- Cafe Hayek - http://cafehayek.com -

Obama, Lincoln, and Lenin

Posted By Don Boudreaux On May 3, 2012 @ 11:55 am In Politics,Prices,Reality Is Not Optional | Comments Disabled

Here’s a letter to the Washington Post:

Robert Samuelson rightly ridicules those who allege that speculators, in Pres. Obama’s words, “artificially manipulate markets” (“The fallacy of blaming oil ‘speculators’ [1],” May 3).

It’s child’s play to show that Mr. Obama’s allegation is economically confused.  But Mr. Obama is no economist.  He’s a politician seeking office.  And so he blames rising prices on imaginary devils – against whom he can rant, rave, and pretend to take corrective action – rather than recognize that such price hikes are merely the result of disagreeable underlying economic realities that he either cannot or will not correct.

Predictably, Mr. Obama is here practicing a long-honored – and scarily often bloodthirsty – political tradition.  It’s a tradition honored by communist butchers such as Vladimir Lenin (“For as long as we fail to treat speculators the way they deserve – with a bullet in the head – we will not get anywhere at all”) and by American icons such as Abraham Lincoln (“For my part, I wish every one of them [speculators] had his devilish head shot off”).*

Economic ignorance and blame-shifting by politicians knows no ideological boundaries.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030

* Quoted on page 343 of David S. Jacks, “Populists versus theorists: Futures markets and the volatility of prices [2],” Explorations in Economic History, Vol. 44, (2007), pp. 342-362.  (The Lincoln quotation also appears on page 502 of David Herbert Donald’s 1996 biography, Lincoln [3].)

(HT to Methinks for alerting me to Jacks’s paper.)

Politicians will forever furiously itch to silence the free speech that is price movements [4] – to kill messengers that bring unwelcome or politically troublesome news.

Be Sociable, Share!
  • [5]
  • [6]
  • [7]
  • [8]
  • [9]

Comments

comments


Article printed from Cafe Hayek: http://cafehayek.com

URL to article: http://cafehayek.com/2012/05/obama-lincoln-and-lenin.html

URLs in this post:

[1] The fallacy of blaming oil ‘speculators’: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-fallacy-of-oil-speculation/2012/05/02/gIQAk7bkwT_story.html

[2] Populists versus theorists: Futures markets and the volatility of prices: https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:1zJtKBd-dc8J:www.sfu.ca/~djacks/papers/publications/populists.pdf+david+s+jacks+populists+versus+theorists&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESj2c1J7ih1uDQEkXpOSkhFOjtKIW5gcYMqIuHnRHhmGIgNU512mc2KpWGvP9M5hYRhahEJAv5cHG-f2nIVzD_AgqQTjyITVSYksww9x2Bauz2wyX9YmOxxUo8gLyzVji8HJyD_H&sig=AHIEtbQQqR9Ts9sk_d19_5fR3YzekKXkiA

[3] Lincoln: http://www.amazon.com/David-Herbert-Donald/e/B000APEFHY/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1336060300&sr=1-1

[4] the free speech that is price movements: http://cafehayek.com/2010/09/prices-report-reality-government-threatens-to-shoot-messenger.html

[5]

  • : http://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=Obama%2C%20Lincoln%2C%20and%20Lenin%20-%20http%3A%2F%2Fcafehayek.com%2F2012%2F05%2Fobama-lincoln-and-lenin.html%20

    [6]

  • : https://mail.google.com/mail/?view=cm&fs=1&to&su=Obama%2C%20Lincoln%2C%20and%20Lenin&body=http%3A%2F%2Fcafehayek.com%2F2012%2F05%2Fobama-lincoln-and-lenin.html&ui=2&tf=1&shva=1

    [7]

  • : http://www.stumbleupon.com/submit?url=http%3A%2F%2Fcafehayek.com%2F2012%2F05%2Fobama-lincoln-and-lenin.html&title=Obama%2C%20Lincoln%2C%20and%20Lenin

    [8]

  • : http://www.google.com/reader/link?url=http%3A%2F%2Fcafehayek.com%2F2012%2F05%2Fobama-lincoln-and-lenin.html&title=Obama%2C%20Lincoln%2C%20and%20Lenin&srcURL=http%3A%2F%2Fcafehayek.com%2F2012%2F05%2Fobama-lincoln-and-lenin.html&srcTitle=Cafe+Hayek+where+orders+emerge

    [9] Image: http://www.blinklist.com/index.php?Action=Blink/addblink.php&Url=http%3A%2F%2Fcafehayek.com%2F2012%2F05%2Fobama-lincoln-and-lenin.html&Title=Obama%2C%20Lincoln%2C%20and%20Lenin

    [10]

  • : http://www.myspace.com/Modules/PostTo/Pages/?u=http%3A%2F%2Fcafehayek.com%2F2012%2F05%2Fobama-lincoln-and-lenin.html&t=Obama%2C%20Lincoln%2C%20and%20Lenin

    [11]

  • : http://reddit.com/submit?url=http%3A%2F%2Fcafehayek.com%2F2012%2F05%2Fobama-lincoln-and-lenin.html&title=Obama%2C%20Lincoln%2C%20and%20Lenin

    [12]

  • : http://news.ycombinator.com/submitlink?u=http%3A%2F%2Fcafehayek.com%2F2012%2F05%2Fobama-lincoln-and-lenin.html&t=Obama%2C%20Lincoln%2C%20and%20Lenin

    [13]

  • : http://sphinn.com/index.php?c=post&m=submit&link=http%3A%2F%2Fcafehayek.com%2F2012%2F05%2Fobama-lincoln-and-lenin.html

    [14] Tweet: https://twitter.com/share

  • Copyright © 2011 CafeHayek.com. All rights reserved.