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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Answering Sam Buchanan on Markets and Ideas

Wellington anarchist Sam Buchanan posed an interesting question a few posts ago.

I note your judging the passing on of information you disagree with as 'indoctrination'. From a libertarian perspective, one would expect an acceptance that everyone has a different viewpoint and these should be accepted as part of the grand 'free-market of ideas'. Care to comment?

This is how I see it Sam.

Indoctrination is the aggressive pushing of ideas on someone rendered vulnerable by youth, lack of education, poor intellect, sleep deprivation, drugs, torture, deliberate censoring of other viewpoints, lying or any combination of the above.

Greenpeace for example targets the young, lies as a matter of course and attempts to shut out competing ideas-indoctrination.

The North Korean's use virtually all of the above.

While I believe in a free market of ideas, that does not mean mean all ideas are equal, or that none are beyond criticism.

I'm sure you'd agree with me that the ideas of Ayn Rand (Alice Rosenblum)are not equal in value to those of Rosa Luxemburg, or the ideas of Christ worth the same as the ideas of Kropotkin?

We might disagree on the relative value of those ideas, but I am sure you would agree that all ideas are not equally valid.

One reason I love free markets (economically, socially, philosophically) is that ideas may be freely tested against reality.

All things being equal, good ideas do better in free markets than bad ones. That is because people can try them and observe the unvarnished result.

Truth can best be discovered by testing ideas fairly and squarely in the real world.

If the ideas market is distorted by state intervention of any form, truth becomes harder to discern and lies become more widespread.

That's why so much bullshit comes out of academia. Many academics, particularly in state run universities, are shielded from market realities.

Therefore they can and do promulgate the most stupid ideas with no negative economic or social consequences.

In short I believe in freedom of ideas, but I also believe in freedom to criticise those ideas.

You can't have one without the other.


Anonymous Serum said...

A United Nation proxy organization that has a history of not participating in the free market of ideas and considers information other than their own “party line” as indoctrination, has just held a conference in Bali where those who did attempt to put forward counteracting arguments soon found out that the discovery of truth is barred from being be tested in the IPCC world.

12:48 AM  
Blogger Trevor Loudon said...

A very good example of what I'm talking about serum.

4:48 AM  
Anonymous the Green Avenger said...

Last week I joked that the VLWC had got 192 governments to meet in Bali. I thought I was joking, but apparently not.

It turns out we have infiltrated the world's top scientific institutions and installed our operatives as 'scientists'. Now there is no way for our statements to be tested, as all published 'scientific' material emanates from the headquarters.

2:21 PM  
Anonymous Mark said...

Good Stuff Trevor,

I always enjoy reading your blog.

Keep it up.

3:52 PM  
Blogger Kiwi Trader said...

Well said Trevor.

8:58 AM  
Anonymous Cameron said...

One reason I love free markets (economically, socially, philosophically) is that ideas may be freely tested against reality.

All things being equal, good ideas do better in free markets than bad ones. That is because people can try them and observe the unvarnished result.

I am getting quite into this free market stuff. This why Noam Chomsky books sell much better than books by Rodney Hide or those books published by ACT with a chapter by each MP.

What do you think of the huge US companies, such as Halliburton, Lockheed Martin, Blackwater, who receive a huge part of their income from taxpayer funds? Many big companies do not even pay much tax because they go through all the loop holes. Aren't these companies pretty much corporate dole bludgers who steal off the hard working American taxpayer?

3:03 PM  
Blogger Trevor Loudon said...

Cameron-Try comparing Ayn Rand's book sales against Chomsky's.

Try comparing Maggie Thatcher's biography to Tony Benn's.

I thought you would have gathered by now that libertarians are no fans of corporate welfare.

Ayn Rand heavily criticised the partnership of big business and big government

She called it corporate socialism-fascism.

Libertarians argue that big government allied to big business is a recipe for disaster.

We believe that by shrinking the state, businesses are forced to compete more honestly and can only get big through great service to the consumer, rather than through insider deals and political patronage.

Down with corporate welfare!

Down with Fascism!

You like that Cameron?

4:18 PM  
Anonymous Cameron said...

Yes down with corporate welfare!

Down with fascism!

I certainly like those slogans. However, I have a bit of a problem that many so called libertarians I have come across seem all too willing to support the Military-industrial complex and brutal military interventions for corporate profit. If free market libertarianism is done properly I have some sympathy but we do not live in a perfect world. Often when free market ideas have been put in place by governments for example Thatcherism, Reaganomics etc it has just resulted in the cutting of social services for the poor while corporate welfare remains intact.

I would read Margaret Thatcher's biography so I could criticise her. She supported huge corporate welfare for the military-industrial complex and was friends with Pinochet.

3:16 PM  

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