Monday, June 23, 2014

New Attacks on Hayek and Mises

|Peter Boettke| reports:
Robert Leeson is a specialist at degenerating -- not sure I know what his ideology really is, but he seems to take great joy in being a degenerator.  He particularly likes to attack Hayek and Mises, and of course Mont Pelerin Society.  I do know that when he first introduced himself to me, he described himself as the editor of the Collected Works of Milton Friedman and a fellow at the Hoover Institution.  I took him at face value and invited him to give a seminar at GMU; I also accepted an invitation by him to contribute to a volume he was writing on Hayek and Behavioral Economics.  During the 24 hours he was on campus lets just say he exercised his expertise as a degenerator of conversation and leave it at that.  It turns out he isn't doing the collected works of Friedman (ed: in the form we discussed) and he is fixated on digging up dirty (real or imagined) on Hayek and Mises.*  Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

Hayek and Mises are at various times in Leeson's claims -- Nazi sympathizers, Red-baiting cooperators with McCarthyism, all powerful academics that had the ability to potential squash careers of leading thinkers, etc., etc.  How he establishes his claims is a unique blend of leaps of logical inference from questionable premises to wild conjectures that are stated as established claims. He also has a great tactic of asking totally inappropriate and off the wall questions in response to challenges, changing the subject, and by innuendo suggesting that the questioner has various reasons to cloud the truth of the matter.  He engages in the "academic" version of "When did you stop beating your wife?" rhetoric.  Oh, and when folks really call him on his BS, he cries censorship!  In short, no learning is possible in such "discussions", no meeting of the minds is sought, no discovery of the truth is being pursued.  It is all just pure gadflyish entertainment for Robert Leeson himself.  We have the history of economics version of intellectual masturbation, but being done by an exhibitionist.

It truly is an disturbing thing to witness.

A few quick notes. Mises fled Austria because of as the Nazi threat grew greater . Hayek was already long gone. Both Mises and Hayek were anti-central planning, which was at the core of Nazism.

As for Mises and Hayek as "all powerful academics," Mises couldn't get, for himself, a paid teaching position in Austria and had to be supported by outside donors while at New York University. Hayek was rejected for a teaching position in the economics department at the University of Chicago. He ended up at UC in a department called " the Committee on Social Thought." Some power.

Boettke is correct, Lesson appears to be off-the-wall/


1 comment:

  1. Seriously, what else has anyone ever experienced from our opponents? Where is that anti-Austrian who understands Economic Calculation? Peter Boettke understands it and explains it better than anyone: