Shared by Walter Block:
From: Michael Makovi
Sent: Wednesday, June 08, 2016 12:10 AM
To: Walter Block
Subject: extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice
Concerning the early neoliberals and ordoliberals who largely accepted the welfare state and mostly criticized only command socialism, Ben Jackson writes:
"Mises was clearly the most uncompromising member of this group who, even in this period, argued for positions that were not very different from the neo-liberalism of the 1970s. According to a famous anecdote, recounted by Milton Friedman, during one early meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society, Mises lost his temper with the other attendees and stormed out shouting ‘You’re all a bunch of socialists!’ . . . The ordo-liberals were more or less open in their disagreements with Mises; it was Rustow who first dubbed him a ‘paleo-liberal’. . . However, it is also clear from private correspondence that even Mises’s Austrian friends and allies had reservations about his politics. Although his colleagues remained loyal in public, much handwringing went on in private about Mises’s dogmatic character and his lack of political sophistication; Machlup was particularly vocal on this score in his letters to Hayek. Hayek was more discrete, but even he expressed doubts, noting in a letter to the economist, Allan Fisher, that ‘the somewhat extreme and frequently naıve views’ at times expounded by the free market publicist, Henry Hazlitt, ‘seem to derive from our old friend Mises, with whom Hazlitt is on very intimate terms, and from whom he derives most of his economics’."
Well, it looks like Mises and Hazlitt had the last laugh.
Moderation might get you friends in the present, but extremism is what will make people read your books 100 years later.
(Jackson, Ben. "At the origins of neo-liberalism: The free economy and the strong state, 1930–1947." The Historical Journal 53.01 (2010): 129-151.)