Like communism, libertarianism has a certain theoretical appeal that breaks down instantly upon contact with human history and human beings.
Therefore, professional libertarians need to lie a lot about history and current events.
Here are a few examples.
- Cato Institute Executive Vice President David Boaz lying about the never-embraced-in-reality 1970s theory of “global cooling.”
- Here, Cato Senior Fellow Daniel J. Mitchell lies about the impact of Reagan’s tax policies, both by airbrushing Reagan’s repeated tax hikes from history, and ignoring the fact that we expect income to rise over time as the economy grows, so attributing increased revenue to decreased tax rates skips necessary logical steps.
- Cato Institute President Ed Crane lying about the causes of the financial crisis, in the course of lying about Cato’s record of prescience on the housing bubble.
- Cato Institute Senior Fellow Alan Reynolds lied to Congress, saying, “Poor people don’t pay taxes in this country.” In reality, of course, low-income households pay a higher percentage of their income in federal payroll taxes than the wealthy.
- In 1996, the Cato Institute published a paper by Stephen Moore and William A. Niskanen, claiming, “Because [1981 and 1990] represent dramatic policy shifts, they provide a convenient and unique laboratory-like testing ground for assessing the success or failure of Reaganomics.”
- But then the economy really took off! So, the Cato Institute dutifully promoted an op-ed in 2000 by Stephen Moore and Lawrence Kudlow called “It’s the Reagan Economy, Stupid,” which explained, “Reagan’s supply side economic ideas — the policy of marginal rate tax cuts, a strong dollar, trade globalization (the Gipper started NAFTA with a U.S.-Canadian free trade agreement), deregulation of key industries like energy, financial services and transportation, and a re-armed military — all of which unleashed a great wave of entrepreneurial-technological innovation that transformed and restructured the economy, resulting in a long boom prosperity”.
ADDED: John Cole decided to go on a terrific rant today about libertarians. The whole thing is worth reading; here’s a taste:
The reason no one takes most libertarians seriously is because they keep voting for people who do a great job securing economic “liberty,” which basically just means they do a great job stripping necessary regulations and cutting taxes for the Koch brothers, but they do a horrible job reversing any of the negative civil liberties trends. … So yeah, Ronald Bailey writes a piece every now and then about global warming, and someone at Reason can wax eloquent about prison rape, but so what? …
You’re free from job security, you’re free from a pension, you’re free from medical care, you’re free of clean water, and you’re free from good roads and solid infrastructure. Freedom, it’s on the rise everywhere!