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From: CP
Sent: Saturday, January 28, 2017 12:21 AM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: When did you first defend evictionism?
Dear Walter, I am wondering if you remember what year you first defended evictionism (or what year you published something on the topic)? I am just trying to get an overall timeline of the abortion debate and where evictionism fits in in the historical timeline. It was nice seeing you in Toronto for Rothbard University. Best, CP

Dear CP: As you can see from my bibliography on evictionism (below), the very first of my publications on that topic was in 1977.

For libertarian publications on evictionism, see Block, 1977, 1978, 2001, 2004, 2008, 2010A, 2011A, 2012, 2013, 2014A, 2014B, 2014C, 2014D, 2014E; Block and Whitehead, 2005; Dyke and Block, 2011. For critiques of these by libertarian, see, Akers, 2012A, 2012B, Davies, 2012; Parr, 2011; Presley and Cooke, 1979; Shaffer, 2012; Wisniewski, 2010A, 2010B, 2011, 2013. For rejoinders to these critiques see Block, 2010B, 2010C, 2011B, 2011C, 2011D, 2013B, 2014C, 2014D, 2015

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From: BA
Sent: Thursday, January 26, 2017 7:50 PM
To: Walter Block
Subject: Quick question
Dear Walter, Hope you don’t mind a quick question, without “pre-clearance.” Regarding the “Principles of Microeconomics” and “Principles of Macroeconomics” courses at this website:

http://www.mruniversity.com/

Do you think it is a good use of my self-education time to view these courses, taking into account opportunity costs (time I could have spent with other resources), if my ultimate goal is to deepen my understanding of free-market economics? Each course is about 10 or 12 hours long. I welcome your “sense” of this. Best, BA

Dear BA: If you want mainstream economic material, those courses are as good as any, and better than some. But, mainstream economics in my view is fallacious. If you want some good electronic courses on what I regard as correct (Austrian) economics, then I HIGHLY recommend what the Mises Institute offers. Go to their web and poke around. Best regards, Walter.

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From: MH
Sent: Thursday, January 26, 2017 9:34 AM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject:
Dear Dr. Walter Block: Firstly I would like to thank you for your tireless efforts in advancing the philosophy of libertarianism and Austrian economics in general. I have always enjoyed your publicly available talks and lectures immensely, and found great clarity in your academic literature as well. In fact, whenever I used to be unclear about how to approach a certain subject in my undergraduate years, my go-to solution would always be your work as a preliminary approximation of direction, given the precision and logical consistency I generally find in your arguments. The reason I write preliminary approximation is, as you might know, due to the nature of modern economics, and the necessity of nesting ones arguments within the framework of neoclassical or Keynesian theory if one wishes to pass a class with at least a half decent grade, but without compromising to much of one’s own beliefs.
However, the reason I am writing to you, is because that I find myself in the need of help and guidance.

I know that you are a busy man, and fully understand if this mail does not warrant a reply. Non the less, I hope that you can help an aspiring academic in answering whether or not, in your opinion, I should pursue a career in academia. I am an Austrian with a capital A, and therefore find no help amongst my own professors in answering this question. Because of this, I unfortunately do not know the quality of my thinking and writing as I am constantly battling with the incommensurability of Austrian vs. Mainstream economics and, consequently, mediocre grades that I do not feel accurately reflects my work. But then again, maybe they do. I have enclosed my resent assignment, and hope that you would be so kind as to provide me with pointers on what I am doing wrong in the light of an aspiration to ultimately publish. If I come across as a bumbling moron in my work, I wish to know. But if my work has some inclination of merit, knowledge of this would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance. Sincerely MH

Dear MH: Thanks for your very kind words. I like your paper quite a bit, and I urge you to apply to grad school (about which see below), and, also, to submit your paper for publication in a refereed journal (I recommend the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics; if they reject it, then try the Review of Austrian economics. If they reject it too get back to me for more suggestions). Some very minor criticisms of your paper. 1. “As stated previously,” this sort of language bespeaks poor organization. Redo the organization so that you say any one thing only once. At the very least, delete this sort of language. 2. The bibliography must be in alphabetical order. 3. Your name cannot appear on each page, since refereed journals such as the QJAE, RAE, insist on refereeing only anonymous papers. By the way, my undergrad school grades were pretty crummy. I think they were almost irrelevant though. Now, see below for my form letter on this sort of thing. Best regards, Walter

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From: RG
Sent: Sunday, January 22, 2017 9:26 AM
To: Walter
Subject: Chicago Shootings and Deaths – LewRockwell
I just read your article

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2016/12/walter-e-block/chicago-shootings-deaths/

article and while I do of course, support your libertarian proposals. I would say, as a resident of the city, that even if they were implemented, they would not solve the problem. Your statement
“the causal elements are, in this case, government programs. When they are ended, the murder rate in Chicago will plummet” is wrong. The causal element is the mindset of the black community. Nothing will work until the black community adopts the values of libertarianism. Having libertarian policies are not nearly sufficient (though they are necessary). RG

Dear RG: You make a good point. The overall black crime rate is higher than that for whites. Much higher. However, I, too, was correct in what I said. Remember, I was talking about Chicago, and only Chicago. What is different in Chicago, compared to most places where black people live? Why, the mayor there, Rahm Emanuel, is a staunch government interventionist! The proof that what I said was correct is this: if the only problem were that the “black community (has not yet) adopt(ed) the values of libertarianism,” well, civility in any case since few whites are libertarians either, then how do you account for the fact that the Chicago crime rate is much higher than most other cities disproportionately over represented by black? (New Orleans also fits this bill, but this city also has a “progressive” mayor). If “values” were the only, or major, causal element of black crime, then it would be difficult to account for this fact of higher Chicago crime rates. Therefore, I insist, government intervention is a salient causal element in the Second City debacle. Another point; black crime was way lower in the 1930s than at present; yet, “values” then were probably just about the same as now. This strongly indicates something else is going on. I suggest changing government policies. Best regards, Walter

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From: The NAPster
Sent: Wednesday, February 01, 2017 9:44 PM
To: Walter Block
Subject: Minarchism
Walter: I used to believe that minarchism was a reasonable stop on the way to anarcho-capitalism, but now I’ve concluded it’s actually quite the opposite. From an economic point of view the mincarchist must believe that defense, policing and dispute resolution are unique economic goods such that they require the state to provide them as a monopolist. However, to produce them requires the allocation of scarce resources — land, labor and capital — just as with every other economic good, and hence this economic view makes no sense. Looking at things from a moral point of view is even worse. Through its military and policing activities the state gravely violates the NAP in so many ways it seems ludicrous to suppose that these should be the province of the state. And its criminal justice system delivers anything but justice. Life, death and liberty should be the very last things we leave to this institutional rights violator. I’d respect minarchism more if it advocated that the state should be limited to relatively harmless activities such as national parks, museums and (gasp) even the roads. The NAPster

Dear Napster: No, no, no. I, too, have rejected anacho-capitalism. Speaking, now, as a minarchist, there is only ONE legitimate role for the ever-loving state apparatus. To compel everyone to read Human Action, Man, Economy and State, and the Ethics of Liberty. And, to this end, taxes are justified! They don’t call me Walter Moderate Block for nothing.

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From: RH
Sent: Thursday, January 19, 2017 6:12 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: paper on hydraulic fracturing and the energy industry
Dear Professor Block,

Word on the street is that you recently wrote a paper on “fracking” and the energy industry. Being in the industry and a libertarian, I’m very interested to hear your take. Is this paper published? If so, where can I find it? Also, you mentioned on the Tom Woods Show another paper of yours that provides a sociobiological account of libertarianism’s unpopularity. The thought of applying sociobiology to politics sparked a lively debate in Woods’ online discussion group. Inquiring minds want to know: where can we get a hold of this paper? Many thanks and congratulations on #500! Cheers! RH

Dear RH: Yes and yes. Thanks for your kind words.
Here are the two papers:
Counts, Gage and Walter E. Block. Forthcoming. “Fracking.” Energy and Environment
Levendis, John, Walter E. Block and Eckhardt, Robert B. Unpublished. “Sociobiology, economic freedom, trade and benevolence.”
Bad news: I can’t yet share either of them with you, or with this list, since neither has yet been published. The second one has not yet even been accepted for publication; it is now making the rounds of publishers. However, good news, I promise that as each gets published, I’ll share them on this blog.

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From: NS
Sent: Sunday, January 22, 2017 4:31 PM
To: Walter Block
Subject: Re YouTube Video https://youtu.be/VqPKMkMrQ2M
Walter, I assume you’re familiar with the YouTube video of your talk on anarcho-capitalism at https://youtu.be/VqPKMkMrQ2M. I just watched it and concluded that while you are an anarcho-capitalist you are not a libertarian. How can this be since you accept the non-aggression principle?

It’s this: Because you believe human beings are constrained, or impelled, by evolutionary biology you’re a determinist, no less a behaviorist than B.F. Skinner. Your regarding those like you who favor freedom as evolutionary mutations is no exemption from the principle you consider dominant and controlling that survivable genes determine what people think. You don’t believe in either free will or, for that matter, free thought. Your pessimism regarding libertarian success — that evolution favors one set of political beliefs over another — is conceding all to the enemies of freedom who do see human beings merely as a product of breeding — aristocracy — or of proper molding — every variation of progressivism from Prussianism to communism onward. It makes you lecturing on the principles of liberty either absurd or futile — what I would tag the Principle of Marginal Futility. I write you to inform you of your error because I do believe in free will and free thought and believe you are free to correct intellectual mistakes. Now, as to the cause of libertarianism failing to dominate, it’s that libertarians make another mistake. They consider that libertarians like me who believe libertarian ideas need to win the culture through literature, drama, movies, and other arts are far less important than libertarians who engage in academic pursuits, business, or politics. Ayn Rand knew better. Sincerely, NS

Dear NS: I never ever meant to say “constrained,” or “impelled.” If I did, I apologize for my poor choice of words. (Did I do so? I doubt it. Hey, that video is 2 hours long. You expect me to listen to myself for that time period? If you’d told me at what point you think I said this, I’d have followed up). But, you know how it is: in an interview, or extemporaneous speech (I don’t read my public talks, I wing it), sometimes the wrong word comes up. What I meant to say, what I should have said, is that sociobiological considerations bias us in an anti market direction. Or lead us, or predispose us. There is only a tendency for humans to be socialists. If we were really “constrained,” or “impelled” by biology, then NONE of us could be libertarians, and obviously, you and I, and MILLIONS of others, are indeed libertarians. I think we are mutants. Not that we libertarians were born that way (most of us were not, I was not), but that at least we were OPEN to being convinced by rational argument. This applies to all too few of us. And this is due, I insist, to sociobiological considerations.

As for determinism and free will, I am clearly in the latter camp:

Block, Walter E. 2015. “Free will, determinism, libertarianism and Austrian economics” Dialogue, Issue 3, p.1; http://connection.ebscohost.com/c/articles/110798998/free-will-determinism-libertarianism-austrian-economics

Edelstein, Michael, Robert Wenzel, and Bridgette Salcido. 2016. “A Response to Walter Block’s “Free Will, Determinism, Libertarianism and Austrian Economics”.” Dialogue E-Journal of Tsenov Academy 4 (2015): n. pag. 17 Dec. 2015. Web. 14 February. http://www.uni-svishtov.bg/dialog/title.asp?title=516

Van Schoelandt, Chad, Ivan Jankovic and Walter E. Block. 2016. “Rejoinder on Free Will, Determinism, Libertarianism and Austrian Economics.” Dialogue, Issue 2; http://www.uni-svishtov.bg/dialog/title.asp?lang=en&title=565; http://141.164.71.80/exchange/walterblock/Inbox/RE:%20Rejoinder%20on%20Free%20Will,%20Determinism,%20Libertarianism%20and%20Austrian%20Economics.EML/1_multipart_xF8FF_2_p565__DialogueBook2eng2016_81_95.pdf/C58EA28C-18C0-4a97-9AF2-036E93DDAFB3/p565__DialogueBook2eng2016_81_95.pdf?attach=1;

http://www.uni-svishtov.bg/dialog/title.asp?title=565

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—–Original Message—–
From: RW
Sent: Thursday, January 19, 2017 10:58 AM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: The Tragedy of the Commons and Incentives
Dear Professor Block, I am a first year Philosophy PhD student and identify as a left-libertarian. I am currently researching the tragedy of the commons and my supervisor takes the view that this is an ‘aggregative harm’ (a harm caused by no one individual but instead by a group of individuals) and that it is best solved by forming a collective which regulates how individuals use the commons and which promotes ’the common good’. I disagree with this analysis. I first want to argue that the main problem with the tragedy of the commons is that no individual has an incentive to preserve it (in fact, they have an incentive to use it quickly before someone else uses it all up!), and that private property rights are a better way to address this incentive problem since private property rights now give individual users a personal stake in how their bit of the commons is treated. I was wondering if you could recommend any papers which would be a good place to start this sort of response. Thank you very much. Kind regards, RW

Dear RW: You don’t sound like a left libertarian to me. Rather, you sound like a sensible libertarian, neither right nor left. Yes, I entirely agree with you about the tragedy of the commons, a mainstay of the free market environmentalist defense of private property rights. Perhaps the most sophisticated critic of the concept, the tragedy of the commons, is the evil Elinor Ostrom, recent Nobel Prize winner.

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From: F
Sent: Thursday, January 19, 2017 10:43 AM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Greetings Dr.Block
Is automation the final nail in the coffin for libertarianism? The current wave of automation that is expected in the next couple decades is one that might make manual labor jobs obsolete. One that might require something like a UniversalBasicIncome policy. Most libertarians bring up the point that we have had similar automation waves in the past. But those never made manual labor jobs obsolete, you can still get a job flipping burgers or carrying wooden planks around. But machines and AI are getting to the point where they will be able to do all the manual labor that humans can do now without a salary requirement. Now what’s the deal with manual labor? Well these are the kinds of jobs that require no special talent or high intelligence, if you have two arms and a pair of legs you can do them. So what I am saying is that with automation many of our current workforce will not be able to find work, which is a big problem and might require a universal basic income policy. What does Dr.Block think about this issue? F

Dear F: I think this is economic illiteracy. For a good analysis of automation, go here: https://mises.org/search/site/automation

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Here is a quote from the Cato Policy Report of March/April 2016, p. 12: “In December, Cato executive vice president David Boaz participated in The Atlantic’s LGBT Summit, where he warned the audience that bringing the coercion of government down upon Christian bakers and florists only risks creating a political backlash to the victory of gay rights. ‘I think is it an illiberal attitude to say to a person with strong religious views, “You have to participate in a ceremony, lie a gay wedding, that offends your religious sensibilities.” Go to a different wedding planner. Go to a different florist,’ he said. ‘We’re not talking about the only doctor in town – we’re talking about businesses. There are millions of businesses, and almost all of them want our business.’”

It is all well and good that Mr. Boaz opposes compelling florists and bakers to cater to homosexual weddings. However, he could have mentioned the basic libertarian building block of free association. But, then, the issue would have arisen about the so-called Civil Rights Act of 1964, which he refuses to oppose on the basis of all things, “history” (http://thefederalist.com/2015/05/08/do-libertarians-have-a-political-future-a-conversation-with-david-boaz/).

What even more explicitly violates libertarian precepts regarding the above quote is this: “We’re not talking about the only doctor in town – we’re talking about businesses.” But suppose there were only one doctor in town. The clear implication of Boaz’s remarks is that then, yes, this physician would indeed have a legal obligation to offer his services to those who wanted it, even against his will. But being compelled to offer services to willing buyers when the supplier does not wish to do so is highly problematic from the libertarian point of view. Some might even say that this amounts to slavery. Surely, this Cato executive vice president does not support slavery? Suppose the doctor wanted to go on vacation. Or to move to another town. It would appear that he would then be violating the rights of patients who wanted his medical services. Say what you will about this perspective of Boaz’s, it is difficult to reconcile it with libertarian principles.

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