Convervativism Poisoned by Libertarians
From Josh Barro at Bloomberg:
There are two big reasons today’s right loves the Austrians. One is that Austrian economists reject empirical analysis, and instead believe that you can reach conclusions about correct economic policies from a priori principles. It’s philosophy dressed up as economics; with the Austrians, there is never any risk that real-world events will interfere with your ideology.
The other big advantage is that the main Austrian thinkers, Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises, are dead, so they can’t argue with your interpretation of their work. This is especially important with Hayek, who got sort of squishy later in life.
And that is how so many on the right have pulled off the remarkable feat of going through the 2008 crisis and its aftermath without revisiting any of their policy views. Mine have certainly changed a lot — I have a much different outlook on monetary policy and bank regulation than I did four years ago. Posner had a big shift on fiscal policy.
But if you have Mises at your side, you “know” that empirical findings have no bearing on what policy should be. Leaning on Austrian thinkers is a great way to avoid further thinking.
It’s economic theory tailor-made for authoritarian fascism.