Libertarian Bashing

The magazine Slate hosted an article by Stephen Metcalf, “The Liberty Scam: Why even Robert Nozick, the philosophical father of libertarianism gave up on the movement he inspired.” Admittedly, I cannot yet tell you what Metcalf’s argument in regards to Nozick is, because I stopped reading after this:

 It cannot be stressed enough: In the decades after the war, a kind of levee separated polite discourse from free-market economics. The attitude is well-captured by John Maynard Keynes, whose scribble in the margins of his copy of The Road to Serfdom reads: “An extraordinary example of how, starting with a mistake, a remorseless logician can end up in Bedlam.”

This is grotesquely incorrect.

Keynes did write those words, but not in regards to The Road to Serfdom. The quote Metcalf is referring to comes from an article published in 1931 in the journal Economica, “The Pure Theory of Money: A Reply to Dr. Hayek”, and it was of Hayek’s Prices and Production. Keynes’ harsh words, which Metcalf inaccurately associates with Hayek’s political philosophy, were actually about Hayek’s business-cycle theory.

Just to set the record straight, here is what Keynes actually had to say of Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom:

In my opinion it is a grand book…. 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…

It’s not difficult to google things people, and if you’re going to write a provocative article bashing something, it’s probably a good idea to get your facts straight.

If you want to read the article you can check it out here.

  1. peterklibowitz said: Happens all the time with the media, good find
  2. academicambiance posted this
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