Regarding the ongoing Greek tragedy, I commented recently about the amount of blame that should be allocated to the politicians and technocrats as compared to the blame allocated to the people of Greece. I concluded that the majority of the blame belongs to the politicians and technocrats.
Joy of joys, I find that Rothbard agrees with me (rest assured, I find more joy when he disagrees – only because this has happened so rarely, only two or three times to my recollection and knowledge).
Why do I write that Rothbard agrees with me, instead of the other way around? This is because I choose to work out problems of economics, libertarian theory, etc., on my own before digging too deeply into the thoughts of the titans. I feel more settled in my conclusions (but is anything ever really concluded?) if I come to them through my own reasoning.
So, this is what I found today from Rothbard:
Should it be illegal, we may next inquire, to "incite to riot"? Suppose that Green exhorts a crowd: "Go! Burn! Loot! Kill!" and the mob proceeds to do just that, with Green having nothing further to do with these criminal activities. Since every man is free to adopt or not adopt any course of action he wishes, we cannot say that in some way Green determined the members of the mob to their criminal activities; we cannot make him, because of his exhortation, at all responsible for their crimes. "Inciting to riot," therefore, is a pure exercise of a man's right to speak without being thereby implicated in crime.
On the other hand, it is obvious that if Green happened to be involved in a plan or conspiracy with others to commit various crimes, and that then Green told them to proceed, he would then be just as implicated in the crimes as are the others — more so, if he were the mastermind who headed the criminal gang. This is a seemingly subtle distinction which in practice is clearcut — there is a world of difference between the head of a criminal gang and a soap-box orator during a riot; the former is not, properly to be charged simply with "incitement."
Change the “n” in “Green” to a “k” and Rothbard has nailed it!
While not completely innocent (neither by Rothbard’s argument above nor mine in my previous post), that the Greek people are asking for more benefits is secondary. Who is taking action? It is the political class.
“Go steal for me” is meaningless in this regard. Who is doing the stealing?
I will conclude as I concluded before, now with Rothbard by my side:
Whatever opinion one has of the Greek people, the truth is that the overwhelming preponderance of this mess was caused by their politicians and by the bailing-out of European banks.