A Terrible Blogger is Born!

April 16, 2009

Bob Higgs and the Left-Wing Brownshirts

Filed under: Economics,State — rmangum @ 12:25 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

Economic historian and libertarian scholar Robert Higgs appeared on C-SPAN2’s Book TV, in a virtuoso performance arguing for peace and liberty, and is rewarded with hate mail demanding that he kill himself and one lunatic caller who calls Higgs (what else) a fascist apologist for Wall Street and despiser of the poor, and accusing him of shamelessness. (In fact, Higgs like all Austrian economists has argued against bailouts of Wall Street and has critiqued our corporatist economic system as “participatory fascism”.) The mixture of vehemence and ignorance of the callers to this program are incredible, and an occasion (for me, at least) for despair. Meanwhile, Obama promises to salve everyone’s wounds with no new ideas whatsoever, and has lady liberal columnists fantasizing about him in the shower and Hollywood fashion-plates pledging unconditional obedience to his every whim. Who seem more like the real fascists today?


The Book TV callers and Higgs’ hate e-mailers remind me of an H.L. Mencken quote (I’ve quoted this two other places recently, and might as well do it here as well) from “The Beloved Turnkey” in 1923:

The fact is that the average man’s love of liberty is nine-tenths imaginary, exactly like his love of sense, justice, and, truth. He is not actually happy when free; he is uncomfortable, a bit alarmed, and intolerably lonely. Liberty is not a thing for the great masses of men. It is the exclusive possession of a small and disreputable minority, like knowledge, courage, and honor. It takes a special sort of man to understand and enjoy liberty- and is usually an outlaw in democratic societies. It is, indeed, only the exceptional man who can even stand it. The average man doesn’t want to be free. He simply wants to be safe. . . .

Except that the government does not really keep anybody safe nor, in the long run, prosperous. I’ve been listening a lot lately to the History of Rome podcast, and I see parallels everywhere. I am convinced that the tyrannical and warlike nature of the state never has nor will ever change, and neither will the appetite of the plebeian masses for bread and circuses (despite the fact that their bad lot is rooted in the control of the state apparatus by the entrenched patrician class). The two feed each other.


  1. These so-called Liberals are the true fascists and tyrants. In the end we will deal with them in an even harsher manner than we dealt with the foreign scum they emulate. That will be a glorious day for America!

    Comment by jonolan — April 16, 2009 @ 12:31 am | Reply

    • As I commented on Higgs’ article detailing his assault by e-mail, it is always easier to get out the pitchforks than to reason and reflect (not that we never need those pitchforks for driving out snake-oil salesmen and politicians). It’s okay to be vitriolic, but be intelligently vitriolic. Mencken is a good guide on how to do this. There’s a lot of good liberals out there too, but Obama has got everybody all starry-eyed and ga-ga and basically out of their minds (equal and opposite reaction for conservatives). At any rate, the “true” fascists are, operationally, whichever party happens to currently occupy the White House.

      Comment by rmangum — April 16, 2009 @ 12:49 am | Reply

  2. Your comment on the Independent Blog was excellent! I had to copy it and share with the readers of our blog.

    Comment by Brutus — April 16, 2009 @ 6:52 pm | Reply

  3. Thanks for the compliment, Brutus. I almost hesitate to bring this up, but on your blog you list my surname as “Magnus”, which is way cooler than my actual one, which is Mangum. Usually it gets mistaken for “Magnum”, which is also way cooler than my actual name.

    Comment by rmangum — April 16, 2009 @ 11:44 pm | Reply

  4. My bad. It’s corrected now.

    Comment by Brutus — April 17, 2009 @ 4:19 pm | Reply

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