tmccarthy0's picture

    Von Mises and Bachmann on a Beach

    And no, von Mises and Bachmann on a Beach is not a hot new cocktail down at your corner bar, but it could be, maybe Rachel Maddow will work one up just to enjoy this 18 month-long election season.  Stephen Moore, Wall Street Journal douchebag writer sycophant, asked some questions of Michelle Bachmann  in his latest column.  Yes I reluctantly read the WSJ's opinion guys to punish myself I think, but also to read about these characters from folks who love them, not just from folks like me who wonder WTF? Who elects these lunatics?  Von Mises is a star amongst Paultard libertarians, because they hate, hate, hate government and truly believe there should be no government. I find that ironic, given Ron Paul doesn't believe in government yet has been in government since the 1850's or something. So Bachmann is crazy like a fox when mentioning she reads von Mises, whenever his name is mentioned she gets 1,000 more rabid fans, all male, all frustrated by the serious Republicans running to win the Republican primaries, and no Tim Pawlenty is not one of them.

    The article isn't as enlightening so much as it is evidence of a woman preparing to run for the Presidency and is pulling out all the stops to attract every conservative vote out there, including the Libertairn vote. Although I think Paul and Johnson have that vote sewn up, but then again maybe they don't and maybe Bachamann can use that dog whistle to attract those voters to her side.

    According to Bachmann, when she goes to the beach, she brings with her works by Ludwig von Mises, especially the book on Socialism I am sure, but she mentions the book Human Action, too, yikes, really???  As a beach goer myself, even though sometimes it is just the Frenchtown pond I bring towels, sunscreen, and books by John Waters, Norah Ephron and Wil Wheaton and my IPod. Okay that is just me, but von Mises, really, it doesn't seem like beach reading material, it seems like sleeping material, and sleeping on the beach can get you burned. But I guess reading and following von Mises can get you burned as well.  I think people should pay close attention to Michelle Bachmann as she  begins her campaign for the Presidency tonight in the first Republican Presidential primary debate. 

    I've done a little research on von Mises, although it ended up being pointless research since these are economic theories never used by any nation except maybe Somalia.  Von Mises is the leader of what libertarians and CATO intelligentsia call the Austrian school of Economics. Bachmann claims she loves von Mises. So she is saying she doesn't believe in the central bank, she doesn't believe in the government stimulus and most of all taxes are not needed!

    Michelle Bachmann is gearing up for her run for the Presidency, and while people are obsessed with Sarah Palin, Bachmann skirts just under the radar, almost unnoticed, but saying all the right things to the Club for Growth crowd. Reading the Moore article gives one the impression that she is telling those hardcore libertarians she is going to dismantle the government if she gets control, she will put the Ryan plan on the table, Medicare, Social Security are ills of socialist Marxism. She will be debating tonight as well, while Gary Johnson another Republican Libertarian candidate was not invited to debate.

    Those who follow von Mises are a strident bunch, they believe civilization will not survive unless this untried economic system is followed. They obsess non-stop about the Marxist take over of the US government. So now I understand why end-timers like Bachmann would read von Mises on the beach, they believe the end of the world is near unless we take serious action like no-government or something like that, but I wonder if they've been to Somalia?

    I have decided I should record the Republican debate tonight even though it risks my sanity, and if Bachmann says anything crazy, and you know she will, this post will be updated with video.

    Cross posted at The Angriest Liberal


    The von Mises types are really into pain, which is something their acolytes never tell you.  Unemployment at 16%?  Tough luck!  The world has, of course, had "hard" currencies based on rpecious metals before.  Fiat currencies like the dollar are rather new.  And yet bubbles and shocks have persisted.  The von Mises followers kind of slyly claim thatif we would only listen to them, we wouldn't experience so many calamities.  And yet, for centuries, the world was Austrian and we had speculative excesses all of the time.  I'd almost like to go back to the gold standard just so I could laugh at these whackos when some wealthy bully from Wall Street just takes all of their gold away.

    @Des Are you saying they have a collective Munchausen's Syndrome? Wow!!!

    These von Mises people see inflation everywhere, even during a deflationary cycle.  But I don't think it's a delusion, I think it's business.  Most Austrian style economists I've encountered have wanted to sell me something and they usually use fear as the pitch.  The typical line is that the U.S. will collapse into Weimar Germany and the typical products being sold are foreign stocks, gold (in various forms, some legitimate and some downright scammy) and survivalist gear.

    I ran into a von Mises devotee on an amazon book review discussion, before I'd heard of him.  Was Ayn Rand known to have been familiar with von Mises' work?  Does she acknowledge having been influenced by his thought? The person I encountered was a big fan of both.  From just one creepy comment I was able to guess right on the Rand part. 

    I just Googled it and to the extent this interests you, here you go:

    So there was some connection, but not much of one.  Rand styled herself more a philosopher than economist so I think she wasn't all that interested in monetary policy and the like.

    I always wondered this myself, because the philosophy behind both seem identical. I agree that for Rand economics wasn't a primary principle, but it must have been a secondary principle, didn't Greenspan come from the Rand Cult Institute?

    Yeah. Greenspan was in her circle of admirers.  But he didn't really run the Fed the way you might expect an objectivist to.  His Fed was highly involved in both politics and the economy.  I suspect that this is because it would be impossible to run anything other than a very simplistic, middle ages style economy according to Randian ideas.  The world is too complicated for her.

    But Greenspan did what one would predict an objectivist would do when it came to declining to go after fraud in the mortgage industry, right?

    I don't know that there have been many Fed Chairs, of any philosophy, who have deliberately sought to pop bubbles, as Dean Baker among others criticized him for not doing in the case of the real estate bubble. 

    True.  Though I think Greenspan did more than not pop bubbles -- he actively encouraged them.  Remember, if you got yourself an adjustable rate mortgage back in 2004, you were actually taking the Fed chairman's advice!

    Many think the real-estate bubble was started by the excessively loose monetary policy of 2004. If they had raised rates at the time, as most neutral observers considered appropriate, that would have helped. No need to "pop" a bubble that barely exists.

    Of course Greenspan couldn't - as an objectivist - raise rates before the election. It was an explicitly political act in support of Bush, not an action due to an ideological interpretation of the evidence.

    @AD & des: I've always wondered about this, are there any economists that recognize these "bubbles" before they are about to burst? I also wonder would there have been a housing bubble if Glass-Steagle (think that is right) would have remained in place? Deregulated financial markets seemed to make everything much worse for middle and lower class people who don't have gobs of cash available to them. So I agree with you in part, because I think Greenspan pushed for deregulation and that is a key tenet of Objectivism as I understand it.

    He certainly seems to have rejected his fathers stellar economic work. I think he is a product of his time in some ways but is also a victim of the utopian distortions Objectivism as a philosophy offers. I just started reading Recover Ahead! And Greenspan seems to have rejected his fathers work outright as though those circumstances could never take place again, and yet here we are.

    There are definitely economists and money managers and strategists who have seen and called bubbles as they were forming.  Dean Baker called the housing bubble and sold his own condo near the top.  But most of these types, in my experience are stopped clocks.  They think everything's going to collapse all of the time and when it does they say "see?"  But they were like 5 years early on the call.  You could have spent all of the 90s saying that tech stocks were overvalued, but does the collapse in 2000 justify steering people to miss all of the positive years?

    The Fed Chairman, I hold to a different standard though.  Like Cho said above, it's less about popping bubbles than managing the money supply well, and he did seem to be transparently trying to help W get re-elected.

    Well you just described Glen Beck, Harold Camping and a whole host of folks who have been able to capitalize on the foolishness of people who are afraid of everything I think mostly they are afraid of change, but change for most people isn't easy.

    Love the small print under your blogsite logo, tmac ("isn't that angry but is concerned").

    It's almost as though you've been a close student of what draws attention in the blogosphere, as in media, and life, generally...:<)

    @AD, thanks... I think! Sealed

    Fingers got ahead of me there...what I meant was the main title of your blog, "The Angriest Liberal" seems to reflect pretty solid observation about what words and emotions seem to get more attention in the blogosphere.

    At the same time, the small print beneath the main banner lets your more subtle, sophisticated readers know that you serve steak as well as sizzle.  Wink (figuratively speaking--you are a vegetarian IIFC, no?)

    AD, yes what you've written is quite true. Now I am looking to hire a blogger or two for my new site, we will see how that goes. For now I will continue to play with CSS to perfect the front page. That is most fun and keeps my skill set up.

    No I am not a vegetarian, although I've been thinking about that Gluten free diet Donal wrote about, if it does all the things he says it does for athletes I would be riding my bicycle like a pro instead of an above average middle aged woman! It would be hard to leave bread behind though, I love bread and I bake it daily, I don't know if I could survive without fresh bread. :)

    Latest Comments