Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Strange Things Are Afoot at the Circle K

Stephan Kinsella writes on the odd Koch brothers turn toward a fanatical pro-war wing of Randianism. Most shocking is news that Sheldon Richman is no longer at the Koch-controlled Foundation for Economic Education:
Morning musings: my impression is that libertarianism has been growing in the past few decades, and more and more young and maturing libertarians are influenced by Austrian economics and anti-war, anti-state and anti-IP Rothbardian/radical libertarianism. And that orthodox Objectivism is on the wane.

Now in a recent post by Bob Wenzel (Ayn Rand Institute Attack on Murray Rothbard http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2012/10/ayn-rand-institute-attack-on-murray.html), we have ARI's Yaron Brook explaining why they are doing more things with libertarians nowadays, unlike in the past when they were verboten. He says libertarians are more reasonable now, less crazy/Rothbardian/anarchist. That's not my impression at all.

However it is odd that Cato has hired a former ARI board member, John Allison, as its CEO. As noted here, http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jeremylott/2012/08/how-objectionable-is-john-allisons-objectivism/ , this stands to make Cato even worse on foreign policy, and also on IP (see my post http://c4sif.org/2012/08/does-catos-new-objectivist-ceo-john-allison-presage-retrogression-on-ip/).

And even more oddly: last month, the heroic, plumbline, antiwar, anti-IP anarchist Sheldon Richman, editor of FEE's The Freeman for the last 15 years--well, his employment at FEE came to an end. He is no longer editor. And now, FEE is collaborating with ARI on a conference:

http://www.fee.org/event/morality-of-capitalism/ --

"On Saturday, October 27, the Ayn Rand Institute and the Foundation for Economic Education are co-sponsoring a day-long conference Morality of Capitalism in Irvine, Ca. The conference is a unique opportunity to engage with top free market thinkers, participate in lectures and discussions, and network with other students. In addition, attendees will receive free books and three meals, and the conference will wrap up with an evening social at a nearby restaurant."

Randroidism making a comeback...? Strange things are afoot at the Circle K.


  1. It's obviously a concerted effort to inoculate potential free market leaning people against the horrors of the Rothbardian antiwar narrative (and as we all know, Rothbard wanted civilization to be overrun by hippies and Islamic jihadists).

  2. I would look at this as a victory for paleo-libertarians. The beltway-libertarians are getting driven to the extremes of objectivism. For the Kochtopus, it must seem like the opportunities are shrinking. Almost feel sorry for them. Almost.

  3. As always, Koch money gets around.

  4. I'm continually amazed that the very people who want to claim the moral high ground of the non-aggression principle are also anti-IP. This and the "no state" memes of the Mises Institute are its Achilles heal.

    It's ok for the state to protect a monopoly on land ownership but not on IP... So don't claim to believe in the NAP then out the other side of your mouth argue it's ok to steal people's IP. Hypocrites.

    1. Copying ideas isn't theft of property. Holders of information and ideas have no claim over the resources and faculties of others, or any inherent right to forbid the use of what is not a direct extension of their persons/property.

      Furthermore its not incumbent on the state to grant permission to own property excluding their usurpation of such authority. IP is a meaningless concept outside the coercive state dictates that create them. Just as in a free market setting, monopolies do not arise without state interference.

      Sorry, but having a great idea shouldn't guarantee you a life of luxury if the rest of society must pay for your privilege with less efficient and innovative markets.

    2. You cannot own ideas or thoughts as you cannot own any 'scarce resources' in this sense. People are free to think; nobody owns 'thinking resources' with which they can create or 'homestead' certain ideas or concepts.

      And that is not even considering the aspect of being able to prove that your thought or idea is original, that you came up with it without using OTHER people's ideas or thought without THEIR permission (ideas and thoughts do not form in a vacuum, they potentially consist of thousands of other thoughts or ideas first conjured up by others. Have you paid ALL libertarians for using their ideas and thoughts before formulating your own?), that other people could not possibly have come up with it independently from you, etc.

      What never ceases to amaze me is that so-called 'libertarians' cannot even realize to what bizarre real-life forms of totalitarianism all of this could lead to if taken to its logical conclusion.

      So speaking of hypocrisy. Don't stop at convenient, subjective limits of where IP "should" stop in your opinion. But where it logically WOULD stop. Potentially nowhere and thus potentially leading to a world of thought crime and thought tyranny.

  5. Perhaps this could be the new logo for the Ayn Rand Institute: