Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Give Me Liberty or Give Me Kochanacks?

I'm pretty sure this isn't the way Patrick Henry put it, but this is apparently the way the International Students For Liberty see it.

Their 2011 conference is going to be hosted in Washington D.C. at George Washington University and they have chosen as their keynote speakers, (drum roll) (background clanging noise) (sound of someone tripping over a Zimbabwe dollar) Megan McArdle and Tyler Cowen.

McArdle is infamous for this insightful comment on Ron Paul, as reported by Slate:
"Republicans stashed him in this job because they don't want him making more important decisions," said Megan McArdle, a prominent libertarian blogger and economics editor of the Atlantic. "He cares passionately about monetary policy, which most Republicans don't care about. But when you look at his speeches, he doesn't understand anything about monetary policy. He might actually understand it less than the average member of Congress. My personal opinion is that he wastes all of his time on the House Financial Services Committee ranting crazily."

Since she seems to know so much more about economics than Ron Paul, perhaps she will take the opportunity of the keynote to explain to the crowd  why exactly these three views of Ron Paul are wrong:

Why his belief in the regression theorem is wrong?

Why his view on the methodology of economics is wrong?

Why his view, that Fed money printing causes distortions of the capital structure, is wrong?



Tyler Cowen most recently has come out in favor of micro-managing leverage at banks.

Perhaps Cowen can explain the libertarian perspective on this. Or, perhaps, he can explain why he supported Peter Boettke's statement:

 As of January 1, 2010, we are changing our name to "Coordination Problem". This name change is symbolic as well as substantive. The term "Austrian economics" has become as much a hindrance to the advancement of thought as a convenient shorthand to signal certain methodological and analytical presumptions.

...The name Austrian economics has been lost as a focal point for a tradition of economic scholarship, and is now a focal point for something else. We have to let it go
Cowen said of the move:
I believe this is a wise move and I congratulate Pete for his intellectual savvy and courage. 
Perhaps, Cowen can brief attendees on how well the name change is going.

(BTW: I find it highly amusing that Cowen has such strong views about the term, "Austrian Economics", since I have it on good authority (and in writing) that some high level, at least partially "Austrian economic" thinkers at GMU, do not consider him an Austrian in any sense of the word.)

Now, as I have said before, when you see odd goings on around the words "liberty" and "Austrian economics" there's usually something Kochanackian about the entire thing, and if you look at the entire speaking list for this event, my theory holds. The list is 90% about Koch-funded Cato and Koch-funded GMU speakers.
 
I seriously doubt you are going to hear even one good word about Ludwig von Mises or Austrian Business Cycle Theory, at this conference. But with McArdle as keynote, you will certainly get a sense for what the twilight zone is all about.

37 comments:

  1. Kochanacks?

    I think Kochanuts would be far more appropriate.

    ReplyDelete
  2. How do you explain the fact that roughly 30% or more of Students For Liberty's network is comprised of anarcho-capitalist students? How do you explain Stefan Molyneux and other anarchist thinkers at many of the SFL conference including the 2011 International Conference? I would also bet that many of the students at the conference WILL ask these very questions. There is no koch conspiracy here, just differences in libertarian theory and the array of different ideas espoused at the 2011 ISFLC will prove this.

    ReplyDelete
  3. @Anonymous 10:18

    Are you serious?

    Look at the speakers list.

    I hope the students do ask the questions and would appreciate hearing about any feedback they get.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Actually, one of the breakout sessions taught by the Foundation for Economic Education is on the Austrian Theory of the Business Cycle.

    http://studentsforliberty.org/news/fee-presents-austrian-economics-the-international-sfl-conference/

    ReplyDelete
  5. There's an illustration from the 1930's showing the time consuming steps to produce a tire under either Nazi or Vichy control (I forget which and I can't find it) it consists of about 16 frames on one page.

    Every time I see the phrase Coordination Problem, I think of that illustration.

    - clark

    ReplyDelete
  6. @Anonymous 10:54

    This is precisely my point, ABCT is not mentioned on the conference frontpage, other than as a workshop.

    At the same time prominently featured are the two KEYNOTE SPEAKERS who can't stand Austrian Economics.

    Read what McArdle and Cowen write!

    Coyne sounds like the token Austrian, so people like you can say, well ABCT is discussed. That's nonsense. The keynotes are anti-Austrian--and that is not only coming from me, but from people, I can assure you, who are well versed in Austrian Economics and know McArdle and Cowen very well.

    They are featured at the conference not Coyne.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Boettke wrote that? :'(

    Sounds pretty pretentious to me. Shameful almost. I respect his efforts and contributions to the science but I can't help but be put off by his sentiments here. Why run away from "Austrian" unless you're ashamed or trying to placate.

    Reading this I get a weird flashback of Obama telling us that we need to further compromise.

    Again, I like Boettke's take on a lot of things and credit him with doing much for the cause, but this...?

    ReplyDelete
  8. The conference will still be amazing because of Stossel, Coyne, Austrian Economics lectures held by FEE, the Liberty Fund Colloquium, and the amazing students who will be in attendance. I intend to ask Megan McCardle if she can back up her inanity concerning Ron Paul and also Cowen about his love of the TSA (as I wrote about on my blog).

    In any case, I am a campus coordinator for SFL and have never been told to censor myself concerning my want of abolishing the Federal Reserve and the Government.. so I'm not sure how much of a "Koch" driven organization we are...

    Even if we are.. I am thankful to Charles Koch for everything he has done for liberty.

    ReplyDelete
  9. @George Edwards

    Just curious. Can you explain to me how McArdle and Cowen were picked as keynote speakers and 90% of the other speakers have Cato or GMU backgrounds? Were those the only catalogs you had around that day?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Robert Wenzel asked:

    "Can you explain to me how McArdle and Cowen were picked as keynote speakers and 90% of the other speakers have Cato or GMU backgrounds? Were those the only catalogs you had around that day?"

    You won't get an answer to that, Bob. Though I'd love to hear someone try to pretend that's just a coincidence. Sure.

    You can learn a lot about an organization by how it presents itself to the world. Keynote speakers are extremely revealing for that reason. I can think of several organizations -- among them the competing Young Americans for Liberty -- that would not consider a third-rater like McArdle or a wise-alecky cult leader like Cowen even to cater their event, much less headline it.

    ReplyDelete
  11. "I am thankful to Charles Koch for everything he has done for liberty."

    From what I've read, he hasn't done anything for liberty. Maybe some things for himself and his agenda, and the wallets of certain individuals, but not for liberty.

    "...Cowen about his love of the TSA"
    Well, that right there should tell you everything you need to know, a love of the TSA is no friend of liberty in any way, shape, or form.

    "...doing much for the cause,..." and, "...Stossel, Coyne, Austrian Economics lectures held by FEE, the Liberty Fund Colloquium, and the amazing students who will be in attendance."

    Does the phrase, "co-opt attempt" pop up on a big red flag for anyone else?
    There's nothing quite like - useful dupes, a.k.a. seeing intelligent people being manipulated against their better judgment - to sicken the liberty minded.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I actually had no influence in that decision making process. Clark Ruper got Stossel to commit to a show.. which was pretty awesome for us. I complained about Cowen because of his TSA advocacy in the face of an online debate between himself and McCardle..... and then McCardle was invited to speak. I don't know if Alexander was trying to Satiate myself or advance the "Kochtopus" but I think McCardle has a lot to add to the discussion we will be having aside from that dubious quote concerning Ron Paul.

    Last years "event of the year" as determined by Students for Liberty was an event held at a college campus with Ron Paul. This year's award will have IU Bloomington in contention with other campuses.. because Ron Paul appeared there at the behest of YAL and was absolutely amazing. I was in attendance at that event and the event with Tom Woods who had an impressive crowd as well.

    In any case, SFL is a very diverse group of students. At the campus coordinator retreat I heard accounts of other coordinators discovering liberty because of the words "google Ron Paul" written on chalk boards in their respective classrooms. Campus coordinators such as Casey Givens from Berkeley hosted Dr. Walter Block, my favorite economist of all time, on their campus. Indiana students are hoping to do the same thing next semester if the funding falls in place.

    Most speakers for SFL events are not paid and must donate their time for liberty. It seems that the network of people that Alexander McCobin associates with happen to be of the GMU and Cato orientation... but this shouldn't fault the Students for Liberty organization one bit.

    If Roger Garrison, Guido Hulsmann, Joseph Salerno, or any number of scholars associated with the Mises Institute would be willing to speak at the International Students for Liberty Conference I am 100% positive they would be welcome into a time-slot that would likely be populated with eager students who want to hear from them. When I went to CPAC last year I remember that the events that were packed were all either YAL or C4L... at least those events that weren't the main stage events.

    In short.. to your question.. I don't know.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'm still new to this blog, but...

    It seems foolhardy to rag on someone for arguing against leverage limits as long as we're stuck with central banking. Yes, I'd like to see the Fed go away, and I'd like to see banks actually fail when they screw up. But until that happens, arguing against leverage limits is tantamount to arguing in favor of allowing the banks to repeatedly and systematically rape us.

    I think this is the reason Denninger (leaving aside his peculiar hostility to a gold standard) is so skeptical about Ron Paul. If Ron wants to bring in Mises scholars to talk about how the Fed fuels the business cycle, I'm all for that.

    But if he doesn't also get on the Fed's case for turning a blind eye to the systematic fraud currently under its purview (i.e., foreclosing on homes paid for with cash -- and no, the courts are NOT addressing this, they're not doing squat), then he's missing a major opportunity.

    ReplyDelete
  14. a political opportunity. to keep the fed less threatening. and therefore to keep the fed around longer. no thanks.

    strike the root or go home.

    ReplyDelete
  15. As someone who has attended SFL conferences and done work with many SFL members on and off campuses I know that these people are just as committed to liberty as a Robert Wenzel. After receiving my email stating that McArdle was going to be the speaker I thought great now she will have to defend her statement against the barrage of questions from people who I know will not let her spout off crazy claims.

    What I can't stand is those who sit in their armchairs writing blogs about the impurity of organizations they have no background with, no understanding of and no interest in actually doing anything about. If we keep flinging filth at each others, we will continue to be the monkey's locked in a cage thinking their free.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Jon,

    The strike the root or go home mentality is not exactly inviting to people new to the liberty movement who do not yet share your opinion of what the root problem actually is.

    Instead of being stand offish and obsessed with some sort of money conspiracy, you should be pleased to see so many pro liberty students springing up all over the country. 5 years ago the libertarian movement was dead. Now you are lucky to have such great discourse. 5 years ago I had no idea what a libertarian was. Now I am a market anarchist on the executive board of Students For Liberty, a diverse libertarian organization with over 400 campuses in its LOOSE, DECENTRALIZED, GRASS ROOTS, network, which requires no dues, and no litmus test for liberty and is responsible for the entrance of hundreds of students into the liberty movement.
    I'm glad I didn't run into any liberty activists like you when I was new to the movement, or I probably would never have become a strict Austrian adherent and instead been alienated from the ideals of freedom.

    Koch Theorists,

    As an anarchist member of the executive board, who happens to be a Austrian advocate, I can tell you there are plenty of others in our network who share those views and our executive board is by no means controlled by Koch. I ran the Philadelphia regional conference and our opening keynote was Stefan Molyneux and another speaker was Michael Strong. Koch had nothing to do with it, all choices are made by the students, for the students. The Koch conspiracies do make us all laugh though. Seeing as not one of us has ever been approached by a Koch agent and commanded to do something anti freedom.

    I'm sure there will be plenty of hard hitting questions for the keynote speakers, just as there always are. I can't wait for them to go up on youtube so all these silly conspiracy theories can be done with.

    If you just do some research you will see that the SFL network has as many strong anarchists as it does minarchists, and very few pro fed members. That being said, not everyone in the liberty movement is anti-fed. Are they all under the control of Koch too?

    Now you have had at least two employees of SFL tell you these statements are ridiculous. Students pick the speakers, thats all. Keynote speakers are advertised the most because they are well known. Many speakers at the ISFLC happen to be coming because it is convenient for them as they work/live in DC. Since SFL offers no honorarium for our speakers, speakers must donate their time. This makes it difficult for speakers from distance to attend. I encourage you to continue to look for updates on the conference as more speakers are still to be announced. If you are still not convinced here is the video from Students For Liberty's Mid-Atlantic Conference:

    http://studentsforliberty.org/blog/freedom-is-humility-stefan-molyneux%E2%80%99s-opening-keynote-at-the-mid-atlantic-regional-conference/

    ReplyDelete
  17. I don't understand why fellow libertarians seem to hate the most generous benefactors of the liberty movement in history - the Kochs. If you disagree with them on a few issues, get over it and focus on the other issues. No one is perfect, including you and Lew Rockwell. The Kochs provide funding for libertarian groups that are actually effective and taken seriously. Please leave the Koch-bashing to the New York Times.

    Also, I interned at the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation a few summers ago. Interns go to a full day of classes once per week. In these classes and on our own time we read Mises, Hayek, Bastiat, and Hamilton. We talked about spontaneous order, creative destruction, and a monetary policy of freedom, among many other topics. Everyone present strongly supported free markets. So, from an insider's perspective, the CGKF was very much libertarian, not establishmentarian.

    ReplyDelete
  18. @Anonymous 12:20

    So do you support the choice of McArdle and Cowen as keynote speakers?

    ReplyDelete
  19. @Robert Wenzel 12:29

    I'm not sure why we should be approving or disapproving of the speakers at their convention. They can have who they want. I didn't like what McArdle said about Ron Paul, but that doesn't necessarily preclude her from speaking to other libertarians. As for Cowen, I don't know too much about him but I support the GMU economics department because they teach the closest thing to Austrian economics around here.

    Do you intend to attend the conference? If so, feel free to protest the speakers if you feel that strongly. I just don't care that much.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I have known the Kochs for over 30 years, through IHS, David's VP run, the Rothbard-Koch split, the Kock-Crane ambit, Koch's decision not to support the Mises Institute and, indeed, to "black-ball" it, the "Market Process" period, etc., etc. I have sometimes not agreed with the strategies adopted. But, at the same time, I have not seen the slightest evidence that both Charles and David no longer remain dedicated libertarians and hardcore radicals for liberty.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I hate that many within the liberty movement love to eat their own, instead of focusing on *real* issues of statist power that encroach on us more each day.

    What's the ultimate goal? Pure libertarian philosophy or a free society? Because bitching over Ron Paul (as if he is the libertarian litmus test) is going to get us nowhere toward the goal of a free society.

    ReplyDelete
  22. @James

    That's the point. Why is McArdle viciously attacking Ron Paul?

    ReplyDelete
  23. @ Anonymous 1:26

    By "strategies" do you mean turning one's back on one's own principals in an attempt to better promote said principles via the establishment of a more politically correct facade intended to placate one's intellectual opponents? For fear of offending them or scaring away any potential recruits with one's actual message of course.

    Again this goes back to my "pretentious/shameful" critique above. There's something disingenuous and unprincipled about this whole approach that wants to avoid bringing up foundational elephants in the room.

    @ Boettke's comments again: Isn't this partly how we gave away the word "liberal" to the "progressives"? So we'll just go on letting those we disagree with take possession of the words we use to identify ourselves with, continually jumping from one new label to another? As a kid I thought the word liberal referred to concepts of freedom and liberty. I was confused and disappointed when I learned that the word no longer meant what I once thought it had (according to everyone else at least). This is probably why I'm making such a big deal here. C'est la vie.

    ReplyDelete
  24. In the spirit of the season, here's hoping that SFLs' keynote speakers soon are able to remove the blinders that currently prohibit them from seeing the evils of a centrally planned monetary system.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Wenzel-

    I came here to make the same points that have already been better made concerning the Kochs by those who have known them and worked in the organizations you accuse of being their pawns. I would like to see you respond to them.

    This childish crap should have been buried with Murray Rothbard (who no doubt did a lot of good in his lifetime). If you and Lew Rockwell, et al disagree with the strategies taken by Cato, Reason, and other libertarian organizations, then by all means criticize them and explain your objections. But this constant attack on the *motives* of a) the Kochs and b) anyone who's ever worked for any organization which ever received any funding from the Kochs speaks more to an old grudge than an honest disagreement.

    The movement needs radicals and moderates, rabble-rousers and policy wonks, abolitionists and gradualists. Both are absolutely necessary to move the cause forward. If you put half as much energy into advancing libertarian ideas as you do ranting about how the evil Kochs are ruining everything, you might get something more done than an occasional link from LR's blog.

    ReplyDelete
  26. @Andy Craig

    Please explain to me why most Koch supporters fail to provide any background info. I click on your name and it takes me to Google's search page. If you are so proud of your position tell me who you are.

    This has nothing to do with a grudge, I don't know the Kochs personally and I hasten to add that I raised questions about Megan McArdle long before she was named a keynote speaker, and indeed years before I was aware of her Koch affiliations. Further, your LRC link theory doesn't hold since I have written criticisms of other Koch sponsored economists for years before I'm sure Lew Rockwell even knew EPJ existed.

    Do your research before you make charges, look at my criticisms of Boettke and Cowen and look at when Rockwell first picked up a post of mine. You'll see the timeline of your's doesn't fit. My criticisms started long before I started being linked by LRC.I demand an apology, once you identify yourself, for your cheap insinuation that I am doing this for LRC links.

    I simply believe that Cowen and, especially McArdle, are absurd choices as keynotes. I am getting attacked for so-called infighting, yet I have recently objected to McArdle for her vicious attack on Ron Paul, what is that all about?

    As for Cowen, I have it on very good authority that people within the GMU circle don't consider him an Austrian, in any sense at all.

    So there you have it, your little gathering chock full of Cato and GMU speakers keynotes McArdle and Cowen. An anti-Paulian and an anti-Austrian, what am I supposed to think or say?

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hilariously sad that you would go straight to questioning *my* motives. I'm a 20 year-old college student at Hendrix College in Conway, AR, who has an interest in libertarianism and the libertarian movement. My student email address is craigar@hendrix.edu if you need further proof of that. I put google.com as my URL because it won't let you use an email address for that purpose, and I specifically did not want to post as "Anonymous".

    Your reaction validates my criticism, and I never thought, much less "insinuated" that LRC links were your motivation. That's a misreading of what I posted. I just observed that's basically all you've gotten for it, and I myself would have never heard of you if not for those links. I don't doubt for a second your sincerity, because I make a point not to do that for anyone. Ron Paul himself has expressed similar sentiments about the counterproductive nature of ad hominem attacks- that it's best to deal in ideas and not personalities, public statements and not private motives. This clarification is the closest you're getting to your impudently demanded apology for an imagined slight. I also don't think your grudge against the Kochs is somehow personal to you, which I should have made more clear. I was referring to the whole saga of the Rothbard&LvMI/Koch&Cato feud, which *is* nothing more than an old grudge, built more on personalities and pettiness on both sides than any fundamental conflict of principles.

    As for McArdle, I wholeheartedly agree her criticisms of Ron Paul (and that Dave Weigel article)were incorrect and ill-conceived. But I don't think she said them because she received a direct order from Kochtopus Central to discredit Ron Paul. She obviously genuinely (and wrongly) believes Paul is a crank, and there are far more outlandish things I've seen people honestly believe.

    It's the constant attack on the *motives* of people that irks me. It bothers me when Rockwell and his cohort do it, too, and I also think they've done a lot of good work. You ask what you're supposed to say, and I respond you should criticize the words and actions of those you disagee with without engaging in such base ad hominem attacks.

    Now, if disagreeing with you and Lew makes me eligible for Koch funding, I'd love to know where I apply to receive my check. I could use some help with my tuition.

    ReplyDelete
  28. @Andy Craig

    I wasn't questionning your motives, just the fact that you seemed to be undientifiable.

    Again, your view that "LRC links" is all I've gotten for it, is far off base. I again point to the fact that I have long written about McArdle and Cowen before LRC ever started to pick me up, so I'm must be getting something out of it, or I wouldn't be devoting the time to it.

    And I'm not sure there is a problem with personal attacks, once they are differentiated from the logic of an argument. Do you mean to say we should never attack Hitler "as a person"?

    Are we never to discuss the Hitler motive that he hated Jews?

    You write:

    "Now, if disagreeing with you and Lew makes me eligible for Koch funding, I'd love to know where I apply to receive my check. I could use some help with my tuition."

    Actually, I think it does. Ask one of the Cato guys about it when you see them. And enjoy the McArdle speech.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Wow. If your fellow libertarians are deserving of being treated like Hitler, I'd love to see what opprobrium you reserve for the other 95% of Americans who don't occupy our corner of the Nolan Chart. In any event, what you've done is not the equivalent of calling Hitler an antisemite. It's the equivalent of saying Hitler doesn't really hate Jews, he's just being paid to act like he does by Romanian oil interests.

    As for the LRC links, again let me clarify. Like I said, I don't doubt your sincerity and that you enjoy your writing. You of course also get your personal satisfaction from this blog. The point was that the nodding approval of Lew is about the only thing *anyone* will ever have to show for complaining that the Kochs and all the organizations they fund are a bunch of traitorous sell-outs who do nothing but try to co-opt the liberty movement for their own nefarious, selfish reasons. The fact is the Kochs want to see our society move in a freer direction, too. They've made plenty of mistakes, and I could easily ramble off some criticisms of them and Cato (which are not the same thing- Ed Crane had his own falling out with the brothers some years ago, though it wasn't as nasty or complete as the Rothbard feud, nor did they completely cut off Cato like their critics insist they do to anyone who disagrees with them in the slightest). If they were out for corporate goodies, there a much easier ways to buy access to congresscritters than funding libertarian think tanks and hoping David Boaz is able to catch someone's ear. Is it really that hard to believe that there are people- a lot of people- who are still libertarian but occupy the space somewhere *between* Austrian-Rothbardian anarcho-purity and the mainstream of American politics?

    """Actually, I think it does. Ask one of the Cato guys about it when you see them. And enjoy the McArdle speech."""

    I have yet to meet anyone who works for Cato, though I look forward to one day doing so, just like I'd love to one day meet Ron Paul and Lew Rockwell and anyone else of prominence in the libertarian movement. And I won't be attending this conference, though I am active in my campus's chapter of YAL- which as I'm sure you're aware is *RON PAUL'S* student organization, and which constitutes a not-insignificant chunk of S4L affiliates. (S4L being not a chapter-based organization but rather a resource network for any liberty-oriented student organization). You again prove my point by actually thinking my sarcastic comment is how things really work.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Forgot to add, you still haven't addressed my original question, that you address the points made specifically @December 23, 2010 1:26 PM and @December 23, 2010 12:20 PM, which are the informed takes of those with more experience with the Kochs and organizations they fund than either you or I.

    As for Cato, I do know this much- the Kochs don't even provide a majority of their funding, or anywhere near it. That's available from their own annual reports, and things like sourcewatch.org. Like I said, Ed Crane had his own falling out with the brothers. I highly suggest you read Brian Doherty's Radicals for Capitalism if you want a balanced look at the history of the movement and its various feuding factions.

    ReplyDelete
  31. @Andy Craig

    Wow talk about a strawman. My point about Hitler was simply that you said on principle you shouldn't attack based on personality. I was just drawing out the absurdity of your argument.

    Then you follow by telling me that the Kochs are great supporters of liberty.I just find this absurd when McArdle and Cowen end up as keynotes for what is clearly a Koch conference, judging by the other speakers.

    As for the amount of money the Kochs put into any specific project, it has been a long held Koch philosophy that any organization they control should, whenever possible use outside (non-Koch) money, that way there is more Koch money available for projects others don't want to sponsor.

    "You again prove my point by actually thinking my sarcastic comment is how things really work."

    So you are allowed to use sarcasm and I am not?

    Re the 12-23 12:20 comment "The Kochs provide funding for libertarian groups that are actually effective and taken seriously. Please leave the Koch-bashing to the New York Times."

    "taken seriously" what the hell does that mean? That the Establishment considers them part of the team? Precisely my point.

    "Leave the Koch-bashing to the New York Times"

    You are joking right? Probably the most heavily funded Koch academic both directly and indirectly is Tyler Cowen. He writes a regular column for NYT!!

    And I repeat, there are some serious GMU academics who do not consider Cowen an Austrian.

    As far as the seriousness of Charles and David as libertarians, you have to admit that Rockwell and the Mises Institute have done an incredible amount to advance the cause of liberty, I'm sure they could do a lot more if Charles and David donated, no strings attached, $10 million each to the Mises Institute.

    Also, it would be nice to see portraits of Mises and Rothbard at the Cato Institute. There's a portrait of Hayek, but that's it. It sure goes along with the Rothbard-Rockwell contention that the Kochs want to push Mises and Rothbard down the memory hole.D

    ReplyDelete
  32. """Wow talk about a strawman. My point about Hitler was simply that you said on principle you shouldn't attack based on personality. I was just drawing out the absurdity of your argument."""

    Except, as I explained, your analogy was inaccurate. I wasn't criticizing things like saying Hitler hated Jews, I was criticizing things like speculating as to Hitler's secret financial motives. Yeah, I also commented on the absurdity of drawing a Hitler comparison into this at all, just because it was so funny and shocking.

    """Then you follow by telling me that the Kochs are great supporters of liberty.I just find this absurd when McArdle and Cowen end up as keynotes for what is clearly a Koch conference, judging by the other speakers."""

    And as one of S4L's *own board members* explained, characterizing it as such is laughable. I agree McArdle and Cowen aren't the best choices- though they are both thoughtful thinkers whose works can be appreciated even when they are wrong- but to say the choice was made to satisfy the Kochs secret plan of subversion is what's so objectionable, and what draws laughter from anyone who actually works for these organizations.

    """As for the amount of money the Kochs put into any specific project, it has been a long held Koch philosophy that any organization they control should, whenever possible use outside (non-Koch) money, that way there is more Koch money available for projects others don't want to sponsor."""

    Do you have any cite for that from someone with actual experience with the Kochs? And if they get all they need from their Koch sugar daddies, why do Cato and Reason have annual beg-a-thons just like every other non-profit? Let me guess, that's just part of their cover, too?

    """"taken seriously" what the hell does that mean? That the Establishment considers them part of the team? Precisely my point."""

    This is exactly what I was talking about earlier when I said the movement needs *both* radicals and pragmatists. Without people willing to get their hands dirty and interface with the real world of politics and major media, how the hell do you propose libertarian change ever be effected? It's easy to stand back and proclaim your purity because you don't ever speak to a tax-feeder, and such people serve a purpose as educators and lodestars, but by themselves they would accomplish nothing. If Milton Friedman had taken the stance that he was too pure and saintly to serve on a commission appointed by Richard-effin'-Nixon, we'd still have military conscription in this country, to name just one example.

    """You are joking right? Probably the most heavily funded Koch academic both directly and indirectly is Tyler Cowen. He writes a regular column for NYT!!

    And I repeat, there are some serious GMU academics who do not consider Cowen an Austrian."""

    I believe you when you gossip about the office politics of the GMU econ department. I also don't particularly care- Cowen's work speaks for itself. And I'm not that big a fan of it myself- I agree he veers too far from true North to suit me. But the basic logic of being able to reacher a broader audience with a 80% libertarian message published in the NYT than a 95% libertarian message published on an obscure blog is sound, particularly if that person's views are at 80% or 85% anyway. It's a balancing scale, not a test of purity.

    ReplyDelete
  33. my response continued...



    """As far as the seriousness of Charles and David as libertarians, you have to admit that Rockwell and the Mises Institute have done an incredible amount to advance the cause of liberty, I'm sure they could do a lot more if Charles and David donated, no strings attached, $10 million each to the Mises Institute."""

    I agree Rockwell and Mises Institute have done a lot to advance the cause- publishing books and websites, holding seminars, funding public intellectuals, engaging in the public discourse, etc. And not a one of these things can not also be claimed by the Cato Institute and Reason, arguably to greater effect unless you also include Ron Paul as something Lew can take credit for (a somewhat dubious proposition).

    As for complaining that they don't get funded by the Kochs, "no strings attached", that's what much of this grudge comes down to. The Kochs and Rothbard had a disagreement on strategy, in particular re: the 1980 LP campaign and how ecumenical/broad-based Cato would be, so Rothbard took his ball and went home. Good for him and his successors (Lew and LvMI), but you can't then complain that the billionaires you got in a very nasty, very public fight with won't keep giving you money with no say in how it is spent.


    """Also, it would be nice to see portraits of Mises and Rothbard at the Cato Institute. There's a portrait of Hayek, but that's it. It sure goes along with the Rothbard-Rockwell contention that the Kochs want to push Mises and Rothbard down the memory hole.D"""

    Of course that's true. You won't see a portrait of Milton Friedman and Ayn Rand in Auburn, either. You don't have to be a Rothbardian or an Austrian to be a libertarian, and this contention is what Rothbard couldn't stand. Rothbard wasn't chased out for being too radical, he was chased out for being wholly intolerant of anyone who didn't stick to his line, ironically exactly what he accused the Kochs of. There is greater ideological diversity today at Cato and Reason than there has ever been tolerated by Rockwell in his outfit.

    Are you familiar with the Nolan Chart? You seem to think the only acceptable version of it looks like this:

    http://billstclair.com/blog/images/NewNolanChart.gif

    I contend we need both the Rothbards in the very corner, and the Kochs more towards the middle, and the Barrs more towards the right, and the Gravels more towards the left. They all serve their purpose in bringing the national discourse more towards liberty.

    It's not an unprincipled sell-out to say someone who agrees with you on 80% of the issues is your ally, and not more your enemy than those on the opposite side of the grid.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Charles Koch's support of Austrian economics has been and is without parallel. The split which took place between him and Rothbard was and remains a great tragedy.

    From three books pulled from the shelf:
    From the first edition of Power and Market(1970): “Finally, I am grateful to the continuing and devoted interest of Charles G. Koch of Wichita, Kansas, whose dedication to inquiry into the field of liberty is all too rare in the present day.”

    From New Directions in Austrian Economics (1978), edited by Louis Spadaro (a student of Mises) from papers delivered by Austrian economist at the 1976 Windsor Castle conference: “Lastly, a very special word of thanks is extended ... to Koch Industries, Inc. without whose moral and material support neither the conference nor this book would have been possible.” Of course in this book appeared the first published presentation of Roger Garrison’s “Austrian Macroeconomics: A Diagrammatical Exposition,” as well as Rothbard’s paper on the Austrian concept of the “money supply.”

    From Rothbard’s The Ethics of Liberty (1980): “I am particularly grateful to Charles G. Koch of Wichita, Kansas, for his devotion to this work and to the ideals of liberty, and for enabling me to take off the year 1974-75 from teaching to work on this book.”

    ReplyDelete
  35. The Rothbard-Koch split -- or perhaps more appropriately the Rothbard-Crane split -- is probably one of the great tragedies in the classical liberal/libertarian movement. It was, in my view, a great miscalculation on the part of Rothbard and Evers.

    From my shelves:

    From the first edition of Power and Market (1970): “Finally, I am grateful to the continuing and devoted interest of Charles G. Koch of Wichita, Kansas, whose dedication to inquiry into the field of liberty is all too rare in the present day.”

    From New Directions in Austrian Economics (1978), edited by Louis Spadaro (a student of Mises) from papers delivered by Austrian economist at the 1976 Windsor Castle conference: “Lastly, a very special word of thanks is extended ... to Koch Industries, Inc. without whose moral and material support neither the conference nor this book would have been possible.” Of course in this book appeared the first published presentation of Roger Garrison’s “Austrian Macroeconomics: A Diagrammatical Exposition,” as well as Rothbard’s paper on the Austrian concept of the “money supply.”

    From Rothbard’s The Ethics of Liberty (1980): “I am particularly grateful to Charles G. Koch of Wichita, Kansas, for his devotion to this work and to the ideals of liberty, and for enabling me to take off the year 1974-75 from teaching to work on this book.”

    ReplyDelete
  36. ***contend we need both the Rothbards in the very corner, and the Kochs more towards the middle, and the Barrs more towards the right, and the Gravels more towards the left. They all serve their purpose in bringing the national discourse more towards liberty.***

    Oh for god's sakes; now the likes of Mike Gravel are libertarians as well? This is the so-called "intellectual diversity" within libertarianism that you praise?
    Libertarianism isn't based on a simple Nolan-Chart. It's based around principles. The only reason a man like Gravel (and i assume for the sake of the argument that he really is) is in the "libertarian" quadrant is because it would be foolish to slice up the Nolan-chart into a thousand-and-one sections. It is *really* stretching it to call guys like that libertarian, and as a result call for support for the likes of him.

    To support a man for his principles, is to support his principles.
    Questioning why many people would not support people close to the libertarian "middle", or people willing to sacrifice principles for the sake of the very strategy that would make them embrace the state's mechanisms, is futile.

    There is no reason to support anyone who'd call Ron Paul "crazy" for being an Austrian. There is no reason to call anyone (such as Mike Gravel) a libertarian if he still embraces not only the concept of a government, but also of taxation for anything other than police, army and courts.

    If libertarians support a man who favors taxation for things outside the realm of police, courts and an army, the way Mike Gravel does, then libertarians may as well support Barack Obama simply because he is not taxing bubblegum chewing.

    So if including Mike Gravel into the freedom movement is the result of "intellectual diversity", you can keep it. Mike Gravel is NOT a libertarian no matter what the simplistic Nolan Chart says. If you think otherwise, then maybe you don't know what a libertarian is, either.

    Tony

    ReplyDelete
  37. It's great to be open-minded and all, but when I hear things like "Libertarians can be pro-war too" ... I just lose interest in inviting everyone into the tent.

    ReplyDelete