BC’s weekend reads

  1. Worldwide weeds
  2. The Mushroom That Explains the World
  3. …True Tales of Dharma, Demons, and Darwin
  4. From Spain to the New World via Florence and Vermont (be sure to scroll through the ‘comments’ thread)
  5. Time for Bolivians to Forget about the Sea (weak, but a good starting point for a discussion)
  6. Dissolution of the Templars

Around the Web

  1. Stiglitz and Toward a Theory of the Rent-Seeking Society
  2. The Truth About Our Libertarian Age; Straw men like this explain why libertarianism will continue to grow stronger.
  3. The Return of Karl Polanyi; Another article full of straw. See if you can spot the piles.
  4. What is the optimal number of immigrants to allow into the US? This is as close to a libertarian answer as you can get.
  5. Hayek and the Intellectuals

Karl Marx versus Thomas Piketty

Both [Marx and Piketty] protest economic disparities, but move in opposite directions. Piketty advances into the domain of salaries, income and wealth; he wants to temper these extremes and give usto alter the slogan of the ill-fated Prague Spring of 1968capitalism with a human face. Marx advances into the domain of commodities, work, and alienation; he wants to undo these relations and give us a transformed society.

This is from UCLA historian Russell Jacoby in the New Republic. The rest of the article is not that great, to be honest (I’ll bet you ten bucks that Jacoby – whom I never took during my time in Westwood – is an old man; I can safely assume this because of the praise he lavishes upon Karl Marx at the expense of Piketty and other economists), but I thought this excerpt was a good opportunity to enhance my argument that Murray Rothbard was a great Cold War scholar and a terrible role model for the world we live in today.

Rothbard’s argument – exemplified by this excerpt that Adam provided in the ‘comments’ threads a while back – devastated the Marxist notions of the world held in the 1960s and 1970s, but Rothbard’s argument simply does not grapple with Piketty’s. It’s a whole new ball game, and one that newer scholars who have built upon Rothbard’s foundations are now grappling with. It does us no good to continue parroting a line of reasoning that has long since outlived its usefulness.

George Keenan’s racism *AND* affinity for the Democratic Party confuses Left-wing journalist

From the New Republic‘s David Greenberg:

Normally a supporter of Democrats—in the diaries, he voices support for the presidential bids of Adlai Stevenson, John F. Kennedy, Eugene McCarthy, Frank Church (“promptly regretted it deeply”), and Bill Clinton (“without enthusiasm”)—Kennan was nonetheless profoundly conservative in his worldview.

How on earth could a Democrat be a conservative? The logic of Progressives continues to astound me. Kennan, in addition to being an ardent supporter of Democratic Party candidates, also expresses adulation for ugly racist stuff like eugenics and even goes so far as to express sympathy for Apartheid in South Africa.

Libertarians and honest conservatives have long known about the intricate links between institutional and scientific racism and Left-wing political causes. The logical outgrowth of this subtle racism can be found in many of the Left’s pet political causes, such as Affirmative Action or government housing projects. These are inherently racist policies and if you read the justifications for such policies you can see why they are a natural  outgrowth of Progressivism.

The New Republic‘s David Greenberg is unable to put two and two together, however. To him, the fact that Kennan was a racist and an imperialist and a Democrat does nothing to show him why the Democratic Party is the party of reaction, of conservatism writ large in the United States.

By the way: Just because I think Affirmative Action and government housing projects are racist does not mean I do not support reparations for the US government’s theft of labor from slaves and theft of land from Native Americans. I just think there are better ways of atoning for our government’s sins than engaging in even more fruitless, racist policies.