One of the most common dictums thrown at one in America when one is growing from pupdom to wolfdom is “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” You hear this not only from cynical socialists, who feel that no Capitalist would ever give away anything for free unless he expected a higher return by the action, but also from hardboiled business types, who think that if a deal sounds too good, there’s always a catch in it, and who think that all other businessmen think exactly as they do.
But this duo of sceptics would be contradicted not by any swindling capitalist or even greater swindling socialist, but by the most pro-Capitalist, pro-free-market outfit in America: the Mises Institute; for what the Institute has done is not only made available copies of many of the classics of the Libertarian-Austrian School of Economics philosophical-economic outlook for free, but now, in the last few weeks, added a whole new raft of recordings to be inspected with a circumspect ear (to mix metaphors). These latest jewels of scholarship include two series of lectures delivered by Professor Murray N. Rothbard at the NY Polytechnic Institute in 1986, an excellent reading of A. J. Nock’s “Our Enemy, the State” by Jock Coats of Oxford, essays of Herbie Spencer, as well as readings by Jeff Riggenbach, who is also an excellent reader with a rich, resonant voice. (Herbie Spencer, known as Herbert to his friends, was a late 19th century British Libertarian-leaning essayist, who, according to Rothbard, became more statist as he aged. You can see this in the upper half of his face, which became like a human being later in life, while the lower half retained its wolf-like hirsuteness.) And the cherry is a brief, crisp recording of a short lecture Mises gave during an interlude in the US Steel corporation’s program in 1962, in which he explains why the free-market is so different from the old monarchies and church-dominated societies. (The reason is, if you’re curious to know, because instead of expropriating wealth by looting or taxation, which the king or church-priesthood had done is olden times, the free-market requires that a man serve his fellow men in some useful capacity by expending energy, and he will only be able to garner a living if he can fulfill some useful need. Therefore, his wealth is dependent on the consumer, not on legalized looting, and each consumer must, in turn, find something to turn his hand to so that he may procure the wherewithal to secure those commodities he needs for survival, or wants as fripperies. Thus the consumers, and not the kings, priesthood, or even the businessmen, are the real kings in a true free-market economy.Like Rothbard, Mises could make pellucid murky economic problems with a comparatively short, understandable explanation.)
The two Rothbard series of lectures feature one on a history of America from 1870 through King Roosevelt II from an Austrian School economic perspective, and several on the basics of economics like Value, and the Determination of Prices. These constitute the brown rice and beans (bread and butter for you junkfooders) of economic understanding, which can then be applied to the gallimaufry of American political history. Rothbard’s technique of historical analysis, which always asks “Qui bono?”, who benefits from a specific piece of legislation?, is one that logically explains not only the vast giveaways of the public’s wealth that were doled out to corporations during the 19th and 20th centuries, but the current massive giveaways by Obama, Geithner, Pelosi, Reid, Schumer, Frank, and that whole gang of “experts”, well paid at the public university’s feeding troughs, who said that the sky would fall if we didn’t bail out the megabanks, AIG, and Detroit. The same lies, the same “sky is falling” arguments, and it’s a hundred and forty years later. The same liers; the same gullible public quickly gulled, like the flocks at the seashore, with a few crumbs of bread that will be piled on the backs of the unborn. Socialists don’t give a damn about the unborn slaves that will have to slog for years to pay off the debt that they are building up right now so that those corporations they say are too big to fail can continue to give their enormous bonuses. They are the sadistic torturers of the unborn.
But the new items on the menu should not blind one to the solid, staple fare that Mises has in the pantry of its archives. There, for example, is Rothbard’s “For a New Liberty”, perhaps the first book any would-be neophyte Libertarian should read, perused aloud in excellent rendition by Jeff Riggenbach. No need to strain the eyes now, you can listen to it while taking the (subsidized) public transport, or while waiting to have your genitalia examined by a lusty Brunehilde at the airport. Thank goodness we Americans still have a “Right to Privacy”, eh what?
Anyway, there is plenty of “free lunch” for us Capitalists to stuff our brains with until bursting at the Mises Diner. Fortunately, unlike the fare at many other Brain Diners, there are no brain-clogging cholesterols of lies, no mind-hardening triglycerides of Leftist propaganda, no simplistic schemes like the money crank’s idea of printing up money and handing it out as a solution to shortages, or the Georgeist’s taxing land only. There is only economic truth, amazing in its simplicity after baffling economist theoreticians for over 2000 years, explained in the Woody Allenesque, quickfire, pace of Professor Rothbard, and always sprinkled with lots of humourous quips which usually are pretty good.
So don’t let the cynics give you any of their guff. At the Mises Diner, there is such a thing as a free lunch.
Hooooooooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwww! — Silverwolf
Tags: "For a New Liberty", "Our Enemy the State", A. J. Nock, Austrian School of Economics, Capitalism, Determination of Prices, Herbert Spencer, Jeff Riggenbach, Jock Coats, Libertarianism, Ludwig von Mises, Mises Institute, Murray Rothbard, Socialism, Value