Saturday, February 4, 2012

Demystifying Libertarianism and Austrian Economics

It's really not that hard as soon as you realize it's a cult like the Manson Family, Jim Jones or Scientology.  It helps explain Ron Paul and his acolytes quite nicely, actually.

From The Austrian Disease — Poor Scholarship, A Priori Bias

Despite its efforts to reach a broader audience, libertarianism is a marginal discourse and it probably always will be (political cults without real power are always marginal – because they’re so extreme that the majority will not accept them, but may have them imposed on them by the state). But it lingers around the internet, derailing many economic and political debates.

Libertarians – and their Austrian brethren – since they are, at heart, metaphysicians and cultists, are often proselytizing rather than engaging in a discussion, even about the most mundane and non-theoretical of topics; such as, say, the structure of the modern banking system. Anything that calls into question any of their principles is quickly steamrolled over with either mounds of rhetoric or sophistical arguments.

Let us take an example of a ‘liberty-meme’ that bounces around the internet. There are many of these. One could, for example, deal with the 1920-21 recession that is torn out of context and elevated to mythic status. But that is too nuanced a discussion to have in short form (even though I think the evidence that 1920-21 was no more than an unmanaged post-war adjustment and thus has little bearing upon possible government responses to a massive debt deflation).

The rest of this excellent article is a thorough take-down of the entire libertarian edifice.  Reading this reminds me why the week I spent arguing with the cultists over at Dr. Tim's House of Thought Conformity was a complete waste of time.

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