It’s always nice to see people associated with the Mises Institute on national TV, such as this interview with Thomas Woods on Glenn Beck. Also nice to hear Keynes and the New Deal bashed. Yes, the Keynesians are blockheads- but sadly, they aren’t the only ones.
Here’s the problem with Glenn Beck, and indeed many libertarians: thought he advocates the right position for the government on the financial crisis (do nothing), but he complains that “the rich are being demonized”. It’s precisely statements like these that make libertarians seem to most people like shills for the corporate plutocracy. In truth, it is the exact opposite, since “the rich” are the prime beneficiaries of both the bailout and the stimulus plan, while the rest of us would benefit more from a libertarian monetary system. I know that his point is that people simply blame those who have the money instead of those with the monopoly on making the money, but it still sounds wrong. And I suspect “average schmo” Beck has little idea how closely tied together the plutocrats, the bureaucrats, and the politicians really are- just like his liberal counterparts, who prefer a different part of that triumvirate.
Libertarianism, correctly understood, is a populist philosophy, and has much too gain from “demonizing the rich”- but the right “rich”, for the right reasons.
As good as conservative critics of the New Deal like Woods, Folsom, and Jim Powell are, they do not have a monopoly. A critique of the New Deal and FDR from a left-wing perspective exists also. I recommend the essay “The Myth of the New Deal” by Ronald Radosh, from A New History of Leviathan: Essays on the Rise of the American Corporate State, co-edited by Radosh and Murray Rothbard. Written in 1972, this remarkable book brings together historians from the anti-imperialist and laissez-faire Old Right like Rothbard with the New Left revisionists in order to present an alternative history of modern America as a radical antidote to the corporate state center. This is precisely the sort of alliance we need today.
Oh, and that Newsweek cover story Beck mentions: though the title claims “We are all Socialists Now”, its actual content reveals (unwittingly of course) that we fit the model, not of socialism or capitalism properly understood, but a neo-mercantilist corporate fascism.
“. . . mechanically fascism, corporate capitalism, and communism are so closely allied as to be almost indistinguishable. A committee of Communist commissars, a corporate board of directors, a syndicate of Fascists all work in about the same way.”