It’s really not that hard as soon as you realize it’s a cult like the Manson Family, Jim Jones or Scientology.  It helps explain Ron Paul and his acolytes quite nicely, actually.

From The Austrian Disease — Poor Scholarship, A Priori Bias

Despite its efforts to reach a broader audience, libertarianism is a marginal discourse and it probably always will be (political cults without real power are always marginal – because they’re so extreme that the majority will not accept them, but may have them imposed on them by the state). But it lingers around the internet, derailing many economic and political debates.

Libertarians – and their Austrian brethren – since they are, at heart, metaphysicians and cultists, are often proselytizing rather than engaging in a discussion, even about the most mundane and non-theoretical of topics; such as, say, the structure of the modern banking system. Anything that calls into question any of their principles is quickly steamrolled over with either mounds of rhetoric or sophistical arguments.

Let us take an example of a ‘liberty-meme’ that bounces around the internet. There are many of these. One could, for example, deal with the 1920-21 recession that is torn out of context and elevated to mythic status. But that is too nuanced a discussion to have in short form (even though I think the evidence that 1920-21 was no more than an unmanaged post-war adjustment and thus has little bearing upon possible government responses to a massive debt deflation).

The rest of this excellent article is a thorough take-down of the entire libertarian edifice.  Reading this reminds me why the week I spent arguing with the cultists over at Dr. Tim’s House of Thought Conformity was a complete waste of time.

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2 Responses to Demystifying Libertarianism and Austrian Economics

  1. asmith says:

    Yes, those damn austrians and libertarians, Not only do they keep dwelling on 1920-21 – but somehow every other economic downturn or event seems to fit into their anti-statist model.
    You would think they would appreciate some of the benefits the modern state has wrought – like refrigerators, and toilets, instead of fixating on the debt monkey in the room. And they just ignore how well our modern banks have done.

    In the war of ideas, liberals have come to battle unarmed.

    As to 1921 – maybe you should read the analysis of some of your own economists such as Romer, with regarding the substantial deflation, unemployment, and other economic dislocations of the 1920-21 recession. Absolutely is was a post-war adjustment – and an extremely bad one. And of course after WWII we raised taxes, increased spending, increased debt and therby avoided the same fate – NOT.

    The problem with liberals is they believe they actually believe the nonsense they spew.
    And talk about cults. you can not get libertarians to agree on much – they take personal freedom seriously. but stray far from the blue dogma and actually try to think you will be excoriated by your fellow cultists. Liberals do not grasp how stupid they sound to most of us – because they talk, they do not listen. They despise libertarians, because unlike everyone else they do not politely smile and ignore the lunacy.

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