26 Oct 2017


Potpourri 3 Comments

==> Even though the Fed has merely been rolling over its balance sheet since the fall of 2014, the ECB continues to buy bonds, recently announcing only that it is cutting the size of its monthly purchases (from the current 60 billion down to 30 billion euros) as of this coming January.

==> The provocative but well-documented speech that Joe Salerno gave at the 35th anniversary of the Mises Institute (recently celebrated in NYC), where he pushes back against the claim that Rothbard dropped out of serious economics by the 1970s and just focused on politics/ideology.

==> A very frank essay by Richard Ebeling (my teacher when I was a student at Hillsdale College), in which he acknowledges the willingness of classical liberal heroes (such as Nock and Mencken) to speak out against the institutionalized racism of their day, and yet (Ebeling argues) they didn’t burn with the same moral fervor as the abolitionists had done. Ebeling concludes:

As a consequence, the debates and discussions concerning race, tolerance and the proper institutional order of a free society in an America whose history has been inseparable from the divide between blacks and whites was left almost by default to opponents of racism on the political “left.”

Arguments concerning freedom of association in markets and personal relationships surrounding race problems in America were all predominantly analyzed through the ideological prism of those who considered political paternalism and coercive reform as the only or best avenues leading to racial justice, peace and harmony.

This has now been mutating into the race-based “identity politics” of contemporary America that really threatens a return to a biologically determined classification of individuals, and the “rewards” or “punishments” to be bestowed on all based on the collectivist group category to which the powerless individual has been assigned by ideologically driven “progressive” social engineers.

Friends of freedom, therefore, in my view, must develop ways of breathing life into the philosophy and politics of individual liberty that takes back the moral passion and principled defense of freedom of association on racial issues with the same sense of right and justice with which the classical liberal enemies of slavery brought down that earlier institutionalized system of human bondage. Otherwise, we shall continue our journey on the ideological train of race-based collectivist government planning.

3 Responses to “Potpourri”

  1. Khodge says:

    I don’t remember the source (I thought it was one of your posts a couple years back) that pointed out that the socio-economics differences due to racism were rapidly disappearing up to the declaration of the war on poverty.

    It is so much easier to nurture profound moral outrage at effects rather than convince lawmakers not to create counter productive laws that rely on lawmakers not acting. Regardless of how bad a law is, rescinding a law makes for bad press when journalists are only capable of adding up laws passed.

    Abolishing slavery (by war) requires moral fervor. Killing off government meddling requires convincing a significant number of people of the counterintuitive free money from the government is not free.

  2. Andrew_FL says:

    “the claim that Rothbard dropped out of serious economics by the 1970s and just focused on politics/ideology.”

    I have never heard this claim. I have heard Austrians who don’t care for specific substantive things Rothbard claimed as part of his entirely economic, not ideological analysis-*or*, not that he focused on politics, but that they have distaste for the specific *kind* of politics Rothbard embraced.

    What’s more, most that I have heard have deep respect for Rothbard where they deem him correct.

    As for my own impression, Salerno puts an awful lot of weight on whether various figures thought Rothbard’s work was *the* logical extension of Mises’ work. To be fair, this includes Mises himself. However this is a non sequitur. It *might* be the case that Rothbard takes Mises’ work in the correct and logical direction. But this cannot be proved merely by reference to the fact that Mises himself seemed to think so.

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