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A shoddy book criticising free markets

Whatever your views on free market principles, it is clearly dishonest to imply that those who support tax cuts, lower government spending and greater economic freedom do so in the belief that some wealth will belatedly “trickle down” to the poorest in society or because they view entrenching wealth amongst the privileged as an end in itself. Free marketeers would instead argue that allowing people to pursue all the opportunities they can through free exchange, with the minimal amount of government interference, will lead to generalised wealth creation. The virtue of cutting taxes is not that it benefits the rich, but that it benefits everyone.

Madeline Grant

The author is commenting on what appears to be a shoddy misrepresentation of the ideas of persons such as the late FA Hayek. Interestingly, one of the writers of the book in question, Angela Eagle, had attempted to run against current hard left Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. But it appears Eagle’s understanding of the classical position is terrible and her opposition to such freedoms as we enjoy seems clear. So the question I ask is that if Eagle and her allies are the “moderates”, then in what ways can they possibly be any better than Corbyn, apart from perhaps being less indulgent to anti-semites and certain other thugs?

12 comments to A shoddy book criticising free markets

  • Paul Marks

    The distinctions between the “moderates” or the “soft left” and the so called HARD LEFT are indeed ideologically unclear – J.P. is correct in that they have the same basic (false) ideas. The New York Times now regularly repeats, as truth, openly Marxist doctrines – thus people like me are answered, when I asked (again and again and again) how the non Marxist left (which I assumed to be the great majority of the left) could support a man of unrepentant Marxist background (Barack Obama – a cowardly Marxist, but still a Marxist) to be President of the United States. Their de facto answer is now clear “you were mistaken Paul Marks – we are not the NON Marxist left, we are Marxists ourselves, although of various mutant types, Frankfurt School, Post Modernist, and on-and-on”.

    However, there is still one important difference someone like Angela Eagle and someone like John McDonnell.

    John McDonnell wants to kill us – he makes that quite clear with his admiration for Mao and other socialist murderers of tens of millions of human beings. Angela Eagle may believe in all the false ideas of socialism, but she does NOT want to kill us. This is an important difference.

    For example, an American television station puts on a “60 minutes” show based on the idea that Dr Peterson opposes the left because he wants to maintain inequality and grind the faces of the poor – and of women, blacks, homosexuals (the standard Frankfurt School or Post Modern victim list).

    But do they want to KILL Dr Peterson? No they do not. And only if someone is prepared to kill, indeed revels in the thought of the suffering and deaths of the enemies of the left, is someone truly part of the “Hard Left”.

    Take a superhero or science fiction film – just about any of them.

    When leftist political ideas are presented as a reason to kill, the hero characters do NOT answer them. The hero characters CAN NOT answer them (as Hollywood only has leftist ideas – it does not understand any other ideas), but the hero characters still try and STOP the mass killing taking place. They can not answer the Hard Left in terms of ideas (for they have alternative ideas – no more than Angela Eagle does), but they are still AGAINST the mass killing (just as she is).

    I repeat – this is an important difference with the Hard Left.

  • Paul Marks

    By the way Madeline Grant’s statement is excellent.

    A central principle of Marxism is that opposition to it must be motivated by “Class Interests” (even if the people presenting the opposition do not know that they are really the unconscious tools of these “Class Interests”), modern Marxists (and disguised Marxists – such as the Post Modernists) have broadened this to race, gender…… the capitalists are now described as the “white, male, hetrosexual Patriarchy” (or some such) engaged in “exploitation” and “oppression” and using ideas as “ideology” to justify their “exploitation” and “oppression” with even such things as hard work and real savings described as “whiteness” (a Bad Thing).

    Once even the possibility that anti socialist ideas might be OBJECTIVELY TRUE then the spell of Marxism is undone.

    Any acceptance of the possibility of anti Marxist ideas as OBJECTIVELY TRUE (for example that the Labour Theory of Value is false – that the New York Times and so on are WRONG when they claim that profits are the surplus value of the effort of the workers, taken by the capitalists) and a great crack is presented in the dam (the dam against THE TRUTH) that the education system and the “mainstream” media (especially the entertainment media) have created.

    Crack the dam of lies and the great wave of truth might sweep the left away.

  • TomJ

    Kristian Niemetz touched on this in his recent Twitter thread explaining his Ideological Turing Test idea.

  • Alisa

    Paul, that was the Australian “60 Minutes”, not the American one.

  • John K

    Inasmuch as Angela Eagle is a socialist, it shows that she has no understanding of economics. However, I agree with Paul, she is probably not a bad person, and just wants to spend other peoples’ money on the sort of people who will vote for her. In this way, she convinces herself that she is doing good.

    She differs from the likes of Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell in that she does not seem to follow through on the logic of her position. Corbyn and McDonnell are true socialists, and that means that, given free reign, they would reorder society along socialist lines. There is in principle nothing that Lenin, Stalin or Mao did that they would not do, in the furtherance of socialism. The ends justify the means for these people. They always do.

  • She differs from the likes of Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell in that she does not seem to follow through on the logic of her position. (John K, May 3, 2018 at 11:18 am)

    When Kravchenko (“I chose freedom”) was converted to communism, despite his courageously anti-Tsarist father warning him that the revolution will go bad “if one party wins”, a key persuader was Comrade Lazarev, who had pictures of Lenin and Marx on his wall but between them – and this was what humanised him to Kravchenko – was a picture of Tolstoy in his old age. Years later, visiting Moscow in the attempt to find friends who could save him from being purged, Kravchenko visited Lazarev’s address hoping for advice since “it was he who started me off on the journey that led to this dead end.” But Comrade Lazarev was no longer there – he too had been purged. “He was paying for that part of him reflected in Tolstoy’s picture beside Lenin and Marx.”

    The danger of an ideology is that it drives you to follow through on the logic of its position. It captures your reasoning mind and makes it hard to articulate those parts of you that depend on compassionate feelings rather than weaponised ‘compassionate’ rhetoric. Therefore it tends to empower those activists who are short on compassionate feelings.

  • Paul Marks

    I apologise for my error Alisa.

    By the way John K and Niall are correct.

    The John McDonnells and co are far more ideologically consistent than the Angela Eagles – socialism without mass bloodshed would not last long. How does one crush private ownership AND prevent private trade and so on coming back? Only by TERROR – if one is not prepared to shed blood (vast amounts of it) one should not be a socialist in the Marxist sense.

    But most socialists (thankfully) are humans beings first and socialists second – if this goes the other way round (people being socialists first) then there is a tidal wave of human blood.

    It is much the same with Islam – Muhammed himself (although incredibly intelligent) did terrible things and taught terrible things, but most Muslims are NOT terrible people and do NOT do terrible things – why not?

    Because they do not really see Muhammed for what he did, and they do not really study what he taught (they chant the prayers without really thinking about them – and so on). Any more than most socialists obsess about “On Capital” by Karl Marx.

    Only some people take ideas seriously enough to kill for them “if we really believe these things we must act on them – and the logical course of action, if we believe these things, is ….” – and I understand such people very well, there is a very bad reason as to why I understand that sort of person so well.

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    One of the sins of representative democracy is that the trend of government is set towards growth. A politician can only get into office by promising to fix one or more problems, and they then claim a mandate to expand government to fix the problems when the grateful people elect them. I don’t think I’ve heard of a politician who got in on a platform of reducing government (except Ronald Reagan in California, but he phrased it as cutting back on red tape).

  • bobby b

    And thus, libertarianism as Libertarianism The Party never works.

    Libertarianism (small l) is more of a sea anchor than a rudder.

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    I think you are wrong, Bobby! We need participatory democracy, not representative! I think that we could arrange things so that if a person chose to become a citizen, then for 11 months of the year they would do some sort of voluntary community work, like fireman or militia patrols or community service, and for the other month, all those who signed up in the month would be the local government of the local county within which they live. No professional politicians of any kind would be needed. So government wouldn’t have a built-in bias towards expansion.

  • Runcie Balspune

    The left cannot eulogize socialist economics because at it’s core it simply does not work, their only resort is to diss capitalism, but even bad capitalism is better than end stage socialism.

  • Thailover

    Of course it’s unfair to support tax cuts for….(yada-yada)…”trickle down”.


    That’s a LEFTIST strawman, and/or idiots who never understood the nature of personal wealth and business investment.

    There is no “tax cuts for the rich” and/or “tax cuts for businesses” that “trickle down” to employees and consumers.

    Rather, business investment trickles UP, and it typically takes YEARS to do so. Years often pass between initial investment in a company and that of realizing actual profit, because profit is WHAT’S LEFT OVER after everyone else, (suppliers, employees, etc) are paid on a per job, weekly or monthly basis. Add this to the fact that roughly half of all businesses fail within the first four years of existence and it seems a wonder that anyone succeeds at all.