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Judge Andrew Napolitano is an Excellent Libertarian, Part IV

Here is Part III.

Several other letters have come in on this issue that I would like to share with this list. Below find my responses to them.

Letter 1

From: M

Sent: Thursday, August 08, 2019 7:02 AM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: The Judge.

As usual I agree with your summary, and for my part I wanted to point out that the judge has a VERY influential pulpit from which to support our movement, the importance of which should never be underestimated. I too do not always agree with his views 100%, nor yours, Mike Rozeff, Pat Buchanan or anyone else. (Maybe Lew Rockwell, Haha, he’s my rock star)  That is exactly why I read ALL of your fine work, the best diet has the most variety.

Thanks for all you do, M

Dear M: Thanks for your support on this. I appreciate it. Yes, Lew is my Rock Star too. I’m honored that he is thrice a co-author of mine, and once a co-editor:

Block, Walter E. and Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., “Murray N. Rothbard: Giant of Liberty,” Rockwell, Llewellyn H. ed. 1988. Essays in the Economics of Liberty: The Free Market Reader, California: The Ludwig von Mises Institute, pp. 195-199; http://www.mises.org/freemarket_detail.asp?control=476; https://mises.org/library/free-market-reader-0; https://books.google.ca/books?id=Gq-ywTMeqeAC&pg=PA9&lpg=PA9&dq=%22Murray+N.+Rothbard:+Giant+of+Liberty%22&source=bl&ots=GrSgoAxLsQ&sig=osUR4z-5UhqjuHoCbQVxgW1tNwo&hl=en&sa=X&ei=8i9WVY_UNJLlsATnroHYAg&ved=0CB0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%22Murray%20N.%20Rothbard%3A%20Giant%20of%20Liberty%22&f=false

Block, Walter E. and Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. 2007. “Katrina and the Future of New Orleans,” Telos, Vol. 139, Summer, pp. 170-185; http://journal.telospress.com/content/2007/139/170.abstract

Rockwell, Jr., Llewellyn H. and Walter E. Block. 2010. “The Economics and Ethics of Hurricane Katrina,” American Journal of Economics and Sociology.  Vol. 69, No. 4, October, pp. 1294-1320; http://www.walterblock.com/wp-content/uploads/V.335_The-Economics-and-Ethics-of-Hurricane-Katrina.pdf

Block, Walter and Llewellyn H. Rockwell, eds. 1988. Man, Economy and Liberty: Essays in Honor of Murray N. Rothbard, Auburn University, The Mises Institute.

Letter 2

From: R

Sent: Thursday, August 08, 2019 8:56 AM

To: Walter Block

Subject: Judge Andrew Napolitano is an Excellent Libertarian, Part III – LRC Blog

thanks for referencing the talk/discussion with Napolitano. he’s really excellent.

Dear R:

Great. I was blown away by this speech of his too. And, not for the first time. He is not only an excellent libertarian on a theoretical basis, he is one of the most persuasive public speakers.

Letter 3

From: A

Sent: Thursday, August 08, 2019 5:21 AM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Judge Andrew Napolitano

I admit I do not know Judge Andrew Napolitano personally. I have been an admirer for years, basically from my first encounter. He is one of few other legally trained people who interpret the Constitution as I do. What the founding documents say is clear (if one understand English more than casually).

Judge Andrew Napolitano is open, ardent, and consistent in legal views. It was only subsequently to discovering him that I discovered that we are “Libertarians.” I always thought of myself as “Ripon Republican.”

By analogy, that makes Judge Andrew Napolitano a strong Libertarian. Where that political stance ends is where he allows his religious beliefs to cloud his legal perspective. If one is true to the Founding Fathers and their directives, religion should not control the government, nor should it influence that government’s interpretation and enforcement of its laws. If followed to the end of his political arguments, on abortion, for example, his religion trumps his legal beliefs. The church and the State must be separate.

My beliefs about abortion are second to the requirement of maximum freedom and liberty. So are his. If we believe in advancing freedom and liberty, then we must pursue maximum freedom and liberty under the original framework. Our views are personal, not Libertarian directives. Napolitano is clear on his abortion stance. As a libertarian, I cannot agree.

Otherwise, I agree with your backing of Judge Andrew Napolitano as an outstanding Libertarian. It is too bad mainstream media will not pick up on your diligent effort. ~Dr. Allen Thomas

Dear A:

Thanks for your kind comments. I don’t believe the Judge allows his religious beliefs to cloud his deep penetration of libertarian issues. But, even if, per impossible in my view, he did exactly that, I still would support him as a great libertarian. Not a perfect one, mind you (which none of us is, since we’re all mistake making human beings) but as one of our leading lights.

Letter 4

From: G

Sent: Thursday, August 08, 2019 11:38 AM

To: Walter Block

Subject: Libertarians

Dear Walter,

I feel certain that you would defend “Big Tent Libertarians” given that you openly claim that position.

With some minor research, I found an honest definition of a “Big Tent” libertarian from a reliable source, at least at the time of the common acceptance of the term “libertarian” or liberal in the classic sense that existed before that term was bastardized by the left.

It is this:

A Big Tent:

“It is a broad umbrella of people who put the principle of freedom first. In its inception, libertarianism included: constitutionalists, believers in limited government, objectivists, anarchists, localists, agorists, pacifists, brutalists, humanitarians, and maybe monarchists too. It included deontologists, consequentialists, and empiricists.”

There you have it, another general term meant to capture the entirety of an open-ended and therefore meaningless philosophy. Anyone and everyone can claim to be a libertarian so long as they say or pretend to be for any part of freedom, as if more than a few have any concept of what that actually means. So I stand corrected concerning the fact that you claim that all those you mentioned to me were “libertarian.” Apparently they are, so in my mind it means nothing.

I will never call myself a libertarian again, as most listed in this group, other than anarchists, have little if any true understanding of the real meaning of the term freedom.

All my best … G

Dear G:

Sorry to lose you as a libertarian. Happy to keep you as an anarcho-capitalist.

I disagree. Yes, all these people, certainly including monarchists, can be libertarians – as long as they uphold private property rights, free enterprise, to a FAR greater degree than pinko-leftie-liberal-progressive-commies-Democrats on the one hand, and conservative-right wing-fascist-Republicans on the other.

See this excellent defense of monarchism:

Hoppe, Hans-Hermann. 2001. Democracy, the God that Failed: The Economics and Politics of Monarchy, Democracy and Natural Order, New Brunswick, N.J. Transaction Publishers.

Best regards,

Walter

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8:27 am on August 9, 2019

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Judge Andrew Napolitano is an Excellent Libertarian, Part III

This is the third in a series of my  blogs defending Judge Andrew Napolitano from the charge that he is not really a libertarian, let alone one of the most precious assets in our entire movement.

Here is part I.

For part II go here.

Below, see three more letters that have crossed my threshold as a result of the foregoing.

The first letter is very brief. I entirely agree with it. It is notable mainly because its author, as for the Judge, is also a leading libertarian light. Moreover, he is one with whom I have tangled in the past regarding various libertarian issues. So it is even more gratifying for me that on this matter, he and I are in 100% agreement.

The second letter is the most substantive, and, also, disagrees with my assessment not of Judge Andrew Napolitano, but of my views on Milton and David Friedman.  I characterize both as libertarian, he demurs. I respond to him below.

The third is the most dramatic. It stems from Andrew’s appearance at the Mises University of 2010, nine years ago. Letter writer 3 really did his homework in digging this out. I urge any Napolitano “deniers” to take a peek, not only at what the writer of letter 3 says on the issue of anarchism, but of Lew Rockwell’s introduction to him. This must be the ONLY introduction in the history of the entire universe where the introducer, Lew, does not even mention the name, or specific accomplishments, of the speaker. This introduction is even the more powerful for that. Also, note the ROAR from the massed audience that greets Judge Napolitano when he appears. I hereby ORDER you all to watch at least the first five minutes of this magnificent speech of the Judge. Better yet, the entire excellent educational and inspiring talk. Let’s hear no more about him not being a libertarian. In particular, tune in on this presentation, as letter writer 3 mentions, at this point: 26:35.

Letter 1

From: D

Sent: Tuesday, August 06, 2019 3:11 PM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: The Judge

Walter

You are quite right about this.  His strong leaning on Natural Law, his impassioned defense of the individual (properly understood).  I know he has turned many off due to his takes on Trump over the last year or so, but I would consider that I was living in a libertarian society if it was one as defended and described by the judge.

Best, D

Letter 2

From: B

Sent: Tuesday, August 06, 2019 3:18 PM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Judge Andrew Napolitano is an Excellent Libertarian

Dear Walter,

As always you’re almost spot on.  Now, why did I for the only time I remember having to add “almost”? You’re obviously completely correct in stating that not all Libertarians are anarcho-capitalists. That would be wishful thinking and also reduce the numbers of Libertarians a lot. Or if we do more wishful thinking the world would be a lot better with more of us. Now putting on my science glasses I simply don’t agree with you that Milton Friedman was a Libertarian. He was to some degree free market for sure but Libertarian? I don’t think so. However, he did move the general public to move towards more libertarian views. But for himself? I don’t think so. David Friedman is another subject though. He denies being a Libertarian but still wrote the at least very interesting book “The Machinery Of Freedom”.  That book alone makes him (at least) a former Libertarian. I haven’t spoken to David for many years so I can honestly not say what his current stand is.

I also find it curious that we have a party called “The Libertarian Party” when almost all their views and even candidates are far detached from Libertarianism. I think that’s a different story.

One thing I’d like to point out is that if you look at WHAT politicians are doing instead of what they’re saying then you should mention President Jimmy Carter who probably was the most Libertarian President after WW2. Not by ideology, I’m sure but by actions. Also, his actions after leaving office speak volumes in terms of NAP between states. Thanks for reading my comments. Yours, Bo

Dear B: You make an important point about Jimmy Carter. I hadn’t thought of that, and I thank you for it. I’ll have to think about this.

The way I see the libertarian movement, it consists of five elements. I now rank them in the order of greatest adherence to our basic foundations, the non-aggression principle (NAP), homesteading and peaceful economic interaction, and free association.

A. Anarcho capitalism. No government. Period. Most famous adherents: Murray Rothbard, Hans Hoppe, Spooner, Molinari

B. Government limited to armies, courts and police. Limited government. Minarchism. Most famous adherents: Ludwig von Mises, Ayn Rand, Robert Nozick

C. Constitutionalism. The US Constitution, as interpreted by Ron Paul and Andrew Napolitano, the most famous adherents of this view, not by the present Supreme Court. This is a virtual tie with B, above, since that document was a very sound one

D. Classical liberals. Limited government, plus a bit of this and a parcel of that type of intervention. Most famous adherents: Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek.

E. Thick libertarians who try to dilute our philosophy with extraneous matters, such as views on homosexuality, egalitarianism, since pure libertarianism has no perspective on any of these issues, as long as they respect the NAP, etc. Most famous adherents: beltway libertarians, those who contribute to the Bleeding Heart Libertarian blog, the present leaders of the Libertarian Party.

David Friedman is an anarcho-capitalist. He belongs in group A. According to my categorization, he gets ranked pretty high. His book, Machinery of Freedom, to be sure, is merely utilitarian, not principled, but what the heck. I’m a big tent libertarian, and I certainly include him.

Here’s a critique of mine about this book of his:

Block, Walter E. 2011. “David Friedman and Libertarianism: A Critique,” Libertarian Papers, Vol. 3, Article 35;http://libertarianpapers.org/articles/2011/lp-3-35.pdf; https://plus.google.com/u/0/107839603122535455846/posts/6QfUcBR1gTS

David’s dad, Milton Friedman, is also a libertarian in my estimation. He belongs in category D., along with another hero of mine, Hayek. Milton was utterly magnificent on rent control, minimum wage, free trade, occupational licensure, and a whole host of other issue of interest to our community. I would rank him third, did you hear that?, third, in terms of numbers of people converted to libertarianism, right after Ron Paul and Ayn Rand. Third, I tells you. If he’s not a libertarian, I’m, as they say, “a monkey’s uncle.”  Here are some of my criticisms of Milton; despite them, I still reserve for him the honorific, “libertiaran”:

Block, Walter E. 2013. “Was Milton Friedman a socialist” Management Education Science Technology Journal (MEST Journal); Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 11- 26; http://mest.meste.org/MEST_1_2013/_02.pdf;

http://mest.meste.org/MEST_1_2013/Sadrzaj_eng.html

Block, Walter E. 1999. “The Gold Standard: A Critique of Friedman, from the free enterprise perspective, Greenspan,” Managerial Finance, Vol. 25, No. 5, pp. 15-33; http://giorgio.emeraldinsight.com/Insight/viewContainer.do?containerType=Issue&containerId=13529; http://www.mises.org/etexts/goldcritique.pdf

Block, Walter E. 2003. “Private property rights, economic freedom, and Professor Coase: A Critique of Friedman, McCloskey, Medema and Zorn,” Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Vol. 26, No. 3, Summer, pp. 923-951; http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_go2782/is_3_26/ai_n6640908/?tag=content

Block, Walter E. 2010. “Milton Friedman on Intolerance: A Critique.” Libertarian Papers; Vol. 2, No. 41;

http://libertarianpapers.org/2010/41-block-milton-friedman-on-intolerance-a-critique/; http://mises.org/daily/6208/Friedman-on-Intolerance-A-Critique

Block, Walter E. 2011. “How Not To Defend the Market: A critique of Easton, Miron, Bovard, Friedman and Boudreaux .” Journal of Libertarian Studies; Vol. 22, pp. 581–592; http://mises.org/journals/jls/22_1/22_1_28.pdf

Block, Walter E. and William Barnett II. 2012-2013. “Milton Friedman and the financial crisis,” American Review of Political Economy, Vol. 10, No. 1/2, June, 2012 – June 2013; pp. 2-17; http://www.ARPEJournal.com; http://arpejournal.com./ARPEvolume10number1-2/Block.pdf; arpejournal.com

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

Letter 3

From: A
Sent: Wednesday, August 07, 2019 8:27 AM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Napolitano is an Anarchist (Video)

Dr. Block,

You’re absolutely right about Andrew Napolitano. He is a libertarian through and through. In this video, a Mises U student accuses Napolitano of being an anarchist. The Judge does not deny the charge (26:35).

https://youtu.be/0sNWbiAMf80

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1:59 pm on August 7, 2019

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Judge Andrew Napolitano is an Excellent Libertarian, Part II

Letter 1

From: G

Sent: Tuesday, August 06, 2019 7:42 AM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Judge Andrew Napolitano is an Excellent Libertarian

Good morning Walter,

I think you may have stretched too far on this one (https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/judge-andrew-napolitano-is-an-excellent-libertarian/). Andrew is a very fine man and I have great respect for him. I was even a guest on his show a few times, but I never considered him to be a staunch libertarian. He certainly has many libertarian leanings, but is in my opinion forever a man who believes in the government system. Simply wanting a smaller government does not a libertarian make, and if I am wrong about that, I would never claim to be libertarian myself. Only if two different definitions exist would that work; where one is a purest as in my case, and one is a mainstream Libertarian Party type who supports any number of non-libertarian policies.

As for Rand Paul, he has never once been a libertarian. He has said this many times himself. He is a Republican conservative, who is better on many issues than most, but clearly is not a libertarian. To call him one is a misstatement.

All my best … G

Letter 2

On Aug 6, 2019, at 9:52 AM, Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu wrote:

Dear G:

In this context, I don’t much care about what people call themselves. In labelling them, I care how their positions square with libertarianism. If an elephant or a kangaroo could speak, and they denied these labels commonly applied to them, would a biologist have to change his labelling system? Of course not. If chemical elements could speak and denied their categorization, would chemists have to change their period table of the elements? Ditto. We political scientists, too, have a rational categorization system, which should not be altered just because some of its subjects quarrel with their description.

Only anarchist libertarians don’t “believe … in the government system.”  Most libertarians are not anarchists. Here are some: Mises, Ron Paul, Robert Nozick, FA Hayek, Milton Friedman, Ayn Rand (she didn’t call herself a libertarian either, but, she most certainly was one).

Best regards,

Walter

Letter 3

From: G

Sent: Tuesday, August 06, 2019 9:15 AM

To: Walter Block

Subject: Re: Libertarians

Walter,

I have never liked labels, but I am very certain of what I believe and why.

But with that said, the term libertarian is being painted with brush the size of Manhattan these days, and now seems to include protectionists, warmongers, hypocrites, drug warriors, and all those who continue to support the insane notion of democracy. I have even heard very many call Trump a libertarian. As has been the case in the U.S. for centuries, words and terms mean nothing, as their meaning can be changed at will to marginalize any thought of reality.

I simply believe in peace and harmony, non-aggression 100% of the time with the single exception of pure individual self-defense, no election of a ruling class, no taxation, and no top down state apparatus. Where does this leave my label?

I guess I will just have to be called a individualist freedom enigma!

Best … G

Letter 4

Dear G:

You don’t like labels? Then you exclude yourself from this realm of social science. Specifically, in this case, you cannot be a scientist who tries to make sense of politics. I don’t go so far as to say that biology and chemistry consist of no more than categorization, labelling, but, surely, this is a large part of both. Science is the systematic study of something or other, and, being clear on language is a first and necessary step for any systematic study of anything. All of language is labelling. If you really opposed labelling, you couldn’t write or speak. Each and every word you utter is distinguished from, labelled differently than, every other word.

I don’t paint libertarianism with a brush the size of Manhattan. I never said Trump was a libertarian. I supported him in 2016 only vis a vis Hilary.

“Non-aggression 100% of the time” is anarcho-capitalism. Libertarianism is a lot broader than that. Your “brush stroke” is WAY too narrow.

Yes, Andrew is not an anarcho-capitalist, at least I don’t think he is. But, to exclude him from the realm of libertarianism on that ground is what philosophers call a “howler.” It is a very serious logical blunder. Judge Napolitano in my estimation is one of the most gifted libertarians of this present age, rather, of any age for that matter.

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3:28 pm on August 6, 2019

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Are Human Beings the Only Rights Bearing Entities? Maybe Not.

Letter 1

At 10:58 AM 4/5/2019, I wrote:

Dear T:

In my view, a fertilized egg now lying in a petri dish is as human as a 3 week old baby. Why? Because the adult version of this fertilized egg is a rights bearing creature, a human being.

Letter 2

—–Original Message—–

From: T

Sent: Friday, April 05, 2019 3:49 PM

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: RE: abortion, eviction, murder, and medical science

Thanks so much for your reply.

One last question I could not find addressed in any of your publications, If that fertilized egg were created, not by a sperm and an egg, but were manufactured (as is soon to be possible) from a text file and a DNA synthesizer machine, would you still con

Letter 3

—–Original Message—–

From: Walter Block [mailto:wblock@loyno.edu]

Sent: Saturday, April 06, 2019 12:23 PM

To: T

Subject: RE: abortion, eviction, murder, and medical science

Dear T:

My answer is the same. I would consider such an entity a rights bearing creature, albeit not a human being, if and only if the adult version of the product of “a text file and a DNA synthesizer machine” would be considered a human being, with rights.

Murray Rothbard once brilliantly (a redundancy) answered this challenge.  If I could find it, I’d quote him here. (If anyone can supply me with this quote, I’d be grateful). In its absence, I’ll have to content myself with giving you the gist of it.

Murray said, suppose we go to Mars, and see some creatures that look half like a snake, half like a shark, half like a chicken and half like a frog (Don’t worry, I haven’t lost my mind, nor have I embraced fractional reserve banking; I’m just trying to paint a word picture from memory). And suppose the adults of these creatures said something like this to us:

“Hey, welcome to our planet. We’re glad you’re here. We’ll be delighted to engage in trade with you. We believe in specialization and the division of labor. We promise not to initiate violence against you earthlings.”

Suppose we were way more powerful than they are. We’ve got guns, all they’ve got are sharp teeth. Are we entitled to blast them away? Murray says no, and I fully agree with him. They aren’t human beings, but they have rights. (Similarly, if advanced beings ever enter our planet, and can obliterate us, it would be wrong for them to do so, since even though we are vastly inferior to them, we are still rights bearing).

Ditto for the product of  “a text file and a DNA synthesizer machine.” These robots, if they can petition for their rights, and respect our own, should not be slaughtered by us, even if we have the capacity to do so.

What about dolphins, chimpanzees and pigs? I think they are the smartest animals, but I’m not sure. When and if any of them can petition for their rights, promise to respect ours, then, I think, libertarian theory would not be compatible with treating them as we do our fellow human beings, by respecting their rights. No animal on earth, however, has come anywhere near being able to do this.

Maybe, one day, an animal could be trained to read such a script. That would not be sufficient in my view. The animal, or the robot, would have to mean these words; not be programed, merely, to repeat them, mindlessly. How we could tell the difference would be an interesting question. I suppose their next behaviors would determine this.

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8:57 pm on August 5, 2019

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Private Roads

From: D
Sent: Friday, April 05, 2019 4:46 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: How do I privatize my street?

Hello Prof. Block.

I live on a half-mile long side street. My neighbors and I were tired of people speeding so we tried to put a couple speed bumps in a few years back. Long story short, the town wouldn’t let us. I feel like privatizing the road would be the only way to put them in. Is it even possible to privatize a public side street or are there steps I can take to get it privatized?

Thank you, D

Dear D:

Bless you. I think the steps to be taken to privatize roads would be to elect someone like Ron Paul to be president of the US. I don’t see how, otherwise, as a practical matter, this could be done.

I’ve tried to make the case in favor of this step here:

Block, Walter E. 2009. The Privatization of Roads and Highways: Human and Economic Factors; Auburn, AL: The Mises Institute; http://www.amazon.com/Privatization-Roads-And-Highways-Factors/dp/1279887303/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336605800&sr=1-1; available for free here: http://mises.org/books/roads_web.pdf; http://mises.org/daily/3416; http://www.walterblock.com/wp-content/uploads/publications/radical_privatization.pdf; audio: http://store.mises.org/Privatization-of-Roads-and-Highways-Audiobook-P11005.aspx; http://www.audible.com/pd/Business/The-Privatization-of-Roads-and-Highways-Audiobook/B0167IT18K?tag=misesinsti-20; http://us1.campaign-archive1.com/?u=bf16b152ccc444bdbbcc229e4&id=6cbc90577b&e=54244ea97d

http://www.sanfranciscoreviewofbooks.com/2017/09/book-review-privatization-of-roads-and.html

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8:55 pm on August 5, 2019

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My Favorite Monetary Economists

From: SG
Sent: Friday, April 05, 2019 7:34 AM
To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>
Subject: money economics

Walter,

Who is your favorite economist to follow on US Monetary policy?

I once followed Doug Casey but found his views self serving.

He had no reply when asked to explain deflation vs inflation ( trillions of dollars created) during the Obama years. Why didn’t gold sky rocket or hyper inflation?

Please don’t misunderstand, I love Doug’s views and respect him. His writing freed my mind from the socialist trap. His books like “Speculator” are great too.

Best Regards, S

From: Walter Block [mailto:wblock@loyno.edu]

Sent: Friday, April 05, 2019 8:52 AM

To: SG

Subject: RE: money economics

Dear S:

My favorite monetary economists are Murray Rothbard, Ludwig von Mises, Guido Hulsmann, Joe Salerno and Bill Barnett. I am a biiiiig fan of Doug Casey’s. I don’t think he has a self-serving bone in his body. He is all about promoting libertarianism and good economics.

Best regards,

Walter

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3:47 pm on August 2, 2019

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From: S
Sent: Monday, April 01, 2019 6:14 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Typhoid Mary
Professor Block:

I heard only a moment of your conversation with Sam Seder which I suspect did not encompass all your thoughts on public health policy. Nevertheless, I feel moved as a physician to respond as follows.

If you accept the right of the state to imprison or forcibly vaccinate a carrier of Salmonella Typhi or Measles or Influenza or Adenovirus because they have the potential to kill even a small number of innocent contacts, then isn’t it a small step to endorsing compulsory screening and prophylaxis against nearly every imaginable illness or thought crime because they are all arguably potential lethal threats?

Leaving the science or lack of it in this case behind, Mary could receive a D- rating on her kitchen inspection,  patrons can beware or they can sue. Mary is not radioactive, nor is she a serial killer or  a bio-weapons manufacturer. In my view her illness is certainly not a justification for violating her right or the rights of millions to be left alone. Your argument and Salmonella Sam’s benevolent agreement with you are musical accompaniment to the relentless, toxic and tyrannical fear mongering by the biotech and pharm industry which I  labor against evey day of my professional life.

I should add that I’ve enjoyed reading many of your enlightening discussions on LRC.

Steve MD

From: Walter Block [mailto:wblock@loyno.edu]

Sent: Monday, April 01, 2019 4:31 PM

To: S

Subject: RE: Typhoid Mary

Dear Doctor S:

Thanks for your kind words

I think this pub responds to your concern. If you don’t agree, please get back to me on this:

Block, Walter E. and William Barnett II. 2008. “Continuums” Journal Etica e Politica / Ethics & Politics, Vol. 1, pp. 151-166, June; http://www2.units.it/~etica/; http://www2.units.it/~etica/2008_1/BLOCKBARNETT.pdf

Here are my two debates with Sam Seder:

February 11, 2015. Sam Seder debates Walter E. Block. Part III. The Majority Report [mailto:majorityreporters@gmail.com] The Majority Report with Sam Seder. Live M-F 12:00 NOON ET. http://majority.fm; Ring of Fire Radio. With Sam Seder, Mike Papantonio and Bobby Kennedy Jr. Weekends. http://www.ringoffireradio.com; Resolved: “laissez faire capitalism is the best system known to man” http://majority.fm/2014/05/01/51-professor-walter-block-defends-libertarianism/; http://majority.fm/; 646-257-3920; topics: vaccinations, a reprise of our min wage discussion, your email sign off “If it moves, privatize it; if it doesn’t move, privatize it. Since everything either moves or doesn’t move, privatize everything.” and if it’s ok, a listener wanted me to ask you to explain the difference between consequentialist and deontological libertarianism; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBNZwHw4eT8; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulMRmIALBX8

April 30, 2014. Sam Seder debates Walter E. Block. Part II. The Majority Report [mailto:majorityreporters@gmail.com] The Majority Report with Sam Seder. Live M-F 12:00 NOON ET. http://majority.fm; Ring of Fire Radio. With Sam Seder, Mike Papantonio and Bobby Kennedy Jr. Weekends. http://www.ringoffireradio.com; Resolved: “laissez faire capitalism is the best system known to man” http://majority.fm/2014/05/01/51-professor-walter-block-defends-libertarianism/; http://majority.fm/; 646-257-3920; https://archive.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/walter-block-defends-the-ethical-argument-for-eliminating-the-minimum-wage/; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVAzC3r8WUs

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3:46 pm on August 2, 2019

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S offers a critique of my views concerning stealing a loaf of bread, which appeared on the blog recently.

Below, see my response to him.

From: S

Sent: Thursday, August 01, 2019 10:18 AM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Re: Compatible…libertarian…bread…? YES

Good afternoon, Walter,

It’s always pleasing to have an intellectual reason for contacting you!

I’m testing the strength of the limb as I shuffle out along it … but ….

Well, let’s start with an analogy. Suppose your neighbour is holiday, and you happen by his house and notice it is on fire. Now the conundrum is, he never gave you permission to enter his property – but that (we presume) is what you’d need to do to tackle the fire. So, does it contravene the NAP, to trespass onto his ground and even break into his house to tackle the flames while they are yet in their infancy?

Suppose also that he has a cat trapped inside. Why a cat? Why not?

Where I believe this avoids contravening the NAP is that you can’t KNOW he, your neighbour, forbids in absentia your trespass etc. to put out the fire in his house. So you can’t KNOW that your actions are ‘aggressive’ – in the sense of going against his wishes regarding his property. Is Schrodinger’s Cat on fire? The chances surely are that he’d rather you trespassed and broke into his house to put the fire out, than just stood there like a useless libertarian, wondering what Aleppo was, while his house burned down.

What you CAN know in advance is that you are at your neighbour’s legal mercy, should he wish to sue you for damages later.

Thus regarding taking someone else’s bread: Suppose, among your many hobbies, you also liked to bake bread; and suppose one afternoon you left some fresh loaves on the windowsill, and a starving munchkin took one. Crossness would ensue. But skip that part. Suppose you then found out that the thief took YOUR bread only because he was starving. Would you prosecute? Would you be glad he took it, if taking it in fact saved his life? Would you hope, when you placed the bread on the windowsill, that anyone who was genuinely starving would come and help themselves?

We cannot always know the motives of those who take the property of others – but that is why we cannot KNOW that we would condemn them for doing so – and I argue this ignorance to the logical conclusion that stealing a loaf of bread is therefore not NECESSARILY aggressive: For if you knew in advance why someone was going to steal your bread, you wouldn’t mind at all; and if you wouldn’t mind them taking it, then it’s not theft; and if not theft, then not aggression against your property.

And if it is not aggressive, then it must be compatible with libertarian law.

Call it ‘hindsight libertarianism’? But I think the problem stems from a presumption of aggression, when circumstances may dismiss the aggression.

Well, I welcome your thoughts. And of course you can publish the above on LRC.

Regards, S

Dear S:

Nice try at undermining strict libertarian theory, but no cigar.

Yes, you’ve put your finger on an important point. The NAP and private property rights, alone, all by their lonesome, do not exhaust libertarianism. More is needed. There are grey areas. We also need rational, hopefully private judges for these grey areas to INTERPET and APPLY the NAP and private property rights, the foundations of libertarianism. To say this does not make me into a thick libertarian. I am not adding material extraneous to the NAP and private property rights.

There is not a rational judge in the land who would imprison for trespass someone who broke into a house on fire in order to douse the flames. Similarly, there is not a rational judge in the land who would imprison for assault and battery a doctor who gave an emergency tracheotomy, without his permission, and thus saved this life, to a man dying from choking. Similarly, there is not a rational judge in the land who would imprison for assault and battery a man who pushed a woman out of the path of the proverbial onrushing truck, thus saving her life, even though he broke her ribs in the process. Ditto for the Heimlich maneuver.

The over-whelmingly reasonable PRESUMPTION is that people want fires in their homes put out. The over-whelmingly reasonable PRESUMPTION is that people want to be pushed out of the way of oncoming trucks, so as to save their lives. The over-whelmingly reasonable PRESUMPTION is that people who are choking want a tracheotomy, or to be subjected to the sometimes brutal Heimlich  maneuver, again, so as to save their lives. But, can we say that the over-whelmingly reasonable PRESUMPTION is that bakers, or others, want their bread stolen by starving people? I cannot see my way clear to agreeing with that. Yes, most of us, bakers and non-bakers alike, would be willing to give a loaf of bread to a starving person. Most people are generous. That’s why we have private charity. But, if we left bread out on the street, with a sign, saying, “Only starving people may take this loaf of bread” all the bread would soon be gone, and not at all on the part of starving people. So, we cannot deduce that bread owners are willing to do any such thing.

Again I ask, under which type of law are we likely to have fewer starving people, the goal of all men of good will? The libertarian one, which severely punishes theft, or the hippie, dippie, pinko law, which allows this. The answer is obvious in my view. Private property rights should be sacrosanct, no exceptions. Yes, interpretation, but no exceptions.

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4:46 pm on August 1, 2019

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Is It Compatible With Libertarian Law To Steal A Loaf Of Bread To Save A Child From Starvation? No.

Here is a series of back and forth letters on this subject. I admit, my position sounds callous. But, I insist, more lives of children and everyone else will be saved by upholding the non-aggression principle (NAP) of libertarianism, than by compromising this foundation of our entire philosophy. Let’s all try to be logically consistent libertarians.

Also see, at the very end of this blog, the best compilation of Hans Hoppe’s break-through defense of the NAP, on the basis of argumentation ethics, that I’ve been able to put together, with the help of Stephan Kinsella.

Letter 1

From: N

Sent: Monday, March 25, 2019 11:31 AM

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: Morally Justifiable Theft

Dear Dr. Block,

Some theft is morally justifiable. If I am starving to death, dying from lack of antibiotics, etc.

Does this not morally justify a very minimal level of government theft on consequentialist grounds? Surely organized and orderly theft is better for everyone involved than no system at all.

Letter 2

On Mon, Mar 25, 2019 at 12:39 PM Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu> wrote:

I disagree. Deontologically, the issue is clear. But even from a pragmatic or utilitarian perspective: fewer people will starve to death, die from any other cause, if no one ever stole; there were no exceptions.

Letter 3

From: N

Sent: Monday, March 25, 2019 1:59 PM

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: Re: Morally Justifiable Theft

Surely it would be cheaper for us rich folk to pay, say, a 1% tax then have a higher crime rate from those starving to death trying to steal food?

Letter 4

On Mon, Mar 25, 2019 at 3:52 PM Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu> wrote:

That’s irrelevant to deontology. My motto is: “Millions for defense, not a penny for tribute.”

Letter 5

From: N

Sent: Tuesday, March 26, 2019 2:08 PM

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: Re: Morally Justifiable Theft

But you’re not a pure deontologist, are you? You’ve said yourself you would grab someone who is about to commit suicide. This is an extension of that consequentialism.

Letter 6

On Tue, Mar 26, 2019 at 2:40 PM Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu> wrote:

Tisn’t. I’d grab him, but then, as a deontologist, I’ll admit I’d be a criminal. Hopefully, in a private court, I would not be punished too severely. It is like pushing someone out of the way of an onrushing truck, and breaking his ribs. Is it assault and battery. Well, yes, sort of. But even a government court, I think, would go lightly on such a “criminal,” if he was found guilty of a crime in the first place.

Letter 7

From: N

Sent: Tuesday, March 26, 2019 5:18 PM

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: Re: Morally Justifiable Theft

Would you say you were morally justified in taking the action? You must be able to answer yes or no. If the answer is yes then you agree that consequentialism can override deontology.

I don’t think you can have your cake and eat it.

Letter 8

On Tue, Mar 26, 2019 at 5:23 PM Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu> wrote:

Nice, try. But libertarians have no views on morality. In my own personal view, it would be moral to grab a person attempting suicide (initiate violence against him, kidnap him.) but, I don’t see how this logically implies that consequentialism can override deontology. Remember, I’m a criminal if I do that; that’s the deontology.

Letter 9

From: N

Sent: Tuesday, March 26, 2019 5:50 PM

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: Re: Morally Justifiable Theft

How do you justify libertarianism if not by moral argument?

Letter 10

On Tue, Mar 26, 2019 at 6:32 PM Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu> wrote:

nap

Letter 11

From: N

Sent: Wednesday, March 27, 2019 9:12 AM

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: Re: Morally Justifiable Theft

How do you justify the NAP?

Letter 12

Hoppe’s argument from argument. Do read that magnificent argument of his. Here’s a biblio:

(http://www.stephankinsella.com/2013/01/hoppe-on-treating-aggressors-as-mere-technical-problems/).

Hoppe, Hans-Hermann. 1989. “The Ethical Justification of Capitalism and Why Socialism Is Morally Indefensible,” chapter 7, A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers

Hoppe, Hans-Hermann. 1993. The Economics and Ethics of Private Property. Studies in Political Economy and Philosophy, Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers

http://hanshoppe.com/publications/liberty_symposium.pdf in Liberty

Kinsella, Stephan. Defense of Hans’ argumentation ethics vis a vis Murphy and Callahan; http://www.anti-state.com/article.php?article_id=312

Block, Walter E. 2004. “Are Alienability and the Apriori of Argument Logically Incompatible?” Dialogue, Vol. 1, No. 1.http://www.uni-svishtov.bg/dialog/2004/256gord6.pdf

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discourse_ethics

Argument from argument:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discourse_ethics

Arguementation ethics, Argument from argument:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discourse_ethics

hics”; see www.HansHoppe.com, go to publications, topics, argumentation ethics.http://www.mises.org/esandtam/pfe3.asp

From Stephan Kinsella:

Hoppe’s “argumentation ethic” defense of libertarian rights was first published, to my knowledge, in three articles in 1988: “On the Ultimate Justification of the Ethics of Private Property,” Liberty (September 1988); “The Justice of Economic Efficiency,” Austrian Economics Newsletter (Winter 1988); and a longer piece, “From the Economics of Laissez Faire to the Ethics of Libertarianism,” in: Walter E. Block  & Llewellyn H. Rockwell, eds., Man, Economy, and Liberty: Essays in Honor of Murray N. Rothbard (Mises Institute, 1988). These were included as chapters 10, 9, and 8, respectively, of Hoppe’s book The Economics and Ethics of Private Property (Kluwer, 1993). The most definitive elaboration of Hoppe’s theory is found in “The Ethical Justification of Capitalism and Why Socialism Is Morally Indefensible,” chapter 7 of his monumental A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism (Kluwer 1989; more info; hereinafter referred to as TSC ). This chapter is similar to the 1988 chapter in Man, Economy, and Liberty. These and other materials are available at Hoppe’s website.

Hoppe, 1988A, 1988B, 1988C, 1988D, 1993, 1995

Hoppe, Hans Hermann. 1988A. “On the Ultimate Justification of the Ethics of Private Property,” Liberty, September

Hoppe, Hans Hermann. 1988B. “The Justice of Economic Efficiency,” Austrian Economics Newsletter. Winter

Hoppe, Hans Hermann. 1988C. “From the Economics of Laissez Faire to the Ethics of Libertarianism,” in: Walter E. Block  & Llewellyn H. Rockwell, eds., Man, Economy, and Liberty: Essays in Honor of Murray N. Rothbard. Auburn, AL: The Mises Institute.

Hoppe, Hans-Hermann. 1988D. “Utilitarians and Randians vs Reason.” Liberty (November): 53–54;http://www.libertyunbound.com/sites/files/printarchive/Liberty_Magazine_November_1988.pdf

Hoppe, Hans-Hermann. 1993. The Economics and Ethics of Private Property. Studies in Political Economy and Philosophy, Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 204-207

Hoppe, Hans-Hermann. 1995. Economic Science and the Austrian Method. Auburn, AL: The Ludwig von Mises Institute; http://www.mises.org/esandtam/pes1.asp;

http://www.mises.org/esandtam/pfe3.asp; http://mises.org/pdf/esam.pdf

These were included as chapters 10, 9, and 8, respectively, of Hoppe’s book The Economics and Ethics of Private Property (Kluwer, 1993). The most definitive elaboration of Hoppe’s theory is found in “The Ethical Justification of Capitalism and Why Socialism Is Morally Indefensible,” chapter 7 of his monumental A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism (Kluwer 1989; more info; hereinafter referred to as TSC ). This chapter is similar to the 1988 chapter inMan, Economy, and Liberty. These and other materials are available at Hoppe’s website.

Bibliography, supporters of Hoppe::  argumentation ethics::

Block, 2004, 2011; Eabrasu, 2009; Gordon, 1988; Hoppe, 1988A, 1988B, 1988C, 1988D, 1993, 1995; Kinsella, 1996, 2002; Meng, 2002; Rothbard, 1988, Van Dun, 2009.

Block, Walter E. 2004. “Are Alienability and the Apriori of Argument Logically Incompatible?” Dialogue, Vol. 1, No. 1;http://www.uni-svishtov.bg/dialog/2004/256gord6.pdf

Block, Walter E. 2011. “Rejoinder to Murphy and Callahan on Hoppe’s Argumentation Ethics” Journal of Libertarian Studies; Vol. 22, pp. 631–639;

http://mises.org/journals/jls/22_1/22_1_31.pdf

Eabrasu, Marian. 2009.  “A Reply to the Current Critiques Formulated Against Hoppe’s Argumentation Ethics,”Libertarian Papers. Vol. I, No. 1;

http://libertarianpapers.org/2009/20-eabrasu-critiques-argumentation-ethics/

Gordon, David. 1988. “Radical & Quasi-Kantian.” Liberty (November): 46–47;http://www.libertyunbound.com/sites/files/printarchive/Liberty_Magazine_November_1988.pdf

Kinsella, Stephan. 1996. “New Rationalist Directions in Libertarian Rights Theory.” Journal of Libertarian Studies 12 (12): 323–38.

Kinsella, N. Stephan. 2002 [2011]. “Defending Argumentation Ethics: Reply to Murphy & Callahan,” Anti-state.com,Sept. 19 [July 2]; http://www.anti-state.com/article.php?article_id=312

Kinsella, Stephan N. 2011. “Argumentation Ethics and Liberty: A Concise Guide.” May 27;

http://mises.org/daily/5322/

Hoppe, Hans Hermann. 1988A. “On the Ultimate Justification of the Ethics of Private Property,” Liberty, September

Hoppe, Hans Hermann. 1988B. “The Justice of Economic Efficiency,” Austrian Economics Newsletter. Winter

Hoppe, Hans Hermann. 1988C. “From the Economics of Laissez Faire to the Ethics of Libertarianism,” in: Walter E. Block  & Llewellyn H. Rockwell, eds., Man, Economy, and Liberty: Essays in Honor of Murray N. Rothbard. Auburn, AL: The Mises Institute.

Hoppe, Hans-Hermann. 1988D. “Utilitarians and Randians vs Reason.” Liberty (November): 53–54;http://www.libertyunbound.com/sites/files/printarchive/Liberty_Magazine_November_1988.pdf

Hoppe, Hans-Hermann. 1993. The Economics and Ethics of Private Property. Studies in Political Economy and Philosophy, Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 204-207

Hoppe, Hans-Hermann. 1995. Economic Science and the Austrian Method. Auburn, AL: The Ludwig von Mises Institute; http://www.mises.org/esandtam/pes1.asp;

http://www.mises.org/esandtam/pfe3.asp; http://mises.org/pdf/esam.pdf

Meng, Jude Chua Soo. 2002. “Hopp(e)ing Onto New Ground: A Rothbardian Proposal for Thomistic Natural Law as the Basis for Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s Praxeological Defense of Private Property.” Working paper, http://www.mises.org/journals/scholar/meng.pdf

Rothbard, Murray. 1988. “Beyond Is and Ought.” Liberty (November): 44–45; http://mises.org/daily/4629/Beyond-Is-and-Oughthttp://www.libertyunbound.com/sites/files/printarchive/Liberty_Magazine_November_1988.pdf

Van Dun, Frank. 2009. “Argumentation Ethics and The Philosophy of Freedom.” Libertarian Papers, No. 19;http://libertarianpapers.org/2009/19-van-dun-argumentation-ethics/

Con:

Friedman, 1988; Murphy and Callahan, 2006; Steele, 1988; Yeager, 1988.

Friedman, David. 1988. “The Trouble with Hoppe: Some Brief Comments on Hoppe’s Justification of the Private Property Ethic.” Liberty, 2.2, November, 53–54.; http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Libertarian/On_Hoppe.html;http://www.libertyunbound.com/sites/files/printarchive/Liberty_Magazine_November_1988.pdf

Murphy, Robert P. and Gene Callahan. 2006. “Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s Argumentation Ethics: A Critique.” The Journal of Libertarian Studies. Vol. 20, No. 2, Spring, pp. 53-64; http://www.mises.org/journals/jls/20_2/20_2_3.pdf

Steele, David Ramsay. 1988. “One Muddle After Another.” Liberty (November): 45–46;http://www.libertyunbound.com/sites/files/printarchive/Liberty_Magazine_November_1988.pdf

Yeager, Leland. 1988. “Raw Assertions.” Liberty (November): 45–46;http://www.libertyunbound.com/sites/files/printarchive/Liberty_Magazine_November_1988.pdf

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3:16 pm on July 31, 2019

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Economics Is A Science That Deals With PEOPLE!

Ordinarily, I do not keep conversations like this going. But, E is a Jesuit Priest, a faculty member at a university who teaches philosophy, business ethics, etc. I feel it very important to try to convert him to the one true faith: Austrian economics and the libertarian political philosophy. I’m gonna keep trying to save his soul.

Letter 1

On Sun, Feb 24, 2019 at 12:06 PM Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu> wrote:

Dear E:

Of interest:

A Counter Example to the Economic Law of Downward Sloping Demand? No.

Letter 2

From: E

Sent: Thursday, March 07, 2019 7:58 PM

To: Walter Block

Subject: Re: response

Walter, Peace

Of course I agree with you that, other things being equal, the higher price, the less the sales.  Similarly, the higher the wage, the likelihood that fewer people will be hired.

There is, as you note, one hitch.  That hitch is people.

This is true of prices for goods.  I checked with my students about prices of toothpaste.  They have no idea whether any tube is better than another tube.  But they do know that the box is bright red and it promises “brighter teeth.”  So they buy it.

On the other hand, the problem of wages is people.

They need to eat.  They have dignity.

So, yes, absent people, the libertarian economy might be the way to go.

E

Letter 3

On Thu, Mar 7, 2019 at 11:43 PM Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu> wrote:

Oy vey

You wouldn’t tell a chemist that, would you? That his chemical theories are all well and good, regarding chemicals, animals, vegetables, rocks, but not PEOPLE, would you? Why pick on economics? We’re a science too.

You say this: “Similarly, the higher the wage, the likelihood that fewer PEOPLE (emphasis added) will be hired.”

So, you concede, economics does deal with PEOPLE?

Letter 4

From: E

Sent: Friday, March 08, 2019 8:44 PM

To: Walter Block

Subject: Re: response

Walter, Peace

To keep the conversation going:

But of course I would say that to a Chemist.  When I lived in the Harvard area, a lab was built just down the street from me.  I saw it being built.  It was put several feet underground, with all sorts of concrete and safety locks, I was told.  I was also told that those locks were there because the Harvard chemist-biologists were going to be creating some chemicals/bugs that could wipe out the human population, but were also useful for serious research on life processes themselves.  I was a little afraid, of course, but I approved because it was (supposedly) good for science.

I would not, however, have been happy if those bugs/chemicals were brought out to where people live and breathe.

The analogy, of course, is that libertarian economics is very interesting, and I can understand at least some of its rationale.  It makes sense of parts of human life.  My concern, however, is that it not be brought out to where people live and breathe.  It will infect people’s souls.  Or rather, it has infected them, and I want to contain the spread.

So when you suggest that as a body of thought libertarianism economics might have much to teach about economics, I agree.  I could add that, unlike what would happen if those bugs in the lab were brought out to people, most people have a good enough sense of human life not to buy into libertarian economics wholesale and retail.  Still that doesn’t alleviate my perception that it already infects people and somewhat disables them from being fully human.  The question might be: what does this theory do to people if it is allowed or even encouraged to spread?

Of course, it has spread.  To wit, many more of our students ask the question, “how will a liberal arts education help me to get a job and make good money?” rather than the question “how will this education make me a better person or a better citizen or a better contributor to the world?” or even, god forbid, “how will this liberal education bring me in union with God?”  Those latter questions used to be closer to the forefront of many educated persons’ minds.

So it is fun to debate (or, at least for me, to learn about) libertarian economics as a “science.”  I really did not know some people think that way.

Let the conversation continue.

E

Letter 5

From: Walter Block [mailto:wblock@loyno.edu]

Sent: Friday, March 08, 2019 10:19 PM

To: E

Subject: RE: response

Dear E:

There is no such thing as “libertarian economics.” Libertarianism is a value-laden, normative discipline; it asks one question: under what condition is violence justified; it gives but one answer: only in retaliation against, or in defense against, initiatory violence, or the threat thereof. It lives in the world of oughts, and shoulds. It is part of political philosophy.

Economics, in sharp distinction, is a positive discipline. It asks what causes what? What are the effects of this or that? It answers, or at least the Austrian version answers, all human action is an attempt to make the future a better one for the actor than would have otherwise occurred without that action. The mainstream version gives a slightly different answer. Proper economics is totally value free. It totally abjures the world of oughts, and shoulds. It has nothing whatsoever to do with political philosophy.

It is difficult to discuss economics with you when we have such different views of what economics is. But, I’m gonna keep trying. Your very soul is at stake here.

Best regards,

Walter

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4:17 pm on July 30, 2019

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