In the mid-1960s, Liberty Fund’s founder, Pierre Goodrich, decided to travel to Montauk, Long Island and rent an apartment overlooking the ocean. He arrived there with his wife and top personal assistant and spent a month reading Ludwig von Mises’ most important work, Human Action (1949). Such was Goodrich’s commitment to understanding the classics of liberty and such were his resources that he went to great lengths to read and contemplate one of the great works of 20th century Austrian economics.
Let’s suppose you are not a multimillionaire businessperson with the time and dedication to live by the ocean and read the great works of Mises and other Austrians. Fear not—John Tamny’s excellent, accessible, and surprisingly provocative Who Needs the Fed? will save you the cost of a beachfront rental on Long Island and give you a nice introduction to one of Mises’ other classic works, The Theory of Money and Credit.
I am obliged to Patrick Lynch for his thoughtful reply to my four posts concerning drug policy.
Mill’s “very simple principle” is important for two reasons. First: This harm principle is, at least in my experience, adduced quite often in some form or other by those who argue that drugs should be produced, sold, and consumed like any other commodity. In trying to reach this conclusion, advocates are right to quote it because of the second reason: Once the principle is breached, it has been admitted that public authorities, however they are constituted, may legitimately interfere in the matter. This having been conceded, it becomes a question of the best policy to follow, and not one of applying a simple, fundamental, and universal principle to the problem.
Edmund Fawcett had a brilliant idea: telling the story of liberalism through a series of vignettes of thinkers, activists, and statesmen. Writing a popular book in the history of political thought is a rare achievement. For one thing, not everyone considers it a scintillating subject; for another, liberalism is more than thought—it was also a political movement. Fawcett, formerly a journalist at The Economist, writes a neat prose and has an eye for the curious biographical detail. Biography, as a literary genre, fits him well, and his book is like a gallery of portraits painted with ease by an able…
Seeking to give the slip to her young charge, Cecily, in order to take a flirtatious spin around the garden with the elderly unmarried local vicar, Dr Chasuble, on whom the aging governess has set her sights, the redoubtable Miss Prism in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, instructs her that
‘you will read your Political Economy in my absence. The chapter on the Fall of the Rupee you may omit. It is somewhat too sensational… Even these metallic problems have their melodramatic side.’
As some have observed, the joke here is ultimately on the playwright, since currency collapses are indeed sensational. One need only think of how traumatic was the collapse of Germany’s mark after World War I and of the ensuing tragic events to appreciate just how dramatic a currency collapse can be.
Mark Blaug’s Economic Theory in Retrospect argues that the Keynesian revolution in economics after the publication of The General Theory was a unique event in economic history because of its rapid and almost complete conversion of the economics profession to its central ideas. Frank Knight’s Presidential Address to the American Economic Association in 1951 actually acknowledges this victory of Keynesian ideas within the economics profession but laments that Lord Keynes has successfully dragged economic thinking back to the dark ages. Keynes himself argued forcefully in The General Theory that a revolution in thinking was in order given how difficult it…
Does the free society depend upon certain institutions and persons that it cannot create?
‘He’s a real nowhere man, sitting in his nowhere land,
Making all his nowhere plans for nobodies.’
These misquoted lyrics from a famous Beatles’ song aptly characterize the 33 year-old Norwegian Anders Breivik who, after being found sane by his trial judges, last Friday received a 21 year prison sentence, the maximum, yet still ludicrously slight, term his country allows given how heinous were his crimes.
After receiving his sentence, Breivik was given the opportunity to comment upon it, but was abruptly cut short and the trial terminated after he began to declare his only regret was that he had not been able to kill more people.
Despite having admitted from the very start to all the killings, Breivik had pleaded not guilty to the charges of murder, not, paradoxically, as the prosecution had unsuccessfully tried to persuade the trial judges, on the grounds that he was insane at the time the killings took place. Rather, he had pled not guilty on the grounds of having been forced by necessity so to act in self-defense, a war against natives of his country like he and their culture having been for years waged by its governing elite through their complicity in its steady Islamization through mass immigration of Muslims, plus the policy of deferential multiculturalism that enabled the immigrants to resist integration.