≡ Menu

Some Links

Phil Magness reminds us that Karl Marx was not only antisemitic; Marx saw Jews as enemies of civilization.

Juliana Geran Pilon is inspired by Hayek’s understanding of the irrationality that birthed Naziism. A slice:

The manuscript, titled “Spring 1933,” would lay forgotten in the Hoover Institution archives for over half a century, until serendipitously discovered by economics professor Bruce Caldwell. Published as an appendix to the 2007 edition of The Road to Serfdom (RtS), it proved that Hayek had long grasped the inseparable relationship between the anti-liberalism and anti-rationalism of international communism and fascist national socialism.

And for good reason: both ideologies had spawned from Karl Marx’s distinctly German anti-capitalist, virulently antisemitic hatred of individual freedom and the notion of truth itself. As Hayek had explained in 1933, what had destroyed the belief in the universality and unity of human reason was Marx’s teaching of the class-conditioned nature of our thinking, of the difference between bourgeois and proletarian logic, which needed only to be applied to other social groups such as nations or races, to supply the weapon now used against rationalism as such.

Exactly ninety years later, that weapon is being wielded again by proponents of critical race theory, for whom truth is “contextual,” meant to justify power.

GMU Econ alum Dominic Pino assesses the consequences of America’s steel and aluminum protectionism. Two slices:

The U.S. has levied higher tariffs on steel and aluminum since March 2018. The tariffs were initiated by the Trump administration through executive action, and they have mostly remained in place under the Biden administration. The tax rates are 25 percent for most imported steel and 10 percent for most imported aluminum.

Ed Gresser of the Progressive Policy Institute looks at the results after almost six years of protectionism. He judges the policy by its proponents’ own definition of success. “In sum, the administration’s hope and prediction was that the U.S. would be producing more metals,” Gresser writes, referencing reports from the Department of Commerce in 2018 supporting the tariffs.

Compared to 2017, American aluminum production was about the same in 2023. Steel production was slightly lower.


This is a perfect illustration of the inanity of protectionism. The reduction in imports suggests that the tariffs “worked” as planned and were properly calibrated to achieve their designers’ intentions. It would be hard to say they were sabotaged by evil free-traders: These tariffs were implemented through unilateral action by the executive branch under the direction of a protectionist president and trade representative. Yet even under those ideal conditions from the protectionist point of view, the tariffs still haven’t increased domestic production as promised. Instead, Americans just have less access to steel and aluminum than they did before the tariffs were put in place.

The case for protectionism can be framed as the government making you a little poorer for your own good. The problem is that the “making you a little poorer” part usually happens, and the “for your own good” part usually does not.

James Pethokoukis expresses a Hayekian objection to Biden’s EV rules.

Here’s David Friedman on the contribution of immigrants. (HT David Henderson)

John Stossel decries the complexities of the U.S. tax code.

George Will: “Despite anticipation of a Trump nomination, Super Tuesday demands to be heard.” A slice:

Republicans (and others eligible to participate) in the 46 states not yet heard from might experience a mind-opening excitement if on Super Tuesday (March 5) Haley continues to provoke Trump’s annoying insistence that their opinions are nullities, given his inevitability. If so, his handlers will be hard put to contain his off-putting petulance that constantly threatens his tenuous hold on his composure.

Jacob Sullum is understandably unimpressed with Florida’s and Texas’s attempted justifications of their efforts to censor social-media companies.

Samuel Gregg explains the good things that markets do. Two slices:

Alongside, however, the innate reasonableness of embracing rule of law and rejecting arbitrary government, the rule of law is also a means to an end. It is a necessary precondition for a legal framework that gives individuals and communities confidence that they can act freely without being subject to unjust forms of coercion by state and private actors.


In the long term, however, the resulting turmoil is worth it. The economy remains flexible; people are incentivized to innovate and compete; the price system continues to provide the information that people need to make informed choices about what they want to buy and sell goods in light of their available resources, wants, and needs; and the economic growth that improves people’s standard of living continues apace. Importantly, the market economy maintains and reinforces consumer sovereignty. This weakens the ability of government officials and established businesses afraid of competition to collude at the expense of new entrepreneurs, businesses without political connections, and 330 million American consumers.

These are all powerful contributions made by the market economy to the economic dimension of the common good. By contrast, the failure of command economies to deliver substantive and lasting economic growth—not to mention their systematic destruction of economic liberty and its supporting institutions—hardly requires mention. Corporatist economic policies like those that characterized regimes ranging from Mussolini’s Italy to Franco’s Spain, Vichy France, and Juan Perón’s Argentina produced low to no growth, severely compromised economic and political freedom, and facilitated widespread collusion and cronyism between business and government actors that spilled over into outright corruption.

Bob Graboyes has some fun with AI.