The holiday season has just passed; so, many readers of Mises.org may have recently butted heads with statist family members. One might think that, in our endeavors to change minds, our own family members and friends should be the easiest conquests. Do we not have frequent opportunities for lengthy conversations with them? Does not their respect and affection for us garner us any points? Yet, even the most eloquent and informed among us may find ourselves completely stymied with our loved ones. Even Menger’s son and Mises’ brother were members of the positivist “Vienna Circle”!
It might be tempting to just give up, figuring that we’re never really going to convince those close to us, so we might as well avoid annoying them. But I contend that we can do a lot of good, even if our arguments do not bear immediate fruits.
Take the case for sound money, for example. Let us say that in the not-so-distant future, a monetary disaster occurs(a very likely possibility). That is the kind of event that really grabs people by the collar and gives them a hard shake, causing even the most weighty dogmas to slip from their pedestals. Such a disaster will confirm the suspicion that has been haunting many minds since the housing bubble burst: that the Krugmans of the world really don’t know what they’re talking about, and the Bernankes of the world really don’t know what they’re doing. Even those who have never heard the case for sound money spelled out will know the intellectual emperors have no clothes. But they won’t have any fleshed-out alternatives to support either. But others, at such a turning point, will think back to that conversation with their “goldbug” cousin or that niece who’s always going on about Ron Paul, and their attitude toward commodity money will undergo a sudden reversal.
Simply spelling out the Austrian take on things (in a civil, thoughtful manner, of course), even to those we never expect to concede to us personally, is supremely important. Plant the intellectual seeds now, so they can germinate when the soil is ready.