Pyrmonter: Summer reading

One of the more enjoyable aspects of a long, hot summer (especially for those of us indifferent to viewing sport) is the opportunity it gives to review this season’s output of northern hemisphere OpEd writing.

This, from AIER’s Jeffrey Tucker, is among the better pieces of the year: neatly articulating the intellectual fashion in North America as well, perhaps, in Europe for ‘national conservatism’ as well as identifying the tendency of its proponents to duck rigorous thought about how similar are their policies to those of the “left” they purport to loathe.

While the terminology requires a bit of local adaptation, it has echoes here, especially in Parnell McGuiness’s recent contributions to the AFR.  Cats of a variety of perspectives should find something in it.

Key quote:

‘The first step in the birth of a new and serious liberalism will require that intellectuals resist political winds from either right or left, stop dreaming of a state powerful enough to impose one’s artificial ideology on the world, and instead make a stand for freedom, human rights, and pluralism as the first principles of social and political organization’.

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31 Responses to Pyrmonter: Summer reading

  1. Dinky

    He may correct me but isn’t this is essentially what Iampeter has been arguing?

  2. Bruce of Newcastle

    ‘The first step in the birth of a new and serious liberalism will require that intellectuals resist political winds from either right or left

    Good luck with that.

    America’s College Professors Are 95 Times More Likely To Donate To Democrats Than Republicans, Study Shows (23 Jan)

    Zombies marching relentlessly.

  3. Tel

    He presented his message of protectionism and immigration restrictionism, while railing against Iran and China.

    So now we have the situation where preventing people from breaking the law is called “restrictionism”.

    I suppose Jeffrey Tucker is equally OK with people breaking any laws they decide they don’t like?

  4. CameronH

    How can National Conservatism be the same as the left when they want everybody to: “stop dreaming of a state powerful enough to impose one’s artificial ideology on the world, and instead make a stand for freedom”. This is directly opposite to all left wing ideologies that want to have the government control every aspect of our lives.

  5. Pyrmonter

    @ Cameron – Tucker is referring to the liberals there, and arguing that the ‘national conservatives’ are no better than the left in that respect.

  6. Fisky

    Oh my lord this is the most deluded ignorant nonsense of all time. No one listens to libertarians anymore, for good reason –

    Another case concerns China. Five years ago, Trump sounded like an eccentric with a bee in his bonnet by constantly warning against China. After all, what precisely has China done to the U.S. besides sell us great stuff at low prices? Back then, there was nothing approaching a trade war brewing. But through his personal persistence and use of executive privilege, he prevailed to bring one about, causing supply-chain disruptions and higher prices for many American consumers and producers. Now we face a strange new world in which two separate systems of technology are emerging, one for the West and one for the East.

  7. dover_beach

    The first step in the birth of a new and serious liberalism will require that intellectuals resist political winds from either right or left, stop dreaming of a state powerful enough to impose one’s artificial ideology on the world, and instead make a stand for freedom, human rights, and pluralism as the first principles of social and political organization’.

    In other words, a state powerful enough to impose liberalism.

  8. Fisky

    So according to Tucker, before 2017 there was a glorious free trade utopia where:

    -China wasn’t openly stealing IP off the US, at every possible sector (state, university, private)
    -China’s state banking/SOE sector wasn’t dumping loss-making products in order to bankrupt foreign companies
    -China didn’t already have a separate internet to all intents and purposes

    Nah it was all good until Orangeman broke everything.

    Anyway, the horse has bolted thanks to HK/XJ/TW and there is no going back to the dumb one-sided “libertarian” policy of cucking to Beijing. Eat it, losers.

  9. Pyrmonter

    @ Fisky

    That is an exercise in ‘fisking’ below even the standards of the man whose name gives us the term.

    https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Fisking

  10. Fisky

    It would be nice if “libertarians” actually included the occasional fact in their op-eds. Tucker seems completely oblivious to that the trade war has had virtually no discernible impact on US GDP, that none of its costs have been passed onto consumers, which is precisely the OPPOSITE of what every phoney “free trade” supporter predicted in 2017, including Tucker. Embarrassing!

  11. Tim Neilson

    He may correct me but isn’t this is essentially what Iampeter has been arguing?

    Probably. It’s certainly bullshit. See e.g. Tel’s observations:

    So now we have the situation where preventing people from breaking the law is called “restrictionism”.

    I suppose Jeffrey Tucker is equally OK with people breaking any laws they decide they don’t like?

  12. Fisky

    I suppose Jeffrey Tucker is equally OK with people breaking any laws they decide they don’t like?

    Yeah, libertarianism kind of lives or dies on the rule of law (government’s legitimate function being to defend private property, etc) so it’s a bit odd to see him supporting the invasion of the US, including private property, by illegal immigrants.

  13. Pyrmonter

    @ Tim, @ Tel

    Suppose New Zealand imposes a minimum wage of NZD30/hour. Many – employers and employees both – try to circumvent it by using dubious rebates and forging time sheets. Should Australia respond to such lawlessness by imposing tariffs on NZ businesses?

  14. Tim Neilson

    Pyrmonter
    #3300995, posted on January 24, 2020 at 3:16 pm

    Sorry I simply don’t get the point of that analogy.

  15. Pyrmonter

    @ Tim

    What business do we have in seeking to police the laws of another country? We actually have doctrines of conflicts of law that subvert that: see Govt of India v Taylor and its application in Ayers

  16. Pyrmonter

    (Not sure the actual result in Ayres would hold now after CER, but the principle remains)

  17. Iampeter

    Thanks for posting this Pyrmonter. The conservative movement dropping any pretense of being an alternative to the left is the biggest event in politics and no one’s really talking about it.
    Sadly Tucker gets the fundamentals very wrong in his article, which is kind of emblematic of how we got here in the first place.
    Trump isn’t doing anything to conservatives. That’s just an idea the NeverTrumpers are pushing in order to evade having to take any responsibility for the mess they created.
    Rather the intellectual bankruptcy of conservatism in general has resulted in a Trump presidency.
    He mentions Reagan as establishing support for free markets among conservatism, but that’s not really true. Reagan was actually more talk than action in that regard and free markets were already supported among “conservatives” at that time. What he did was establishing religion as a major faction within conservatism and this cannot be reconciled with support for capitalism. This effectively destroyed the conservative movement.
    This is a show-stopping contradiction and it was always going to need to be resolved in favor of one side or the other.
    Because conservatives never had any real intellectuals, instead having to do with superficial blather from the likes of “philosopher” George Will, they never dealt with this issue and have just had a tiresomely long few decades of having positions that don’t really make any sense. They didn’t really understand this explicitly because they are very nonintellectual, but it bothered them on some level all the same.
    So now it’s refreshing for them to have someone like Trump come along and solve the problem for them, resolving the contradiction in favor of the mindless collectivist positions adopted by all populists.

    But the worst is yet to come. As conservatives embrace collectivism, the more consistent advocates of these ideas are going to become dominant and these are going to be some truly horrific people.

    The Groyper Wars are a very early preview of things to come.

    I gotta say there’s a lot of schadenfreude to be had in watching hacks like G Will get kicked to the curb by the movement they helped to lobotomize. As we live in crazy clown world I gotta take my entertainment where I can get it.

  18. Tim Neilson

    What he did was establishing religion as a major faction within conservatism and this cannot be reconciled with support for capitalism.

    Have you ever thought of posting something factually accurate and logically valid?

  19. Pyrmonter

    @ Tim N

    Iamp overstates the significance of Reagan and religion – the left did at the time. Yet the mustering of evangelical support was important: it partly reflected and partly drove the realignment that saw the GOP move from being a Yankee Party to the party of Dixie. It was one of the things that Goldwater, perhaps of all people given the reproaches he received in respect of the civil rights program, is reported to have lamented in his final years.

  20. Infidel Tiger

    We need remember that the only reason that libertarians don’t fuck wildlife is consent laws.

    That is their only objection.

    Very suck people

  21. Spurgeon Monkfish III

    Bizarre unrelenting incoherent idiocy vomited all over this blog (again).

    Grate.

  22. Spurgeon Monkfish III

    Very suck people

    Garden hoses and golf balls have asserted their “rights” (bestowed on them by a all powerful and mighty loving gubberment) by opting out.

  23. Spurgeon Monkfish III

    Very suck people

    Garden hoses and golf balls have asserted their “rights” (bestowed on them by a all powerful and mighty loving governmint) by opting out.

  24. Spurgeon Monkfish III

    What the f*ck? This stupid spaminator is out of control.

  25. Tim Neilson

    Pyrmonter
    #3301180, posted on January 24, 2020 at 7:03 pm

    That seems correct to me as a description of the political machinations.

    But I think you’re being far too kind to Iamashiteater in saying merely that he “overstates” the importance of religion in the Reagan phenomenon – he’s actually being his usual conceited, stupid, ignorant self with his drive-by bloviation based solely on Ayn Rand’s inability to understand Christianity.

  26. max

    The dirty little secret is that there has been a bipartisan project of corporatism, the economic underpinning of fascism, for almost a century. The regulatory bureaus, the banking establishment, agricultural policy, telecommunications planning, even the welfare state all enrich corporate interests, but at the ultimate direction of the state. One could say this arrangement was foreshadowed in Lincoln or even Hamilton. But it was during the World Wars and New Deal that the nation embarked upon something decisively fascistic.

    Fascism’s distinguishing characteristic is a “mixed economy.” Unlike socialists and communists who seek to abolish private business, fascists are content to let business remain in private hands. Instead, fascists use regulations, mandates, and taxes to control business and run (and ruin) the economy. A fascist system, then, is one where private businesses serve politicians and bureaucrats instead of consumers. Does the modern American economy not fit the definition of fascism?

    Ever since 1791, when Alexander Hamilton got the Federal government to take over state debts, which his cronies had bought for pennies, and then when he got the Federal government to authorize a monopoly for a privately owned central bank, the Bank of the United States, the real Mob has been plucking the feathers of the public.
    The goons are Congress and the enforcers in the executive branch. The victims are taxpayers and investors who think the goons represent them. The Mob is the corporate system

  27. max

    The economic heart of fascism in the 1930’s was the “government-private industry alliance.”
    It still is.
    In this alliance, the state provides limited funds and promotion of favored businesses. The businesses provide profits that are taxed. The state’s bureaucrats increase their influence over the economy by way of favored business enterprises.

    Henry Clay the “American system”

    Government and business should be “one big happy family.” This was Henry Clay’s American System.

    the basis of what is called the government-business alliance. In early modern European history, this was called mercantilism. In 19th-cenrtury America before 1865, this was called the American System. In the mid-1930s, it was called the New Deal. It was called fascism in Italy.

    The United States economy had been moving away from the free market ideal ever since 1913. The creation of the Federal Reserve System was a mark of the transition. So was the rise of the graduated income tax in 1913. All that was needed to escalate these two institutional changes was a war, and that was made available to us in April 1917.
    The essence of fascism is the doctrine of the government/business alliance. Private property is maintained on paper, but control is transferred to the state, especially the centralized national state. The state sets the guidelines. The state establishes the economic sanctions. The state prohibits those activities that would seek to be independent of state control and direction. The black market is actively suppressed.
    By the end of World War I, the fascist mindset was established throughout the West. The businessman who had operated under wartime controls wanted something like that again. They resisted the idea of the reintroduction of open competition on the free market. They preferred what was known as cost-plus pricing. This system favored large, established firms. It worked against innovative firms, whose main economic tool is price competition.

  28. Tim Neilson

    What business do we have in seeking to police the laws of another country?

    None, unless we’ve entered a treaty to do so, but I can’t for the life of me see where I’ve suggested any such thing.

  29. Tel

    Suppose New Zealand imposes a minimum wage of NZD30/hour. Many – employers and employees both – try to circumvent it by using dubious rebates and forging time sheets. Should Australia respond to such lawlessness by imposing tariffs on NZ businesses?

    My point was that Trump’s promise as POTUS was enforcement of existing US immigration laws, and that’s what Americans voted for, and that’s what Tucker has a problem with. The logical consequence of the US executive refusing to follow US law has nothing whatsoever to do with minimum wage in New Zealand, nor anywhere else. Most people seemed capable of reading and understanding this without spelling out those details.

    Now onto the entirely separate issue of what happens when two nations have incompatible laws and whether this would have an effect on trade between those nations. The general answer is yes it does matter and imposing tariffs might in many situations be an entirely reasonable thing to do … but like most things it’s a compromise. You seem to have deliberately picked an example where NZ would be weakening their own competitiveness and asked whether Australia should put up tariffs to block already uncompetitive imports. That would obviously be pointless.

    Now if the New Zealanders were breaking their own laws … that’s only Australia’s business to the extent that we have treaties with NZ for mutual enforcement, and obviously we fulfill the obligations of those treaties by outright blocking illegal imports and reporting the culprits to the authorities. We have treaty obligations for things such as Trademarks and authenticity, and if a load of fake Louis Vuitton handbags are discovered by Australian port authorities, Australia does not slap a tariff on those … but the authorities will confiscate the lot and destroy them. This is because a group of countries decided that it’s good for trade if the customers can buy a genuine item. Maybe you don’t like Trademark law, that’s OK you have a vote and a soapbox, you can campaign for different laws if you want to.

    Do we have the Cato Libertarians howling about this destruction of property and the “restrictionism” of not being allowed to sell counterfeit goods? Probably not, they probably figure that there’s a reason for trademarks and the consumer should know that the product being purchased is in fact what it says on the box.

    If lawlessness in a neighboring country is spilling over into organized crime in Australia then our authorities should both track down criminals here and also work with overseas authorities. That’s the reason we negotiate a treaty in the first place. Some problems are better solved with cooperation between parties and agreements are the way to achieve this.

  30. Tel

    Suppose New Zealand imposes a minimum wage of NZD30/hour. Many – employers and employees both – try to circumvent it by using dubious rebates and forging time sheets. Should Australia respond to such lawlessness by imposing tariffs on NZ businesses?

    My point was that Trump’s promise as POTUS was enforcement of existing US immigration laws, and that’s what Americans voted for, and that’s what Tucker has a problem with. The logical consequence of the US executive refusing to follow US law has nothing whatsoever to do with minimum wage in New Zealand, nor anywhere else. Most people seemed capable of reading and understanding this without spelling out those details.

    Now onto the entirely separate issue of what happens when two nations have incompatible laws and whether this would have an effect on trade between those nations. The general answer is yes it does matter and imposing tariffs might in many situations be an entirely reasonable thing to do … but like most things it’s a compromise. You seem to have deliberately picked an example where NZ would be weakening their own competitiveness and asked whether Australia should put up tariffs to block already uncompetitive imports. That would obviously be pointless.

    Now if the New Zealanders were breaking their own laws … that’s only Australia’s business to the extent that we have treaties with NZ for mutual enforcement, and obviously we fulfill the obligations of those treaties by outright blocking illegal imports and reporting the culprits to the authorities. We have treaty obligations for things such as Trademarks and authenticity, and if a load of fake Louis Vuitton handbags are discovered by Australian port authorities, Australia does not slap a tariff on those … but the authorities will confiscate the lot and destroy them. This is because a group of countries decided that it’s good for trade if the customers can buy a genuine item. Maybe you don’t like Trademark law, that’s OK you have a vote and a soapbox, you can campaign for different laws if you want to.

    Do we have the Cato Libertarians howling about this destruction of property and the “restrictionism” of not being allowed to sell counterfeit goods? Probably not, they probably figure that there’s a reason for trademarks and the consumer should know that the product being purchased is in fact what it says on the box.

    If lawlessness in a neighboring country is spilling over into organized crime in Australia then our authorities should both track down criminals here and also work with overseas authorities. That’s the reason we negotiate a treaty in the first place. Some problems are better solved with cooperation between parties and agreements are the way to achieve this. None of this is a new thing, but it seems more people are determined to derail the proper process these days.

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