Sunday, November 29, 2009

Realizing Freedom: Libertarian Theory, History, and Practice | Cato Institute: Book Forum

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

This forum can be viewed live or in archive form.

Featuring the author, Tom G. Palmer, General Director, Atlas Global Initiative for Free Trade, Peace, and Prosperity, and Senior Fellow, Cato Institute; with comments by Tyler Cowen, Professor of Economics, George Mason University, and General Director, Mercatus Center.

Realizing Freedom: Libertarian Theory, History, and Practice | Cato Institute: Book Forum

Saturday, November 28, 2009

no people, no problem

The recent ASET book club discussion and Boyes posting on the challenge of engaging in civil discourse with statists continues to nag at me.

Jonathan J. Bean's post over on Liberty and Power and the recent posting at Mises confirm the importance of both civil discourse and the continuing frustration that advocates of liberty encounter - both in and out of the academy.

Higher education, as Daniel Klein and others have pointed out, is characterized by a lack of intellectual diversity - the overwhelming majority of those who teach hold statist ideology, what Sowell calls the unconstrained vision.

Bean's comments might lead one to conclude that once the current generation of liberty advocates pass on, that the conversation dies. I am not that pessimistic, I work with a few younger faculty and have encountered younger colleagues at Liberty Fund colloquia who are persuasive advocates of liberty.

That said, the current popular and scholarly debate certainly seems framed in such a manner as to generate loud and abrasive attack rather than civil discourse. I wonder to what extent the economic climate has influenced this climate. I am thinking of Benjamin Friedman's thesis in The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth that tolerance, openness and engagement are cyclical qualities.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Where conservatives have it wrong - The Boston Globe

On the whole, illegal immigrants are just the sort of newcomers Americans should embrace: self-motivated risk-takers, strivers determined to improve themselves, hard-working men and women willing to take the meanest jobs if it will give them a shot at building their own American dream.

Where conservatives have it wrong - The Boston Globe


President Obama's radio address today addressed the economy, the so-called stimulus, and a need for another stimulus. Somehow Obama claims that his administration has cut taxes for nearly every working man and woman.

According to the Tax Foundation: IRS data shows that the share of the tax burden borne by the top 1 percent now exceeds the share paid by the bottom 95 percent of taxpayers combined. The top 1 percent is comprised of just 1.4 million taxpayers and they pay a larger share of the income tax burden now than the bottom 134 million taxpayers combined.

Some in Washington say the tax system is still not progressive enough. However, the recent IRS data bolsters the findings of an OECD study released last year showing that the U.S.—not France or Sweden—has the most progressive income tax system among OECD nations. The U.S. relies more heavily on the top 10 percent of taxpayers than does any nation and our poor people have the lowest tax burden of those in any nation.

What is coming in recent years? Business income may be in for a significant tax hike in 2011. The Ways and Means Committee has approved a new 5.4 percent surtax on income over $1 million and two smaller surtaxes on other high-income people. These may become law at the same time as the current top tax rate on wages (35%) reverts to 39.6% (end of 2010).The Bush tax cuts are extended, and some new cuts added for lower income Americans. However the federal income tax on individuals over $200,000 will rise from 35% to 39.6%.

The Tax Foundation says that 44% of all tax filers will have no tax liability and most of those will get a check from the government, especially from the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and credits for college tuition and child care. Obama's plan calls this tax cuts where, "Once upon a time we called this 'welfare'" (according to the Wall Street Journal).

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates the Obama plans will raise the national debt far more than Obama says. The CBO says the Obama plan will cause total deficits over the next ten years of $9.3 trillion, compared to Obama's estimate of "only" 7 trillion. That is in addition to the current national debt of $11.2 trillion and rising.

Obama has proposed a carbon cap and trade system that will raise energy prices for families and businesses. It will result in higher prices.

The health care bill proposed major tax hikes on high income and elderly citizens.

What, therefore, does the President mean when he says we should be thankful for his Administration's tax cuts???

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Summary Austrian Economics

Mario Rizzo writes of Austrian economics.

The highly interrelated themes I listed are:

(1) the subjective, yet socially embedded, quality of human decision making;

(2) the individual’s perception of the passage of time (‘real time’);

(3) the radical uncertainty of expectations;

(4) the decentralization of explicit and tacit knowledge in society;

(5) the dynamic market processes generated by individual action, especially entrepreneurship;

(6) the function of the price system in transmitting knowledge;

(7) the supplementary role of cultural norms and other cultural products (‘institutions’) in conveying knowledge;

(8) the spontaneous – that is, not centrally directed – evolution of social institutions.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Theory of Moral Sentiments - EconTalk Podcast series

This posting and the subsequent ones dealing with the EconTalk podcast of TMS is to prepare for a Liberty Fund colloqia in July on Adam Smith.

This posting deals with the introduction to TMS and the first podcast.

Introduction to Raphael edition of TMS - pages 1 -52

1. Influence of Stoic philosophy

2. 3 virtues of prudence, beneficence and self command

3. Self command permeates all virtue (great precept of nature)

4. Stoicism permeated range of ethics and social science

5. View nature as a cosmic harmony - informs metaphor of invisible hand - the Stoic idea of harmonious system

6. Impartial (indifferent) spectator - as related to conscience

7. Natural harmony and natural liberty

8. Role of prudence and how prudence works with self command to reinforce moral/ethical behavior

9. Sympathy or fellow feeling

10. Judge the agent's motive not the action

11. Ethics - criterion for determining right action - impartial spectator (preferred by Smith) and utility

12. TMS and WN compliment each other - TMS - argument to understand sympathy's role in moral judgment. WN deals with motives for action - which include self love.

From the first podcast:

"Theory of Moral Sentiments (TMS) first published in 1759, revised, final edition 1790; spanned publication of Wealth of Nations, which was published in 1776. Impression of TMS: richer version of Wealth of Nations. Caricature of Adam Smith is focus on greed and self-interest. By contrast, TMS focuses on a richer set of motivations: fame, glory, guilt, reputation, self-esteem. Is that a good characterization? Moral dimensions of our conduct. Sometimes people feel that there is a tension between the two books. Smith trying to explore moral considerations and understandings, but also engaging in a project to advance them, improve them. Not just social psychology or moral psychology; agenda driven, part of enlightenment movement, sees developments of all kinds around him. Smith sees that he needs to explore natural jurisprudence, includes political economy--what the laws ought to be, proper law, desirable law as opposed to the positive law of each nation. Larger project: exploring the moral sentiments, wisdom, virtue."

Economics and the Ordinary Person: Re-reading Adam Smith

"In his Theory of Moral Sentiments (TMS), he criticizes several philosophical theories of morality for not attending properly to the way moral sentiments are actually experienced. And in both TMS and WN he condemns those entranced by "the love of system," those who want to impose their own vision of how the human world should work on the people who actually live in that world. Smith's account of moral and political cognition is strikingly egalitarian: experts know less than they claim to know, and ordinary people know more than they seem to know, about what will best promote the human good.

This egalitarian view of human cognition provides the essential premise for Smith's arguments against government interference with the economy. Smith's teacher Hutcheson, Smith's rival James Steuart, and many other political economists, did not share Smith's confidence in ordinary people's judgment, and therefore looked to a government where the wise would guide investment, and control the labor- and consumption-choices of the poor. For Smith, by contrast, the decisions made by individuals in their own local situations—all individuals, even the poor and uneducated people regarded with so much disdain by Smith's contemporaries—will almost always more effectively promote the public good than any plan aimed directly at that good. And the decisions individuals make about their own moral problems will also normally be at least as wise as any they would come to if they were guided, morally, by their political leaders.

First, if Smith believes that good philosophical and scientific work should be rooted in common sense, then we should not expect him to approve of an economic science, like the one we have today, carried on in a highly abstract and technical jargon. Nor is his own work written that way. WN was admired in its day for its great clarity, and for its avoidance of detailed calculations in favor of historical narrative.

Second, a moral philosophy rooted in common sense is unlikely to endorse a counter-intuitive view of human nature, and Smith in fact combats the counter-intuitive views of his predecessors and colleagues. This is one reason why he rejects the notion that human beings are thoroughly selfish, put about by Hobbes and Mandeville. But for the same reason he rejects the idea that human beings ever were or ever will be capable of the passionate altruism or patriotism on which utopian thinkers pinned their hopes (Thomas More before Smith; Rousseauvians in his time; Marxists later on).

Third, and perhaps most importantly, Smith's distrust of the ability of "systems"—whether philosophical, religious, or political—to improve human beings goes with a belief that what really provides us with moral education are the humble institutions of everyday social interaction, including the market. The foundation of all virtue for Smith is "self-command," the ability to control our feelings, to restrain our passion for our own interests and to enhance our feelings for others. But we achieve self-command only after the disapproval of others has led us to develop a habit of dampening our self-love. The first great "school of self-command," says Smith, is the company of our playfellows, who refuse to indulge us the way our parents do; when we are adult, the major arena in which we need constantly to attend to the interests of others, and restrain our self-absorption, is the market."

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Adam Smith: Moral Philosopher

This 2000 piece by James R. Otteson is worth a read.

Otteson observes about The Theory of Moral Sentiments:

Smith’s analysis of the way in which people and communities come to have common moral standards is intriguing—and, indeed, may in large part be true. This alone would recommend it for serious consideration. But Smith’s examination of human morality reveals a model for explaining the development and maintenance of large-scale human institutions generally—which would mean that the book’s import is yet greater than initially thought. I call Smith’s model a “marketplace model.” Let me sketch it briefly, drawing on the discussion so far.

First, Smith argues that moral judgments, along with the rules by which we render them, develop in the way I have described, without an overall, pre-arranged plan. They arise and grow into a shared, common system of morality—a general consensus regarding the nature of virtue, or what Smith calls propriety and merit—on the basis of countless individual judgments made in countless particular situations.

Second, Smith argues that as we grow from infants to children to adults we develop increasingly sophisticated principles of action and judgment, which enable us to assess and judge an increasingly diverse range of actions and motivations.

Third, what seem when we are children to be isolated and haphazard interactions with others lead as we grow older to habits of behavior; as adults the habits solidify into principles that guide what we call our “conscience.”

Fourth, people’s interests, experiences, and environments change slowly enough to allow long-standing associations and institutions to arise, which give a firm foundation to the rules, standards, and protocols that both set the parameters for the initial creation of these associations and in turn are supported by them. (These “associations” would today include everything from Elks clubs, YMCAs, and Boy Scouts, to the American Medical Association, the National Academy of Sciences, and even the Catholic Church.)

Smith next argues that the development of personal moral standards, of a conscience and the impartial spectator procedure, and of the accepted moral standards of a community all depend on the regular associations people make with one another.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Obama to Taxpayers: America Needs More Picnic Tables

Boyes describes a disconnect between self perception of preference (those who think they believe in a free market) and the response to the government.

A part of this disconnect can be explained by lack of knowledge - a finance professional is a technician, one who is versed in the use of systems. It seems clear that work in this environment might dull the appreciation for freedom and increase the appreciation of system.

But more than this, the disconnect reflects a lack of understanding of liberty, property and coercion. Like most, this finance professional has a profound misunderstanding of taxation. Like mandates, this intrusion into the private preference function of the individual, is the most glaring example of violation of individual liberty.

Obama to Taxpayers: America Needs More Picnic Tables

Exclusive Book Excerpt: Fannie and Freddie’s Starring Role in the Housing Debacle

Exclusive Book Excerpt: Fannie and Freddie’s Starring Role in the Housing Debacle


During the last ASET book discussion there was some debate surrounding Browning's view of the impact of immigration. This discussion does a nice job of presenting the point that I inadequately articulated at that discussion.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Krugman to the Rescue

Krugman to the Rescue

I enjoy paying taxes

Last night I participated on a panel for Alph Kappa Psi, the business fraternity, along with a sales executive from Vanguard and a professor of finance. In discussing the economy, the recession, and the future, we had some, what seem to be very typical, skirmishes. Both the others blamed capitalism and a lack of regulation for the 2008 debacle. Both called for increased regulation of financial institutions and the separation of banking and investment banking, the power to break apart large firms and to regulate hedge funds. Why is it so difficult for people to accept that it was government regulation that caused the problem in the first place. The Community Reinvestment Act followed up with Congressional pressure to lower lending requirements and provide more affordable housing loans led to the initial problem. It was not a lack of regulation that led to the mortgage backed securities or derivites or other financial instruments based on the implicit government guarantee of mortgages. Congress had oversight of Fannie and Freddie, the SEC regulated these entities, and the Fed Reserve and FDIC regulated Banks. It was this oversight/regulation that led to the problem of subprime loans. And following the initialproblem it was government that said some institutions are "too big to fail".

The debate was fascinating -- both other panelists said something to the effect "I am a free market person, but in this case...." One even said that he was able to succeed and now be in the highest tax bracket because of government. The government provided him public education and provided his parents health care. He thinks it terrible that there are 30 million medically uninsured and he states glibly that children go hungry in this country. "I am happy to be able to pay taxes." Amazing -- I think he has been reading the New York Times too much. Let's look at the facts. There are 30 million without insurance but most of those choose not to purchase insurance because they are young and healthy or they can't buy it because they are illegal immigrants. If you subtract these people f4rom 30 million, you are left with perhaps 7 million who don't have insurance because they can't afford it. They have health care because they have access to emergency room care; they just don't have insurance. Do children go hungry in America -- not unless they are getting their mouth washed out with soap. Studies have shown that living in America at even the lowest income levels, is better than living almost anywhere else. Hunger is what goes on in Zimbabwe, Ethiopa, and other countries steeped in dire poverty.

People do not understand how the market works. To claim to be a free market supporter except in one case or another case is not to be a free market supporter. It is a slippery slope -- once you argue government should do this or do that, you are on the slippery slide. There is no other system that serves the individual, that enables people to flourish, that provides standards of living that are unprecedented in history. When professionals and academics don't see that, I wonder where the country is headed.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

He Spoke Out For Capitalism

Peter Boettke, a professor of political economy at George Mason University in Virginia, likens capitalism's success to a horse race.

One horse, named Schumpeter, represents innovation. The second horse, called Smith, stands for free trade. The third is government "and its stupid decisions," Boettke said.

"As long as the first two horses stay ahead of the stupid horse, the economy's cycles are manageable," he told IBD. "The trouble happens when the stupid horse's nose gets in front by (creating) policies that restrict trade or are anti-technology."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The health-care debate is part of a larger moral struggle over the free-enterprise system.

Arthur Brooks writes about the current reaction to health care changes

Rather, public resistance stems from the sense that the proposed reforms do violence to three core values of America's free enterprise culture: individual choice, personal accountability, and rewards for ambition.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pew Foundation Survey - Global Attitudes toward Free Markets

The results below are surprising, on a number of levels.
Views of the Free Market
Are people better off in a free market economy?

Custom Group: Percent responding Agree, all years measured

United States7270-76

Full question wording: Please tell me whether you completely agree, mostly agree, mostly disagree or completely disagree with the following statements: Most people are better off in a free market economy, even though some people are rich and some are poor.

Notes: Agree combines "completely agree" and "mostly agree" responses. Disagree combines "mostly disagree" and "completely disagree."

Friday, November 13, 2009

Shaping attitudes toward liberty, choice and responsibility

Boyes speculates on the underlying causes for what appears to be a shift in the general attitude toward capitalism and freedom.

In part, he wonders what influence the institution of higher education plays in shaping the underlying belief system of the general population. Dan Klein has analysis that plays into this discussion - He concludes that instructors in the social sciences at the college level are overwhelmingly consist in their selection of government driven policies over market driven policies.

Klein in other work, describes the process by which ideologies govern hiring decisions in colleges, that is faculty who serve on hiring committees tend to select colleagues from institutions similar those attended by the incumbent faculty. This would imply that the newly hired faculty have shared beliefs.

This begs the question of the level of impact or influence that college faculty exert over undergraduates. That is, do the beliefs and attitudes of faculty (who in social sciences at least) appear to be heavily weighted toward pro government/interventionist policies and hostile to market policies driven by liberty and freedom have an impact upon undergraduates? This is an important question and the data that Boyes cites suggests that there is in fact a relationship at work that extends the incumbent ideology to students.

So, to the extent that this relationship exists, a part of the explanation may lie with higher education.

I wonder to what extent the institution of the media plays a role in the pro interventionist ideology that seems to be evolving in the US today? That is, can the various channels of the media be seen to have a predominant ideology in regard to freedom, liberty and choice and, if so, is that ideology pro or anti free market?

The current trend of increasing college enrollment may accelerate the breadth and scope of the attitude toward capitalism.

Another institution that would seem to play a part in the evolution of attitude is religion. Economic freedom and the resulting growth and expansion of choice and standard of living have been limited to a very few countries. The recent discussion over on CATO regarding modernity points out the central role played by institutions and the apparent change in America in attitude toward capitalism naturally raises the question has there been a change in the institution of religion that may have simulated or supported this change?

The intersection of the two above institutions can be seen here:

Boyes motivates us to consider what factors that have lead to an important change in the informal belief systems in the US that directly and indirectly impact liberty and freedom.

Attitudes toward Capitalism

I received the results of a survey carried out by the BBC involving about 27,000 people. The questions asked included:
1.Are there limits to growth in this country?
2.Should people in this country learn to live with less?
3.We can or cannot solve the problems in this country?
4.Government regulation of business is necessary to protect the public interest.
5.Government regulation of business usually does more harm than good.
6.Do business corporations make too much profit?
7.Do large businesses have too much power in this country?
8.How well is free market capitalism working?
9.Should governments distribute wealth more equally?

The results are interesting. More people now than a few years ago belive there are limits to growth, that people SHOULD learn to live with less, and cannot solve the problems in the country. The results that I find most interesting however, is the breakdown of the attitude toward government regulation.

On the question of whether government regulation of business is necessary to protect the public interest, the amount of education one had significantly affected the response one gave. Of the college grades, 65% thought it necessary while 28% thought it harmful. Of those with some college 50% thought it necessary while 38% thought it harmful. Of those with a high school degree, 41% thought it necessary while 45% thought it harmful.

So, college education makes one more likely to support government intervention in the economy. What is it that is being taught in college?

Almost a quarter - 23% of those who responded - feel capitalism is fatally flawed. And there is very strong support around the world for governments to distribute wealth more evenly. That is backed by majorities in 22 of the 27 countries.

If there is one issue where a global consensus seems to emerge from the survey it is this: there are majorities almost everywhere wanting government to be more active in regulating business.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Platitude or truth?

"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan, 'Press on,' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race." —Calvin Coolidge

Sobel's biography

Greenburg's biography

Coolidge and persistence - Jack Barry's great book - Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and how it changed America

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Why Don't We Like the Free Market

According to public opinion polls, the public’s attitude toward the government's role in the economy has become, if not quite favorable, at least much more benign. In 1982, a Roper poll showed that 80 percent of Americans were described as hating deficits. By the end of that decade, similar polls showed a decline in this percentage and an increase in the number of people who believed that the primary responsibility for social issues rested with the federal government. The General Social Survey carried out by the University of Chicago since 1975 has included questions asking whether government should do more to solve our country’s problems, more to solve poverty problems, and whether responsibility for medical bills is the responsibility of the government in Washington. In 1975, 49 percent of all respondents agreed with the statement that help with medical bills was a responsibility of the federal government, 40 percent believed it a federal responsibility to help all poor Americans, and 38 percent felt that the federal government should do more to solve the country's problems. Support for the government’s involvement declined during the early 1980s, but has risen since. The Center for the Study of Policy Attitudes, found, in 1994, that 80 percent of Americans believe the government has the responsibility "to do away with poverty in this country." That is a ten percent growth since 1964. A Washington Post - ABC News poll in 1995 shows that 70 percent of Americans supported government involvement in all aspects of the economy. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 18, 1995, p.A8.)

The Pew Research found that in the United States the responses to the statement:

“ Most people are better off in a free market economy, even though some people are rich and some are poor.”

Spring 2007 Completely agree 25
Mostly agree 45
Mostly disagree 19
Completely disagree 5
Summer 2002 Completely agree 28
Mostly agree 44
Mostly disagree 14
Completely disagree 7

You can see that in the U.S. people in Spring 2007 were more in disagreement with the market system than was the case in 2007. But in both cases, notice how small the percentage of those who completely agree with the statement is. Just more than a quarter of the sample was complete in agreement.
And it is clearly not just the U.S. where these anti free market opinions exist. Even among those with new found freedom, the attitude toward the market economy has decreased since they first realized their freedoms. The Wall Street Journal November 3, 2009, posted a report on attitudes toward the economy by the former Soviet Union countries; it asked two times, once in 1991 just after the Berlin Wall fell, and again in 2009, what was the attitude toward the movement from centrally planned economy to market economy. The results in all formerly communist countries was that a larger percentage in the Fall of 2009 disapproved of the transition than had been the case in the Spring of 1991.

Why are attitudes toward the free market so negative? Economic theory has long shown that nothing works as well as the free market to allocate resources to their highest valued uses, to ensure that people get what they want and are able to purchase at the lowest possible prices, and that nothing matches the resulting growth in standards of living and opportunity.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Disincentives from Health Reform

Greg Mankiw writes:

Consider the following question, which is not about healthcare per se: Would you favor a substantial increase in marginal tax rates for millions of middle and upper income Americans to provide more resources for those toward the bottom of the economic ladder?

Your answer to this question cannot be determined by positive economics without adding in some normative judgments. But your answer should strongly influence your view of the health reform bill. The bill moves us closer to much of Western Europe by favoring equality and paying the price of reduced efficiency from much higher marginal tax rates.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Goal Is Freedom: The Welfare State Corrupts Absolutely What's wrong with healthcare reform.

Over at Freeman, Sheldon Richman makes an important link between the current policy debate over health and liberty. His blog post reflects on the discussion ASET book club recently engaged in over Stealing from Each Other and a posting by Boyes and Pratt on the challenges of civil discourse.

Richman captures the consequence of statist ideology that I have been attempting to articulate and his analysis provides some insight into Boyes' concern and frustration with an seeming inability of statists to engage with empirical or data driven arguments.

Richman writes:

This irresponsible mindset, which is similar to a not very inquisitive child’s, is what at least two generations of government intervention in health care — and the welfare state in general — have produced in the American people. Thus the welfare state retards moral and intellectual development. We expect the State — our surrogate parent — to make it all right. The demagogues we call politicians are happy to feed this attitude because it provides occasions for the expansion and exercise of raw power while seeming, like Santa Claus, to give away free goods. Of such things long political careers are made.

So the Welfare State, in addition to motivating stealing acts to retard our moral development. I really think Richman does a fine job of outlining this argument.

How the Modern World got Modern

One of the instrumental values of liberty is embedded in the opportunity, progress and set of choices that liberty promotes. In this regard, the relationship between liberty and economic change growth) seems important, particularly in an environment in which a vocal group in our developed society express reservations about liberty.

This post is well worth reading - a sample

To put it another way, there are a series of explanations given for the distinctive features of modernity, each identifying one factor as being the critical one and then going on to claim that this factor either first appeared in Europe or was present there to a greater degree than elsewhere. A non-exhaustive list of such models and the scholars associated with them would include increased capital accumulation (Robert Solow); legal pluralism and a distinctive notion of law (Harold Berman); economic institutions, especially property rights (Douglass North, Nathan Rozenberg); geography (Eric Jones, Jared Diamond); accessible fossil fuels (Kenneth Pomeranz); a different way of thinking about knowledge and technical innovation (Lynn White, Joel Mokyr); greater intellectual openness (Jack Goldstone); a particular kind of consciousness, associated with certain religions (Max Weber, Werner Sombart); divided and constrained political power (Eric Jones, several others); a distinctive family system (Deepak Lal, many demographers); population growth past a critical level (Julian Simon); a higher social status and cultural valuation of trade and enterprise (Deirdre McCloskey); trade and the benefits of specialization (Adam Smith and many others); the role of entrepreneurs (Joseph Schumpeter, William Baumol); some combination of these (David Landes).

Monday, November 2, 2009


The introduction describes incentives and unintended consequences in the most accessible way I have seen.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Student For Liberty Challenges Michael Moore

George Mason student shows there is hope.

On Monday, Sept 28, Michael Moore spoke at George Washington University about his new film, Capitalism: A Love Story. One of the leaders of the GWU Liberty Society, Chad Swarthout (who is an active member of Students For Liberty, formerly a leader in the London School of Economics Hayek Society while studying abroad, leader in the DC Forum for Freedom, and all around great guy), managed to get up and question Michael Moore. Focusing on the fact that most of the problems with the current US economic system being a result of government intervention and excessive influences of personal preferences in government regulation, Chad got Michael Moore to admit that the U.S. is not a free market, and point out that if the government doesn’t represent the people, maybe we just shouldn’t give the government so much power.