Deirdre McCloskey on COVID-19 and Statism

Deirdre McCloskey has a new essay.

European intellectuals from Voltaire to Lenin have had only three really big political ideas. One of them, the liberalism conceived in the 18th century by Voltaire and Adam Smith, and carried on by people like Mary Wollstonecraft and John Stuart Mill and Claude-Frédéric Bastiat, has made the modern world. The other two, nationalism and socialism, conceived in the 19th century by Hegel and Marx, and carried into the 20th century by Lenin and Mussolini, have nearly unmade it. The modern plague is a threat to sweet liberalism, because it is an encouragement to nationalism and socialism, and, God help us, national socialism.
You may reply, “To liberalism, good riddance!” If you are on the right, you will be pleased if fear of the plague brings down the European Union and re-establishes national borders and national hatreds, with the Church. If you are on the left, you will be pleased if lockdowns against the plague bring down capitalism and re-establish a managed economy such as was enjoyed by our happy ancestors in walled town and plowed field, but now with science.

Read it all. Enjoy. I suspect those of you who are a tad more conservative might not enjoy it as much as you should.

 

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52 Responses to Deirdre McCloskey on COVID-19 and Statism

  1. thefrollickingmole

    as well as the thoughtless and quasifascist ones such as Donald Trump

    Im going to need some convincing as to why I should proceed to read any further than this.

    Because as far as opening paragraphs go, thats revealing a level of intellectual dishonesty from the start.

  2. Turtle

    Hegel invented Nationalism?

  3. Infidel Tiger King

    as well as the thoughtless and quasi- fascist ones such as Donald Trump in the US and Viktor Orbán in Hungary.

    I think we can stop right there. This is sort of madness an insight one might expect from a man who wears dresses and lops his cock off, not a thinking person.

  4. JohnJJJ

    Well, that wasted a few minutes of my life. Another professor/ess that has accomplished zero except to help weirdo the world.

  5. Struth

    I won’t be reading it Sinclair.
    I only know too well after all these years when you are trolling your own blog.
    Once Nationalism is seen as a disease by the writer, I see the writer as a disease to be socially distanced from.
    National borders are requirements for democracy.

    The problem with the National Socialists, was the socialist part.
    When I was a kid, I never saw the tellers at the National Bank goose step into work.
    Nor the National History museum, National Trust,……….

    But then again, I wouldn’t be surprised with the national transport commission.

  6. Sinclair Davidson

    National borders are requirements for democracy.

    Only if that democracy wants a welfare system.

  7. NoFixedAddress

    The Second last paragraph

    Innovism and adultism, even aside from their intrinsic merit of raising up a people with the dignity of self-fashioning, have the extrinsic merit of making ordinary people like you and me very rich by comparison with our ancestors. Perhaps you are descended from the Bourbons.
    But my ancestors were Irish and Norwegian peasants, unspeakably poor. The Great Enrichment, 1800 to the present, that factor of thirty in goods and services, was not caused by coercion, which is ancient, but by liberty, which was new. Its magnitude was further multiplied by the free trade and free migration and free press that Trump and his advisors Peter Navarro and Stephen Miller so disdain.

  8. Infidel Tiger King

    Only if that democracy wants a welfare system

    Overwhelmingly it does.

  9. Sinclair Davidson

    Overwhelmingly it does.

    National borders for welfare bums.

  10. NoFixedAddress

    Show me one country that has Free Trade, Free Migration and a Free Press.

  11. Sinclair Davidson

    United States in the 19 century.

    United Kingdom in the 19 century.

  12. Colin Suttie

    Nationalism is bad, but selling out our manufacturing base to the CCP is good?
    Nationalism is bad, open borders are good, every person is the same blank canvas?

    Has there been a single ivory tower libertarian theory that has survived the first contact with the real world?

  13. notafan

    Yes the US

    Until too many Irish started arriving.

  14. notafan

    The sentence that ended ‘with the Church’ makes zero sense.

    All in all a dog’s breakfast.

    Obama good

    Orange man bad

    All in all it seems an essay with a foregone conclusion with strained ‘facts’ to support it.

    Catholic monestaries and many others in the mediaeval period were very innovative, it’s not solely the province of special people.

  15. Infidel Tiger King

    Once again we see why libertarianism is an obscure and diminishing cult practiced by white academics without any skin in the real world.

  16. NoFixedAddress

    Sinclair Davidson
    #3460683, posted on May 22, 2020 at 11:10 am

    LOLs – 19th century you recidivist.

    Even da wiki has this to say,

    The 19th century saw large amounts of social change; slavery was abolished, and the First and Second Industrial Revolutions (which also overlap with the 18th and 20th centuries, respectively) led to massive urbanization and much higher levels of productivity, profit and prosperity.

    If we don’t have Free Trade, Free Migration and a Free Press then look to the Government/Administrative Class that has done and continues to do its level best to control it all.

    Let me know when I can be a Free and open worshiping Christian in any country I chose and able to buy a block of land wherever I want.

    While we have countries controlled by Warlords and Gangs seeking to control our Nation then it is inherent on a Free People to protect their economies from their debauchment, including secret agreements.

  17. Roger

    The sentence that ended ‘with the Church’ makes zero sense.

    That’s the point I decided not to read further.

    Life is too short to struggle with the writings of people who can’t write.

  18. Watch Your Back

    As Lieutenant Schaefer says in Where Eagles Fare, “I think she’s kinda nuts”.

    Does she seriously believe that “adultism” and “innovism” are going to stop green Communism from destroying economies and setting up authoritarian states? They see the lockdown as an opportunity for both international socialism and national socialism to conquer. It’ll be like 1984, Brave New World, Brazil and Clockwork Orange rolled into one.

  19. Confused Olsd Misfit

    I was disappointed in her failure to deal with the out-migration from the middle east and Africa. Does she discount the effects that this movement of people has had and will have?

  20. BM

    NoFixedAddress
    Show me one country that has Free Trade, Free Migration and a Free Press.

    Sinclair Davidson
    United States in the 19 century.
    United Kingdom in the 19 century.

    Hmmm. Trying to argue that nationalism is bad by pointing to the success of American exceptionalism and British imperialism is…interesting.

  21. Pyrmonter

    Very good, though I wonder if McCloskey might consider getting a proof-reader – the grammar is impeccable, though occasionally obscure.

    And surely she means Oran, not Toulon?

  22. Iampeter

    It’s a good essay, I guess, but she gets so much fundamental stuff wrong that it undermines anything good.
    Liberalism was not conceived by Voltaire and Adam Smith. It was conceived by the groundbreaking discovery of the concept of individual rights by Locke and built on in practice by the American Founders who created the worlds first rights-protecting republic.
    That’s what “liberalism” in the classical sense is all about.
    Everything else is just gravy.

    Without this she can’t offer any actual alternative to the statism of both conservatives and progressives.

  23. Pyrmonter

    @ Iamp

    Jefferson, Hamilton and Andrew Jackson were pillars of freedom and liberty?

  24. Tim Neilson

    It was conceived by the groundbreaking discovery of the concept of individual rights by Locke

    It’s true that profound Christian thinkers like Locke were important influences on eighteenth century political developments (and maybe even late seventeenth century ones), but individual rights well and truly pre-dated Locke’s work. See for example the Ship Money case. Although Hampden lost on the specifics of the case, the idea that an individual had the right to challenge an appropriation of money from the individual by government was taken for granted by both sides.

  25. Tim Neilson

    nationalism and socialism, conceived in the 19th century by Hegel and Marx,

    Stopped reading there. Any discussion of “nationalism” that suggests it wasn’t created at the latest at the time of the Treaty of Westphalia is not worth the waste of time.

  26. Faye

    Has Deidre McCloskey’s home no fences, no walls, no locks? Is her home open to those poor young strapping African and Middle East migrant men who demand feeding and bedding at her expense?

    Who is going to protect her when the S hits the fan? when Obama is defrocked (she actually thanked God for Obama) in the next few weeks by that God forsaken President Trump.

  27. HGS

    OK, I’ll say it, Iampeter is correct.

  28. Roger

    OK, I’ll say it, Iampeter is correct.

    Not on this: conservatives are not statists.

  29. Tim Neilson

    OK, I’ll say it, Iampeter is correct.

    Nor on Christianity, a subject about which his ignorance is near-perfect.

    [Although he is very willing to opine about “Christian metaphysics, epistemology and ethics”, he somehow never sees my numerous invitations to him on this site to reveal how he acquired his knowledge of those matters.]

  30. HGS

    Oh dear.

    I was looking at the 2.30 item.

    About the Dear Deirdre comment. This is the chick who thinks that the EU saved Europe from another war. Good heavens, she thinks that Macron is a good liberal (in the classical sense).

    Iampeter is often wrong, esp about Christians (I am one) and conservatives (I am probably not one).

  31. Rex Anger

    @ Tim Nielson- Petey said on ‘The Essential’ thead that Christianity is a leftist ideology and as far as he is concerned, disqualifies one from making any complaint of any nature about leftwing governments and authorities suppressing them or doing things they fundamentally object to.

    I just wish he’d told the various subgroups of ‘progressives’ and lefty luvvies sooner, that the key target of their hatred and their greatest perceived opponent for the total control of man and society happens to be on the same side…

    In relation to opposition to Euthanasia, he also claims that Christians not only just want people to die, but to also suffer horribly first.

    Much as I would like to break out my Bible and attempt to relate the Truth about following Christ, it would be a wasted effort. And that, above all things, is most regrettable.

  32. Roger

    Iampeter is a closed mind.

  33. Rex Anger

    @HGS- Regardless of where your individual philsophies and beliefs sit (and I won’t pry or judge, cos nobody fits in any single box), in tbe modern Culture War we are stuck in, everyone to the right of Stalin and Mao (however slightly) is a de facto conservative, and thus fair game.

    It is an attitude that is wrong, unfair and demeaning to all people.

  34. HGS

    Rex

    Yes you make a good point, so I am a conservative, and proud of it.

  35. Squirrel

    “….nationalism and socialism, conceived in the 19th century by Hegel and Marx, and carried into the 20th century by Lenin and Mussolini….”

    Mussolini’s main relevance to present day Straya is surely as sartorial inspiration for VicPol.

  36. Alex

    I thought this might be a good read given Sinc’s endorsement but she lost me as she did others above when she prostrated herself before the god Obama then went on to digging a deeper hole for herself like a divine comedian. Well I tried but I’d rather be reading Bertrand Russell’s History of Western Philosophy (Book 1). What a shame he wasn’t in to writing science fiction and wrote a follow up to Book 1.

  37. dover_beach

    Unconvincing. Liberalism as ‘innovism’ or’ adultism’. Really? He needs to put his pom-poms down once and awhile.

  38. Tim Neilson

    I just wish he’d told the various subgroups of ‘progressives’ and lefty luvvies sooner, that the key target of their hatred and their greatest perceived opponent for the total control of man and society happens to be on the same side…

    Iamashiteater would never let anything as prosaic as reality get in the road of his ideological bloviations.

  39. Tel

    Stopped reading there. Any discussion of “nationalism” that suggests it wasn’t created at the latest at the time of the Treaty of Westphalia is not worth the waste of time.

    Anyone who even knows the first thing about politics would understand the Treaty of Westphalia … obviously!

  40. Roger W

    Nationalism was an essential part of what made both the USA and the UK strong and confident, and therefore able to prosper in the 19th century. Sinclair’s history skills are not good. He shouldn’t give up his day job.

  41. Iampeter

    I just wish he’d told the various subgroups of ‘progressives’ and lefty luvvies sooner, that the key target of their hatred and their greatest perceived opponent for the total control of man and society happens to be on the same side…

    I’m sure if I was wrong about any of that you guys would’ve just easily demonstrated as such.
    Instead you just got triggered and started hurling insults as usual.
    Almost like you guys have no idea what you’re talking about and know it…

    Nationalism was an essential part of what made both the USA and the UK strong and confident, and therefore able to prosper in the 19th century

    Nationalism is a collectivism ideology like socialism and communism and so could not have made anyone strong, confident or prosperous.

  42. Rex Anger

    Petey, I don’t need to prove you wrong about any of your assertions about Christianity and your allegations it.is leftist. There is ample evidence against your claims out there in the world right now, and history. You consistently refuse to acknowledge it.

    Furthermore, you’ve resorted to ‘Yooz dunno bout politicz!’ ‘Yooz DuM!’ And ‘Yooz Tiggurd!’ Your standard responses to any time you are called out. Just waiting for your other trope, ‘Yooz Iz Projektun On Mee!

    Seriously comrade, I could watch the same episode of MASH twice a day, every day for the next year, memorise every detail and still find more freshness amd variety in my viewing than in dealing with your discordant honking.

  43. Iampeter

    Petey, I don’t need to prove you wrong about any of your assertions about Christianity and your allegations it.is leftist. There is ample evidence against your claims out there in the world right now, and history. You consistently refuse to acknowledge it.

    Then you should have no problem proving it.

    Furthermore, you’ve resorted to ‘Yooz dunno bout politicz!’ ‘Yooz DuM!’ And ‘Yooz Tiggurd!’

    No, that’s what you’re doing.
    I demonstrated you don’t know anything about politics in our previous exchange.
    You can’t demonstrate anything and resort to the above instead. You’re doing it in the very same post you’re trying to accuse me of doing it, SMH.

    Seriously comrade, I could watch the same episode of MASH twice a day, every day for the next year, memorise every detail and still find more freshness amd variety in my viewing than in dealing with your discordant honking.

    You’re confused. This is what I’m saying about you and the other crackpots here.

    You nutters are highly entertaining and you can’t find stuff like this anywhere else on the internet.

  44. Rex Anger

    Just waiting for your other trope, ‘Yooz Iz Projektun On Mee!‘

    No, that’s what you’re doing…You’re doing it in the very same post you’re trying to accuse me of doing it, SMH.

    There you go. Right on schedule. Couldn’t resist, could you? 🙂

    Petey, your repeated attempts to laugh at my expense and ‘get me’ continue to fail. That you cannot resist responding to me when you will otherwise ignore anyone else who calls you out, suggests I been far more effective at getting under your skin than you have mine.

    That you persist with these 4 boring and tropish arguments at every instance is a terrible disappointment, given your proclaimed greater knowledge and erudition than I.

    Having identified in your first-ever responses to me that these 4 arguments are the only things you use on anyone who disagrees with or questions you (which does not constitute debate or discussion for rational people, only your hated leftists), I have given you ample opportunity to insteadeffectively and properly engage your alleged wit and intellect in a mutually satisfying and amusing duel of ever-sillier and inventive insults. This is about the only appropriate engagement anyone should be having with you. Sadly, you fail to provide any semblance of a suitable reply at every turn.

    Arguing with you is like arguing with a toothless capuchin monkey- You can screech and fling faeces, but you have no bite at all.

    The single sentence dismissal of Then you should have no problem proving it. in the face of blantantly obvious, demonstrated and much-reported persecution of a major Church figure in Victoria alone in the last 18 months (Which surely hasn’t escaped even your notice, givenit’s even featured prominently on the Cat), without looking any further afield, proves to me that you wilfully choose to ignore reality in order to persist with your own agenda. Just like your despised collectivists. Do you really think a leftist would persecute their own? Silly Petey.

    Now please, shift the goalposts again or further dismiss me. You only expose more of your foolishness.

    For the sake of all Cats, Please. Up. Your. Game.

  45. Iampeter

    Sadly, you fail to provide any semblance of a suitable reply at every turn.

    Um…no that’s what you and your buddies keep doing, you’ve done it again in this very post.
    You keep making posts full of the very things you’re trying to accuse me of doing.
    You have no knowledge of these topics and no arguments. All you can do is launch personal attacks and project.

    For the sake of all Cats, Please. Up. Your. Game.

    You’re the politically illiterate leftist on a right wing blog projecting your own absurd behavior onto others.

  46. Rex Anger

    And again:

    Petey, your repeated attempts to laugh at my expense and ‘get me’ continue to fail. That you cannot resist responding to me when you will otherwise ignore anyone else who calls you out, suggests I been far more effective at getting under your skin than you have mine.

    That you persist with these 4 boring and tropish arguments at every instance is a terrible disappointment, given your proclaimed greater knowledge and erudition than I.

  47. Rex Anger

    Furthermore, I note with great interest that I did provide the example and proof you demanded, which you promptly ignored in favour of ‘Yooz dunno bout politicz!’ ‘Yooz DuM! Yooz Iz Projektun On Mee!‘

    How very superior of you.

  48. Iampeter

    That you cannot resist responding to me when you will otherwise ignore anyone else who calls you out

    You’re the one following me from thread to thread responding to every post.
    It’s you who cannot resist because you’ve been thoroughly beclowned as someone who knows nothing about politics on a political blog.

    Furthermore, I note with great interest that I did provide the example and proof you demanded, which you promptly ignored in favour of ‘Yooz dunno bout politicz!’

    Where? You’re random assertion about any Christian being “persecuted” in Victoria is nothing but leftist identity politics like I was saying. Not a counter to anything I was saying.

  49. Rex Anger

    Now please, shift the goalposts again or further dismiss me. You only expose more of your foolishness.

    You’re random assertion about any Christian being “persecuted” in Victoria is nothing but leftist identity politics like I was saying. Not a counter to anything I was saying.

    Try harder comrade. There is being right. Then there is watching you trying to be Right.

    I do not need to know the ‘textbook’ definition (if any such thing truly exists given the actual complexity of human thought) of any -ism related to personal freedom and liberty, to know you speak utter shyte when you trash the very basis of the Enlightenment ‘s ideas by demeaning the same God whose example of love and respect for His creation inspired the concepts of freedom and liberty in the philosphers and thinkers whose names you love to casually drop, while refusing to understand what they mean.

    I consider you much prefer the French and European thinkers like Robespierre, who felt that the average person was too craven and stupid and superstitious to be able to hold any equivalent understanding of their freedom and inherent worth as human beings. Compared to him and his guillotine-wielding mates, of course.

    I hear you loudly parrot that same dismissive and cheap approach to life whenever you deride anyone who challenges you, or you nail your superior ‘knowledge’ to the wall in your posts. You claim to believe in rights, but damn the responsibilites that underpin them. You deride the proven freedom of life within moral and ethical boundaries (UK and US Enlightenment, as spread by your hated ‘leftist’ Christians) in favour of the very French and European perceived freedom of the absence of values.

    There is my counter, you pseudo-intellectual ass. You ignore the whole in favour of the abstract, demean people in order to champion unachievable principle and thumb your nose at the one Being on whose societal foundations you have built your ramshackle pillow-fort of individualist thought.

    Now honk again, Petey. Honk again and demonstrate that you are the capering fool here.

  50. Iampeter

    I do not need to know the ‘textbook’ definition (if any such thing truly exists given the actual complexity of human thought)

    Yes I understand your position.
    You don’t know what you’re talking about and don’t think that you need to.
    Only at the Cat have I seen this stated as if it’s an argument or something.

    I hear you loudly parrot that same dismissive and cheap approach to life whenever you deride anyone who challenges you

    I’m not deriding you. You’re deriding me.
    Let me explain something to you: calling you politically illiterate is not an insult. There are lots of things I’m illiterate about too. That’s OK. They’re just things I’m not interested in.
    But what I don’t do is go to blogs on those topics and start insulting people there who actually do have an interest in those topics and then try to play victim. That would be completely nuts.

    Honk again and demonstrate that you are the capering fool here.

    No amount of projection is going to switch our roles here.
    There’s no recovering for you.

  51. Rex Anger

    You just did it again Petey.

    ‘But what I don’t do is go to blogs on those topics and start insulting people there who actually do have an interest in those topics and then try to play victim. That would be completely nuts. ‘

    And yet, here you are on the Essential, doing exactly that:

    For example, Christianity is the OG leftist ideology, so if you support it then you can’t oppose anyone as “far-left wing.” It’s a contradiction.
    For the same reason bemoaning this or that about Christians on a right wing blog makes as much sense as bemoaning this or that problem communists are facing. It’s a contradiction.
    Also, if you oppose abortion, because you brought it up for some random reason, then you oppose individual rights and are therefore a leftist, so can’t oppose left wing anything. It’s a contradiction.
    Also, everyone is suffering under lockdowns in many different ways. Trying to get special exemptions for your special interest group is called leftist identity politics, which means you’re again being a leftist while crying about leftists. Again you’re contradicting yourself.
    On and on it goes.’

    Followed by ‘Also, euthanasia in Victoria is not “state-orchestrated death.” This is InfoWars-level nonsense.
    But if it was, it makes no sense why a Christian would oppose it. Your holiest symbol is literal human torture and sacrifice. Again, contradiction.
    Oh wait, I guess you’d argue you want the suffering to be drawn out as much as possible. Christianity is not just about death it’s about suffering too.’

    And you replied to another person by repeating that last one: ‘Christian leftists want you to not just die but to suffer first.’

    Now, that is just plain slanderous. Defamatory even, if someone wanted come after you. they could reasonably take you to court in any jurisdiction outside Victoria and have you under the disagreeable S.18(c). And all the evidence is right here. But that’s not going onto a thread that people have an interest in and then insulting them is it, Petey? It’s OK because you are doing unto others.

    Just now, you declared that you have decided I ‘don’t know what [I’m] talking about and don’t think that [I] need to. Only at the Cat have [you] seen this stated as if it’s an argument or something.

    Hypocrisy much, Petey?

    On the subject of ‘playing the victim.’ From your own replies above:

    I’m not deriding you. You’re deriding me.

    You’re the one following me from thread to thread responding to every post.

    You have no knowledge of these topics and no arguments. All you can do is launch personal attacks and project… You’re the politically illiterate leftist on a right wing blog projecting your own absurd behavior onto others.

    No amount of projection is going to switch our roles here.
    There’s no recovering for you.

    Whatever you say, baby…

  52. Iampeter

    And yet, here you are on the Essential, doing exactly that:

    Um, no. You’re the one that said “I do not need to know the ‘textbook’ definition (if any such thing truly exists given the actual complexity of human thought)” confirming you don’t know what you’re talking about and that you’re not even sure such knowledge is even possible.

    There’s nowhere to go from there.

    The rest of your post is the usual beyond-parody projection as you keep doing the very things you’re trying to accuse me of doing.

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