For The Last Time, It's NOT Ignorance of Free Market Economics; It's Lust For POWER!
I finally reached my boiling point after reading Lew Rockwell's article in today's LRC in which he excoriates the State for its toxic interventions in the economy as fruitless attempts to “stop” the business cycle. Allow me to be clear here: I do not in any way, shape, or form disagree with Lew's conclusions, nor do I fault him for his focus on the Establishment's predictably inept and futile attempts to “fix” what they've broken through predictably failed and harmful actions. What I do object to is the implication (and Lew is not alone in this) that this is due to a lack of knowledge of Free Market Economics. Even talentless government bureaucrats are not stupid enough to have learned nothing from history.
Academic economists have been “running away from” the Austrian School ever since its inception. Even those few to gain prominence who have not done so, or who indeed have at one time given serious support to it, have eventually renounced it in favor or more “mainstream” schools, such as the Keynesian or Chicago flavors. Economically literate libertarians (I'm probably repeating myself here) know of whom I speak. For those new to the light, I am referring to the “Maestro”, Alan Greenspan, the architect of much of the current economic meltdown, a man who in his younger years was an ardent devotee of the gold standard and other tenets of the Austrian School, but who, upon realizing the ridicule and professional ostracism that such adherence engenders, chose to apostatize and join forces with the economists of the Establishment. Clearly, the Maestro saw this as a ready path to riches and power, despite what he clearly knew to be the indefensible flaws of this “mainstream” school, as revealed during the 1970s era of “stagflation.” Other “mainstream” academic economists simply refuse to debate or even discuss Austrian School theory, considering it “fringe”, “kooky”, “unrealistic”, or “beneath discussion.”
This of course begs the question: If this is true, then why not use the forum of a debate to drive a stake through the Austrian School's intellectual heart, once and for all? After all, if this economic school of thought is “fringe”, “kooky”, or “unrealistic”, should it not then be easy to demonstrate this through exposition of facts, and thus shut down debate once and for all time?
We know the answer. Austrian School economics is the only provably viable economic philosophy, the only one adherence to which can guarantee stable money, sanctity of property rights, and perpetuation of liberty. “Mainstream” economists, almost all of whom are apologists for and enablers of the State and its ever-expanding power, fully realize this. But to admit this is to rob the State of its omnipotence, to render themselves irrelevant, and to butcher a number of long-sacred philosophical cows. This cannot be allowed to happen; ergo, the coercive suppression of any attempt to teach Austrian economics on campus and the deliberate shutting out of consideration for it in the political realm. The Establishment's focus is on one thing and one thing only – the perpetuation and expansion of its own power over those not connected to itself, and whatever it takes to ensure continuity of this process will be done.
So, to all who decry the State's retreading of history's paths to failure (George Santayana, your memory can rest in peace), I say simply, get real, and stop being so naïve. As far as the State is concerned, we can all drop dead and rot. We are allowed to produce only to the extent that the fruits of our labor enable the State to continue to exercise and expand its predatory power over us, and our permission to retain said fruits is contingent upon the extent to which we “play nice” and obey our masters' every command, including that to pay tribute from our daily bread in an amount and frequency of their determination. For examples of what happens to entrepreneurs (i.e., those who demonstrate the willingness and means to use their own resources and means of production to satisfy consumer wants and needs), free thinkers, and lovers of liberty who do not bow and scrape to Leviathan and who seek to keep the fruits of their labors in the face of State extortion, see here. For examples of “entrepreneurs” who defy Leviathan's plan for their wealth, but then capitulate and tow the official line after being threatened with punitive measures, see here, here, and here, respectively.
No, the bottom line is that we are all slaves to a government that is well aware of what economic liberty is, but that refuses to allow it to flourish for justifiable fear that it will lead to that government's destruction. Some of us are more willing slaves than others, but no one who lives a life of liberty in defiance of the parameters Leviathan sets forth will long survive. It is past time that libertarians stop pretending otherwise.