Disappointed and…Encouraged

After writing “Savior of Capitalism and Champion of Free Market,” I happened to join a LinkedIn group, Ludwig von Mises. Since I am new to this “Austrian School,” my intention in joining is just to have a feel of the current developments in Austrian ideas. One thread caught my attention. It is about Milton Friedman.

To my surprise, members of the group are praising Friedman as a libertarian. I could not understand for it is contrary to what I have been reading so far. So I raised a question and quoted Murray Rothbard about the need to precisely identify the economic position of Milton Friedman. I received an immediate reply implying that Rothbard’s position is invalid in “real world economics,” and Rothbard himself an “escapist” into economic fantasy land. The responder further asserts that to ignore the contribution of Milton Friedman going to the “right direction” is foolish. Murray Rothbard is foolish in the eyes of this group member.

Being a new member, I just voiced out my disappointment by stating what I thought to be in his mind. My greater disappointment is caused by the silence of other members that to me, it only means that the position of the group on Milton Friedman is the dominant one.

Resulting from that experience, I made a tentative conclusion that for Austrian ideas to spread, the economic position of the followers of Friedman must be exposed. They claim to be proud members of the “libertarian” camp. To me, they are nothing but confused followers of the statist version of “libertarianism” and “free market” ideas.

After a day, as my custom, I visited LewRockwell.com to see new articles written by Gary North. I am happy to read The Future of Austrian School. It is a confirmation of my early conviction. I am glad to receive such confirmation from an Austrian economist himself about the future of Austrian School. In that article, North reports about a seminar at Mises Institute attended by more than 150 students from 20 different countries. As a result of such experience, he foresees a promising future for the spread of Austrian ideas. He recalls that from a humble beginning in the 1950s, the Austrian mindset is now an international movement that is rapidly growing.

North cites how the web serves as a powerful tool to educate the people. The present economic crisis is waking up increasing number of people to the significance of Austrian thoughts. Ron Paul is the common starting point for most people. His consistent message serves as an eye-opener to many.

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