Fox. The reason LRC posted that response, and the reason some people posted comments on your site, is NOT because you cited Tyler Cowen. There are thousands of blogs that cite Tyler Cowen all the time, and I don’t see the LRC blog linking to them with defensive posts. No, the reason your initial post raised hackles was that you said this:

People in the U.S. who self-identify as believers in Austrian economics, though, tend to follow a much narrower path, that of Mises and his American disciple Murray Rothbard. They are extremely libertarian (at the first meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society, a libertarian group organized by Hayek in 1947, Mises stormed out saying “You’re a bunch of socialists”). They yearn for a return to the gold standard. Many possess a near-religious conviction that their beliefs are correct and that all other economic theories are pure folly. Some of them–I’m thinking here mainly of the crowd around Lew Rockwell–combine these beliefs with far loopier stuff. Others–such as financial pundits Peter Schiff and Michael Shedlock–often let their rabid Austrian leanings overpower (and, to my taste, ruin) otherwise trenchant economic analyses. Am I going to go to these people for perspective on the business cycle or Austrian economics? No, I don’t think so.

So yep, those nutjobs in Auburn take offense when people call them loopy extremists, and don’t consider them even worth reading when it comes to Misesian economics. Is that so hard to fathom, Mr. Fox? Do you really think that it was your citation of Tyler Cowen that stirred up resentment, or could it possibly have been the above paragraph instead?

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