April 2014

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30      
Blog powered by Typepad

« The Contemporary Relevance of Robert Taft | Main | Some Clarifications »

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451eb0069e20134868fb831970c

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Quote of the Day:

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Years ago figured out that Hayek & Mises mattered via brief references to those guys in Sowell, Lowi .. and in _The Good Society_.

Hayek and Mises simply were not to be found in the standard course work of the day.

As far as I know, this is still true today.

I should note that Sowell, Lowi and Lippmann were not part of my college work either.

I sometimes marvel at how little that I have learned that was taught to me by a profession.

Make that:

"I sometimes marvel at how little that I have learned that was taught to me by a professor ... "

I would like to point out that Walter Lippmann's "An Inquiry into the Principles of the Good Society" (Boston: Little, Brown, C., 1937), is one of the truly excellent books of the 1930s against the rising tide of collectivism.

The first half of the book is in many places a brilliant critical analysis and refutation of political and economic collectivism. And Lippmann's arguments against socialist centrally planning are explicitly drawn from Mises, Hayek, and Robbins (as the footnotes demonstrate). There are passages that are very eloquent in defense of individual liberty, and in opposition to both totalitarian and democratic forms of collectivism.

But . . . it is in the second half of "The Good Society" that we see the turn away from any form of laissez-faire. Here we find the case for liberalism being compatible with forms of income redistribution and market regulation, in terms of overcoming the supposed harness and social injustice of an unregulated market.

Lippmann was certainly not the first to attempt to wed liberalism to the interventionist-welfare state (albeit, a limited and supposedly market-friendly one). But here the case was made in an extremely persuasive exposition, that only by "reforming" and "reconstructing" liberalism in such a direction could it serve as a viable alternative to fascist and communist collectivism.

It was Lippmann's exposition with its strong attack on political and economic collectivism, while offering a "moderate" and "reformed" liberalism, that inspired the French liberal social philosopher, Louis Rougier, to organize that international conference in Paris in 1938 to mark the French translation of "The Good Society," the transcript of which was then published as "Colloquium Walter Lippmann" (in French) and which was a precursor to the Mont Pelerin Society after the Second World War.

There are many excellent works from that decade of the 1930s against fascist and communist collectivism, against the New Deal, and other variations on the interventionist-welfare statist theme.

Too many of them have gone down an Orwellian "memory hole." But many of their authors were principled and insightful voices for classical liberalism during that dark time of collectivism when, to many, personal, social, economic and political liberty seemed to be heading for total extinction.

Richard Ebeling

Thanks to Richard's comment. I earlier thought I had logged on to the Socialism blog.

FDR ran a corporatist economic policy; turned the legal system against political opponents (e.g., former Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon); imprisoned tens of thousands of US residents;etc. His own Treasury Secretary reconized the New Deal had spent money without effect, and only ran up a huge debt. But he saved the US economy.

These were among the themes that this 1930s critics of collectivism often raised about the New Deal and other countries policies along the same line that you raise, Jerry.

For example, Walter Lippmann had an excellent piece precisely on these kind of issues called 'The Permanent New Deals,' which appeared simultaneously in the "Yale Review" (June 1935) and in Europe in the "Index" (June 1935) published by Svenska Handelsbanken in Stockholm, Sweden.

And the political, economic and constitutional consequences of FDR's New Deal policies and failures, with their long-term implications for freedom and prosperity in America, were discussed with great insight by James M. Beck and Merle Thorpe in "Neither Purse Nor Sword" (New York: Macmillan, 1936).

Beck had been Solicitor General of the United States, and author in the 1920s of an excellent commentary on the meaning and history of constitutional government in the United States, and a critic of growing government in his 1932 book, "Our Wonderland of Bureaucracy." Thorpe was the editor of "Nation's Business" magazine.

Down that Orwellian memory hole are literally dozens of books that are intelligently and factually written between 1933 and 1939 on the "experiments" and harmful consequences of the New Deal, and how virtually all of those experiments and policies failed to reduce unemployment, or restore business confidence and profitability for a healthy and sustainable economic recovery.

And several of them are stories by individuals who suffered the consequences of being on the wrong side of New Deal policies and programs, in terms of the negative political and economic harm they experienced at the hands of local Democratic Party politicians and special interest groups. These are stories of abject corruption and power lusting.

In recent years we've heard of "bridges to nowhere." Well, during those New Deal Days there were road construction projects to "nowhere," where no long lived or there was little or no traffic, but it "created" jobs and local business for Democratic Party constituencies.

While districts or precincts with Republican voters were left with potholes and tax disadvantages to pay for those "roads to nowhere." And for those who refused to give campaign contributions to the Democratic Party or tried to avoid "cooperating" with New Deal programs -- well, they faced visits from the tax authorities or local government regulators who suddenly found "violations" in how these individuals ran their businesses.

Not the picture of "happy people" and "restored prosperity" in a better and more "just" America that is all part of the mythology of FDR and those New Deal Days.

Richard Ebeling

It is interesting that Rothbard in his "World War I as Fulfillment: Power and the Intellectuals" portrays Walter Lippman as one of "The New Republic collectivists": http://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard156.html#5

The comments to this entry are closed.