Sunday, October 7, 2012

Alexander McCobin at The Daily Bell

I have posted the following at The Daily Bell today.  Quoted (indented) items are all Mr. McCobin’s:

[Debate] teaches critical thinking, writing skills, speaking ability, a broad understanding of current and philosophical issues and a love for ideas….[After attending McCobin’s private debate camps] Students would write to us, "I learned more in one week at this debate camp than in all of my years at school."

Many schools don't have debate programs at all….

Do you think there might be a connection here?  Is it by design, or merely an accident that a) schools don’t teach critical thinking, and b) virtually every school gets a majority if not the entirety of its funding from the state?  More on this later….

Perhaps creating dummies is the objective.

[While at Cato] the leading thinkers developing libertarian public policy…

“…libertarian public policy…” This seems quite the contradiction in terms and objectives. 

This is the most libertarian generation that has ever existed….

For us old guys, that would be nice to believe.  However, it is rather a bold statement when considering the sweep of recorded and unrecorded history.  More on this later….

[Regarding the possibility that the world is headed toward a depression] Given the growing commitment of my generation to fixing the problems given to us by older generations, I remain optimistic that we can correct things before they get to that point.

We face a future of either an inflationary depression or a deflationary depression (arguably, we are in a depression already).  To the extent there is an ounce of truth in Austrian economics, this is unavoidable.  Things will certainly get to that point before they get any better (or worse).

It's contradictory to argue that the government is both generally incompetent and inefficient and then argue it's capable of pulling off the greatest cover-up in history. I also think that if you assume the enemies of liberty are doing evil intentionally your misrepresentation of them will lead you to improper solutions. We have to understand that the enemies of liberty do so with good intentions and require responses with good intentions.

This one statement is enough to dismiss Alexander as a critical thinker.  First, he confuses “government” with those above government pulling the strings (as suggested in DB’s question).  But even looking at those in “government” – I will avoid the non- U.S. enemies of freedom – the pickings are way too easy.  Let’s stick to just the U.S. based enemies of just the last decade – do they really have good intentions: Hillary Clinton, Tim Geithner, Dick Cheney, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Rumsfeld.

The authors of the Patriot Act, NDAA, FATCA.  Lying the people into war.  Authorization of murder by drone.  Killing Americans without trial or jury.  Those building the spy center in Utah.  Initiating several wars throughout the Middle East and Central Asia.  Central banking.  Public funding of education.

His affiliations with Cato and Reason speak volumes of his positions.  See Walter Block here:

His view on war and the military is one big (and un-asked) question.  This comment (when writing elsewhere about some of the differences of opinion amongst libertarians) gives a hint:

While many libertarians opposed the invasion of Iraq, Randy Barnett wrote a strong, libertarian defense of pre-emptive intervention.

That he remains open to a discussion on this issue is…troubling, to say the least.

The other troubling issue is no mention of central banking (nor do I find any via a quick search of outside resources).

No comment on central banking; seems that the war in Iraq (and presumably other overseas adventures) are at least questions properly open to debate (certainly consistent with a Randian view); can’t link public funding of education and the lack of critical thinking in students; and sees no evil intent in those who implement these and other policies.

If this represents the greatest libertarian generation in history, you can have it.


  1. I have nothing to add to your marvelous dissection of this young man's thinking.... I simply want to thank you for it.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to do so.

    2. Well, thank you for thanking me..
      I am fairly new to Austrian economic theory... and when I read this Daily Bell interview, I had quite a few 'disagreements' with this young man, but couldn't quite put my finger on them... although I HAD realized the split between Cato and Reason Magazine and my favorite website authors at Lew Rockwell. com who defend Murray Rothbard.
      I am learning all the time, and I am proud to be included with a younger generation which is waking up quickly to these principles, and hope they continue to understand these libertarian ideas much better than I do..... I'm 65 .

  2. Thank you again Bionic.

    1. Thank you; however you are one of the best at putting such pieces together.