Monday, January 26, 2015

Mises Institute: Hooray; Walter Block: ???

Updated below.

The Washington Post recently ran an article covering the political relationship of Ron Paul and his son Rand.  I feel no need to dive into the details of this relationship – agreements, disagreements, etc. – as both I and others have covered this enough in the past.  I have, in any case, decided to rarely comment on Rand any more as I view him as more or less another politician – somewhat better on some issues than most politicians, but not principled and therefore in the end he is no different.

There are two points I do want to cover from this Washington Post story.  First is the coverage of the Mises Institute and their recently held conference in Houston:

HOUSTON — Rand Paul wants to lead the United States. On Saturday in Texas, his father was speaking at a conference about how to leave it.

“A lot of times people think secession, they paint it as an absolute negative,” said former representative Ron Paul (R-Tex.). After all, Paul said, the American Revolution was a kind of secession. “You mean we should have been obedient to the king forever? So it’s all in the way you look at it.”

The event was organized by the Ludwig von Mises Institute, an Alabama-based think tank named after an Austrian economist whose writings are highly respected by libertarians. Ron Paul is a member of its board.

The article also cited other speakers, including Jeff Deist and Brion McLanahan.

It seems to me rather important that the Institute has such mention in one of the more important rags in the country.  It furthers that the idea that liberty and free-market economics are being taken seriously by those thereby threatened.

My second point regards two comments attributed to Walter Block:

“If I were Ron, and my son were running for president, and we were in the same situation, I would shut up…”

“Ron is a millstone around Rand’s neck…”

I will not comment further on these statements until Block comes out with an explanation – I respect him too much to jump to any conclusion based on statements in the mainstream press (other than…Walter, why do you insist on talking to them?).

All I will say for now regarding these comments: I never want Ron Paul to shut up, and Ron is no millstone to Rand.  This is like saying Murray Rothbard is a millstone to the Mises Institute. 

The issue is legacy and importance to the ultimate cause of freedom.  In this regard, Rand is millstone enough for Rand.

Update: Walter Block has replied here.  I will leave his statements to stand on their own other than to suggest it seems to be playing with fire anytime one uses the words “Ron Paul,” “shut up,” and “millstone” in the same sentence when speaking to a mainstream source (frankly, I am not sure in what audience or in what forum those words even could go together – I wouldn’t even have these words intersect on a Scrabble board). 

No matter the qualifications Block feels he made, should have made or now makes, the risk of uttering these words in close proximity to one another in front of a mainstream reporter is too high – Block’s meaning, even when clarified, is too nuanced for such an audience.


  1. One should question Walter Block's ability to accurately, even for himself, assess another's commitment to liberty. If Block can assign a score of 70 and 98, respectively, for Rand and Ron, one must conclude that Walter should sharpen his pencil and do some reevaluating.

  2. I have known Walter for years. As, per usual, his handlers should keep him away from the unfriendly press. He never knows when he is being set up.

  3. If Walter were Ron he would shut up? I wonder what other conditions might induce Block to shut up. Maybe if Walter knew how tediously pompous he is, he might shut up.

    The crowd at the Paul rally during the GOP convention let him know that they wished he would shut up, or at least get off the stage.