Monthly Archives: November 2014

Against “libertarian” moralism

There are those who say they only want free markets if they make the world better and poor people rich. On the face of it, this is bizarre: an unhampered market must lead to both, it can do no other. Markets, therefore – whether free or not – are perfectly irrelevant to whoever says this. It is plain that we are not dealing here with an empirical, “wertfrei” statement, but a moral one, based on an underlying moral belief about what are “the right kind” of consequences. Namely, a policy is good if we expect it to have the consequence of helping the poor; bad (or indifferent) if we do not expect it to have this consequence.

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An application of a parable

It’s no good bringing up Milton Friedman’s famous line, “You can have open borders or a welfare state, but not both,” against those of us liberals who advocate freedom of movement and for one simple reason: We agree! We don’t want what is commonly (and unfortunately) known as “open borders” and a welfare state; we want “open borders” and no welfare state. We oppose the government bribing men with other people’s money, every bit as much as we oppose it telling them who they can and can’t enter into voluntary exchanges with.

The parable of the lures and fishes

Strolling along the riverside one summer’s day, I happened upon a fisherman looking mighty pleased with himself.
“I’m fixed up now, I am,” he announced.
“Oh? How’s that?” I said.
“Well, I’ve got one of them ‘lures’, haven’t I?”
“You’ve lost me, mate”
“Not a fisherman, I see. No matter. Here, look at this.”
He showed me this lure of his. A shiny, wobbly sort of a thing that, as its name suggests, ‘lures’ fish into biting.
“Very fancy,” I said. “Good luck catching those fish.” And, bidding him goodbye, I went on my way.

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This must be what Kate Winslet felt like on that ship!


That’s Rational Review News Digest! And that’s me, smack between Chris Cantwell and Sheldon Richman! Awesome! Absolutely awesome!

By the way, you should definitely read the article on “Robin Hooding” in New Hampshire. It sounds a bit daft at first – but a handful of activists prevented local bandits (government, if you prefer) getting their hands on a not inconsiderable amount of loot.