Monday, April 02, 2007

Radicals and History repeating

The NY Times has a book review on "Radicals for Capitalism" by Brian Doherty, online here.
Of course it has many short-comings, but the review could be much worse. However, there are some popular myths in this article, which should have been exposed by now. For example, the idea that Milton Friedman "adviced" the Pinochet regime is outright wrong. Some of his students returned to South America, yeah, that is right, but this doesn't equal "advicing" the dictator personally. Obviously, the NYT has to lie in order to get some leftist critique against Friedman into this review.
The author also seems to be personnally threatened by Ayn Rand, or why else would he have such a big focus on Ayn Rand and her "alcolytes", which obviously refers to informal meetings. So, what's the big deal, if you go in a regular dorm, you will find some people playing role-games and I think Bill Gates was one some time back, but despite this "dorkiness" he still is the richest man alive. On the other hand, what has this author to show off, despite his self-claimed normalness.
He argues beside the point and even shows some economic illiteracy, which I would expect from any of my high school history teachers, but certainly not from an NYT reporter.
The success of the New Deal? If this was a success, then racism was a success and I don't believe in that.
But despite this few short-comings, it still has some very interesting remarks on how libertarianism and its ideas influenced the USA to make it a richer and happier place, especially for minority groups like libertarians/gays/blacks and so forth.
But also one of its short-comings: Why do we have to ally with people who deny basic rights to others, just because they present one part of the libertarian canon?

A good example is the defence of the right to free speech, even for Nazis in Germany. Why do we have to defend those scumbags, who live the vivid image of Satans work on Earth?
Well, it comes from the understanding that exactly this restrictions on universal rights for all humans, who live at least peacefully (despite their thoughts), leads to the product that slaughtered millions of jews in Europe and tried to conquer the world: a totalitarian welfare-warfare state.
It's this wonderful simple insight, that distinguishes the liberal person from the rest of the mob, who just want to social-engineer the perfect society.
To prohibit free speech of nazis, will not destroy National socialism, instead it makes it "revolutionary" to some people who are afraid and look for a safe haven of narrow and static ideas and idols.
The first results of this restrictions can be seen in the increase of national socialism throughout Germany, not only in the East, but also in Baden-Württemberg. Those Neo-Nazis even sit in the parlament again and enjoy their little games, despite laws prohibiting Nazi thoughts and talks, or are they there because OF those laws?
They easily adapted to the new rules and exchange their old "Hitler"-language for new slogans, for new double-speak words, but did it change the core of their believes? Certainly not!

For all it is worth, the restriction of free space has made the problem worse for everyone, because an open public discussion is impossible, which leaves the education to the schools and we all know how perceptive young teenagers are in school classes. You could also converse with a stone, the discussion probably would be better and not half as nerve-wrecking.
This is one of the root arguments by liberals and now we slowly see that they are right, because we can give facts and numbers and examples. 60 years + were necessary to show the world that prohibition of free speech does not erradicate a school of thought, even if it is a horrible and man-hating sort of school. In the end, those measures only bring about the sort of state which you ultimately abhored and didn't want to bring back.
Hopefully, the Germans will see that and start thinking about openly discussing the topic more freely.

And hopefully, the NYT reporter will finally see his err in picking on imagined alliances with people who only represent one facet of libertarian basic ideology. Of course, a liberal will defend those basic rights, but he still won't endorse those people. You have to differentiate and this is something this reporter obviously cannot do.

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