District of Corruption

Myths of the Minicons

FrumForum's correspondent Alex Knepper is punching above his weight again ... so to speak ... this time, he's attacking the Mises Institute as the "anti-Semitic" "spawn of Murray Rothbard." The Poly Sci major at American U., who's dispensed with the tedium of research, has put forth a thesis that's quite bold and original -- Lew Rockwell, Thomas Woods Jr., and Ron Paul are "anti-trade." That this article was published speaks to the editorial rigor at David Frum's webzine.  

Kneppert also claims that LewRockwell.com publishes "racist" material...  From my standpoint, he missed the opportunity to bring up the fact that many Austrian School economists are (or were) immigration restrictionists. Indeed, Hans-Hermann Hoppe makes the strong case, in Democracy: The God That Failed, that restriction flows naturally from a society based on private property and that "free" immigration is actually intellectually incompatible with libertarianism, properly understood.

Anyway, it's not worth anyone's time to refute Alex Kneppert's smear, but, I do think it'd be helpful to explicate a few reigning Myths of the Minicons, which they repeat over and over again at the various movement gatherings I've attended and on websites like FrumForum. (I'm sure this blog will need to be updated many times, as I somehow keep ending up at movement events.) 

Myth #1: The John Birch society, an American spin-off of the Russian Black Hundreds, was a dangerous anti-Semitic and racist death cult that planned to enact a series of violent pogroms and cross-burnings across the American heartland. Thankfully, William F. Buckley (and apparently now F.A. Hayek) swooped in to save the day and chart American conservatism's course towards respectability.

In reality, the Birchers were never anti-Semitic or racist. And they weren't even expelled from the movement due to their wacky theories about Eisenhower and fluoride in the water. Buckley attacked them in 1962 because they were against President Kennedy's "anti-Communist action in Southeast Asia"; that is, they were purged because they didn't support the initial stages of the Vietnam War (a campaign Buckley later said he regretted.) The JBS did oppose the '64 Civil Rights Act -- for good reason -- but then so did Goldwater and Buckley, the latter expressing his support for Southern Segregation in terms that today would be considered "hate speech."

It's worth noting that the contemporary JBS is even more cornball than the movement establishment in trying to prove that it's not racist. At this year's CPAC, the JBS table was back-dropped with a massive color photo of five smiling American children -- two of whom were black and one, Hispanic. A rather strange depiction of American demographics!

Myth #2: NAFTA, GATT, WTO etc. are synonymous with free trade; indeed, these international organization employing hundreds of thousands of bureaucrats make free trade possible, and if you're against them, that means you're just against freedom.

This one's held by liberals and movement conservatives alike, for opposite reasons, and can be easily refuted historically (one could ask, for instance, just how tea, coco, and spices reached Europe without bureaucrats championing and regulating "free trade.")

As for the "North American Union" conspiracy ... I'd just look at today's papers

Myth #3: The American-Israel Public Affairs Committee -- "America's Pro-Israel Lobby," in its words -- is one of the largest lobbying organizations in the country, supports a righteous cause, and rightfully enjoys the good will of every major presidential candidate and secretary of state. This said, AIPAC has no influence in Washington whatsoever, and if you think it does you're an anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist!

If Israel's and America's interests are identical, I wonder why supporters of the Jewish state bothered setting up a lobby?  

P.S. Did anyone see that the U.S. State Department is sending Frum to China to lecture Mandarins on "demographic change and the future of American politics"? When the Chinese see what kind of people are treasured as "public intellectuals" in America, they'll know exactly who's going to wield power in the future...