If you follow this blog you may have read Rollo’s recent posts here and here about a recent article in the New York Times. I won’t rewrite what was already written but I will say that the New York Times took some quotes out of context and accused libertarians as being racists and Confederates. I’m not saying there are no racist libertarians (libertarian as in liberty movement, not the American Libertarian political party), but I challenge anyone who thinks we’re racists to sit and talk with us for an hour.
Calling someone a racist is a scare tactic and it often works. No one, or at least very few people, want to be associated with a racist. So if Austrian economic thought is becoming more popular and you publish in the New York Times that the leading Austrian thinkers are all racist, it seems to me that the authors cannot beat Austrians on ideas, so they call Austrians racists in order to discourage people from associating with the Austrian Economists…So let’s play that game.
Below are 2 quotes, one from Walter Block, an Austrian School economist (part of this exact quote was used in NYT to show he is racist) and the other from John Maynard Keynes. You decide which one sounds hateful…
“Free association is a very important aspect of liberty. It is crucial. Indeed, its lack was the major problem with slavery. The slaves could not quit. They were forced to ‘associate’ with their masters when they would have vastly preferred not to do so. Otherwise, slavery wasn’t so bad. You could pick cotton, sing songs, be fed nice gruel, etc. The only real problem was that this relationship was compulsory. It violated the law of free association, and that of the slaves’ private property rights in their own persons.” – Walter Block
“[Jews] have in them deep-rooted instincts that are antagonistic and therefore repulsive to the European, and their presence among us is a living example of the insurmountable difficulties that exist in merging race characteristics, in making cats love dogs …
It is not agreeable to see civilization so under the ugly thumbs of its impure Jews who have all the money and the power and brains.” – John Maynard Keynes
If you discredit the liberty movement based on out-of-context quotes, then it shouldn’t be too tough to discredit Krugman and American, Keynes-loving liberals on actual quotes. I know, just because someone is anti-Semitic or has pedophilic tendencies, it doesn’t mean that everything they say is wrong…but that logic is often good enough to trash libertarians, even if the quoted libertarians aren’t racist.