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Monday, November 3, 2008

Walter Block, a Pro-State Libertarian

meambobbo has left a new comment on your post "Beware of Libertarian Red Market Agents":

fsk, I have met Walter, being in New Orleans and working on grassroots Ron Paul support. He is often accused of being a spy or an agent, but this is mostly be over-paranoid cranks who claim we are being fed poison to brain-wash us and other mumbo jumbo that is based on conjecture and not research. They went after his tenure at Loyola, claiming he was possibly an Israeli agent. I definitely don't agree with all of his conclusions. He is a radical libertarian, meaning he has expressed favor for a powerful federal government if it polices state governments to adapt more libertarian philosophies. Basically, if it will guarantee more short-term liberty, go for it.

Anyhoo, I am 100% convinced he is not a spy. He does not hide his personal feelings that may differ from mainstream takes of libertarianism. He offered our grassroots group free access to a study group of Mises's Human Action and has made numerous efforts to promote libertarian philosophy to those who might be interested.

It's important to talk to people before labeling them as spies and refusing to talk to them. There is a vast difference between misunderstanding and disinformation. And you'd be surprised the number of persistent sincere fools there are. ...not trying to discredit your post - just trying to clear up the misinformation ;-)

When you say "libertarian who favors increased power for the Federal government", that makes absolutely no sense at all. That's like saying "he's a celibate pornstar" or one of those "pro-State anarchists" (like Noam Chomsky).

Where I come from "radical libertarian" means "agorist" or "there should be no government at all, a true free market". I guess "radical libertarian" means "powerful government" also, if by "radical" you mean "stupid".

It's been awhile since I wrote that post. I evaluated Walter Block based solely on his lousy criticism of Kevin Carson. He's one of those "pro-government anarcho-capitalists".

Let's review the difference between anarcho-capitalist and agorist. An anarcho-capitalist says "The State should gradually shrink and then disappear." According to the erotic fantasies of anarcho-capitalists, this process will occur via voting. Government will intentionally reduce its power and size gradually, and then disappear. An anarcho-capitalist says "The State has legitimacy, and will voluntarily reduce itself gradually."

An agorist says "The State has no legitimacy at all, STARTING NOW." Let's move as much resources as possible into the underground economy. Let's build a functioning economy that's independent of the State. Let the State grow in size and power, until it collapses under its own inefficiency. Then, the counter-economy will replace the State.

An anarcho-capitalist says "The State has legitimacy right now." Unlike agorists, an anarcho-capitalist provides no clear process by which the State may be eliminated.

Walter Block is a professor of economics. His funding comes primarily from the State. This makes him a pro-State troll. He can't be too critical of the State, because he's dependent on it from funding. Anyone who receives State research funding is very unlikely to present a coherent criticism of government and taxes.

If Walter Block is such a great libertarian, then why is he stealing from me to pay his own salary? (via government research grants)

To recap, there are three types of pro-State trolls. First, there's the people who are just plain stupid. Second, there are people whose careers depend on them ignoring the truth, such as journalists, professors, and politicians. Finally, there's the deliberate spies.

Walter Block probably is the second kind of pro-State troll. As a university economist, he can't be too critical of the State. If he truly were an independent thinker, there's no way he'd get tenured as a professor of economics. His colleagues would lynch him for telling the truth and exposing them as frauds.

It's very important for the State to fund phony anarchists like Walter Block and Noam Chomsky. If all the people who publicly declare themselves as "anarchists" are stupid, then anarchy in general is a discredited philosophy.

When you say "Walter Block promotes libertarian philosophy", you mean the pro-State version of libertarianism. That makes him worse than useless. He's distracting people interested in free markets away from the truth. He's the functional equivalent of a deliberately planted spy, even if he isn't doing it on purpose.

I'm not interested in reading anything else by Walter Block. Why should I waste my time?

I believe your claim that Walter Block is a sincere fool, rather than a deliberate spy. A sincere fool is usually a better disinformation agent than a deliberate spy! What difference does that make? If he's full of garbage, he's full of garbage. It's irrelevant whether it's an honest mistake, or deliberate sabotage.

The bad guys are careful to pick sincere fools as their public agents! A sincere fool with the right viewpoint/brainwashing can be very effective!

As a practical matter, I'm a follower of freedomain's philosophy. I shouldn't waste my time reading works written by fools. If my interactions with someone provide no enlightenment, I should cease dealing with them. In an online community, it's very easy to stop visiting websites promoted by pro-State trolls. There's enough interesting blogs in my RSS reader that I shouldn't waste time on garbage like that promoted by Walter Block. It's harder with in-person interactions.

If you want me to evaluate any of Walter Block's writing besides his lousy criticism of Kevin Carson, let me know. Based on that one lousy article, I'm not interested in reading anything else by him.

It's important to understand that when I say "Walter Block is a pro-State troll", that covers several possibilities. There's plain stupidity, professional stupidity, and deliberate sabotage. My guess is that Walter Block falls under the "professional stupidity" category, but I haven't analyzed his writing more (and probably won't).


Kn@ppster said...

Block is a professor at Loyola University New Orleans, a private (Jesuit) school, where he holds the Harold E. Wirth Endowed Chair in Economics -- note the "endowed," which means his position is funded by a private donation, not by the state.

Insofar as Block's alleged "pro-statism" is concerned, your complaint seems to be that where the state wields power X, he has a preference as to which arm of the state wields that power, and to what effect. I don't see how that makes him a "statist."

DixieFlatline said...

FSK, you're so far out of line, and out to lunch on this, it's not funny. You should try reading Block's book "Defending the Undefendable" which has more agoristic thought in it than you have on this entire blog.

And then you should check out his videos on the MisesMedia YouTube channel.

Or you can continue to throw a tantrum on your blog and rant that you won't read anything, you won't do any research. Instead, you will make arbitrary judgments based on false premises.

Well you should know to ALWAYS check your premises.

fritz said...

Fsk..I have read you for quite some time..I think you're on to something,,so keep up the good work,,you're point of view has entered my mind,and I feel like one of the remnant ,,peace

DixieFlatline said...

What happened to my comment?

No stomach for criticism?

Anonymous said...

I wonder FSK, do you read stuff from the mises institute. I know FOR A FACT that they do not take any government grants. They have been offered money by the government, but they refused because of their own personal philosophy.

Personally, Walter Block is not one of the greatest speakers about economics. I saw him in a debate about minimum wage..and his way of words was not convincing. He had good information, he just didn't speak it well enough.

Anonymous said...

Your perverted idea of Libertarianism is that it's ok for Arkansas to infringe on my individual rights, and it's OK for Alabama to infringe on my individual rights, and it's ok for Alaska to infringe on my individual's ok for everyone to infringe on my rights except the Federal government. It's a version of libertarianism that is less than useless. OK, so everyone can trample on me except one entity. Great.

Block's version is NO ONE, including the states, is allowed to trample on my rights and that will be ENFORCED. THAT is libertarianism.

It's about time people stopped confusing libertarianism, a theory where everyone's rights are protected, with federalism, a theory where we are attacked by 50 governments and protected from one

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