Friday, December 30, 2011

What’s the biggest news story of the week?

Congress overwhelming votes to abolish the Bill of Rights vs. Snooki’s new hair color.

Video: Elderly Israeli Fighter Talks About 1948 Genocide


Electronic Intifada‘s Benjamin Doherty shared a video from “Nakba”-awareness group Zochrot – “Remembering” – of a former Palmach fighter who participated in the expulsion of unarmed Palestinian Arabs from their villages in Southern Israel. Amnon Neumann casually describes that he helped kill people, burn their villages, and chase off women and children. He regrets his actions but notes he is one of the few to admit his crimes; even so, he is loath to talk about the details of the atrocities.
In one grimace-inducing moment, Neumann talks of the Palestinians who didn’t quite realize they wouldn’t be coming back, who sneaked out of Gaza refugee camps at night to tend their villages’ grapevines. There, says Neumann, they were gunned down.

Of course, John Hagee does not believe that these Arab people ever existed:

Because the land now known as Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank was ruled by the Ottoman Turks prior to World War I, then controlled by the British, and later partitioned under United Nations mandate, Hagee argues that the land does not belong to the Arabs, and that the name "Palestine" (deriving from that of the ancient Philistines) was imposed by the Roman Emperor Hadrian to punish the Jews for their revolt against the Roman Empire. Hagee maintains there is no Palestinian language and no historic Palestinian nation.  Hagee supports an American-Israeli pre-emptive nuclear strike on Iran.

I get it. Suppose the Muslims drove everyone in Michigan out of Michigan and into refugee camps in Kentucky.  The victims could not complain.  They're just Americans.  There is no "Michigan people" or "Michigan nation". 

Young People More Likely To Favor Socialism Than Capitalism: Pew

How cool is that?

The politics of true mass slaughter and genocide are back and hipper than ever!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Progressives hate poor people

It is my position that the left (and basically all of our opponents) are congenitally unable to differentiate crony capitalism and other evil government acts from libertarian NAP free market activities.  They start with a bogus and mindless “theory”, USA = racism = capitalism (think of Michael Moore), then proceed to blame all examples of state racism upon “capitalism”.  It’s very similar to their “thought process” (such as it is) when creating their bogus economic narratives (USA/Fed/crony capitalism/military Keynesian = The Free Market).   It then becomes easy for them to blame “The Free Market” for the boom bust cycle, war and jobless recoveries when employing their simpleton historical anecdotal methods (think “Lord Keynes“).   

Both narratives allow for them to imagine problems that do not and would not exist in the free market.  The problem for blacks historically in the USA was not racism in the market but vicious state action.  Blacks and poor people generally around the world desperately need the protections provided by private property, freedom of contract and sound money.  It is “progressive”  “thought” imposed around the world that keeps them from having these benefits and is thus the cause of most violence and grinding poverty in the third world.  Further, just think about how the left (and probably the CIA too) would howl if an African country attempted to go libertarian.  The only conclusion one can have from this is that the leftists hate poor people.

Regarding “states rights”, I would suggest that that Ron Paul look into Clarence Thomas’ theory that the 14th amendment requires that the states respect fundamental rights of citizens as a result of the Privileges or Immunities Clause which he insists is substantive and not procedural. Such an interpretation would have precluded all Jim Crow type legislation.   See here and here @ p. 67.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

"Lord Keynes" lists his "critiques" of The Austrian Business Cycle Theory - without the slightest understanding of Austrian theory

The always imperious (but clueless) “Lord Keynes” lists links to his never-ending “critiques” of the Austrian Business Cycle Theory here.  You will note that he has no comprehension whatsoever of the concept of “economic calculation” upon which all Austrian theory relies.  Further, like all inflationists, he cannot establish (theoretically or historically) that that the free market suffers inherently from unemployment, depression or lack of “aggregate demand” and is thus in need of Keynesian-style “stimulus”.  In fact, he does not even try.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Is Stephen Metcalf the shallow clueless phony "intellectual" who escaped from a Woody Allen movie?

I have transcribed Metcalf's amazingly smug, shallow and ignorant podcast regarding his Nozick piece where he broadcasts to the world the vastness and depth of his ignorance on the topic.  A point-by-point analysis of the podcast may be forthcoming.  This kind of thing is simply more proof that Austrians and libertarians have won the intellectual war and that the statists are shooting with blanks (or, like Yosemite Sam, with gumdrops). 

Woman: Steve wrote a wonderful piece in Slate this week that is an analysis of the libertarian thinker Robert Nozick placing him within the larger context of the history of libertarianism and then also explaining how he later sort of fell out with his own creation [unintelligible].

You point out a history that I really didn’t understand at all which is essentially you make the case that Nozick is the only libertarian thinker with any kind of academic cred. Can you explain a little bit of how he achieved that and what it was about his ideas that were so interesting?

Metcalf: Yeah, I mean what I was trying to say was that there was period from roughly WWII when American consensus consolidated around the New Deal, one was that we wanted our government to tax and spend in order to fight the Cold War. It is unclear that the major social advances of the New Deal itself ever achieved major consensus. But setting aside that issue, we were heavily taxed, we were very unlibertarian in our income distribution structure in this country for roughly the period let’s say mid forties to until the mid 1970s when for a variety of reasons that consensus fell apart, one that there was stagflation and nowhere in Keynes is there an adequate explanation for how you get both high unemployment and inflation at the same time. Growth rates were slowing, the Arab oil embargo was economically disastrous for us and the vital center which had reigned in this country since roughly Harry Truman collapsed completely. So what I was arguing two things, one was that during those thirty or so years, libertarianism was really off the map of the spectrum of respectable academic opinion which for better or worse really policed itself, you know the monetarism of Milton Friedman was considered pretty far out there. Friedman obviously won a Nobel Prize, it wasn’t totally out there, Chicago economics was on the map of semi-respectable opinion. But it was very far from the halls of power. Nixon famously said in the 1970s that we’re all Keynesians now.

Woman: Did he famously say that? It wasn’t famous to me.

Metcalf: It is up there with “I am not a crook”. And in the midst of all this before the Thatcher and Reagan revolutions, there was a small revolution in academia which was Robert Nozick of Harvard philosophy professor who was enormously gifted and precocious thinker. He was a full tenured Harvard philosophy professor if I’m correct at age thirty, came out with an absolutely full throated totally unapologetic defense of libertarian ideals and capitalism, he himself said that he had made arguments internally against capitalism and he was just beginning to understand that none of them were sustainable. And so he wrote a classic book called “Anarchy State and Utopia”, won the National Book Award in 1975, one indication of how big it blew up and how ready people were to read something along these lines. It is an absolutely brilliant book. It is the most bracing confrontation with one’s own most deeply held beliefs that a person of the left, which I am, and I was drawn to write about it because libertarianism is making a massive comeback ironically in the wake of the banking collapse and the tea party owes its existence in some odd way to the failure of capitalism which strikes me as a mind-bending contradiction.

So I was trying to answer two questions. One is if this was the best principled case for libertarianism, how does it hold up after thirty years given the fact that we are living with this legacy, Thatcher all but quoted Nozick from the podium. Reagan never really acknowledged Nozick, but he acknowledged Hayek who was a huge influence on Nozick. So question one was you know could the principled case for libertarianism sustain itself and question two was how do you reconcile this massive contradiction which is that you know the idea that capitalism is self healing/ self regulating and that the government plays no role in keeping it going and distributing justice – just life outcomes. How do you reconcile that with capitalism’s totally overt failure in two thousand and – what is it? – six, seven, eight.

Woman: Eight

Metcalf: And that was the genesis of the piece.

Woman: Yeah. I’ve been hearing about this piece for months now and I’m curious about it because in some ways I kinda feel like this book got in your head a little bit when you read it and it seems that there were parts of his argumentation that you found persuasive. Tell me what is so compelling about his defense.

Metcalf: Well, I think first of all in a way he’s just a terrific philosopher. He loves going on for pages and pages and pages working through a thought experiment and working with it and teasing with it without beginning with a conclusion. He really begins with a question and then let’s no part of it go unanswered or unexplored. That’s on absolutely no received opinion whatsoever and to hear someone philosophize with that degree of rigor on behalf of something that me I find hateful is amazing, it’s so bracing. I don’t think you walk away as a left-winger unchanged by this book at all. And think another thing to say about this book very quickly which I was not able to do in the piece but which I find very fascinating is that in it he clearly announces his affinity for other things that are inchoate but are about to become intellectually and socially dominant, for example neo-darwinism, market theory, rational choice, all kinds of things in the seventies are just brewing on the margins of respectable academic opinion and are all about to rush to the center and he absolutely understood this. And so we have inherited ways of thinking from people like Nozick that we now use to just process reality basically and it’s amazing to go back to the source to see them getting assembled.

Woman: In your article you take us through one particularly sorta brilliantly constructed and yet I think you call it tenuously specious argument about Wilt Chamberlain. Can you quickly outline that here because it really is a good example I think of how the book’s argumentation works in this completely context-free utopian marketplace of the imagination.

Metcalf: Yeah. I mean this is perfect example of the central aim of the book which is to take the most cherished beliefs of the left and manipulate and use them against leftists and show how what they believe is hopelessly contradictory and what they really want is a kind of continuous coercion against what should be an otherwise free individual.

And the example that he uses is the central example and certainly most famous examples from the book is the Wilt Chamberlain argument. And he says I’m going to let you the reader select pick whatever society you want. I’m going to let you design it in your own head and it’s going to distribute justice, life outcomes, income, anything the way you want. And he’s implicitly assuming that you’re going do something roughly egalitarian and that’s allowing you do be the most devilish advocate against him in a way. So he’s assuming you pick something somewhat egalitarian. And then he says ok in this society that you’ve designed, people like love going to see basketball. And they don’t just like basketball, they love going to see Wilt Chamberlain in particular. And Wilt negotiates with the owner of the team an arrangement whereby he gets paid a percentage of the door effectively say it’s a buck to see the game but you put 25 cents of it in a separate jar and that goes directly to Wilt Chamberlain. Low and behold, a million people love seeing this and paying for it, happy to pay for it. Wilt ends up with a huge amount of money relative to your egalitarian society $250,000, and it’s way more than anyone else has, and suddenly your society is no longer egalitarian. By what principle are you going to take that money away from Wilt Chamberlain? By what principle are you going to deny him the prerogative of [???] that talent? And he spins out this argument.

One of my favorite philosophers, a Canadian philosopher, a person who totally inspired me to write this piece is a philosopher named G. A. Cohen who wrote an entire book attempting to refute Nozick.

Woman: Which you endorsed.

Metcalf: Awhile ago. Just an incredible book. And he basically said, we all remember where we were when we first heard the Wilt Chamberlain argument. It was floating around academia before it had taken written form and was sort of being passed along like [? ] they were terrified of it and they thought, oh my god, this is gonna

Woman: We’re undone.

Metcalf: Exactly. This is the universal corrosive, this is going to destroy all of our most cherished beliefs. I attempt to sort of slow it down a little bit and say what is he really trying to say here, does this argument really hold up. And that’s kind of the heart of what I’m writing.

Woman: You also [ ] recanted [ ]

Metcalf: Well this is really interesting. Nozick is a totally fascinating guy. He died I think about ten years ago. He was married to one of my favorite poets, a woman named Gjertrud Schnackenberg who’s a wonderful poet. She just came out with a book of elegies about Nozick which I haven’t read yet but I’m very excited to. He was a man who admitted of many many parts, and that’s clear in this book. He wasn’t kind of a mindless right-winger with a faith in nothing but, you know, purely commercial transactions.

So in 1989, he wrote a book, I think it’s called “Philosophical Meditations” which has a bunch of essays about a bunch of different things that became interested in, he became interested in Buddhism, really interested in different belief systems, and in it there is an essay in which he says quite openly, I now think the libertarian position that I espoused is a kind of thought experiment in my book “Anarchy State and Utopia” and no longer holds, I no longer believe it. I actually do believe in democratic institutions. I do believe in collective social hope, he doesn’t use exactly that language, I’m putting words in his mouth a little bit, but he indicates a belief in collective social will and its embodiment in institutions. And frankly, what I think what happened is that he saw Reaganism, saw what he had spun out as a thought experiment in action in both England and in America and he saw that it didn’t result in a libertarian paradise of individuals freely pursuing their own self interest in an ennobled way, but a kind of greedy, vulgar, cheap, trashy society that was getting uglier by the minute and I think he responded to it accordingly. Now, people have pointed out and I was aware of this that he then recanted his

Woman: Recantation

Metcalf: Recantation in an interview later on so it’s sort of unclear where he ended up ultimately. But the essay in 1989, he’s very firm and very explicit and I quoted him in my piece.

Woman: This is a very dumb question but why is “Anarchy State and Utopia” not the book that libertarians hold aloft? Why is it Ayn Rand who has become the spokesperson? Just because his argumentation is so dense and people don’t want to read it?

Metcalf: I think the recantation is awkward. Nozick gives you the weapons with which to disassemble his argument or refute it because there are just too many places where one’s intellectual conscience gets in the way of saying that this is really going to conduce to anything like a remotely fair society even by the standards that a libertarian might put forward. And I think he’s just too dangerous, he possesses too much depth of intellectual conscience. The book is difficult. I think the real book that is being held up even more than Ayn Rand now is “The Road to Serfdom” by Hayek, that is a whole other kettle of fish.

Woman: So that’s the one that Rand Paul would hold aloft, for example?

Metcalf: That is the one that Glenn Beck does hold aloft and in fact got it onto the Amazon best seller list. And that’s whole other 5,000 word…

Woman: Can I also say that my favorite thing about this Stephen Metcalf/Robert Nozick argument is that it is the most read, most emailed thing on Slate right now which makes me feel so great about Slate readers that they really want to dive into 5,000 words of dense writing about libertarian philosophers.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Republicans hate the troops - but Democrats hate brown people

Phillip Crawford and David R. Henderson have written "The Case Against Leon Panetta" at

As director of the CIA, Mr. Panetta has been in charge of CIA programs that killed hundreds, if not thousands, of people in Pakistan.

According to the Dawn, Pakistan’s oldest and most widely read English-language newspaper, of the 44 Predator strikes carried out by U.S. drones in the tribal areas of Pakistan in 2009, only five were able to hit their actual targets, killing five key al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders, but at the cost of over 700 innocent civilians. For each al-Qaeda and Taliban terrorist killed by U.S. drones, 140 innocent Pakistanis also had to die.

In June 2009, a CIA drone fired a Hellfire missile that destroyed a “suspected militant hideout” in a border village in Pakistan, burying a family inside the ruins of the building. When rescuers rushed to help the injured, the hovering drone fired a second missile, killing 13 of those seeking to help the victims of the first strike. On the next day, a funeral procession for the dead was also hit, killing 80 civilians. The funeral attack was reportedly aimed at Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan chief Baitullah Mehsud, though officials acknowledged that he was not killed in the salvo.

This is so cool because it shows that Democrats can be just as bad-ass and tough as Republicans while slaughtering thousands of overpopulated third-worlders in the bargain, right?  PLUS!  Just think of all those bereaved relatives of the victims pledging DEATH TO AMERICA!  This will require more half-wit TSA agents who can then undress 95 year-old ladies in order to protect us from the new terror created by the drone strikes AND to create jobs to replace those lost by paying for unwinable wars.  The miracle of democracy.

Friday, June 3, 2011

From the same DeLong blog post, he writes:

Friedrich Hayek and Andrew Mellon claimed--and Mellon dragged Herbert Hoover along into policies of austerity, of tax increases and spending cuts during the Great Depression--that as a result of lax monetary policy in the 1920s the economy in 1930s had too much plant and equipment and too many workers employed making capital goods, and had to suffer from a "prolonged liquidation" in order to productively redeploy resources into the consumer goods industries where they really should be.

In truth, Hoover cut taxes at first and vastly increased spending.

1930 $3.3 billion

1931 $3.6 billion

1932 $4.7 billion

1933 $4.6 billion

1934 $6.5 billion [FDR]

In 1931, the discount rate at the New York Fed was 1.5%. There was no "austerity" or policy of "liquidation", much less "prolonged liquidation". The entire establishment/liberal/Keynesian narrative has been and continues to be a complete hoax, like Keynesianism itself.

Further, there was no insistence that a liquidation must be a "prolonged liquidation".  The Great Depression was prolonged by interventionist policies, especially Hoover's insistence that prices and wages be maintained at high, unsustainable levels. Bob Murphy explains here.

The entirety of the inventionist economic program from which we suffer today is based upon falsehood and distortions of reality.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Republicans hate the troops

What else can you say about people who send our soldiers around the world to spread Clintonista policies so they can get their legs and genitals blown off? 

Doctors and nurses treating soldiers injured in Afghanistan have begun speaking of a new "signature wound" - two legs blown off at the knee or higher, accompanied by damage to the genitals and pelvic injuries requiring at least a temporary colostomy.

DeLong misrepresents Austrian theory again

Austrian School theory must be irrefutable because no Austrian critique can ever manage to even state its basic assumptions.  DeLong manages yet another mangling of Austrian theory.  He writes:

"When you ask believers in "recalculation" what pattern of production and trade proved to be unsustainable in 2007, they answer: "building so many houses." When you ask believers why the market economy has been unable to sort out this problem in three years, they answer with nothing--silence. When you say that OK, there were $300 billion of excess houses at the start of 2007 but now construction has been so depressed for so long that there are $1 trillion fewer of houses than trend and why isn't the 2007 pattern of production and trade sustainable again, they answer once again with nothing--silence. That annoys me."

Please.  How can recalculation possibly take place without a market-based interest rate, the most important price of them all?  DeLong's beloved fiat-based super low rates will continue to impede economic calculation and thus "recalculation".  There is no silence on this issue.  Low rates have been catastrophic and will continue to be.  As Hayek said in a 1975 speech:

“The primary cause of the appearance of extensive unemployment, however, is a deviation of the actual structure of prices and wages from its equilibrium structure. Remember, please: that is the crucial concept. The point I want to make is that this equilibrium structure of prices is something which we cannot know beforehand because the only way to discover it is to give the market free play; by definition, therefore, the divergence of actual prices from the equilibrium structure is something that can never be statistically measured."

We cannot and will not know the equilibrium interest rate because it will not be allowed to come into existence.  No one can conceivably know what houses are actually worth because the possibility of any informed long-term economic calculation has been completely distorted by low interest rates and regime uncertainty.  Keynesian policies have us by the throat.

(Jonathan Finegold Catalan gives a suburb Austrian view of why government spending further impoverishes us here.)

There is no silence. There is your answer, DeLong. Again, our problems are caused by the Keynesian policies which are presented as the cure. We're doomed.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day - Jim Tressel resigns

Doctors and nurses treating soldiers injured in Afghanistan have begun speaking of a new "signature wound" - two legs blown off at the knee or higher, accompanied by damage to the genitals and pelvic injuries requiring at least a temporary colostomy.

But the REAL NEWS this Memorial Day 2011 is that Jim Tressel resigned for lying about some of his players who sold their championship rings in order to get some gas money for their beat up old cars while Tressel and OSU raked in millions.