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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/9656/or-you-can-just-make-up-stuff-no-matter-how-ridiculous/

Or you can just make up stuff, no matter how ridiculous

March 23, 2009 by

Thus does Thom Hartmann at the Huffington Post say that “The intellectual forefathers and mothers of the insane conservative economic policies that have brought us to where we are include Ludwig Von Mises, Freidrich Von Hayeck (sic.)…”

Never mind that Mises and Hayek were the 20th century’s premier opponents of loose money and central banking and subsidized credit.

The left purports to be a smart bunch but economics is not their forte; this is shabby low for a “host of a national syndicated progressive talk show.”


8 March 23, 2009 at 10:35 am

shabby low for a “host of a national syndicated progressive talk show.”


par for the course

Alexander S. Peak March 23, 2009 at 10:44 am

I wish someone would explain to Mr. Hartmann that Mises and Hayek were liberals, and thus where in strong opposition to the “insane conservative economic policies that have brought us to where we are.”

Dennis March 23, 2009 at 11:14 am

I wonder how many of those on the left have actually read any Mises or Hayek, or for that matter Rothbard.

These types of leftist, showing their ignorance, apparently have never heard of Classical Liberalism or Libertarianism. In their world view, there is nothing inaccurate or may I say intellectually dishonest in conflating the economic and social thought of Mises and Hayek with that of modern conservatives.

The left, due to its economic ignorance, continues to believe that expansionary monetary and credit policies will bring substantial wealth to the average individual. In particular, no negative consequences result from the central bank’s more or less continuous policy of driving interest rates below the rates that would occur based on previous real savings and unhampered credit markets. In effect, the left believes that their enlightened credit and monetary policies can, in Mises words, turn stones into bread. Remember, according to Keynes, enlightened government can eliminate the scarcity of capital.

Tom Woods March 23, 2009 at 11:42 am

People really should click through and force themselves to read the whole article. Every single thing the guy says is either embarrassingly superficial or downright wrong, or commits a logical fallacy (post hoc ergo propter hoc being the most frequent).

See, the government has to steal from people, because that “stabilizes” the system. How disgusting that such a transparent shill for the looters gets to call himself a “progressive.”

jesse March 23, 2009 at 11:47 am

Ugh.. I know exactly what you speak of Mr Tucker.

This website, and this article in particular shows the unfortunate position that proponents of sound money and free banking find themselves in.

I have faith this particular blogger is on the verge of understanding the error…he acknowledges the possibility that a central bank could be a fundamental problem, but he is still not convinced.

In the original post the author ends with:
“Unregulated capitalism and sustained growth is another one of those oxymorons. It’s about time the Austrian school of economic thought be buried 6 feet under.”

He does say, in the commentary, to erase the last sentence, but not necessarily because it’s wrong, only because he deems it as “tongue-in-cheek” and therefore offensive!

His only alternative:
“Perhaps I should have said he was heavily influenced by the Austrian school.”


Current March 23, 2009 at 11:51 am

At least it’s a mention.

All publicity may not be good publicity, but I think rather more of it is good publicity than most people think.

Matt March 23, 2009 at 11:55 am

Ouch. He writes as if he is an economics and policy expert, but it is as if he has ignored the whole of history between 1937 and today. I took Tom Woods’ advice and read the entire article. It was painful and I am angered that this type of information is flooded to the mass of people, promptly to be taken as fact by the vast majority of folks (most notably the ‘progressives’). Frustrating indeed.

Joe March 23, 2009 at 12:11 pm

Those on the left cannot seem to put two and two together when it comes to monetary policy. In fact, they actually believe that a country that has no solid, cannot be created out of thin air, backing for their currency can print money without limit and that their money will suffer no devaluation down the road from it. They actually believe that $1 will continue to buy the same amount of goods and services no matter when you use it or how many of them you print up. Heck, even Ben Bernanke has commented in the past that what gives a currency its value is its lack of abundance. These loose monetary policies are and always have been nothing more than a pipe dream as the founding fathers learned with the eventual collapse of the Continental dollar.

I know this will be a stupid comparison (especially to Keynesians) but in the movie Waterworld dirt was the commodity of choice as a means of exchange followed by other commodities that also were in short supply such as pieces of paper. I know the Keynesians would chuckle at the thought of dirt being used as a currency but it makes perfect sense. In the move, they could have easily used glasses of ocean water as a means of exchange but everyone was surrounded by endless miles of it anyway. What value would a glass of ocean water serve as a means of exchange if everyone is sitting in an ocean of it? That is right it has no value! The same holds true with any other item used as a means of exchange such as paper money. If you make paper money so abundant it eventually becomes worthless. However, when that happens we will all be dead anyway right John M. Keynes?

Kevin Hall March 23, 2009 at 12:56 pm

Thanks to Tom Woods for the suggestion to read it fully. To use a line from the movie Billy Madison (slightly adapted): “What I just saw is the most insanely idiotic thing I have ever
read. At no point, during that rambling incoherent article was the author even close to anything that can be considered a rational thought. We are all now dumber for having read it. May god have mercy on that author’s soul.”

Robert Brager March 23, 2009 at 1:04 pm

Thom Hartmann has always been a disgrace. I’m from a Labor family (Heat and Frost Insulators… I just quit today, congratulations to me) and my dad is big on the guy. Oh, he’s his favorite Air America disk jerkey.

Among other thoughtless ejaculations, Hartmann has tirelessly promoted this silliness that libertarians are pro-war. Naturally enough, on top of all of Mr. Hartmann’s foolishness regarding political economy, that poignant bit of dishonesty is the most nauseatingly offensive, from where I sit.

That being said, I am surprised, to say the least, that Hartmann has gone on the attack against the Austrian School and I say this because I have never encountered a radio host so attached to his script. While, to his credit, Hartmann is willing to direct his show’s gaze to a far more diverse array of topics than other radio hosts of a political persuasion, paradoxically his scope of analysis is probably narrower and more superficial than any other host I’ve ever heard. He has a handful of observations that he applies to everything, regardless of appropriateness. He’s a broken record. During the ’08 campaign, he studiously ignored Dr. Paul, in spite of the best efforts of some of his callers.

That Thom Hartmann is discussing the Austrian School, however ignorantly he goes about it, has got to be some kind of victory. We’re penetrating the mainstream. The Feds hold all of the guns and they won’t go down without a fight and the Mayan calender ending in 2012 might end up being right in spite of itself and all of that nonsense… yet somehow we’re gaining ground.

Hartmann’s on right now. However much it pains us, his show deserves to get flooded with calls correcting the ignoramus. If he’s willing to shine the spotlight on the Austrian School, dammit, we ought to be able to defend ourselves. But do it with poise and with class.

Oh. Yes, I listen to far too much talk radio. Podcasts have steadily been eating into that bad habit.

Mark Ennis March 23, 2009 at 1:08 pm

Perhaps this is a subtle indicator that the left is afraid that Tom Woods and others are actually making intellectual headway in showing that the American emperor has no clothes. It may have been easier to ignore us but with Peter Schiff being a celebrity and Tom’s book charging towards the top of the NY Times bestseller list, maybe we should be happy to see this kind of thing as an example of progress.

Robert Brager March 23, 2009 at 1:16 pm

Mark, the conclusions that you’re drawing are, I think, correct ones. This is progress. We shouldn’t let the opportunity go to waste. I’m serious. Flood the Thom Hartmann show with phone calls. Establish an intellectual beach head. That numb nuts will rattle away some nonsensical rejoinder, of course, but what will the audience walk away from our calls with?

Cut them off at the knees. I see that the comments section beneath Hartmann’s Huff Po article are, so far, overwhelmingly critical of Hartmann’s article, his inclusion of Mises and Hayek, and leave sign posts for potential readers to do their own research and draw their own conclusions. This is good.

But I think that people need to hear our voices too. And with a touch of the common man. As effective as he is, I’ve never been entirely sure that Peter Schiff is the best spokesman we can possibly have because he comes from a “despised class” (I’ve seen this aversion first-hand). I think we need to diversify our approach.

Or perhaps I’m just babbling here.

Arend March 23, 2009 at 1:22 pm

In the referred article by Hartmann I can only connect the by Tucker mentioned quote with regard to the Austrian school or libertarianism. The rest of the article is “wesensfremd” from these intellectual schools, and it’s not difficult to point this out to the layman (which obv. includes Hartmann).

Instead of accusing Hartmann of making things up and/or intellectual dishonesty (which is obv. in the article as well), it’s imho strategically much better to suppose (for sake of argument) that these writers are just misguided and able to grasp logical arguments. Even if they won’t accept these arguments the bystanding layman public maybe will.

It’s imho not very fruitful to just assume people are making things up. When they’re not exposed postmodernists, they probably aren’t, and can be saved.


Nick March 23, 2009 at 2:05 pm

Hartmann’s a tool. Like another poster on Huff said – He probably just Googled “free market economist” and listed everyone he saw. IOW, he made it up and he did so with malice aforethought because he just doesn’t care.

He’s not going to learn – he doesn’t want to learn. He wants to make money and that means selling advertsing for his stupid “progressive” radio show.

Anyone exhibiting the level of intellectual dishonestly he showed in that article deserves to be publicly kicked in the virtual ‘nads – not treated with kid gloves.

James March 23, 2009 at 2:15 pm

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.

– Mahatma Gandhi

Inquisitor March 23, 2009 at 2:16 pm

He’s an imbecile. I would never venture to publically criticise a school of thought which I knew little of, even if I thought it were wrong. The fact that he gets it so UTTERLY incorrect suggests he might be lying – or he might be just that pathetic of an intellectual. Who knows.

Inquisitor March 23, 2009 at 2:17 pm

I prefer this from Schopenhauer:

“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”

We’re at stages one and two still.

Miraj Patel March 23, 2009 at 3:11 pm

…and that is why I don’t read the Huffington post.

But in all seriousness, a lot of the left-wing points the finger at those who don’t agree with them without sufficient data to back it up and when holes in their argument are pointed out by others, they simply refute with the same nonsense as they said before. And then they blame us for playing dirty politics…

Pat March 23, 2009 at 3:17 pm

The way I see it, Mr. Hartmann has no knowledge about the two laws he mentions have something to do with “deregulation”. But this is fairly common in the political discourse. The Commodity Futures Modernization Act (CFMA) of 2000 and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) had some restrictions on the concerned parties. In fact, those laws simply reassigned which agencies (created through the act of Congress, as it should be pointed) have oversight. So, deregulation is a misnomer. Re-regulation is relatively more accurate.

On a personal note, I see this crisis has more of a result of the collusion between some companies (especially those on the financial sector) and some government officials. This meant that those companies whenever the good times were rolling would ask for less restrictions on their business operations (Of course, this did not translate into eliminating the CFTC, the SEC, the Federal Reserve, or any other “independent” governmental oversight agencies) and for bailout whenever the bad times came. Clearly, Obama is correct to be concerned about the special interest groups (Although one has to ask what he considers to be special interest groups), but he fails to see the reason for their presence. And so do a sizable amount of people in the media or in the street. I am confident when I say that Ludwig Von Mises, Hayek, and the vast majority of Austrian economists would accept the level of corruption. Mr. Hartmann erroneously believe so.

For more info, click the two links below:
_CFMA http://www.cftc.gov/stellent/groups/public/@lrrulesandstatutoryauthority/documents/file/ogchr5660.pdf


Patrick March 23, 2009 at 5:52 pm

Made a post about this over at the DP (dailypaul.com): http://www.dailypaul.com/node/87258

Kevin Bland March 23, 2009 at 6:54 pm

Why is it these guys are so ignorant and yet their credibility is never questioned by those on the Left. By calling Mises and Hayek (he should learn how to spell his name properly) conservatives just magnifies his ignorance. Tom Woods is correct re: the entire article as I read it, and I am not a professional economist, and it is completely wrong, shallow and researched. I also want praise Tom Woods’ book Meltdown. It is a great read and full of very important facts with lots of good footnotes. Too bad those shrill voices on the left and right don’t perform the same kind of research.

The irony is I don’t think he realizes that his hatred of freedom and his love of the state caused him to actually blame the state for the current crisis as he blamed (1) laws passed by congress and signed by presidents and (2) politicians who were elected to very powerful offices in government.

Funny thing when a statist tries to blame freedom (especially the “free” market) for any problems he has to pull in bills that became laws and politicians who signed them which means that Hartmann’s article, as inept as it is, actually blames his beloved state for the current crisis.

He should remember the proverb that even a fool appears wise when he keeps his mouth closed.

DixieFlatline March 23, 2009 at 8:09 pm

This is a very embarrassing article put out by Thom Hartmann.

It doesn’t look like Thom Hartmann did any serious research, not to mention he badly mangles the concept of laissez-faire.

I wonder if the books Thom Hartmann has written are just as shoddy as this article.

DixieFlatline March 23, 2009 at 8:10 pm

This is a very embarrassing article put out by Thom Hartmann.

It doesn’t look like Thom Hartmann did any serious research, not to mention he badly mangles the concept of laissez-faire.

I wonder if the books Thom Hartmann has written are just as shoddy as this article.

alansmithee March 23, 2009 at 8:25 pm

My personal favourite:

“Ever since Ronald Reagan rolled back the top marginal income tax rate on millionaires and billionaires from 74 percent to 29 percent, our government has been disastrously in debt, sliding deeper each and every year”

What an imbecile.

Zach Bibeault March 23, 2009 at 10:16 pm

Thom Hartmann is basically the liberal equivalent of Rush Limbaugh — a loud-mouthed idiot. He has an extremely arrogant attitude everyday when he talks; during just about every show he goes off on a tirade about how “the Reagan/libertarian mantra has lead to our collapse and the death of our democracy!”

But that’s not enough. He’s a big fan of the Constitution and the Founding Fathers and, among other things, insists that Jefferson and Washington were “the first Democrats”, and basically implies that they were in favor of direct democracy. He even wrote a book called “What Would Jefferson Do?” where he basically explains the proto-social-democrat views of Jefferson and the other founders. How wonderful.

Look him up on Youtube, there are tons of televised versions of his radio shows on there.

David March 23, 2009 at 10:46 pm

I couldn’t do it. I read down to where he mentioned Hayek and Mises and almost vomited.

Then I read the comments and felt a whole lot better. Don’t let up guys. Hartmann is getting hammered!

Gary Hall March 24, 2009 at 4:55 am

Rather than post comments on that link, go to his blog directly:


There are collectivists on there who agree with him.

Mike Tennant March 24, 2009 at 7:50 am

I used to hear Hartmann on a local station, and all you need to know about him is this: Every Friday he has as his guest Senator Bernard Sanders (I-VT), the only self-identified socialist in Congress (though most other members qualify as well). If that doesn’t prove that he has no understanding of economics, nothing does.

Bruce Koerber March 24, 2009 at 11:12 am

Undoing Socialism
Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Ideological Change Springing From The Greatest Statesman In History!

Ron Paul continues to peacefully educate people in this country and around the world and this is happening at the same time as the economic crisis is stirring the sleeping masses.

The competition for the attention of the newly awakened persons is between the belligerent half-truth propagandists and the truth bearers of the banner of liberty and justice.

Ron Paul is the greatest Statesman in human history and he is humbly and effectively creating what can only be described as an ideological change, a change from the fascist socialism of the ego-driven interventionists to the philosophy of classical liberalism.

The effect of this ideological change will be peace and prosperity and the advancement of civilization!

Ray March 24, 2009 at 6:07 pm

Hartmann is a poster child for the phrase “waste of skin”. His favorite debating style is setting up straw men and ad homonym attacks. It’s somewhat funny that he would attack the Mises institute in that he advertizes the buying of precious metals. But I guess there is no reason to let his supposed “principles” stand in the way of a paycheck.
I listen to him all the time for the comedic relief his show provides, it makes it easier to spot the flawed logic of the left if you are exposed to it all the time. If you really want a good time laughing at these freaks check out Mike Malloy this guy goes totally apoplectic, I almost have to pull over for fear I will have an accident I’m laughing so hard.

Zach Bibeault March 24, 2009 at 10:13 pm

Hahaha, here’s a comment from someone on the blog:

“”You are so right, Thom.

Keep pointing out the documented FACTS and the results of neocon/conRepubs’ policies that brought this country to her knees. When you support a president that says “Government is not the solution, Government is the problem” (talking about “We the People” and in essence calling We the People the problem), you favor dictatorship. Plain and simple.”"

^^This is something I forgot to mention: Thom, and most of his listeners, are the types who say that “we ARE the government.” It’s funny how collectivist jabronies like them insist that “we” ARE the armed rulers, yet deny that “we” (our actions) ARE the free market.

Oh, and in response to the guy who mentioned Hartmann’s affinity for Bernie Sanders: Thom refers to him as “AMERICA’S senator” (same emphasis he makes when he speaks it). I think that says it all.

filc March 25, 2009 at 1:24 am

Side Thought. Not specifically related to the article.

I understand the moral premise of conservativism. I just find the vast majority of them to be in direct conflict with their own beliefs which make most of them hypocrites. In addition I find the moral premise of conservativism inconsistent, but at least conservatives HAVE a moral premise.

What moral premise do modern liberals have? Their beliefs seem to be randomly placed? None of their beliefs are consistent at all.

For example. They argue Pro-abortion stating that if it were outlawed only criminals would do abortions.

However they flip their argument and are against firearms believing that firearms should be outlawed. However if you apply’d the same argument they use on abortion you would have the same conclusion with outlawed firearms. Outlaw firearms and only criminals have the guns. There is no consistency! It’s just lunacy.

Why such a vast majority of American’s choose to follow in these two ideology’s and hold so much faith to them when they are so lacking in knowledge, logic, and consistency is beyond me.

Barry Loberfeld April 28, 2009 at 3:48 pm

Dear filc,

The incoherence of left/right is is liberty’s greatest strength — now more than ever:

Liberalism: History and Future

Barry Loberfeld April 28, 2009 at 4:00 pm

Actually, there are more informed voices on the left. New Republican Jonathan Chait

informs us that the economic policy of current conservatism is “nothing that a Friedrich Hayek or a Milton Friedman would recognize as his own.” And in a discussion of this conservatism’s “material self-interest” (pp. 76-79) — which is actually a listing of a few examples of corporate welfare under Bush 43 — he asks, “How, one might wonder, could anybody regard this great mass of government subsidies as a triumph of the free market?” Rhetorician, answer thyself.


Daniel J. Sanchez April 28, 2009 at 10:25 pm

A “Marsha Welsh” wrote on Thom’s blog,

“Now, my one other wish is that, for a time, President Obama becomes a sort of benevolent dictator.”

William Rader April 29, 2009 at 10:51 am

Let Mr. Hartmann start where many of us started, with Henry Hazlitt’s “Economics in One Lesson.” Then, like a young bicycle rider who sheds his training wheels, he may progress in his reading and understanding of economics to the point where he is finally qualified to write an article on economics. (I am lending my copy of “Meltdown” to at least two more people who want to read Mr. Woods’ book.)

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