Posted by Brad @ 1:33 pm on August 31st 2010

Austrian Economist Pitfight of the Day

So, the Wall Street Journal the other day posted a very nice story on George Mason University’s Peter J. Boettke and highlighting all he’s done to popularize Austrian economics, including creating what is arguably the most libertarian academic department at any university in America. It’s a nice piece and, indeed, Boettke has done a lot, and his program and really GMU as a whole have done wonders for creating a mainstream, normalized respectable hotbed for Austrian economics and libertarian thought at large. It’s also a terrific example of a small commuter school suddenly finding itself vaulted into becoming an important university solely by finding an unrealized niche, a blind spot in higher academia. Others have tried this before, but usually in attacking the whole perceived godlessness/secularness/multiculturalness of higher ed, leading to places like Liberty University et al. George Mason managed to take a different tack, choosing instead to sop up wonderful economists, historians, and political scientists, who are all but unhireable in most major universities for not adhering to a certain degree of groupthink (that tendency in higher ed, btw, is less malicious and consciously dogmatic than imagined, and is instead more a kind of soft, but nevertheless very real, prejudice against conservative thought as being somehow of a lesser order than, say, economic philosophy based on Marxism. They don’t TRY to drive out conservatives—they just find themselves much less impressed with conservative thought than liberal thought, and due to that, the trickle down effect is to drive out conservatives and, more importantly, train grad students to be liberal if they want to get ahead, thus leaving them with a nearly unanimous liberalism in higher academic postings, which just feeds the cycle even more).

I digress.

Anyway, the WSJ article was a nice piece and, as mentioned, GWU does good work, and heck, it’s one of the few pieces speaking positively about Austrian economics in a major publication that I can recall. But owing to their philosophy that praising anything that is not Ron Paul, Lew Rockwell, or Ludwig Von Mises, or disbanding the Fed, is a veiled malicious attack on one, some, or all of those things, the good folks at LewRockwell.com have lost their ever-lovin’ minds over this article, leading to the aforementioned pitfight.

You can catch up. In chronological order (also, in ascending order of vitriol): 1, 2, 3, 4. There are actually a few more, but they appear to have been taken down since yesterday.

The Lew Rockwell guys do good work and all, and I still enjoy their blog, but they are also precisely indicative of everything that is wrong with Libertarianism, in particular the need it constantly feels to harangue each other over purity tests.

1 Comment »

  1. Link #4: They are basing academic legitimacy and influence upon Amazon ratings? That is pathetic. Does that make Dan Brown the leading respected authority on Catholicism? What a bunch of putzes.

    Comment by Jack — 9/1/2010 @ 11:36 pm

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