More smears … and more obviously deliberate

The racist Lew Rockwell (or do I repeat myself?) has once again launched an ugly smear. His post is vintage Rockwell: deceitful and malicious. Here’s what Cato president Ed Crane said at the launch party for the Daily Caller:

Federal Reserve System – Much as I hate to drop names, I had lunch with Ben Bernanke in the White House mess just about a week prior to his being named as head of the Fed. Nice guy. But it soon became clear that the man actually believes a strong economy is inherently inflationary. Please. An honest strong economy is deflationary, which is good, since the lower prices occur at the point of productivity gain and, hence, do not distort relative prices. But that’s not the way Ben looks at it. I said to him, it seems as though you disagree with Milton Friedman that inflation is solely a monetary phenomenon. He said, yes, that is true. Well, thank god the food in the White House mess is so good, or I’m out of there. The fact is we are in for a period of ugly inflation because Ben Bernanke doesn’t appreciate Milton Friedman. My long time friend, Ron Paul (who hangs with folks he shouldn’t) has a popular new book out, End the Fed. I’m for that. His bill to have more oversight of the Fed might be problematic but for Bernanke’s seeming desire to join the Obama Cabinet. Read my lips: The more of a commodity that exists, the less value each unit of that commodity will have. See the sinking dollar.

Here’s Lew Rockwell’s description:

After my formal talk on the Misesian vision, a man said to me: “In a recent article, Edward H. Crane, CEO of the Cato Institute, said ‘Ron Paul hangs around with the wrong people.’ Did he mean you guys?” “Yes,” I said.

“And was this the same article where Mr. Crane added, ‘I hate to be a name dropper, but I had lunch with Ben Bernanke in the White House mess the week before he was confirmed [as Fed chairman]. Great guy.’?” “Yes,” I was told.

Now note the change (and no link) from “nice guy. But it soon became clear that…” to “Great guy.” Native speakers of English know that “nice guy” means pleasant and affable, but not ([fill in the blank] wise, foresighted, hard-working, libertarian, smart, whatever), whereas “Great guy” means a “great guy,” i.e., [fill in the blank] wonderful, reliable, good to work with, on target, real libertarian, whatever. “Nice guy” and “Great guy” mean very, very different things. Rockwell is, in short, being deceitful again.

Keep that in mind whenever you read anything from that source. (It’s a nice follow on from this; and there’s lots more in The Fever Swamp.)

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13 Responses to “More smears … and more obviously deliberate”

  1. What an amateur! Conflating “nice guy” with “great guy” isn’t so much subtle and nuanced as sloppy and misquoted. Rockwell should have run with “good fellow” and then accused Crane of calling Bernanke a mafioso. If you’re going to build a straw man, build one worthy of the name.

  2. CWE: You know, I had that reaction too: Maybe he just didn’t check. Maybe. But then I thought, would *I* post a criticism of someone I obviously have an obsession with, without confirming what I was going to quote? No. And I don’t think Rockwell would either. He can quote accurately when it serves his purpose. And he knows how to link when he wants readers to be able to see the source.

  3. @Smith Jarod: Taking your argument one step further, we are not talking about some yokel posting hastily written comments onto an online discussion board. We are talking about some yokel who has been running newsletters for a long, long time.

  4. Once again what bothers me is the hypocrisy and the double standards. Even if we assume that Edward Crane wrote what Rockwell says he wrote (which quite clearly isn’t the case), that’s still not worse than what some of the more reasonable and honest LvMI scholars have said about Bernanke (not gonna look up the url sorry). But of course that’s irrelevant because what Edward Crane actually wrote would even pass the test of Rockwell’s more ‘extreme’ vision.

  5. Although I hate to take sides, as I am a fan of the Ludwig von Mises Institute (I even moderate their forums and their Facebook fan page), I admit that Lew Rockwell has moments where he should have really conducted a thorough copyedit and some fact checking. I remember reading a piece after the 11 March 2003 attacks in Madrid, where he congratulated ETA for fighting against the Spanish State. ETA are not freedom fighters. They are a Marxist mafia, who pay their campaign of terror through extortion and theft.

    I am not so sure that one should go as far as to call Lew Rockwell a friend of terrorism. I am sure that he has certain convictions which he has not bothered to fact check. Although this certainly puts a dent in his reputation, I don’t consider them mortal wounds. He has, time and time again, shown great wisdom in other areas of politics and libertarianism.

    In any case, I am not sure why both sides are taking these exchanges personally. Although it is positive that great libertarian thinks such as Tom Palmer and Lew Rockwell are consistently criticizing each other, I am not sure that it is equally as beneficial to do this in such a way that it would turn libertarian students away from one or the other. Instead, there should be a focus on collecting the best information from all libertarian scholars. I think that my impartiality has allowed me to do just this, making me much wiser than I would have otherwise been.

  6. As a graduate student in Economics with a concentration in the Austrian School, in the days before there was an Internet as we know it, I was taken aback by the division among many of my classmates between the self-styled Hayekians and Misesians. To the Misesians the Hayekians were compromising sell-outs; to the Hayekians the Misesians looked like dogmatic idealists.

    (As a fan of Lachmann, I just kept my mouth shut most of the time.)

    Seen in this light, the spitballs that frequently fly out of LvMI are not entirely unexpected, even if they are disappointing.

    Jonathan’s concern about turning libertarian students away is correct. Especially if one’s outreach extends beyond one’s home culture, one should avoid initiating confrontation.

    One does not invalidate one’s message by stating it politely. (I do not imply appeasement here. Sometimes, pushing back or defending a friend forcefully is called for; stomping around like a Klingon in Hobbiton is not.)

    It is particularly troubling, when one says of one’s associate, “Oh, that’s just [name] being [name].” No. That’s [name] being unnecessarily unpleasant.

  7. Par for the course. I had my run-ins with those guys awhile back and learned their Leninism the hard way: “truth” is what gets you what you want. “Dishonest” does not come close to describing the operators of the Mises Institute. I read Cato Daily Dispatch regularly and have never found anything like that. It’s factual and sober stuff about the real world. I also read on other liberty sites and never come across the lies and viciousness that Rockwell produces. Mises.org and LRC are heavily weighted toward being “attack sites.” Remember their Leninism/Trotskyism and it makes sense.

  8. Pete Clemons

    So, Tom, what happened to your project to make Iraq more “libertarian”? I see you’re venturing into Afghanistan now, too. Funny how the progress of “libertarianism” follows the same path as invading US troops. Just a coincidence I’m sure….

  9. Tom Palmer

    Wow, Pete. That’s quite a digression. I’ve been in Iraq a few times, but also Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Brazil, Mexico, Sweden, Turkey, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Kyrgyzstan, Hungary, Spain, and a lot of other countries, none of which were invaded by the US. But…oops!…I was also in Japan and Germany and France and Italy and Lebanon, all of which have been invaded at one time or another by the US. (And Mexico, too, come to think of it.) So maybe you have a point…it’s just not clear what it is. Say, how are your efforts going to foster liberty – well, assuming you make any efforts, that is – in the US? (Note: I opposed the US invasion of Iraq and actually did something about it. Did you?)

    And, now, what do we call this tactic? When someone lies deliberately and then one of his followers raises a different issue and makes insinuations about the person who uncovers the lie? Isn’t it called a “red herring”?

    Have a nice day, Pete.

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