Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Note to Bob Murphy: I Would Have Debated Hitler

As I reported earlier, Bob Murphy and Jeff Tucker have pulled out of their debate with Chris Cantwell.

Tucker provided a nebulous explanation comparable to the things you hear from politicians. In other words, Tucker isn't telling us why he pulled out of the debate. I hope he changes his mind and provides more insight for his Liberty people.

Bob, on the other hand, explained his position on his Facebook page. He wrote, in part:
Some may be curious about the backstory here. When I agreed to moderate this debate, I did so because even though I knew Chris Cantwell did some "outrageous" things, he was intelligent and I didn't want his followers to think that nobody had the courage to face up to his arguments. But, after I had agreed, I learned more about Chris' views on the acceptable use of violence in the pursuit of liberty. For those familiar with my own pacifism, you can appreciate that Chris is so far removed from my views that I don't want to be linked, however tenuously, with that stuff. 
I just don't get this. If someone has bad arguments, I want him debated and challenged everywhere and all the time. What could have been better than a bunch of Germans debating Hitler?

I am not equating Cantwell with Hitler, but it seems that Murphy's pacifism argument would not only be a problem with him  being the moderator of the Tucker-Cantwell debate but with Ludwig von Mises debating Hitler and his being the moderator of that.

I really don't get Bob's position. As he indicates, his writings clearly show he is a pacifist. Why wouldn't he want Cantwell's views exposed, if he thinks they are wrong?

I'm sorry Bob. I would have moderated a debate between Mises and Hitler. I would have debated Hitler directly, if I ever had the opportunity. At present, I am more than willing to debate or be interviewed on libertarianism or Austrian economics, as long as I think the audience for such a debate is large enough. I think the message needs to be out there against all opponents.

As for the Cantwell-Tucker debate, I believe most of the debate would have focused on Tucker's libwap positions.  On these positions, I am much more in line with Cantwell's views, it would have been interesting to see how Tucker would have handled the skilled debater Cantwell. If Tucker had legitimate objections to Cantwell's positions on violence, it would have been interesting to see how Cantwell responded to them.

Unfortunately, it now appears this battle of ideas will never occur. That is, the debate is not going to occur because one side (with apparently the consent of the moderator) will not stand up for what I presume the side believes are correct principled views.




  1. Agreed. That's iffy reasoning Murphy, not to mention unfair to the hosts. Smh.

    Oh, and now his supporters are really going to think challengers are scared.

  2. Dr. Murphy will debate Krugman but he won't debate Cantwell? Are Krugman's views closer to his? He isn't making sense. Who cares if it's a liberty-minded gathering, if that's the issue...

    1. Murphy just did to Cantwell what Krugman did to Murphy.

      Krugman refuses to "debate" Murphy, mostly, because he doesn't want to associate himself with Murphy's views, Austrianism, etc. Further, he also doesn't want to offer any support or publicity of Austrianism/free market/libertarianism by participating in such an event. Because Krugman is a notable public figure and Murphy is, essentially, a nobody, this would be a guarantee. Even $100,000 to the NY Food Bank wasn't enough to budge Herr Krugman's ego.

      Thus, this is what we get from Murphy. He doesn't want to be associated with Cantwell or give him publicity in any way. In the "liberty" circle, Murphy is a "somebody." Just shift the social status down a lot of pegs and the analogy will become clear.

  3. Joe A -beat me to it! " I don't want to be linked, however tenuously, with that stuff. "

  4. Bob probably agrees more with Cantwell and was probably concerned that would translate into people thinking he agrees with all of Cantwell's thinking

    The example I use to refute this is -If Hitler says it is noon (and it is) you should have no problem agreeing with him. It's honest and truthful irrespective of Hitler's other views and misperceptions