Wednesday, June 22, 2011

David Gordon Clears the Slate to Set the Record Straight

An anti-libertarian article  by Stephen Metcalf has appeared at Slate, centering around the thinking of Robert Nozick. David Gordon, who as Lew Rockwell notes was a close associate of  Nozick's, responded in the comment section of the article:
Nozick returned to a basically libertarian view in his last years. He told me that his position was very similar to that of F.A. Hayek. Metcalf's understanding of the Wilt Chamberlain example is flawed. The example doesn't assume that Chamberlain has negotiated with the team's owner to receive part of the ticket price. To the contrary, those who want to see him play voluntarily pay 25 cents to do so. The point of the example is that to preserve a pattern of distribution—say equality—requires substantial interference with the free choices that people make from a distribution that according to the patterned theory itself is a just one. The example doesn't at all depend on assuming perfectly competitive markets. Rather, it aims to show that patterns upset liberty.

Also, Keynes's comment about ending up in Bedlam was about Hayek's business cycle theory. It wasn't a marginal comment on The Road to Serfdom but appeared in one of Keynes's articles. Keynes wrote very favorably to Hayek about The Road to Serfdom.
The Metcalf article looks like a cheap shot to me and I plan to file a reply here at EPJ, this weekend. (ViaLewRockwell)

UPDATE: In the comments David Gordon clarifies:
Thanks for mentioning me. I slipped; it should be "liberty upsets patterns", not "patterns upset liberty."


  1. Thanks for mentioning me. I slipped; it should be "liberty upsets patterns", not "patterns upset liberty."

  2. It might be worth rebutting if Metcalf actually made an argument. Instead, he lies and insinuates and blows hot air. He is only preaching to the lefty choir, not making converts.

    The Big Lie leftists tell about libertarianism is that it amounts to "atomistic individualism." According to leftists, social relations based on voluntary cooperation and mutual self-interest don't exist. There is only the state. If something isn't done by the state, it won't be done at all. Therefore, if the state doesn't feed the hungry, they'll be left to die in the streets. What is left unanswered by these dummies is why people who vote for government transfer programs couldn't just help the poor themselves.

    Never mind the overwhelming evidence that government subsidies have fostered dependency and made poverty more widespread. Leftists don't have enough brains to understand basic economic precepts like the law of demand.

    Reading articles like Metcalf's, and the comments below it, make me despair for the future of humanity.