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From: N
Sent: Wednesday, May 24, 2017 12:34 AM
To: Walter Block
Subject: Investing and Capital Allocation
Being a discerning investor when it comes to IPOs obviously helps the economy by enabling businesses which meet the needs and wants of consumers to gain the capital resources they need in appropriate quantities reflected by the price they get in the market for their stock. However, after a stock or bond is issued there is money to be made as an investor buy either buying underpriced assets or shorting overpriced ones. How does this activity benefit the greater economy or is it just one investor fighting for profits with another, using up resources in the process?

Dear N: Prices are to the economy as are street signs to the urban geography. Imagine that both were removed from the entire world one evening, when everyone was asleep. Millions of people would die, a few from the lack of street signs, most from the lack of prices. The latter (well, the former too) would have to be rediscovered, and, during this process, chaos would ensue. How does buying, selling, shorting, lending, borrowing, all market transactions, help us all? It moves prices, interest rates, closer to where they “should” be, based upon human desires, resource reality, information, etc. In the book “Bonfire of the Vanities” a broker was unable to tell his child the benefits of his job. They are mentioned above. Prices, accurate prices, are the difference between life and death. They enable us to rationally plan; they give us vital information. Brokers do their bit to ensure their accuracy.

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From: C
Sent: Tuesday, June 06, 2017 10:19 AM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Involuntary Commitments blog on Lewrockwell
Professor Block, I wanted to thank you for your recent post on lewrockwell about Involuntary Commitments (https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/involuntary-commitments/). Yours is the first post that I’ve seen in all these years that addresses what I’ve seen as a real weakness in the libertarian community. I’ve had enough interactions with people to know that many people need help to pull themselves up. Whether it’s because of mental illness, trauma’s suffered, circumstance, an unlucky turn, you name it, life isn’t easy. Life is hard and some people get crushed underneath it. I suppose I’ve reached a point where the further away the government we’re talking about the more strict libertarian I am, but the closer to home we’re talking about the more pragmatic I become. Welfare at the federal level versus the local city or town level are two completely different things. I’ve seen too many people beaten down by the government school system, or the drug war, or poverty, or abuse, (and yes, as you mention much of this would be alleviated by a more libertarian system) that if some of my local tax dollars goes to fund a local abused woman’s shelter, or a local foodbank for the homeless, or a reading program at the local library to help children, yeah, I can get behind that. I think that where Libertarians shine brightly is in understanding the big picture, the core principles that drive big problems. But sometimes I also think that after years (or decades) of seeing all the horrible things that government has done, it becomes easy for libertarians to stick their nose up at the world (and the people suffering in it) and subtly confuse their deep understanding of what ails the country with genuine compassion. Your comments were the first I’ve seen that broaches this topic. Sincerely, the 80% Libertarian. C

Dear C: Without government, the poor would be much better off. The state takes half the GDP and wastes most of it. They use a lot of their “share” of our production to regulate us, and make us even less efficient. Even so, charitable giving is generous. Without the statists, it would be much higher. I don’t think we need fear for the plight of the helpless in the free society. Nor am I a big fan of federalism; let the cities and states solve problems, not the federal government. The state is the state is the state; it is evil at any and all levels. Yes, other things equal, we libertarians expect better from local than central governments, but this is not always the case. President Reagan once threatened NYC with dire consequences for their local rent control ordinances. I favored him over them in that episode. Hopefully, this experience will now raise you to 81% libertarian, or more.

Readings. On federalism: Block, Walter E. and Stephan Kinsella. 5/24/05. “Federalism.”
http://archive.lewrockwell.com/block/block48.html

On charity, poverty:

Anderson, G., 1987; Anderson M., 1978; Beito, 2000; Block, 2001, 2011; Brown, 1987; Delery and Block, 2006; Elder, 2016; Hazlitt, 1969; Higgs, 1995; Knight, Simpson and Block, 2015; LaBletta and Block, 1999; Moscatello, McAndrews and Block, 2015; Murray, 1984, 2006; Niskanen, 2006; Olasky, 1992; Piven and Cloward, 1993; Richman, 2001; Rothbard, 1996, 1998; Sowell, 2014; Tucker, 1984; Williams, 2014. For a critique of Murray, 2006, see Gordon, 2006.

Anderson, Gary M. 1987. “Welfare Programs in the Rent Seeking Society,” Southern Economic Journal, 54: 377-386

Anderson, Martin. 1978. Welfare: The Political Economy of Welfare Reform in the United States, Stanford: Hoover Institution

Beito, David. 2000. From Mutual Aid to the Welfare State. Chapel Hill, NC: University
of North Carolina Press.

Block, Walter E. 2001. “Transfers in Kind: Why They Can be Efficient and Nonpaternalistic – Comment,” International Journal of Value-Based Management, pp. 191-199; http://www.walterblock.com/publications/transfers_in_kind.pdf

Block, Walter E. 2011. “Toward a libertarian theory of charitable donations.”
Economics, Management, and Financial Markets. Vol. 6, No. 4, pp. 9-28; http://www.addletonacademicpublishers.com/abstracts/economics-management-and-financial-markets/volume-64-2011/toward-a-libertarian-theory-of-charitable-donations-to-criminals-governments.html; http://www.addletonacademicpublishers.com/component/option,com_sectionex/Itemid,103/id,23/view,category/#catid143

Brown, Arnold. 1987. “The Shadow Side of Affluence: The Welfare System and the Welfare of the Needy,” Fraser Forum, October.

Delery, Jeanette and Walter E. Block. 2006. “Corporate Welfare,” Markets and Morality; Vol. 9, No. 2, Fall, pp. 337-346; http://www.acton.org/publicat/m_and_m/new/index.php?mm_id=6; http://www.acton.org/publicat/m_and_m/new/article.php?article=37; http://www.acton.org/publicat/m_and_m/pdf/9277645.pdf

Elder, Larry. 2016. “Black fathers matter.” June 13;
http://www.catholiceducation.org/en/controversy/marriage/black-fathers-matter.html

Gordon, David. 2006. “A Man, A Plan, A Flop.” Mises Daily. April 24;
http://mises.org/misesreview_detail.aspx?control=296; http://mises.org/daily/2118

Hazlitt, Henry. 1969. Man vs. the Welfare State. New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House.

Higgs, Robert. 1995. “The Myth of ‘Failed’ Policies.” The Free Market. June. Vol. 13, No. 6. http://www.mises.org/freemarket_detail.asp?control=239&sortorder=articledate

Knight, Victoria*, David Simpson*, and Walter E. Block. 2015. “Welfare: The Negative Societal Effects.” Acta Economica et Turistica. Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 77-93; http://141.164.71.80/exchange/walterblock/Inbox/Re:%20%20_x003F_Welfare:%20The%20Negative%20Societal%20Effects._x003F_%20Acta%20Economica%20et%20Turistica-2.EML/1_multipart_xF8FF_2_AET%20Vol%201%20No%201.pdf/C58EA28C-18C0-4a97-9AF2-036E93DDAFB3/AET%20Vol%201%20No%201.pdf?attach=1; http://hrcak.srce.hr/index.php?show=toc&id_broj=12165; http://hrcak.srce.hr/index.php?show=clanak&id_clanak_jezik=221911

LaBletta, Nicole and Walter E. Block. 1999. “The Restoration of the American Dream: A Case for Abolishing Welfare,” Humanomics, Vol. 15, No 4, pp. 55-65

Moscatello, Rick, Megan McAndrews* and Walter E. Block. 2015. “Satisfied with Poverty: An Argument for Ending Welfare.” Journal of Leadership and Management; Vol. 3, No. 5, http://leadership.net.pl/index.php/JLM/article/view/75; reprinted in Leadership and Management: Emerging, Contemporary, and Unorthodox Perspectives, Szpaderski, Adam and Christopher P. Neck, editors

Murray, Charles. 1984. Losing Ground: American Social Policy from 1950 to 1980, New York: Basic Books

Murray, Charles. 2006. In Our Hands: A Plan to Replace the Welfare State. Washington, D.C.: The AEI Press

Niskanen, William. 2006. ‘Build a Wall around the Welfare State, Not around the Country,’ Cato Policy Report. September/October;
http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/build-a-wall-around-the-welfare-state-not-around-the-country/

Olasky, Marvin. 1992. The Tragedy of American Compassion, Chicago: Regnery Gateway.

Piven, Frances Fox and Richard Cloward. 1993. Regulating the Poor: The Functions of Public Welfare, New York City, NY: Vintage.

Richman, Sheldon. 2001. Tethered Citizens: Time to Repeal the Welfare State. Future of Freedom Foundation

Rothbard, Murray N. 1996. “Origins of the Welfare State in America,” The Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 12, No. 2, Fall, pp. 193-230

Rothbard, Murray N. 1998 [1982]. “Welfare and the Welfare State.” In The Ethics of Liberty, Atlantic Highlands, N.J.: Humanities Press, pp. 160-193; http://www.mises.org/rothbard/ethics/ethics.asp

Sowell, Thomas.2014. “Welfare does not work.” http://www.targetliberty.com/2014/11/thomas-sowell-welfare-does-not-work.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TargetLiberty+%28Target+Liberty%29

Tucker, William. 1984. “Black Family Agonistes,” The American Spectator, July, pp. 14-17.

Williams, Walter E. 2014. “Black People Duped.” March 4;
http://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/03/walter-e-williams/black-people-duped/

Walter Williams documentary: http://www.suffernofoolsfilm.com/preview.php

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1:11 pm on June 11, 2017

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Henry George Was Weak on Economics And Is An Example of the Rothbard Rule

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From: I
Sent: Friday, June 09, 2017 12:27 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Some Georgist Arguments
Dear Mr. Block: I know why economic redistribution with the single tax and the abolition of all rents does not work. However, I cannot see why the basic georgist argument that the increase in economic prosperity would necessitate an increase in land value cancelling out that economic gain in large part is wrong. This is of course immoral if we take a perspective that is in accordance to libertarian ethics, but how would ceasing to take gains that are explicitly from land ownership (the profit from land speculation that is more than the cost of seeking and selling land, the value added by the land value to production, etc) not increase economic efficiency? This has been a hard question for me to resolve, and I would be immensely grateful if I could get a proper answer.

First, what is the Rothbard Rule? It is that non adherents of the full free enterprise philosophy tend to specialize in what they are worst in. Fellow traveling critics of anarcho-capitalism such as Henry George were pretty good on almost every aspect of political economy, except for a single tax on land. And, what did George specialize in? A single tax on land. Milton Friedman is yet another example. He was sound as a bell on minimum wages, rent control, occupational licensure (heroically, even for doctors!), full free trade, but what did he spend most of his time and effort on? Money and school vouchers, where he was awful.

As to Georgeism, read this material:

Rothbard, Murray N. 1997. “The single tax: economic and moral implications” and “A reply to Georgist criticisms,” Logic of Action One: Applications and Criticisms from the Austrian School. London: Elgar, pp. 294-310; http://mises.org/rothbard/georgism.pdf; https://mises.org/library/single-tax-economic-and-moral-implications

September 8, 2014. Walter E. Block Debate on Henry George’s 100% tax on land with Fred Foldvary. Daniel Rothschild [mailto: daniel.y.rothschild@gmail.com], moderator. fred.foldvary@sjsu.edu; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ir9471FNsh0

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12:57 pm on June 9, 2017

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From: N
Sent: Tuesday, June 06, 2017 11:34 AM
To: Walter Block
Subject: quick note re: “On the Benefits of Proper Intellectual Debate”
Dear Dr. Block- I just wanted to write you a brief note of support in encouraging libertarians to “never take umbrage at authors of objections to their views who do so in a polite manner”. I posted a similar comment on a prominent libertarian website last year, hoping that as libertarians we could give each other the benefit of the doubt and latitude in debate, keeping things respectful/polite especially in regard to other libertarians, so that debate is constructive.

It seems there is a tendency at times for some people to “name call” other libertarians that have differing views and my belief is that this labeling interferes with legitimate debate at times. For example, if I suggest a self identified libertarian is a communist for example(and he might be!), and he takes offense, will he actually ever understand my argument as to why I might label him such? It’s a difficult area with shades of gray(to me)- but rarely, when I label someone(or name call) in the course of debate, does it ever seem to result in a positive exchange or changed minds. So let me second your call to polite debate and it’s efficacy! (and let the debate begin on the distinction between labeling and name calling begin and when it’s appropriate to do either!) I can’t thank you enough for the massive contributions you’ve made to libertarianism in general, even though I disagree with small percentage of your viewpoints in certain areas. I still consider you a “brother in arms”. Best, N

Dear N: How DARE you disagree with me on a “small percentage of (my) viewpoints.” Don’t you realize I’m Jewish, and that thus any disagreement with me constitutes anti-Semitism, of which there is no worse sin?

On a more serious note, thanks for your lovely letter. I am delighted with your support. We cannot underestimate the importance of civil disagreement among Austro-libertarians, and, even, between us and our intellectual enemies, both of the left and of the right.

Here is yet one more example of a debate in which I partook. In rereading this, I wish I had been more civil. Ah, well, we all err; the first drafts of my contributions were even worse in this regard:

Block, 1977, 1995, 2000; Demsetz, 1979, 1997

1. Block, Walter E. 1977. “Coase and Demsetz on Private Property Rights,” The Journal of Libertarian Studies: An Interdisciplinary Review, Vol. I, No. 2, 1977, pp. 111-115; http://www.mises.org/journals/jls/1_2/1_2_4.pdf; Translation: “Coase y Demsetz sobre el derecho de propiedad privada,” Libertas 37, octubre de 2002, año XIX, pp.5-20

2. Demsetz, Harold. 1979. “Ethics and Efficiency in Property Rights Systems,” in Time, Uncertainty and Disequilibrium: Explorations of Austrian Themes, Mario Rizzo, ed., Lexington Mass.: D.C. Heath and Co; http://mises.org/Books/timeuncertainty.pdf (see chapter 5)

3. Block, Walter E. 1995. “Ethics, Efficiency, Coasean Property Rights and Psychic Income: A Reply to Demsetz,” Review of Austrian Economics, 8 (2): 61-125, http://www.mises.org/journals/rae/pdf/rae8_2_4.pdf; Translation: “Ética, eficiencia, derechos de propiedad Coasianos e ingreso psíquico: una respuesta a Demsetz,” Libertas 37, octubre de 2002, año XIX, pp. 71-210

4. Demsetz, Harold. 1997. “Block’s Erroneous Interpretations,” Review of Austrian Economics, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp. 101-109; http://www.mises.org/journals/rae/pdf/rae10_2_6.pdf; Las interpretaciones erróneas de Block

5. Block, Walter E. 2000. “Private Property Rights, Erroneous Interpretations, Morality and Economics: Reply to Demsetz,” Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, Vol. 3, No. 1, Spring, pp. 63-78; http://www.mises.org/journals/qjae/pdf/qjae3_1_8.pdf; translation: “Derecho de propiedad privada, interpretaciones erróneas, moralidad y economía: en respuesta a Demsetz,” Libertas 37, octubre de 2002, año XIX, pp. 227-264

Wait. Here’s one where even now I think I was very polite:

Friedman, Milton and Walter E. Block. 2006. “Fanatical, Not Reasonable: A Short Correspondence Between Walter E. Block and Milton Friedman (on Friedrich Hayek’s Road to Serfdom).” Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 20, No. 3, Summer, pp. 61-80; http://www.mises.org/journals/jls/20_3/20_3_4.pdf; https://mises.org/system/tdf/20_3_4.pdf?file=1&type=document

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I recently gave several lectures in Denmark. Here is one of them I presented at CEPOS, that country’s pre-eminent free market think tank:

https://www.cepos.dk/oevrigt-materiale/cepos-tv/gaa-hjem-moede-walter-block-the-moral-case-for-free-markets

I spoke for about 45 minutes and then did a very interesting Q&A with the Danes for about the same amount of time

The post Lecture in Copenhagen on the Moral Case for Free Enterprise appeared first on LewRockwell.

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In a stateless society, how would involuntary commitments be dealt with in situations where an individual is genuinely suffering from a severe mental health crisis?

I think there is too much of a tendency on the part of many libertarians to think that under anarcho-capitalism, all would be radically different than at present. In my view, much would be the same, of course apart from taxes, wars, regulations, and other such issues. But, the garbage would still have to be collected, the trains might not all run exactly on time, there would still be problems with airline overbooking, etc. Our friends the Marxists believe in “socialist man” who will be unlike anyone we now know. But, libertarians, at least sensible ones, do not maintain this. Rather, there will still be criminals, and jails will be needed to keep them out of circulation. Some will be lazy and shiftless. Others, through no fault of their own, will be poverty stricken. We will of course all, on average, be richer under a regime of economic freedom, but, still, the rising tide will not raise all boats.

Also, there will be children without parents, the mentally ill, senile people. In my view, such challenges will be handled roughly as they are today. Yes, courts will have to give their imprimatur for involuntary commitments, and they will be private, not public, but, surely, there will be such needy people even in the free society (probably fewer of them than at present, mainly because government creates all sorts of problems, and takes away half the GDP some of which might well be used to address them, but that is a different issue.) These private courts will have to be make decisions about such helpless souls, and some of them, presumably, will include involuntary commitments. Errors, too, will be made; this cannot be helped. It is part of the human condition, at least on this side of the Garden of Eden. Involuntary commitment is only a violation of rights when employed against people in their right minds. But this cannot reasonably be said about orphan babies, mentally ill people, the senile.

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From: J
Sent: Monday, June 05, 2017 10:37 AM
To: Walter Block
Subject: Re: Libertarianism and Catholicism
Dear Professor Block; I have been meaning to write you a note to your discussion about abortion. Your recent LRC blog post about having amiable disagreements with other libertarians propelled me to write. I have been reading the links you sent me about your views on abortion and evictionism with great interest. And many of my questions about this issue have been asked/answered/countered by an exchange between you and Jakub Bozydar Wisniewski. I could add nothing of substance to that debate but I just wanted to let you know what a joy it is to be able to discover the full range of opinion that exists in the libertarian universe. What a resource of online archives you have provided for those seeking to fully encage libertarian ideas. The biggest revelation to me is that libertarianism is truly a big tent political philosophy covered by one single precept: the NAP. How liberating it is to discover that I mustn’t rely on the prescribed opinions of Reason magazine or the Libertarian Party (whatever those opinions may be) to define what libertarianism means. I hope you will excuse this MASH note from me but I know that I am speaking for multitudes of others out here in the internet ether-sphere who are being exposed to the full range of libertarian ideas for the first time. I just wanted to send you a belated thank you for your continuing contributions to this movement. Best; J

Dear J: Yes, there is absolutely no reason why libertarians, even those who do not agree on 99% of all other issues, should not have a cordial disagreement in the literature, or, in a personal debate. And, there are important reasons for doing exactly that. How else can we improve Austrian economics and libertarian theory? You mention the argument I had with Jakub Bozydar Wisniewski on evictionism. That is certainly one case in point. Another is my argument with Gary North on the propriety, prudence and utility of, and justification for, Austro-libertarians going to grad school and getting a Ph.D. degree. I remain very good friends with both of them. That should be the model of amiable discourse for all of us, I contend.

Wisniewski, Jakub Bozydar. 2010A. “A Critique of Block on Abortion and Child Abandonment.” Libertarian Papers Vol. 2, No. 16; http://libertarianpapers.org/2010/16-wisniewski-block-on-abortion/

Wisniewski, Jakub Bozydar. 2010B. “Rejoinder to Block’s Defense of Evictionism.” Libertarian Papers. Vol. 2, Art No. 27; http://libertarianpapers.org/articles/2010/lp-2-37.pdf

Wisniewski, Jakub Bozydar. 2011. “Response to Block on Abortion, Round Three.” Libertarian Papers. Vol. 3, No. 6, pp. 1-6;
http://libertarianpapers.org/2011/6-winiewski-response-to-block-on-abortion-round-three/; http://libertarianpapers.org/articles/2011/lp-3-6.pdf

Wisniewski, Jakub Bozydar. 2013. “Abortion, Libertarianism and Evictionism: A Last Word.” Libertarian Papers, Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 153-162; http://libertarianpapers.org/2013/6-wisniewski-abortion-libertarianism-and-evictionism/

Block, Walter E. 2010C. “Rejoinder to Wisniewski on Abortion.” Libertarian Papers; Vol. 32, No. 2; http://libertarianpapers.org/2010/32-block-rejoinder-to-wisniewski-on-abortion/; http://libertarianpapers.org/articles/2010/lp-2-32.pdf

Block, Walter E. 2011B. “Response to Wisniewski on Abortion, Round Two.” Libertarian Papers; Vol. 3, Article No. 4; http://libertarianpapers.org/2011/4-block-response-to-wisniewski-on-abortion-round-two/

Block, Walter E. 2011C. “Response to Wisniewski on Abortion, Round Three.” Libertarian Papers, Vol. 3, No. 6, pp. 1-6; http://libertarianpapers.org/2011/37-block-response-to-wisniewski-on-abortion/

Block, Walter E. 2014D. “Response to Wisniewski on Abortion, Round Four.” Management Education Science Technology Journal (MEST); Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 1-14;
http://www.fbim.meste.org/FBIM_2_2014/Sadrzaj_eng.html;
http://www.fbim.meste.org/FBIM_2_2014/4_01.pdf

Block, Walter E. 2008. “Attention Students: Should You Get Your Ph.D. and Become a Professor?” June 28; http://archive.lewrockwell.com/block/block104.html (debate with Gary North) https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/young-person-saved-from-academia/

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Thank God for Donald Trump, at least as far as the Paris Climate Change Agreement is concerned. The president of the “deplorables” (not of those living on the east or west coasts, nor the media, nor academia, nor Hollywood, nor the clergy) pulled out of this cesspool in France. Good for him. In the 1970s, the greeno-pinko environmental movement bruited it about that we were in the midst of global cooling and more of this would take place, until our rear ends would be frozen off. Guess whose fault that was? Capitalism, of course. In the 1990s, the watermelons (green on the outside, red on the inside) maintained that global warming was in store for us. Our tushes would soon be burned. Guess whose fault that was? If you guessed capitalism, go to the head of the class. In the early part of the present century, since neither great warming nor cooling had occurred, the Chicken-Littles of the world determined that our future would be one of climate change. One buttock would be too hot, the other too cold, and we would be continually playing switch in this regard.  Of course, climate is always changing, so this was a no-brainer. But, guess whose fault that was? You’ll never guess. Wait, I’ll give you a hint. Yes, capitalism. The weathermen can’t predict temperature ten minutes into the future (ok, ok, I exaggerate a bit here) but meteorologists can do so for decades, centuries, into the future. How did these worthies do, oh, a half century ago? Not too well, it turns out. But, nothing daunted, they are shedding bitter tears that The Donald has given the Paris Climate Change a pass.

Buy Gold at Discounted Prices

I’m neither a weatherman (wait; weather person? No, that’s no good either, given the last syllable of “person”; maybe, weather perdaughter? Who knows? And, here I am, desperately yearning to be politically correct, and unable to do so; I guess I just don’t have it within me) nor a meteorologist. I don’t have a clue as to the future course of the temperature. But I do know one thing: wealthier is healthier. The richer we are, the more likely we are to be able to withstand whatever nature throws in our paths in the future. I would be happy to take the advice of the experts in this field, but only if there were a robust open debate in that discipline, out of which might come the truth. Defending the Undefend… Walter Block Best Price: $5.80 Buy New $11.50

In physics, it is my understanding that there is some contention as to whether reality is more like a wave or a particle (I’m not sure of what that means). I am ready willing and able to adopt the result of this discussion, once it is at least temporarily settled by most physicists (contrary to mah man Al Gore, there is no such thing as “settled” empirical science). But this is because neither side is threatening the other with loss of jobs, no one is calling anyone else a “denier” and the threat of RICO statutes is not employed by either side.

The same, unfortunately, does not apply to the debate over the future course of global temperature. Until and unless it does, the proper stance of non-experts is I think one of agnosticism. And, when you are properly unsure about any such matter, the last thing you would want to do is support something like Paris Climate Change.

Further, opting out of such nonsense was one of Mr. Trump’s campaign promises. Yes, our friends on the left are now excoriating him for this promise keeping, which just demonstrates their own hypocrisy. Would that President Trump also keep his promises not to engage in military adventurism all around the world.

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Recently, I had a bit of an altercation, a disagreement, a misunderstanding, with a many decades long friend of mine, a fellow Austro libertarian, a gifted and creative contributor to our mutual philosophy, a person with whom I aggree agree on perhaps 99% of all issues in political economy. It concerns an article I published criticizing one of his publications. He took great offense at my attempt to refute his views. He was so unhappy with me that our friendship of many years was almost at risk. I tried to set him straight about the virtues and the benefits of polite but no-holds barred debates in terms of improving our understanding. I think I mentioned John Stuart Mill’s magnificent “On Liberty” in this regard, but I am not sure. I am sharing this story on this blog so as to promote healthy debate amongst friends and members of our Austro libertarian community. We should all take it as a matter of pride that we sometimes, rarely, disagree with one another. After all, we are not a cult. Disagreement is not only allowed, but, I would argue, should actually be cherished.

He just told me he wrote a rejoinder to that article of mine criticizing him and this was my response to him:

Wonderful. Do send me a copy of your paper, and I’ll either be converted by it to your view, or, I’ll write a reply, and perhaps we’ll continue this debate until one of us comes to agree with the other. Or, maybe, we’ll meet in a middle ground, if there is such a thing in this matter. In either case, via this process we’ll get that proverbial one millionth of an inch closer to the Truth on this matter.

This is the way proper intellectuals operate with each other. They never take umbrage at authors of objections to their views who do so in a polite manner, who do not attack straw men, etc!

I have been involved in dozens of episodes of this sort. Let me give you an example of but one of these. In my book Defending I, I defended the counterfeiter of counterfeit money.

Here are the exchanges that emanated as a result. Note, politeness, appreciation, on all sides.

Murphy, Robert P. 2006. “A Note on Walter E. Block’s Defending the Undefendable: The Case of the ‘Heroic’ Counterfeiter,” American Journal of Economics and Sociology, April, Vol. 65 Issue 2, pp. 463-467 http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0254/is_2_65/ai_n26906651/?tag=content;col1

Machaj, Mateusz. 2007. “Against both private and public counterfeiting.” American Journal of Economics and Sociology, November, Vol. 66 Issue 5, pp. 977–984; http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0254/is_5_66/ai_n27485641/?tag=content;col1

Block, Walter E. 2010. “In Defense of Counterfeiting Illegitimate Money: Rejoinder to Murphy and Machaj,” American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Vol. 69, No. 2, 867-880, April; http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/123327372/abstract

Davidson, Laura. 2010. “The ethics of countering the private counterfeiter: rejoinder to Block.” American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Vol. 69, No. 4, October, http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0254/is_4_69/ai_n56257929/

Block, Walter E. 2010. “Rejoinder to Davidson on Counterfeiting,” American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Vol. 69, No. 4, October, pp. 1328-1331; http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0254/is_4_69/ai_n56257930/; http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0254/is_4_69/ai_n56257930/

Block, Walter E. 2013. “Rejoinder to Davidson on Counterfeiting, Round Two” Journal of Political Philosophy Las Torres de Lucca; Number 3 (July-December) : 35-72 http://www.lastorresdelucca.org/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=116:contra-davidson-en-torno-a-la-falsificaci%C3%B3n-segundo-asalto&Itemid=24&lang=en&Itemid=23

These three authors, critics of mine on this issue, are also people with whom I agree with on, oh, 99% of all issues in political economy. I am still friends with them, and, also, several time co-authors of theirs.

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Top Ten Contemporary Academics Helping The Political Right
http://www.poletical.com/academics-helping-the-right.php

100 Most Influential Libertarians: A Newsmax/FreedomFest List
http://www.newsmax.com/BestLists/libertarians-newsmax-freedomfest/2017/06/01/id/793510/

I say nothing about the rank order of those mentioned in the latter compilation, except for the fact that Ron Paul is ranked at number 1, and that is entirely justified. I also omit mention of those who in my opinion might well be influential, but not as libertarians, since they do not at all deserve this honorific.

However, I offer the names of several eminent and influential libertarians who certainly deserve inclusion on any list of the 100 Most Influential Libertarians, but, yet, alas, were excluded:

Thomas J. DiLorenzo
David Gordon
Jeffrey M. Herbener
Hans-Hermann Hoppe
Jesús Huerta de Soto
Jörg Guido Hülsmann
Peter G. Klein
Yuri N. Maltsev
Joseph T. Salerno
Pascal Salin
Mark Thornton

From whence sprang these names? From the list of senior fellows of the Mises Institute who were not included on that list. Only about a half dozen were, including me.

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