Keynes Versus Hayek
You have, I’m sure, seen the joke of trickle-down economics where the ant colony in a see-through glass-terrarium is paraded out by some daffy Reagonite to show its symmetry, but instead all the worker ants at the bottom are dead—starved to death one assumes by the failure of Reagan’s portmanteau. Funny as that may be, you can plainly see that its appeal goes straight to a kind-hearted fool who thinks that the spontaneous order of the market is a thing controlled by some nasty conspiracy of greed of which they have no share in and frankly scorn. After all, if you are starving (i.e., prevented from your ‘noble’ physical labor by being unemployed), shouldn’t our democratic governments (representing you and your neighbor citizens) be practicing temporary emergency ethics permanently? Keynes once called Hayek’s economic theories—they were contemporaries—“a muddle dissolving into bedlam.”
What modern political liberalism has in common with marxism, socialism, rule-utilitarianism and even fascism—and really all collectivism—is a belief in a fundamental universal-intuition that human sacrifice is justified to achieve the moral ends of society and that merchants should be that scapegoat. Though this is a thing they think is beyond question—beyond even debate—in their hearts, when they meet legitimate intellectual opposition to this modern myth, they sense that their ‘true belief’ has all along been an ideology and become cynical about politics. At this point they try to sell it as the inevitability of history and that there’s nothing that can be done about it by any individual. Laissez-faire has screeched like a pterodactyl and flown away to some prehistoric swamp. Perhaps Hayek brought it back for a short time, but since the 2008 Financial Crisis it is done like democracy in Russia. The thought that trade and economic freedom might be many millenniums old, preceding formal reason and tied intimately to basic human freedom is lost on the contemporary consciousness. Perhaps there is a general understanding among us that we have possession of our own thoughts, our very own mind and body—it defines us—but is our property and possessions tantamount to the same thing? Today’s socialist-intelligentsia is baffled by the logic of Lockean property rights and denies there is a intimate connection between the two.
It is without question that liberals don’t want anything as extreme as marxism or fascism. They will settle, by Keynesian economic standards, for any democratic central planning. There may be perhaps a little heavy-handed taxation, eminent domain in all likelihood, a complete socializing of the money supply and a whole measure of things deemed necessary to ‘save’ capitalism from itself. This will include no doubt certain infrastructure expenditures, forced education and licensing professionals to name but a few in a huge litany of things the state does “just for you” but which could be achieved with greater economy by market forces. How much greater? We don't know. To our shame, many of them have never been tried.
In the famous quote about Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom, Keynes remarked, “Morally and philosophically I find myself in agreement with virtually the whole of it: and not only in agreement with it, but in deeply moved agreement . . . I come finally to what is really my only serious criticism of the book. You admit here and there that it is a question of knowing where to draw the line. You agree that the line has to be drawn somewhere, and that the logical extreme is not possible. But you give us no guidance whatever as to where to draw it. In a sense this is shirking the practical issue. It is true that you and I would probably draw it in different places. I should guess that according to my ideas you greatly underestimate the practicability of the middle course. But as soon as you admit that the extreme is not possible, and that a line has to be drawn, you are, on your own argument, done for since you are trying to persuade us that as soon as one moves an inch in the planned direction you are necessarily launched on the slippery path which will lead you in due course over the precipice.”
Well, then, if that’s the one difficulty—and Keynes’ disingenuousness here is laughable—then by all means let us draw a line for individual liberty that the liberal statists cannot misunderstand, a line as solid as a national border. Unless there is a real temporary crisis or emergency like locally Katrina or globally World War II, you can’t sacrifice or compel the individual for the sake of society. Not that Keynes ever concerned himself philosophically with anyone’s liberty but here is the main line Hayek would likely have drawn if I read him correctly: Economic transactions are individual choices by free agents. They have a full moral component, and if they are not made freely, they are coerced by the threat or actual use of state force for the person to go against his own moral (read: economic) choices; and therefore, those citizens in a free society who chose to be free ought to have an elected government with a moral obligation to allow the maximum liberty attainable for them as individual-sovereigns with their own borders despite the almost irresistible temptation of humans to plan things from a central authority (read: to practice macroeconomics) and to ignore individual human boundaries. Is this then a clear enough line for the liberal collectivists: human sacrifice is immoral in every case; in particular, those laws used to mollify the resentful majority in a democracy and especially for economic policy that favors some while forfeiting others, especially the scapegoats?
Socialism—planning the egalitarian society—and liberty—protecting individual freedom—are ultimately self-exclusive occurrences given enough time. The modern democratic moderate-socialist wants to believe otherwise: to restrict human choices with planning and to guarantee freedom with human rights intervention. This is irrationalism too funny to argue against but we must try. Socialism in its raw form and its disdain for commerce is a fundamental Platonic belief in human sacrifice (of the one to The Republic) and a method of economic moral utility. It requires as well, on the downside—even if some “freedom” is everlastingly lost—some elimination of competition, merit pay, risk-investment, reward for self-management and other fine human traits which come with allowing “selfish” individualism to flourish under the shield of Rule of Law. The counter-claim against this is that ‘runaway’ individualism will itself destroy not only all justice and civilization, but indeed the entire world—the very earth—itself.
These are some of the concepts Hayek proceeds with and which Keynesianism as a rejoinder—if we deal fairly with it—as you will see, is quite puzzling. If someone says to you, ‘You can’t be an atheist! You are too good a person.’ You will somewhat observe the deficit you face when you criticize socialism. We are all good socialists now just as surely as we are all good Christians decades ago. Freedom and individual liberty conflict with state organized planning no matter how good or bad these qualities appear to you. They are a thorny problem to all socialists except the fascists and Bolsheviks who would rather throw off the debate and violently seize power in their arrogance and childish belief of the absolute and the metaphysical rejection of any safeguards for individual rights.
The inevitable capitalists’ monopolies gathering like hurricanes in the autumn Atlantic Ocean, the expected forced march of ‘progress’ toward a just society and every act of political planning in between—whatever it entails—is an illustration, NOT of necessity, but of social evolution brought about by ideas, and in this case, some dreadful ones; though in their defense, bad not always in intent but in a common desire to seek an egalitarian alternative to competition at someone else’s expense and a rejection of human nature and the hard life. Our original tribal morality of collectivism, altruism, group-decisions, primitive-democracy and fervent egalitarianism—through cultural evolution—has been transformed here and there in history mostly through trade, exchange, contract and etcetera into one of economics (or one of individual human action).
What we need—life as a constant struggle is as good as it will ever get—is now being wholly laid out by science, especially anthropology, biology (with a whole understanding of evolutionary biology and social anthropology) and with a rejection of philosphies related to platonic otherworldly supernaturalism. What everything we are learning makes abundantly clear is whatever Homo sapiens are and how we became this complicated creature, was an accident and we did it without understanding how.
We have the knowledge at hand on how humans should be living, how they ought to behave towards one another and the best political system they need for everyone to thrive. As surely as some scientists have helped the food industry to manipulate the food-supply to seduce us through our evolutionary weakness to eat whenever fine-fare is available by making it irresistible as a modern (but nutrition free) processed food, so as well, many intellectuals have promoted utilitarianism as a morally valid (but ethically repugnant) arrangement for humans—who have a natural inclination for equality to begin with—without ever considering the bona fide cost of practicing human sacrifice against the individual by the power of the large modern ‘watchful’ democratic state.
These then are the issues between Keynes and Hayek which we will consider. As surely as Keynes was the economic revolutionary bringing ‘laissez-faire’ capitalism to heel so was Hayek a second-thought philosopher worried about the unseen effects of the democratic planned society. These two then are dynamic prototypes for the argument of the confines of liberty and the limits of the state to regulate it inside a democracy. Let’s continue hence.
Why Keynes is revolutionary (in a different mode than Marx or Schumpeter), why he is celebrated for The General Theory and respected as a statesman, philosopher and economist is his long list of achievements in all these fields. In an article of this size we don’t have time to list them all, but like Winston Churchill he was one of the West’s great thinkers, democrats and liberals of the last century. Churchill once joked that, “If you put two economists in a room, you get two opinions, unless one of them is Lord Keynes, in which case you get three opinions.” Keynes could certainly think on his feet and was a lustrous member of the British establishment of the 20th Century. His theory changed economics from a classic continental investigative study into one that is full of social and political strategy, macroeconomics as it is now called. As he saw it, state intervention in the economy was vital to restricting the inbuilt problems of instability, inequality and unemployment caused by the market place. . . . If you were asked how to get 30 million unemployed Americans in The Great Depression working, to quick-start the economy without war and manage a new arrangement without totalitarianism, he jumped bravely into the fray. Like Churchill he believed The Treaty of Versailles was a sheer act of vengeance and of singular stupidity on the part of the West. In The Economic Consequences of the Peace, he bluntly stated the case against retribution, lacerating the leaders of the settlement who had foisted it on the world and he rightly predicted like Churchill and Auden that it would lead to yet another global conflict.
He is to be admired for this and much else, including helping create three decades of prosperity after the Second World War and influencing the creation of The Marshall Plan so that the Versailles idiocy wouldn’t be repeated. His ideas have been criticized, especially that he yielded long term benefits for short—i.e., it would take 30 years to see the ‘impossibility’ of unemployment in the middle of an inflationary cycle—but he saw massive suffering due to what he believed a real failure of capitalism and he produced a supposition as brilliant as it was daring. Leaving the old economic assumptions behind, he abandoned the theory of laissez-faire and came to believe capitalism would be lost to violent revolt if not given immediate aid. Although his hypothesis may have (eventually and permanently) back-doored the modern welfare state, his outlook was statedly not socialist: “I seek to improve the machinery of society, not to overturn it.” With a belief in the intrinsic value of currency, he preached that national income was equal to the sum of the incomes of those employed. In The Means to Prosperity he explained to the lay-person and the non-economist, the obtuse ideas expounded in The General Theory and ushered in the dawning of deficit spending to deliberately raise prices to bribe industry to spend and expand the economy, and most importantly, to get the unemployed working again.
The political implications are at once obvious. If he had been accused of destroying capitalism he would have scoffed—he thought, like Schumpeter—that Marxism was nonsense and socialism unfeasible. Nonetheless, today, socialist-planning for the future rests on two centuries old Marxist political-science and they have had their doctrine bridged in some essential way by Keynes, who promoted most importantly, the socialization of money and the primacy of political choices over individual economic ones. He died in 1946 at the age of 62 without perhaps fully suspecting the immense influence that his legacy would have for the next four or five decades.
Among the intelligentsia, Hayek like Churchill was maligned, especially Churchill after the third decade of the 20th Century with his anti-fascist, ant-Nazi and anti-Bolshevik public diatribes, and Hayek, after The Road to Serfdom was published, which though selling well was vilified by the Keynesians and the whole Left as hateful and reactionary. To Hayek, who considered himself a Classical Liberal, and not a conservative, the public beat-down was depressing, stupefying and even inexplicable; to Churchill, it was a constant battle to stay in the struggle to save democracy from the Conservative appeasers who secretly admired the autocrats (i.e., the Fascists, Nazis, Monarchists and Imperialists).
After the Second World War, slowly, and in fits and starts, Keynesianism—skipping over the Marginal Utility Revolution—spread globally and Hayek’s concerns of liberty were at first utterly ignored. In the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80’s, the Western governments built all those public works, bridges and highways to everywhere. The era of fast food and big malls began. One wonders if Keynes’ theories in government spending helped erect those wooly mammoth shopping centers where the cult of consumerism now resides. Is the resounding fact that we now have Christmas 24/7/365, their design for the shoppers who they aided with cheap money? One could seriously ask if Keynesian economics was responsible for today’s obesity stats and the dim-witted multitude. Is the fact that the democratic governments are monitoring their own citizens without warrant (that is illegally) the consequence of the colossal control of the economy which all Keynesians support just as much as it’s the fault of The War on Terror? Is personal destiny and self–interest really so bad compared to metabolic syndrome, diabetes two, Alzheimer’s and heart-disease? Should there be no hard life, leanness, fasting, work-ethic or competition? Are we better off now than we were a generation ago? Will our children ever be out of public or private debt? Keynes, were he alive today, might be more sympathetic to his friend Hayek’s alarm than he was when he was alive.
The hope that people will embrace reason has been every rational philosopher’s complaint, including Bertrand Russell, who said of Keynes, “[His] intellect was the sharpest and clearest that I have ever known. When I argued with him, I felt that I took my life in my hands, and I seldom emerged without feeling something of a fool.” Keynes was a gifted operator and I doubt anyone would disagree, well turned-out and first-class, but there is a general problem with his view of life that is habitually overlooked. His view of human nature was skeletal and like Russell, Moore, Einstein and many other geniuses of his day, he had blind faith in scientific determinism, analytic philosophy and the welfare state.
Can we afford to live life without rigor, competition and stress? The market place can be an unforgiving trauma but the participants who succeed almost always do so relying on their own wit and less so on their luck. A modest daily exercise regime goes a long way but you may not do it if the state pays for your medical expenses. You shouldn’t go hungry, but actually, and counter-intuitively, you should go hungry. A morsel of restraint in the consumption of processed food makes all the difference in the world to your health but not if doctors, who are licensed and controlled by the state, can’t forbid you to graze like a herd animal and demand that you keep fit without them getting sued or losing their license if you hurt yourself doing it. If I am a famous public figure and I make it known that people should mimic their (several million years old) evolutionary lifestyle and should eat only natural occurring foods—[and that especially they shouldn’t have extra salt, sugar, vegetable oil, state-subsidized soy or corn, meat produced in the mass manufacturing slaughtering plants nor frequent restaurants or fast food places]—shouldn’t the state silence me because of all the economic havoc I would create if people listened to me? Big government certainly doesn’t want this street fight. But that’s what it should be, a knockdown brawl between responsible health management and the food and medical industries. But government in the mixed ‘capitalist’ economy tilts the scales in favor of big “EVERYTHING” including big people. The state shouldn’t have a stake in any scuffle like this. But it does in fact make enormous investments on the wrong side of the wager in almost every issue: food, war, medicine, health, education, morality and nearly everything else. And it’s global. And Keynesianism somewhat facilitates this phenomenon.
The belief that you are an alienated clog in the capitalist machine is absolutely fine except that your fellows around the globe abhor your underworked unionized-self—they have to work harder to make up for your shortfall and your whining gives them a headache as they labor their long hours and many part-time jobs, singing, “Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full.” Near the time of the beginning of our recorded history, primitive trade and markets sprang up, and later, hastened by greater surpluses, became routine in the large Mesopotamian, Indian or Asian towns and cities. This important human activity allowed the individual some freedom from the tribe and community. Far from alienating people, it gave real alternatives in their lives to escape the monotonous drudgery of daily survival. In fact it was only after the Industrial Revolution when the intellectual in earnest began first calling industry a form of alienation from nature, many of the critics of commerce were aristocrats with a bias against the bazaar, money lenders and artisans. Markets even millenniums past allowed greater numbers to thrive, empowering civilization which began the engine which has now got us this far: seven going on eight billion humans getting by where before, at the start, we were mere thousands, baking hot or freezing cold, fighting off the bugs and often hungry, jealous of our territory and fearful of the night, seldom happy and almost always dying young from war and privation. So when neo-Marxists speak of alienation, they are speaking of an idea, not a fact. Like all religious thinkers, they see what will fit their religious ideal, in this case communism as utopia.
Hard work is an exceedingly good human trait. So we want to ask should the government be in this dispute and produce laws protecting and promoting unions and organized labor? About your children: if you are a hard-working honest human being who doesn’t expect to be subsidized from every other human being who you come across [in the form of government regulation and taxation] but tries to make their own way in the world without harming others, guess what? They will love your hard-working person—not as teenagers maybe—but as adults surely. Do you know why? As grown-ups, they will likely be hard-working themselves and thus have a shot at a happy life—or at least life as fine as you find in this world of ours, the only one there is.
Again, should public schools, financed by the state, weigh in on this issue? Should there be forced education? High-school is a vast waste of time. It pays for young adults education who should already know by the time they finish it, what they do know when they finish university or college now; they learn it there because they (or their parents) must directly pay for it. Give your grown kids free room and board and see how many will stay home for the duration. Five generations of democracy and dead at 50 of an overdose. Is this what we were hoping for: baking butter tarts for the next birthday, shower, holiday, and anniversary, and well, it’s something at least every week, isn’t it, often every day? Is this destiny? Are you sure that the easy life is really a good thing? Should the state make it even easier? We should follow a path of most resistance, but that’s politically incorrect, and besides, it is too hard for most people; that is, only necessity will force them to act rationally and get fit, smart and healthy by a lifestyle choice. But do you know what else will over time: the very slim, democratically healthy night-watchman state which won’t allow people a fallback position with a vast public welfare arrangement?
If you’ve read Hayek on Hayek you know he is one of the most humble, self-effacing, self-critical intellectuals to walk this godless unmanaged planet. He takes full credit for his poor relationship with his children and the terrible divorce of his first wife so that he could marry his teenage sweetheart who suddenly became available in his later life. He was sorry for The Road to Serfdom and responded to it with the brilliant The Constitution of Liberty which no one read because by then the world had gone nuts for Keynesianism. Hayek believed that money had no intrinsic value and that economics was as much an art as science . . . that economic individual selections were moral choices, or at least had a strong moral component. He understood a simple thing; that inflationary Keynesian doctrines could not go on indefinitely without some serious calamity. He sensed that the state would have to continually grow to the point of bloated beyond recognition, and then like with unchecked metabolic syndrome it would have a sudden fatal heart attack, a massive economic black swan event. At this critical junction, libertarianism would be doomed to the deaf-ear of the common working-people by the very process of representative democracy inside a gargantuan state, or in other words, that in a time of economic crisis, it would now be under a direct threat and that society would vote in an autocratic direction and not a libertarian or classical liberal one, i.e., there would be no sympathy left for the market place and that our hard-won freedom would be directly threatened.
Just as Surely as Libertarianism
Is the Only Real Atheism
So to, Faith in Socialism
Is the Last Refuge of Supernatural Belief.
Hayek was in a general economic camp often called, The Austrian Classical Economists and there he resided his whole academic life. They generally believe that the socialist’s ideal is the monkey market where determinist chimps’ behavior can be monitored, predicted and regulated by totally scientific benign government with a view always on the short-term and never on the generational aspect; for, as their mentor had quipped from A Tract On Monetary Reform, “But this long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead.” Keynes had no children; Hayek had a daughter and a son. Austrian Classicist’s claim was that no single agency, not even a brilliant all-seeing omnipotent liberal could know the dreams, hopes and desires that make up the market-place of humankind’s billions.
While it might well be true that there is no democratic road to serfdom now that Marxism is a dead intellectual issue, and socialism, just as Christianity before it, has been tamed by years of democratic (and especially libertarian) criticism, it is this great muddle of the mixed economy we now face in the early 21st Century that Hayek, Mises and many other classicists feared. In a 1977 interview with Henry Hazlitt, Hayek stated, “I believe that if it was not for government interference with the monetary system, we would have no industrial fluctuations and no periods of depression. If you place the issue of money in the hands of firms whose business depends upon their success in keeping the money they issue stable, the situation changes completely.” He published The Fatal Conceit in 1988 and died in 1992.
Liberty as an End in Itself
Keynes and Hayek, like Marx and Proudhon are a case-study on how one looks at life. Proudhon was devoted to the individual, Marx to the collective. Like Hitchens in youth, Keynes slept with every pretty boy he could find. Not that this in itself is a problem, but unlike Hitchens who didn’t present himself to the world as a defender of the status-quo, Keynes did, when in reality he always felt like an outsider, an elitist and someone far superior than the common man. He was so hard-wired for the Cambridge crowd that he wouldn’t even have sex with a regular working-class chap. He called Auden, for instance, something to the effect of an infantile preparatory schoolboy when Keynes himself wasn’t worthy to polish the pickled poet’s shoes. Why is this? In a phrase, it was a lack of humility. It is this trait that makes him most dishonorable while in Hitch’s case, diffidence is a real badge of honor, and in Hayek’s’, there is an outright simple lack of hypocrisy in the individualism that he preached . . . a purity.
Furthermore, Keynes is like Marx, a mismanager of his personal life, always sickly, always recovering, smoking, unhealthy, and drinking, and all the while telling the world how to arrange their affairs. Although in fairness to him, he was, all and all, a good person when we compare him with Marx who was a warmonger and a craven bully, promoting violence among his followers in the hopes of bringing on the revolution which would change humankind to mirror his messianic fairytale religion. Marx was alas a resentful and aggressive philosopher of might-makes-right kind and the inexorableness of history as class warfare; but as for Keynes, his democracy was indeed sometimes superficial in the sense that the majority vote was a moral victory over a minority of free marketers. His grasp of egoism and human nature were non-existent: he was at heart a Platonist. Proudhon had love in his heart for humankind. Marx hated life. Hayek understood liberty was a moral concept, and in Keynes’ indulged existence, unlike Churchill, he never found any reticence. Why? Churchill like Hayek was diminished and side-lined, even unloved—in fact for both, many times over extended periods—Keynes wasn’t. In every important sense he was silver-spooned (rather tall) Rumpelstiltskin figure without modesty. He never learned it and he never earned it. He understood Marx was a resentful fool, but perhaps he believed Marxists and socialists were dupes to be toyed with like classical-liberals (classicalists) and conservatives. I think life was a game to Keynes and not a real event—or perhaps a match in a sport his team had to win at any cost. Like Marx he would probably never accept any responsibility for his part in it: in Marx’s case for the millions of people who were murdered in his name for his ‘truth’; in Keynes’ case, for the wretched futility of the last seven decades and to the economic Armageddon approaching us in the early 21st century: in his name and with his followers’ permission, they allowed governments all over the world to use fiat-money and deficit-spending until—with the business-class between the silk sheets with well-lit politicians of every stripe—they’ve become as swollen, promiscuous and dim-witted as any corpulent robber baron that ever used force & fraud to get a monopoly. It would be like as if a government sponsored nutritionist announced with the full-backing of the state that what you eat has nothing to do with your health, that all calories were equal and so,
“Go to Mall and Have a Ball”.
Keynes opened the gates to the city of paper money by citing with the weight of science and mathematics that already the gold standard had become a “barbarous relic” and that the state itself could guarantee its own currency without any authentic backing—that we should just take the political class’ word for it. To a great extent, he was the economist who brought about a great deal of the destruction of individual liberty that we see today—he never really understood how it and economic activity are inextricably linked, or how his policies would lead to a slippery path which in due course would lead us over the precipice.
Hayek saw his Austrian culture destroyed by socialism first hand in the early 20th Century, and as a resultant pessimist, was weary of the big state. Keynes as a romantic thought it couldn’t happen in England or America; that English civilization couldn’t get stupid and everlastingly-indebted or/and lazy and self-destructive, as Schumpeter had predicted it would.
In the long complicated Keynes-Hayek debate, Keynes was the clear winner: having left the impression on the world that the Austrian Classical Economists were unreasonable, and to quote Paul Krugman, even ‘crackpots’, the Keynesians cheated and prevailed. They deceived by simply misrepresenting the classic theory and its libertarian goals, always putting it in its worst light. Like the single-minded Marxists, they made their economics first and foremost about politics and not morality, and they triumphed by the implicit alliance with their Liberal political and media partners, the fact of Krugman’s current airtime is the proof alone of the longstanding liberal bias. The idea that Keynes considered there was no line to be drawn about where the state stops and human liberty starts—or at least it couldn’t ever be agreed upon by any reasonable people—illustrates this blind side. Christianity has promoted Platonism to a zenith, and Plato’s reluctant, unknowing supporters have preached human sacrifice for over 2000 years until everyone in the West thinks it’s a foregone conclusion, that humans are utility to some greater social end, but guess what? Morally, it’s anathema, repulsive by any standard. You want human sacrifice? Sacrifice yourself, and if you can’t, shut up and leave your poor fellow citizens unscathed by your greed for collectivism and its failed mixed economy, its unhappy subsidized political class and its chaotic wounded utopianism.
If indeed there is a method economically to live in the modern world without surrendering human freedom, shouldn’t liberal-minded, kind-hearted Keynesians want to try it? Should their sincerity be in question on this issue? Certainly, their arrogance is at once obvious: they believe reason is on their side in the same manner that the German Nazis judged that God was on theirs. Reason makes it eminently clear: freedom requires the individual to have sovereign rights with borders such as thoughts, possessions, property, fruits-of-labor, business fashioned, things crafted, ideas created, art produced and all such personal domains of Homo sapiens protected by Rule of Law. Morality developed historically from contracts, truthfulness, exchange, fair-trading, saving and like economic structures coming out incrementally from the approximately thirty millenniums since we became self-aware, a phenomenon preceding the dazzling Keynesian Revolution by somewhat near the same time-frame of analytic formal logic of which it grew, but at any rate much, much later than human sacrifice.
The vanity of the modern liberal is that, like Keynes, they can agree with everything I’ve just said and at the same time, give the pound of flesh to the socialist what the socialist’s demand and condemn the individual to the servitude of the state without a moment’s hesitation, blaming it all on the fight against greed. They are both unreasonable and unscientific. Compared to most conservatives, they appear the fount of rationalism, but don’t be defrauded by their chatter about how sensible they are, they are immoral, despise tradition and think personal liberty is way overrated. Many liberals believe that left to our own economic devices we would become wicked because left to theirs, they would. At heart they are autocrats of the Platonic ideal and want a divorce from the market place so that everything good on earth can be had for free, produced by sacrificing the individual to the state. This then, as you can plainly see, is liberal fascism.
See my articles under 'Self Management', 'Economics' and 'Ethics' for an alternative way to understand the market economy and individual liberty, and also Basic Economics, Cleverism Laissez-Faire Leadership.
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Many conservatives believe in nothing, they live in a Nixon nuance: Republicans who seek power and want to burn it all down. Those who do have principles are often ensconced in soft apple-pie irrational ideologies like faith, intelligent design and that the earth is an inexhaustible resource no matter how many of us are born into it. As surely as a conservative who has been wrongly convicted will gain respect for human rights advocates—with 2.2 million Americans in prison this is more of a common occurrence than you might think—a liberal who loses all his savings to inflation will gain some respect for spontaneous order. Why both positions are farcical, even cliché, is evident for the same reason that both the tick and flea think that they are ridding the dog of surplus fat. As for the modern economy spinning not-so-slowly out of control do to debt and currency wars, there is nothing to do but hope it won’t crash too hard or too long.