Around the Web

Political scientist Jacob Levy shares his thoughts on unions

Social liberalism and the drug war, in which Bill Clinton and the Left gets taken to task for its hypocrisy

Austrian economics and anthropology: what’s the connection?

Around the Web: ObamaCare Edition (Part 2)

There is a lot of great stuff out there on the recent ruling. Here are a few I found interesting:

I think I’m done blogging about this whole mess…phlegh!

The Corporate State and High Liberalism: A Love Story

I have been following the symposium on “free markets and fairness” over at Bleeding Heart Libertarians with some interest. One of the things that has always bothered me about the Left’s despicable tactics concerning liberty is its demagoguery concerning markets. As a former Marxist who has hung out with the right people in the right places, I can assure you that the Left is not so much concerned with the plight of the poor as it is with the plight of the rich.

Once I began to grasp the basic insights of economists (thanks to Ron Paul’s 2008 Presidential campaign) it became increasingly apparent that less regulations and less restrictions are needed in this world in order to help the poor. What I have not understood about my friends on the Left is why they obstinately refuse to acknowledge the facts concerning how markets and the State work. As Deirdre McCloskey has recently pointed out, the narrative of high liberalism is factually mistaken, but this in itself is not enough to convince the True Believers that control over others needs to be abolished.

Two things stand out to me whenever I argue with Leftists: 1) the thin veneer of helping the poor is often used to cover up the base desire for control over others; the high liberal is an authoritarian through-and-through and 2) the Leftist is often unaware of this authoritarianism until you either scratch or cleave him.

Consider the following example. Continue reading

Around the Web, Kinda

No.  The master narrative of High Liberalism is mistaken factually.  Externalities do not imply that a government can do better.  Publicity does better than inspectors in restraining the alleged desire of businesspeople to poison their customers.  Efficiency is not the chief merit of a market economy: innovation is.  Rules arose in merchant courts and Quaker fixed prices long before governments started enforcing them.

I know such replies will be met with indignation.  But think it possible you may be mistaken, and that merely because an historical or economic premise is embedded in front page stories in the New York Times does not make them sound as social science.  It seems to me that a political philosophy based on fairy tales about what happened in history or what humans are like is going to be less than useless.  It is going to be mischievous.

How do I know that my narrative is better than yours?  The experiments of the 20th century told me so.

This is from Deirdre McCloskey’s blog post over at a new symposium being put on by Bleeding Heart Libertarians. It is probably the best thing I’ve read on the web in a couple of years. You can find the rest of the posts from the symposium here. I highly recommend all of them.

Co-editor Fred Foldvary recently participated in the last symposium that BHL held on Libertarianism and Land. You can find both of his entries here (be sure to read through his responses in the ‘comments’ section, too) and here.

Around the Web

Co-editor Fred Foldvary is participating in a symposium over at Bleeding Heart Libertarians.  Check him out.

Michael Mungowitz bags on Greece and the Euro Zone.

Zach Gochenour has a complimentary follow-up piece on Dr. Foldvary’s essay: Progress or Poverty: The Economics of Land and Discovery.

All Hail Azawad.  A blogger obsessed with maps from the New York Times writes about the new state’s prospects .  I have written about Azawad here, here, here, and here (oh God I hope I don’t sound like Walter Block!).

Jacques Delacroix provides even more insights into the French elections and its implications for the Euro Zone.

The collapse of the Euro Zone is kind of a big deal.  Personally, I hope the collapse only destroys the currency of the zone, and not the ability of its members to trade and work freely anywhere throughout the zone.  I also want a pony and never-ending supply of really good weed.

The European policymakers and technocrats should not have been so brash as to believe that they could unify Europe politically.  Not only is that bad for democracy, but it has also given the underlying principle behind the EU – free trade – a very bad name.  Repeat after me: large polities that are economically united and politically divided are good for everybody, but large polities that are economically and politically united are bad for everybody.

It’s even worse when you throw in concepts like Old World identities such as ethnicity into the mix and try to get everybody to play nice through the democratic process.

Great News!

Co-Editor Fred Foldvary has been invited to be a contributor to a blogging symposium about “Libertarianism and Land” put on by the Bleeding Heart Libertarians consortium.  Here are the details:

I’m very pleased to announce that from April 23-27 of 2012, the Bleeding Heart Libertarian blog will be hosting a virtual symposium on the topic of “Libertarianism and Land!”

The five day event will explore different libertarian perspectives on questions pertaining to the moral justification of and limits on property rights in land. Each day will feature a keynote post from one of our main participants. The other main participants will have the opportunity to respond with posts of their own, and the general public is welcome to participate in the comments thread.

We’ve lined up some terrific people for this event. Our main participants will be:

  • Eric Mack – Professor of Philosophy at Tulane University
  • Hillel Steiner – Professor of Political Philosophy at the University of Manchster
  • Fred Foldvary – Lecturer in Economics at Santa Clara University
  • Kevin Carson – Blogger and author
  • David Schmidtz – Professor of Philosophy and Economics at the University of Arizona

More information to follow as the date draws nearer. I hope you’ll join us for what I think will be a fascinating discussion!

Do be sure to tune in to Bleeding Heart Libertarians all that week.  I am sure that many good things will come of this, especially since Fred Foldvary was one of the few people in the world to accurately predict the housing bubble collapse based upon his knowledge and understand of land and its connection to the economy.

Talking to the Left: the Sword and the Shield

I regularly read the Bleeding Heart Libertarians blog, and today’s post has not disappointed, as Matt Zwolinski points his readers in the direction of James Peron’s blog.  In a piece entitled “Why Libertarians Need to Talk to the Left and How to Do It,” Peron has to remind libertarians that they are neither of the Left or the Right:

Classical liberals found much to agree with socialists on and worked with them. There are risks in alliances, one of which is that you may be tempted to compromise principles to appease partners. Classical liberals started doing just that. Instead of liberalizing socialism, the alliance resulted in pushing liberalism in a socialist direction.

This alliance remained in place until the early 1900s. During this time, classical liberalism waned, losing its intellectual power and appeal. In the end, the progressives not only destroyed liberalism but made off with its name as well.

Just as classical liberalism ended up being corrupted by the Left, the modern libertarian movement has Continue reading