I used to like Rachel Maddow’s show; but lately all she talks about is economics, and on economic issues she is especially smug and especially wrongheaded. Paul Krugman is her oracle. Argh!
Oh well. In other news, here are two libertarian comments – from opposite ends of the optimism-pessimism spectrum, but both dead on nonetheless.
From John Hasnas:
Being a libertarian means living with a level of frustration that is nearly beyond human endurance. It means being subject to unending scorn and derision despite being inevitably proven correct by events. How does it feel to be a libertarian? Imagine what the internal life of Cassandra must have been and you will have a pretty good idea.
Imagine spending two decades warning that government policy is leading to a major economic collapse, and then, when the collapse comes, watching the world conclude that markets do not work. …
Libertarians spend their lives accurately predicting the future effects of government policy. …. And because no one likes to hear that he cannot have his cake and eat it too or be told that his good intentions cannot be translated into reality either by waving a magic wand or by passing legislation, these predictions are greeted not merely with disbelief, but with derision.
It is human nature to want to shoot the messenger bearing unwelcome tidings. And so, for the sin of continually pointing out that the emperor has no clothes, libertarians are attacked as heartless bastards devoid of compassion for the less fortunate, despicable flacks for the rich or for business interests, unthinking dogmatists who place blind faith in the free market, or, at best, members of the lunatic fringe.
[Read la enchilada entera.]
From Charles Johnson:
A law that cannot be enforced is as good as a law that has been repealed, and that is where we’re headed, faster and faster every day, when it comes to the intellectual monopolists and their jealously guarded legal privileges.
Statists constantly accuse anarchists of being naive, or utopian, or infantile, because we so often question the value of playing the game and working within the system. But if this is supposed to be a strategy based on the empirical prospects for success – and not just on some kind of felt need to come off as properly Serious and Grown Up to the right sort of people – then let’s look at the facts, and let’s see what kind of activity actually offers proven results, and realistic hope for success in the future.
If you put all your hope for social change in legal reform, and if you put all your faith for legal reform in maneuvering within the political system, then to be sure you will find yourself outmaneuvered at every turn by those who have the deepest pockets and the best media access and the tightest connections. There is no hope for turning this system against them; because, after all, the system was made for them and the system was made by them. Reformist political campaigns inevitably turn out to suck a lot of time and money into the politics – with just about none of the reform coming out on the other end. But if you put your faith for social change in methods that ignore or ridicule their parliamentary rules, and push forward through grassroots direct action – if your hopes for social change don’t depend on reforming tyrannical laws, and can just as easily be fulfilled by widespread success at bypassing those laws and making them irrelevant to your life – then there is every reason to hope that you will see more freedom and less coercion in your own lifetime. There is every reason to expect that you will see more freedom and less coercion tomorrow than you did today, no matter what the law-books may say.
[Again, read la enchilada entera.]