Tag: Mises

Talking about Nietzsche and the Austrians

On Bloggingheads, Mike Konczal and I talk about Nietzsche, the Austrians, and neoliberalism. I explain the weird ways in which Hayek’s view of judging mirrors America’s belated feudalism, how my thinking about the Austrians has changed, why academic theorists and leftists wrongly elevate Strauss and Schmitt above Hayek and Mises, and how we might think about neoliberalism differently. Unfortunately I can’t seem to embed the video here, so you’ll have to click on the link and watch it over at the BH site.

Nietzsche, Hayek, and the Austrians: A Reply to My Critics

My article “Nietzsche’s Marginal Children” has provoked much criticism, some of it quite hostile. (Here’s a complete list of the responses I’ve received.) The criticism focuses on four issues: the connection between Nietzsche and Austrian economists such as Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich von Hayek; the question of Hayek’s elitism; the relationship between economic and non-economic value; and the relationship between Hayek and Pinochet. I address three of these criticisms here—a separate post on Hayek and Pinochet follows—but first let me restate the argument of the piece and explain why I wrote it. “Nietzsche’s Marginal Children” juxtaposes Nietzsche’s critique of the idea of objective value with the turn to subjective theories of value in economics, first among the early marginalists […]

The Leopold and Loeb of Modern Libertarianism

“Nathan Leopold is not the only boy who has read Nietzsche.” So said Clarence Darrow at the trial of Leopold and Loeb, the two University of Chicago law students who had murdered young Bobby Franks for no other reason than to prove that they were Nietzschean Supermen who could. When I’m feeling mischievous, I think of using that line as an epigraph for an essay on Nietzsche and libertarianism. How many teenage boys, after all, have found their way into the free market via Nietzsche? None, one insider tells me; a lot, says another. My impression is that the latter is right, but good data is hard to come by. Every ten years, Liberty Magazine polls its readers about their […]

Forced to Choose: Capitalism as Existentialism

I’ve been reading and writing all morning about Hayek, Mises, and Menger. And it occurs to me: the moral secret of capitalism, its existential fundament, is not that we are free to choose but that we are forced to choose. Only when we are confronted with the reality of scarcity, says the Austrian economist, only when we must reckon with the finite resources at our disposal, are we brought face to face with ourselves. In deciding how to deploy those limited resources—whether they be time, money, effort—we’re compelled to answer the great questions of life: What do I value? What do I believe? What do I want in this life, in this world? (“Every man who, in the course of […]

But wait, there’s more: Hayek von Pinochet, Part 2

My post last night on Hayek and Pinochet is getting a fair amount of attention. But there’s more to the story that I didn’t include. So here are some additional details. First, though Farrant et al (authors of the excellent article on Hayek and Pinochet that I linked to last night) cite from this letter Hayek wrote to the Times on July 11, 1978, they don’t cite what to my mind is the most remarkable statement in that letter: If Mrs. Thatcher said that free choice is to be exercised more in the market place than in the ballot box, she has merely uttered the truism that the first is indispensable for individual freedom, while the second is not. That […]