Karl Smith Says He’s Wearing A Label He Didn’t Ask For

Karl Smith at Modeled Behavior says.

Doing the rounds on Mises circuit I am usually identified as a liberal or a person from the left. I don’t really much care so I take that ID.


??? Why is that important (other than by engaging the Misesians, that you position yourself well). The Rothbardian wing of the Libertarians are radicals – anarchists. And from the extreme right, everyone else looks left.

But you’re a moderate. You’re a classical liberal. In current labels, if you were a little less comfortable with totalitarianism, you’d be part of the Neo-Classical Liberal movement. (See “Bleeding heart libertarians”.) And your belief that we should overthrow the electorate in order to ‘do what’s good for them’ simply proves that you’re a totalitarian. If people prefer what’s bad for them, then that’s OK. RIght now, they prefer to punish their government. You seem to think that’s stupid. But it’s not. It’s just a choice. And that’s what makes the difference between a libertarian and a totalitarian. So, for example, it’s pretty clear that a muslim political majority is economically disastrous for any society that was previously christian. Do you feel that the people have the right then, to demand a muslim government if empirically, it would be bad for them? Likewise, the economic movements in asia that have succeed have been lead by their Christian minorities. So, if Americans want to limit their government if it imposes upon them a cost, then why shouldn’t they?

That set of questions illustrates the difference between reason and scientism. Scientism being a pejorative.

Democratic socialists have co-opted the term ‘liberal’ from Classical Liberalism. Hayek also used the term Libertarian. Rothbard created the Libertarian Manifesto and effectively co-opted the term. Leaving those of us that are neo-classical liberals (bleeding hearts so to speak) without a name.

In the end, in any calculation, from the most numeric to the most heuristic, we must solve for *something*. Some people solve for more freedom over longer periods of time, and others for less freedom and more consumption in the near term. You’re part of the latter group. But I suspect that you’re from the latter group only because you’re enamored of your methods, and ignorant of the long term consequences of the policies you advocate.

I don’t advocate redistribution out of an arbitrary sense of empathy – empathy is a weak means of perception in an economy. I do so because propertarian theory helps me understand that redistribution is necessary simply because the system of property rights imposes a cost on individuals and if they respect property rights then should have dividends on their investment. The problem is that these investments must be calculable. This is not something you are familiar with most likely, (the socialist calculation debate) but pooling of money, and general liquidity are both means of creating incalculable relationships between ends and means. And as such they partly destroy the patterns of information needed for an economy. So, if you want to get money into an economy, then do so in a way that is calculable – by low interest loans in areas of the economy that will provide people with what they desire AND need.


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