Home | Hegemony | Archives | Blogroll | Resume | Links | RSS Feed | subscribe by email    


to Reason


blog roll

    we will adopt a slogan we don't understand as a platform for incomprehensible complaints..., 2010-04-24 12:51:04 | Main | the government is insuring lawsuits against goldman sachs..., 2010-04-27 11:12:53

    please make it stop:

    [The Nazis] believed in economic policies that intelligent and informed people everywhere recognize as, well, socialistic (redistribution of wealth, state control of capital, universal healthcare, universal education etc etc).

    As has oft been remarked by others who, by some cruel accident, stumble blindly into the writing of Jonah Goldberg, this is the dumbest fucking thing I have ever read, at least since the last time I read some other idiot say the same idiotic thing at any given Tea Party freakout. The only thing more irritating is when the liberals who misdirect me to this nonsense don't bother to point out that none of the supposedly socialist things the Nazis did had their origins in socialism, but with the writers conservatives find so fashionable to insist others read, having made such a thorough study of it themselves.

    Every one of the these supposedly socialistic Nazi policies come straight out of classical liberalism, and have nothing to do with labor owning and controlling the means of production, that which distinguishes socialism from other schools of political economy (c.f. Ronald Reagan). Thomas Paine argued for government run old age pensions, and in the same passage of Agrarian Justice he argued for a government run minimum income - just a couple hundred years before conservative economist Milton Friedman ever suggested much the same thing, giving us the draconian Earned Income Tax Credit.

    One needn't imagine very far beyond Ben Franklin's arguments for insurance against everything-under-the-sun to reach Fred Hayek's observation that:

    where, in short, we deal with genuinely insurable risks - the case for the state's helping to organize a comprehensive system of social insurance is very strong

    He was talking about universal health insurance, specifically, but classical liberals recognized this principle to be true since Adam Smith wrote The Wealth of Nations. Arguing about what sort of public action is wise when dealing with positive externalities has absolutely nothing to do with socialism and everything to do with universally recognized failures of the free market when benefits of a market transaction accrue to everybody but aren't charged to everybody:

    When the institutions or public works which are beneficial to the whole society, either cannot be maintained altogether, or are not maintained altogether by the contribution of such particular members of the society as are most immediately benefited by them, the deficiency must in most cases be made up by the general contribution of the whole society. The general revenue of the society, over and above defraying the expence of defending the society, and of supporting the dignity of the chief magistrate, must make up for the deficiency of many particular branches of revenue.

    That's Adam Smith arguing that it's the state's responsibility to provide universal education. It's not at all difficult to get from Smith's argument to the thinking of the social liberals or an Otto von Bismarck, who implemented all those "socialistic" policies that the Nazis inherited. Public health is fraught with externalities, both positive and negative. Everybody benefits from the unlucky individual receiving prompt and effective care so they return to their routine of production and consumption, just as everybody suffers from the loss of productivity and demand when an individual is stricken by some malady. Healthcare isn't a right, but it's in our mutual interests that it be treated something like one. The only real Nazi innovation was to strip non-Aryan Germans of their benefits, much to the detriment of Germany.

    As for the "redistribution of income", nevermind Adam Smith, it was conservative icon Alexander Hamilton who argued that it should be "a fixed point of policy in the national administration to go as far as may be practicable in making the luxury of the rich tributary to the public treasury".

    None of those policies were outside the prescriptions of classical liberalism, protests of laissez-faire aside, nor classical liberalism's subsequent progeny: the internationalist liberals, the socialists; the anarchists; the Taylorists; the Progressives; the Fascists; the Keynesians; the Austrians; the Monetarists; and so on and on and all and sundry, the whole constellation of Western political economy.

    Until, that is, you arrive at the brainwasting vacuum of today's lay establishment Conservatives, whose mindless adulation of The Market at the expense of everything that make markets possible would destroy the very mechanism of their idle and infinitely empty worship.

    update: Right, Michael Hudson just said that: "You have to realize that what they’re trying to do is to roll back the Enlightenment, roll back the moral philosophy and social values of classical political economy." Except he was talking about the banksters, not these idiots.

:: posted by buermann @ 2010-04-26 20:07:25 CST | link

    go ahead, express that vague notion

    your turing test:

journals, notes,
other curmudgeonry

- A Timeline -

Oil for Nothing:
US Holds On Humanitarian Supplies
Iraq: 1997-2001

the good book
and other cultural

The Autobiography
Mother Jones

Contact Info:

"Any man who is not a radical at 20 has no heart. A man who is not a cynic at 50 has no mind."