Friedrich Hayek: Champion of Liberty

From Richard Epstein:

Thus Hayek’s 1940 contribution to the “Socialist Calculation” debate debunked the then-fashionable notion that master planners could achieve the economic nirvana of running a centralized economy in which they obtain whatever distribution of income they choose while simultaneously making sound allocations of both labor and capital, just like in Soviet Russia.

Hayek exposed this fool’s mission by stressing how no given individual or group could obtain and organize the needed information about supply and demand conditions throughout the economy. The virtue of the price system was its use of a common unit of measurement—money—to allow various actors to compete for a given resource without having to lay bare why they need any particular good or service. The seller need only accept the highest bid, without nosing around in other people’s business. The interaction between buyers and sellers allows for constant incremental adjustments of both price and quantity. Old information gets updated in a quick and reliable way, thereby eluding the administrative gauntlet of the socialist state.

This essay, which y’all should read, was sparked by the attacks on Rep. Paul Ryan’s supposed intellectual influences F.A. Hayek and Ayn Rand.

Fact-Checking Politicians

I know the last thing everybody wants to hear is another political rant, but I’m going to give it to you anyway.

Has anybody noticed the recent slew of “fact-checking” sheets and reports that have come out since Paul Ryan’s VP speech at the GOP convention*?

Does it really come as a shock to people to find out that politicians lie? I can’t wait to see the other side come out with the same kinds of reports after Joe Biden and the current demagogue-in-chief give their speeches.

Politicians lie? Really? Who would’ve thunk…

Here’s my two cents: Democrats lie more often than Republicans. Hands down. There are always exceptions to the rules, and being more honest than the Democratic Party is not exactly a milestone achievement.

Many people said this race might be the most interesting in a while (thanks to the protection of free speech that Citizens United upheld), but Continue reading

Paul Ryan and Ayn Rand: What’s the Connection?

I will admit up front that the only Ayn Rand novel I’ve read (so far) has been Anthem. I liked it. It reminded me of Brave New World and 1984. A lot of books came out at around the same time as Anthem that had themes of the struggle between totalitarianism and the individual. Recent commentary has focused on Rep. Ryan’s connections with the late, great author, though, and Will Wilkinson does a great job of summing them all up in a post over the Economist. An excerpt:

In practice, arguments like Mr Black’s and Ms Walsh’s tend to come to the silly idea that one’s ideological opponents are duty-bound (by their own lights!) to either unilaterally disarm or shut up. Heads, I win; tails, you lose. It’s a cheap trick. The argument as usually deployed also depends on a combination of lazy partisan Manichaeism and the naive practice of taking politicians at their word. Paul Ryan is an elected official whose views therefore fall squarely within the ambit of conventional political wisdom. Despite his professed admiration for Ayn Rand, and the ardent wishes of his admirers and detractors alike, Mr Ryan is far from a laissez faire radical.

Indeed. Do read the rest of the post here.

What are your thoughts on Ryan as Romney’s VP? Longtime reader Hank has shared his thoughts here. Personally, I agree with Hank and I don’t think the nomination matters all that much, and I share libertarian sentiments that Rep. Ryan is hardly a fiscal conservative, but I am also curious as to what you think.

Around the Web: Lazy Saturday Edition

I’m not actually being lazy, I am just doing a bunch of homework (wink wink).

Knowledge is Power, so let the WikiWar begin!

Illegally Wiretapped? In the US? Sorry, but the courts won’t help you.

Can Syria’s Christians Survive?

Public ignorance about Paul Ryan and federal spending.

Around the Web

The Images of Progressive Citizenship. Haunting.

Paul Ryan it is.

The 5 worst Olympic mascots.

Austrian themes, data, and sports economics. By co-blogger Stephen Shmanske