Mr. Anonymous and the Not-So-Spontaneous Birth of the Libertarian "Movement"

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Mr. Anonymous and the Not-So-Spontaneous Birth of the Libertarian "Movement"

Post by blindpig » Mon Apr 06, 2020 1:42 pm

Mr. Anonymous and the Not-So-Spontaneous Birth of the Libertarian "Movement"
by anaxarchos
Published on 05-02-2011 07:21 AM1 Comment Comments

William S. Volker (1859-1947)

Mr. Anonymous and the Not-So-Spontaneous Birth of the Libertarian "Movement"
Disclaimer: This is not a conspiracy story, though it has all the elements of one. Anonymous shadowy figures, international "societies", complete political "ideologies" created for convenience alone, social institutions corrupted through the mere distribution of cash (science, politics, universities, governments and even the Nobel Prize), and a global strategy designed to "rule the world" - no doubt about it, this one is better than a novel. But, don't get carried away. There are no secret ceremonies or lizard people in this tale. Nor is it a story about groups named after Italian light fixtures or German beer. It is instead the story of how "everyday conspiracies" work.

Karl Marx wrote that the ruling ideas of any age are the ideas of its ruling class. Looking backward, it is hard to dispute this observation, but how does it actually work? That is what our story is about. It starts with the businessman below and his simple frustration at the success of Marxism as an idea, first among his own workers and then amongst the American establishment whose wide-spread adoption of the appropriately conciliatory "New-Dealism" was entirely in response. In an economic system in which everything is reduced to a commodity, a man of means should be able to simply buy a counter-idea, shouldn't he? So it turns out...

Mr. Anonymous

William Volker, alias "Mr. Anonymous", alias the "First Citizen" of Kansas City, Missouri, "was an extremely modest, enormously wealthy home-furnishings tycoon. He became the unrecognized donor of thousands of gifts, large and small."

Volker was born on April 1, 1859 into a prosperous household in Hanover, Germany. At age 12, Volker's family immigrated to Chicago. At 17 he went to work for a picture frame manufacturer. With the death of his employer in 1882, Volker bought out the company and moved the enterprise to Kansas City. From there, his "little window shade business" grew into a national giant.

In 1911, 52 year old William Volker married. Returning from his honeymoon, he announced he had put one million dollars in his wife's name and, he said, intended to give the rest of his enormous fortune away. Over the next 36 years, he donated millions of dollars, much of it anonymously. When Volker died at age 88 on November 4, 1947, many schools, parks, and public spaces were named for the furnishings tycoon.

So why pick on this guy?

The answer is that the overwhelming priority of Volker's "philanthropy" was focused, not on public spaces but on reactionary ideology. Dismayed by the rise of Socialism in America and doubly dismayed by what he saw as the evolution of government and political thinking towards accommodation and a "new liberalism", eventually personified by the widespread adoption of the economic views of John Maynard Keynes and the New Deal policies of Franklin Roosevelt, Volker set out to create a new and much more reactionary mainstream ideology based loosely around his own ideas of "laissez-faire" capitalism (i.e. a largely unregulated economy) and social Darwinism (the pseudo-scientific notion that in society, unhindered competition would allow the "cream to rise to the top".

In truth, Volker was no great scholar or thinker. The ideology he set out to create was built upside down, starting only with a set of foggy conclusions for which he had a predisposition. From these conclusions, it was the task of Volker's considerable fortune to find a set of justifications, then an enabling ideology or "theory" that gave it all perspective and unity and, eventually, a true philosophical platform from which to launch the whole. But if this task was analogous to building the Great Pyramid, starting from the top, Volker was undaunted. He may not have had a brain but he had money... and he had a personal connection to one of the most reactionary sections of that most reactionary of organizations - the National Association of Manufacturers. Volker's associates, who would all participate closely, included Jasper Crane of DuPont, B. E. Hutchinson of Chrysler, Henry Weaver of General Electric, Pierre Goodrich of B.F. Goodrich, and Richard Earhart of White Star Oil (which through many mergers and aquistions would eventually become Mobil Oil). Moreover, Volker had influence at the leading scholarly institution in his home town: The University of Chicago, founded by none other than John D. Rockefeller and created with a certain ideological predisposition.

In 1932 Volker established the William Volker Fund and, with that, started on the road to becoming perhaps the most significant anonymous asshole of our times. In every way, William S. Volker was the true father of Libertarianism and Modern Conservatism.

For the first dozen years, the fund largely floundered. There is some evidence that Volker may have flirted with Fascism. That ideology though, which attracted such celebrities as Henry Ford and Charles Lindbergh, was thought to have a limited future in America. In the face of Keynesian economics, widespread social spending, and the CIO, what was really required was a return to pre-New Deal economic policy and an anti-communist/anti-union social policy.



The breakthrough came in 1944, when Volker's nephew, Harold Luhnow, took over, first the business and then the Fund. In the same year, Friedrich Hayek's The Road to Serfdom was published. The book was a product of the "Austrian School" of economists, originating at the University of Vienna and first coming to modest prominence at the end of the 19th century in its attacks on Marxist and Socialist economics. Hayek's book was an almost mystical (and hysterical) defense of laissez-faire capitalism and the "free market". According to Hayek, market prices created a "spontaneous order, or what is referred to as 'that which is the result of human action but not of human design'. Thus, Hayek put the price mechanism on the same level as, for example, language". In turn, any attempt at regulation would inevitably lead to "totalitarianism' and in this, both Marxist and New Deal "socialism" were essentially similar. The theory was perfect . Volker and Luhnow had found their ideology. The cash began to flow.

In short order, the Volker Fund and its larger network arranged for the re-publication of Hayek's book by the University of Chicago (a recurring and important connection) despite the fact that it had been almost universally rejected by the Economics establishment. A year later, the book was published in serial form by the ultra-reactionary Readers Digest not withstanding the fact that it was supposed to be a "scholarly text", ordinarily inappropriate for the readership of the Digest, and despite the fact that it had also had been panned by literary critics. In 1950, the Fund arranged for Hayek to secure a position at the University of Chicago and when the University only granted an unpaid position, they arranged for the Earhart Foundation to pay him a salary. Hayek was only the first of a veritable flood of emigre, "scholars".

Recruiting the Homeless

Hayek's teacher in Vienna had been one Ludwig von Mises who, in turn, had been the student of Eugen von Boehm-Bawerk (who had gained fame for his attack on Marxist Economics) and who, in his turn, had been the student of Carl Menger, the founder of the Austrian school. Each of these had published several books that were virulent attacks on Socialism and defended "pure capitalism". It was all very good. Von Mises book was called Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis and it too had been received with yawns when it was published in English in 1936.

While von Mises really had "taught" at the University of Vienna, his was an unpaid position. The University had turned him down on four separate occasions for a paid position. Not surprisingly, in 1940 the nearly destitute von Mises had emigrated to the United States. In 1945, an unpaid "visting professorship" was obtained for him at NYU while his salary was paid by "businessmen such as Lawrence Fertig". Fertig was an associate of the Volker Fund and a friend of Henry Hazlitt, the Fund's friendliest journalist. In all, they would fund von Mises for 25 years and von Mises never would need a "real job".

In fact, this was typical of the Fund's bait and switch tactisc for developing resumes. In the United States, von Mises was the "famed economics professor from the University of Vienna". In Europe, he would become the "famous American economist from NYU".

Uncle Milty

The economist Milton Friedman, during his fifteen minutes of fame, took the opportunity of the publication of his opus, Capitalism and Freedom to decry the shabby treatment that the likes of Hayek and Mises had received from the Economics establishment. On his own similar reception, he wrote in the 1982 preface of his book:

"Those of us who were deeply concerned about the danger to freedom and prosperity from the growth of government, from the triumph of welfare-state and Keynesian ideas, were a small beleaguered minority regarded as eccentrics by the great majority of our fellow intellectuals.

Even seven years later, when this book was first published, its views were so far out of the mainstream that it was not reviewed by any major national publication--not by the New York Times or the Herald Tribune (then still being published in New York) or the Chicago Tribune, or by Time or Newsweek or even the Saturday Review--though it was reviewed by the London Economist and by the major professional journals. And this for a book directed at the general public, written by a professor at a major U.S. university, and destined to sell more than 400,000 copies in the next eighteen years."

It is attractive to believe that Friedman was really this foolish and that his expertise in the politics of fame was similar to his expertise in Monetary Policy. In fact, his separate acknowledgements of the importance of the Volker Fund belie this possibility. In truth, the Fund and its progeny identified Friedman early on, shepherded his career at the University of Chicago, subsidized him through a paid lecture series (which eventually were combined into Capitalism and Freedom), paid his way to Mont Pelerin, arranged for the serialization of his book by Reader's Digest, and bought a signifcant number of the books that Friedman was so proud of "selling".

Friedman was only one of dozens of such local "scholars" who were suddenly discovered through the efforts of the Fund.

The Fund also now began to recruit friendly young "future-scholars" and subsidize their development. Not only was the cause thus advanced, but a modest intelligence network became a part of the Libertarian Movement. One such early recruit was Murray Rothbard, later to become famous as the father of "Left Libertarianism", "Libertarian anarchism", and "anarco-capitalism". Later much castigated for his sellout to the Right-wing Republicans, Rothbard had, from the first, been intimately wrapped up in Anti-Communism, McCarthyism, the Old Right, and the right-wing ideology of the Volker Fund. It was through the Fund that he became an associate of Ayn Rand and a student of Mises.

"Rothbard began his consulting work for the Volker Fund in 1951. This relationship lasted until 1962, when the VF was dissolved. A major part of Rothbard's work for the VF consisted of reading and evaluating books, journal articles, and other materials. On the basis of written reports by Rothbard and another reader - Rose Wilder Lane - the VF's directors would decide whether to undertake massive distribution of particular works to public libraries.

The VF also asked Rothbard to submit reports on particular questions, such as how to rank sundry economists in terms of friendliness to the free market, surveys of the literature on monopoly, Soviet wage structures, etc., etc. Rothbard's memos number several hundred, covering works in economics, history, philosophy, and political science. The memos, which range in length from one page to seventy pages, provide a window into the scholarship of the period - and Rothbard's views on that scholarship. They thereby shed much light on Rothbard's emerging worldview and his systematic defense of liberty."

They also shed "much light" on how the Fund decided which "scholars" to promote, and which to attack. Rothbard later called his work with the Volker Fund, "the best job I've ever had in my life".

Multiplying Like Rabbits

In support of the imported scholars and the new ideology, the Volker Fund also pioneered a process which would become the hallmark of the Libertarian Movement. The Fund started to spin-off organizations by the boatload, each intended, not just to serve specific purposes but to give the appearance of many independent efforts spawned by a "mass appeal". The list of begats is too numerous to chronicle but the first set are illuminating.

Among the very first front organizations of the Volker Fund was the National Book Foundation. While the Foundation's affiliation to the Volker Fund was not hidden, it was circumspect enough to suggest, even to most Libertarians, that it was independent. The fund began modestly enough by distributing free copies of Eugene Böhm-Bawerk's works to thousands of libraries and universities across the country. As the Volker efforts geared up, the Foundation began to distribute millions of books from dozens of authors, all coming from the Fund's stables. Many educational "incentives" were initiated such as "teach a course on Hayek, get 10 (or 100) textbooks for free"...


The Foundation for Economic Education was spun out in 1946, under the leadership of Leonard Read, a leading figure in the Chambers of Commerce. The grand-daddy of all libertarian think-tanks, the FEE initiated the original Mont Pelerin Society meetings. Its own publication, The Freeman, became the founding journal of Libertarianism. The rent was paid by Volker.

The Institute for Humane Studies was created by Floyd "Baldy" Harper, the "ace recruiter" of the Volker Fund, in 1961. The IHS identified and subsidized bright young students and promising scholars friendly to the new Libertarian doctrine. Not only did the IHS fund thousands of students, but it spawned dozens of similar organizations throughout the world. After the Volker Fund was finally closed, subsidies for the IHS shifted to some of the most reactionary organizations in America: The Scaife Foundation, Koch Family Foundations, The Bradley Foundation, and the Carthage Foundation.

The Intercollegiate Studies Institute was founded in 1953 to combat what they would eventually call "political correctness" and "left-bias" in colleges and universities. The organization now consists of 50,000 college students and faculty and through its lavish subsidies, sponsors dozens of programs representing the entire spectrum of right-wing "Libertarian" causes. The first president of the ISI was a young William F. Buckley Jr.

The Earhart Foundation was created by and named for Richard Earhart of White Star Oil, one of Volker's original collaborators in the National Assosciation of Manufacturers. This foundation was used to subsidize various emigres and not only financed Hayek but also Eric Voegelin, yet another Austrian. Through Voeglin, the Earhardt Foundation became connected with the infamous Leo Strauss and, since then, various projects of not just a libertarian but of a neo-conservative perspective have been beneficiaries of the Foundation. In addition, The Earhart Foundation helped to pioneer still another use of the newly-emergent Libertarian think-tanks. As the network of these think-tanks grew, they undertook not only to promote ideology but also specific points of policy, particularly in support of private corporations. The culmination of the Foundation's efforts in this direction came with the founding of the George C. Marshall Institute in 1984. The Institute was initially a foremost proponent of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), heavily promoted by the Defense Industry, and later became the leading non-industry critic of Climate Change. The CEO of the Institute is currently a registered lobbysist for ExxonMobil.
Through the list of organizations, above, the Volker Fund's near-biblical begats encompass nearly every single prominent individual and organization of the Libertarian and New Conservative movements of today.

The Not-So-Secret Society

In 1947, 39 scholars, mostly economists, with some historians and philosophers, were invited by Professor Friedrich Hayek to meet at Mont Pelerin, Switzerland, and discuss the state, and possible fate of classical liberalism and to combat the "state ascendancy and Marxist or Keynesian planning [that was] sweeping the globe". Invitees included Henry Simons (who would later train Milton Friedman, a future president of the society, at the University of Chicago); the American former-Fabian socialist Walter Lippmann; Viennese Aristotelian Society leader Karl Popper; fellow Austrian School economist Ludwig von Mises; Sir John Clapham, a senior official of the Bank of England who from 1940-6 was the president of the British Royal Society; Otto von Habsburg, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne; and Max von Thurn und Taxis, Bavaria-based head of the 400-year-old Venetian Thurn und Taxis family.
If the above rings of Bohemian Grove; and similar fodder for conspiracies, it is because informal retreats at out-of-the-way resorts are one of the favorite methods by which the wealthy of many countries formulate a common international policy. What distinguishes the Mont Pelerin Society, however, is that it did not consist primarily of the wealthy. Instead, it was comprised of a majority of marginal, thread-bare "scholars", united only by their common hatred of Socialism and Keynesianism (which were one and the same for most of them) and sprinkled with only a handful of rich patrons and journalists. In fact the Mount Pelerin Society was organized as much by the Volker Fund as by Hayek himself and the Foundation paid the way for all 10 of the American participants.

Once in Switzerland, the scholars agreed on their hatred of Socialism but on little else except to meet yearly to "facilitate an exchange of ideas between like-minded scholars in the hope of strengthening the principles and practice of a free society and to study the workings, virtues, and defects of market-oriented economic systems.

From this not-so-secret-but-thoroughly-right-wing society's more than humble beginnings, the phoenix of laissez-faire capitalism would rise, propelled skyward by unlimited funds. Over a dozen of the scholars who could not previously get a job, a review, or a book deal would go on to win the "Nobel Prize in Economics" (this "epic" story will be told separately). More importantly, the Mont Pelerin Society would itself beget 500 foundations and organizations in nearly 80 countries... again with strategic contributions from Mr. Anonymous. Once transformed into an "international movement", there was no end to what was possible. One example tells the story.

Initiated at Mont Pelerin and copying the FEE, the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) was created in London in 1955. Serving as a conduit for both cash and "ideas", the IEA set about the task of "rejuvenating" the dead and decaying British Tories. By 1985, the "Iron Lady", Margaret Thatcher, would positively gush on the occasion of the Institute's 30th Anniversary: "You created the atmosphere which made our victory possible... May I say how thankful we are to those who joined your great endeavor. They were the few, but they were right, and they saved Britain." With that, the IEA begat the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, which in turn created a network of over 50 think-tanks in more than 30 countries.

And what were the scale of these efforts? John Blundell, the head of the IEA, in a speech to the Heritage Foundation, and Atlas in 1990, would identify a rare failure in the Society's efforts. Shaking his head at the abortive attempt to subsidize academic "Chairs of Free Enterprise" in dozens of countries throughout the world, Blundell complained about wasting, "hundreds of millions, perhaps one billion dollars". This was just one initiative among many.

Oceans of Cash

Aaron Director was a lawyer and Ukrainian emigre whose sister had married Milton Friedman prior to the Second World War. That then became the connection which led to the Volker Fund's subsidy of Director and his association with the University of Chicago. He was one of the fund's "imports", alongside Von Mises. Director's collaborator at the University was Edward Levi who would eventually go on to become the President of the University and then Attorney General of the United States. Together, Director and Levi were instrumental in the development of the Chicago School of Economics, or the conquest by the Economics department of the School of Business and the Law School.

The Law School? What does law have to do with economics? The answer was everything according to Director, who developed a theory of "Law and Economics" (called, without tongue-in-cheek, the L&E "Movement"), "stressing free-enterprise principles and the primacy of property law as well as measuring legal rulings with longer-term economic criteria. He founded the Journal of Law & Economics in 1958... that helped to unite the fields of law and economics with far-reaching influence." The journal was of course, funded in large part by what had now become a substantial network of Volker affiliates. Despite the fact that he himself wrote virtually nothing throughout his career, "Director influenced a generation of jurists, including Robert Bork, Richard Posner, Antonin Scalia and Chief Justice William Rehnquist."

One part of what made such a thing possible was not just new territories in which to sell the tired old economic ideas, but also new benefactors who spread the message far and wide. In this case, perhaps the most important new convert was the munitions magnate, John M. Olin and his Foundation:

"...John M. Olin was disturbed by a building takeover at his alma mater, Cornell University. At the age of 80, he decided that he must pour his time and resources into preserving the free market system that had allowed him to acquire his own wealth. The Foundation is most notable for its early support and funding of the law and economics movement, a discipline that applies incentive-based thinking and cost-benefit analysis to the field of legal theory. Olin believed that law schools have a disproportionately large impact on society given their size and to this end decided to focus the majority of his funding there."

Between 1969 and 2005, when the Foundation disbanded, the John M. Olin Foundation disbursed no less than $370 Million, "primarily to conservative think tanks, media outlets, and law programs at influential universities. The Foundation is most notable for its early support and funding of the law and economics movement."

But that was not the only thing that the Olin foundation promoted. Through its contacts at the University of Chicago, the Olin Fund ran into political sciences professor Leo Strauss:

Strauss taught that liberalism in its modern form contained within it an intrinsic tendency towards relativism, which in turn led to two types of nihilism.[2] The first was a "brutal" nihilism, expressed in Nazi and Marxist regimes. These ideologies, both descendants of Enlightenment thought, tried to destroy all traditions, history, ethics, and moral standards and replace it by force with a supreme authority under which nature and mankind are subjugated and conquered.[4] The second type -- the "gentle" nihilism expressed in Western liberal democracies -- was a kind of value-free aimlessness and hedonism, which he saw as permeating the fabric of contemporary American society.[5] In the belief that 20th century relativism, scientism, historicism, and nihilism were all implicated in the deterioration of modern society and philosophy, Strauss sought to uncover the philosophical pathways that had led to this situation. The resultant study led him to revive classical political philosophy as a source by which political action could be judged.
Well, it was not exactly the same thing but it was close enough... and, with its further evolution, neo-liberalism would abandon the "classical liberals" in favor of medieval scholars, thus coming much closer to a "synergy". Meanwhile, for both, "classical political philosophy" was, of course, synonymous with political reaction. The unmentioned irony was that the critique of Straussianism, that it was "crudely anti-democratic, obsessed with secret meanings and in love with white lies told by powerful men to keep the rabble in line" applied neatly as a summation of the "classical liberalism" or Libertarian Movement as a whole. In addition to its Libertarian mission, The Olin Foundation became a founder and one of the principal funding sources for the Project for the New American Century (PNAC).

Extending their reach, the inheritors of Mr. Anonymous' legacy, also set about creating umbrella organizations for Libertarian funding sources dedicated to funding the counter-intelligentsia. These extended from newly created, shadowy and anonymous Foundations to the famous think-tanks (such as Cato, Hoover, and Hudson) to the infamous (such as the Scaife Foundation). As the network has grown, the financing of scholars has been supplemented by the adoption of campaigns, not just in the name of Capitalism, "Freedom", and "Liberty" in general, but on behalf of individual capitalists in particular. Today there is virtually no public campaign, against anti-tobacco legislation, against environmental legislation, rejecting climate change theory, on behalf of HMOs and private health care, against pharmaceutical regulation and so on - outside of industry and trade associations - that does not originate within the network created or touched by Mr. Anonymous. The scale of the cash flowing is not measured in millions or hundreds of millions or in billions, but in tens of billions, and perhaps even more.

But, what about "ideas"?

In our search for cash and connections without parallel, it might be argued that we have missed the great ideas of Libertarianism. The simple explanation is that there are none. Beyond a pro forma agreement on the evils of Marxism, Keynesianism, and "big government" and a thoroughly mystical, near religious belief in capitalism and "free-markets", reduced to paper-thin slogans such as "Personal Freedom" and "Individual Liberty", there is no other point of consensus. Pressed beyond such platitudes, the theoreticians of this movement have always descended into the most bitter disagreements about the most substantial of issues. Such might easily be suspected of an ideology that embraces a political spectrum which includes right-wing Republicans, and neo conservatives and neo liberals and neo-Fascist Ayn Randians, and "classical Liberals" and Libertarian Party members, and "anarchists".

The economic historian, Jamie Peck, in setting out to write a history of the theories of the Austrian School, was dismayed to find that he could not find an "Aha moment" in that history, nor could he see substantial points of agreement between any of the authors (beyond the obvious), nor could he detect a coherent point-of-view that remained constant amongst any one of them for long. "There was nothing spontaneous about neo-liberalism; it was speculatively planned, it was opportunistically built, and it has been repeatedly reconstructed", wrote Peck.

We will deal with this subject in accompanying material, but for the moment it should be said that even the above misses the point. Beyond congenital disagreements, the embrace of Libertarian Economics as political slogan from the beginning meant that the "science" (and it is only as an attempt at economic science that the ideology has ever had even nominal roots) was still-born, no matter how miserable its stock in trade may have turned out to be. Hayek said as much at the time of his "Nobel Prize". He complained that Serfdom had ended his career as an economist and implied that it began his life as an ideologist. No matter what illusions he may have harbored as to his own "destiny", the comment passes down to us as the complaints of a paid shill of the real Libertarian science - the science of propoganda, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Volker Fund - with Hayek only counting as just another whiney paid-professional, complaining about his job-title.

There is no evidence that the much larger irony ever occurred to Hayek:

Tens, perhaps hundreds of billions of dollars, hundreds of millions of books, hundreds of journals, dozens of universities, tens of thousands of people and thousands of professorships, and so on in a network touching virtually everyone in the "Western Democracies" - all of it centrally planned, all of it subsidized, none of it capable of existing by itself in the commercial marketplace or in the "marketplace of ideas" and all of it failing dozens of times until hooked into the river of cash produced by the the simple subsidies of the rich designed to derail the "free" evolution of ideas as they were actually proceeding... is there any such example in all of human history of a movement so far at odds with its own self-proclaimed principles? No problem, though, for William S. Volker, for whom belief was always optional. Mr. Anonymous got exactly what he paid for.


For anyone who would attempt to understand class societies, the unmediated slogans of those same societies are the worst possible places to begin. For feudal societies, slogans such as Chivalry, Honor, Fealty, Chastity, Virtue and the like, underlay a social fabric that was monstrous, arbitrary, and treacherous. In most cases the slogans hid social truths which were the exact opposite of their rhetorical claims. The cruelty of the joke was not fully apparent until the end times of feudalism itself.

In our own times, the slogans which have replaced these are those of Freedom, Liberty, Democracy, Enterprise, Individuality, and so on. It is impossible to know the meaning of these as given and even more unlikely that one may make of them as one may wish. In the present society, they are like virgin forests that one may stumble upon while walking. No matter how pristine and unfettered such may appear, in our contemporary social system that forest is inevitably someone's private property and is thus absolutely resistant to any other appropriation.

So too, it is the same with Freedom and Liberty. No matter how one may "choose" to think of them, in truth they have only one source and one meaning.

The current stakeholder for those terms is the anonymous asshole above, William Volker. He mined the ore, refined the technique, processed the product, and merchandised the result; finally sending the finished commodity out on rivers of cash, no less so than Henry Ford did with his automobiles. As with all other industrial Barons of his time, that he knew nothing of the actual ideas, processes, and practices meant nothing at all. He bought them, he paid for them, he owned them, and in the process, he spawned the liberty industry, a multi-billion dollar monopoly which today owns "the marketplace of ideas". So too, just as with Ford, the complete legacy of his works becomes apparent only now.


As far as a postscript goes, we end as we began - with yet more fodder for conspiracy theorists. The William S. Volker Fund closed up shop in 1974, secure in the fact that it's mission had been taken up by others. The last millions in the Fund were passed on to the ultra-conservative Hoover Institution. What were not passed on were the files of the Volker Fund, which mysteriously disappeared. The entire paper trail documenting where the money had come from, how it was spent and who was touched by it, all of this disappeared with a POOF. Three decades after he died, Volker seems to have guaranteed his anonymity in perpetuity and to this day nothing but the vague outlines of this story are known. And so it goes...

By anaxarchos
September 28, 2007 ... n-Movement
"We ask no compassion from you. When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror."

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Re: Mr. Anonymous and the Not-So-Spontaneous Birth of the Libertarian "Movement"

Post by blindpig » Mon Apr 06, 2020 1:48 pm

09-27-2007, 01:12 PM


Eyes on the Prize
Bertrand Roehner is a Professor of Theoretical Physics at the Institute for Theoretical and High Energy Physics at the University of Paris (Sorbonne). Dr. Roehner’s main interest is interdisciplinary, particularly in the application of physics to social phenomena. He has written several books and many articles challenging the accepted theories concerning various social and economic events and substituting simple physical criteria. In his 2007 book, Driving Forces in Physical, Biological and Socio-economic Phenomena: A Network Science Investigation of Social Bonds and Interactions (Cambridge University Press), Professor Roehner interrupts a discussion of “Macro-interactions” as they apply to marketing and cell phones in cars, to discuss “the Promotion of Neo-Liberalism”, particularly with regard to the “Nobel Prize in Economics”.

Why is this a valid subject in a text that is otherwise about networks, connection schemes, and “social bonds”? The simple answer is that the Nobel story is an unbelievable tale. The “neo-liberal” economists were nothing more than a despised sect on the edges of Economic Science, unread, undistinguished, and unknown, until a series of Nobel Prizes transformed them into the rock stars of their field, more important by far than all competing “schools” put together. Unfortunately, Roehner detects what others have also noticed - that the story is quite literally “unbelievable”. The numbers alone tell the story: 58 total “laureates” for the Nobel Prize in Economics, of whom two thirds are from the United States (three quarters if school of affiliation is used instead of citizenship); 8 from the Mont Pelerin society; 5 presidents of that society; 12 politically prominent “neo-libs”; 16 affiliated in some way with the University of Chicago… not if the subject were cancer and the address, “Love Canal”, could such “clustering” be explained.

With meticulous attention to detail, Dr. Roehner dissects the story. He gives particular attention to the role of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). Roehner features the Volker Fund and reproduces some of the same material that we have in our accompanying article, but Roehner traces it all back even further – to the IUHEI (Institut Universitaire des Hautes Etudes Internationales) conferences organized by Rockefeller, starting in 1927. The key role is reserved for the Mont Pelerin Society. Roehner demonstrates a pattern whereby 5 former presidents of the Society “became Nobel Prize winners shortly after ending their terms as president”.

As to how this was accomplished, Roehner traces the composition of the Nobel Committee which consisted of 5 Swedish economists. Particularly important was Erik Lundberg, the President of the Swedish Bank, who was also a fanatical “neo-lib” and a leading member of the Mont Pelerin Society, and who simultaneously served on the Nobel Committee for over a decade and was its Chairman for half that time. It was under his term that the “libertarian flood” began. Lundberg was succeeded as Chairman by Assar Linbeck who had not only been part of the Society but had collaborated with Milton Friedman. Linbeck had written a hysterical book, Turning Sweden Around, which called for slashing Sweden’s social programs and the drastic privatization of state enterprises. Linbeck’s co-author for that book was Torsten Persson, yet another member of the Committee destined to become its Chairman. Roehner’s story details nearly endless corruption of this sort.

The resulting critique is devastating even though it is hidden deep within the bowels of a scholarly tome about other subjects. Professor Roehner might not voice it in the following terms, but the conclusion is inescapable: that a bunch of mediocre balding old white men hijacked the Nobel committee for Economics and proceeded to shamelessly give each other the Nobel Prize on ideological grounds alone (i.e., to “save capitalism”).


Yet, despite all this, Roehner’s analysis is somewhat unsatisfying. Roehner does not dwell on or perhaps is only dimly aware of the central fact which trumps all others in this story:There is no such thing as the “Nobel Prize in Economics”!

There never has been one. “Economics” was not one of the five prizes bequeathed by Alfred Nobel (Physics, Chemistry, Literature, Peace, and Medicine), there is no mention of “economics” anywhere in Alfred Nobel’s will nor in the enabling documents for the Prize when it was established in 1896, and not a nickel of Nobel’s money has ever been awarded for such a “prize”. So where did it come from?

In 1968, the Swedish Bank established the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, put up the money for the “award”, and talked the King of Sweden into giving away their “prize” at the same time as the Nobels. The President of the Bank, the very same Erik Lundberg discussed above, promised a selection process and committee “kinda, sorta, just like” that of the “real” prizes, immediately stacked the committee, and they were off to the races.

In 1971, the first prize was awarded to a “neo-liberal”, F.A. Hayek, and the new “prize” became bathed in controversy. The “prize” was awarded jointly to Gunnar Myrdal, Sweden’s most famous economist, and to Hayek. The ungrateful Myrdal immediately turned around and announced publicly that Hayek didn’t deserve the prize. Oddly, Hayek agreed. Nevertheless, none of this prevented the world press from trumpeting, Universities from gushing, and Foundations from funding, the flood of new “laureates”, blissfully, or perhaps intentionally, unaware of the underlying fraud.

The comedy went on unhindered until Peter Nobel, the great-grandnephew of Alfred Nobel, went public with a blistering criticism of the “memorial Prize” in the 1990s. “The Swedish Riksbank, like a cuckoo, has placed its egg in another very decent bird’s nest. What the Bank did was akin to trademark infringement – unacceptably robbing the real Nobel Prizes.” Nobel said, “Two thirds of these prizes in economics have gone to US economists, particularly of the Chicago School… These have nothing to do with Alfred Nobel’s goal of improving the human condition and our survival – indeed they are the exact opposite.”

Faced with an unwanted controversy, the Swedish Bank promised significant “reforms” in its selection criteria and in the committee for the “prize”. The “neo-liberal” flood had already ended in any case. The final irony was played out in 2001 when the reformed economics committee awarded the prize to American Economist and Columbia Professor, Joseph Stiglitz.

Stiglitz’s contribution is essentially a complete refutation of the one scientific claim made by “neo-liberal” or “Austrian” economics: that unregulated free-markets provide the highest possible economic “efficiency”. Nope. Not true. Perhaps even worse, “Stiglitz mathematically and formally demonstrated the potential efficiency-enhancing properties of the state based on the Greenwald-Stiglitz theorems (by establishing the - constrained - Pareto inefficiency of market economies with imperfect information and incomplete markets”). In other words, “big government” isn’t the “problem” from even the most elementary of economic standpoint. It is capital and markets which contribute the fundamental inefficiencies.

No Libertarian “retraction” is expected… ... 47996.html
"We ask no compassion from you. When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror."

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Re: Mr. Anonymous and the Not-So-Spontaneous Birth of the Libertarian "Movement"

Post by blindpig » Mon Apr 06, 2020 1:58 pm

Liberals for fascism?

Russian liberals are not shy about Bandera slogans

The Russian liberal opposition is once again organizing a "peace march . " Moreover, the main requirement of this event, as usual, is not the complete cessation of the punitive "ATO" in Ukraine, but rather the cessation of even the very limited support that Russia provides to the rebel residents of the Lugansk and Donetsk regions, nowadays the LPR and the DPR. At the same time, Ukraine, which has rolled down to fascism, enjoys the unconditional support of Russian liberals. It comes to the point that at their rallies the liberal public chants the Bandera greeting “Glory to Ukraine! Glory to heroes!".

It is strange, it would seem, as people who declare their commitment to all kinds of freedoms, support fascism, these very freedoms that are actively trampling on. However, the presence of a chasm separating liberalism from fascism in ideology and practice is only a myth that the liberals have been diligently spreading after the defeat of the most notable fascist countries in World War II.

Let's take a historical example: in the period 1932-1934. in Austria, the fascist dictatorship of Chancellor Engelbert Dolphus was established. In 1933, almost simultaneously with the German Nazis, Dolphus banned the Communist Party - a measure familiar to us from modern Ukrainian politics. In February 1934, in response to the elimination of democratic freedoms and the establishment of a fascist dictatorship, a revolt of workers broke out in Linz, Vienna and other cities in Austria. To suppress the uprising, government troops, the police and the fascist armed organization Heimver were thrown - roughly speaking, the then Austrian Right Sector. To suppress the workers, they used heavy guns, mortars, armored cars - a set of tools, again, familiar to us from reports from Ukraine.

Dolphus with his teacher Mussolini

So, the main adviser on economic issues to Dolphus was the idol of the liberals and the classic of the Austrian economic school Ludwig von Mises. So there is nothing surprising in the fact that modern liberals like Yatsenyuk occupy prominent posts in fascist governments - they only follow in the footsteps of glorious predecessors.

True, in foreign policy, Dolphus was guided not by Nazi Germany, but by fascist Italy. Therefore, in 1934, he was killed by pro-German Nazis. So one should not think that those who kill fascists are certainly anti-fascists. Often these are simply fascists acting in the interests of another group of capitalists. This is worth remembering when evaluating current events in Ukraine.

But back to Mises. Already after the war, when fascism was universally condemned, Mises tried to disown fascism and ascribe to it proximity to socialism. But despite all the evasions, in his work “Liberalism” he nevertheless speaks out :

It cannot be denied that fascism and its close movements, striving to establish a dictatorship, are full of best intentions and that their intervention at the moment has saved European civilization. This merit of fascism will remain in history forever. But, despite the fact that his policy has brought salvation at the moment, it is not one of those that can promise sustainable success. Fascism was a temporary means necessary in an emergency. To see in it anything more would be a fatal mistake.

In another place, he speaks just as revealingly as to whether fascism is really closer - to communism or liberalism:

The fact that they [the fascists] have not yet succeeded to the same extent as the Russian Bolsheviks, free themselves from a certain respect for liberal ideas, ideas and traditional ethical standards, should be attributed solely to the fact that they operate in countries where the intellectual and moral heritage of several it’s impossible to destroy the millennia of civilization with one blow, and not among the barbaric peoples on both sides of the Ural Mountains ... Because of this difference, fascism will never succeed as completely as Russian Bolshevism in freeing itself from influence liberal ideas. The acts of the fascist and corresponding parties were emotional reflex actions caused by the outrage of the acts of the Bolsheviks and Communists. When the first tide of rage passed, their policies took more moderate forms and, possibly, with time will become even more moderate.

Another liberal idol, Friedrich August von Hayek, in an interview in 1981, gave the following assessment of Pinochet’s fascist dictatorship in Chile (hereinafter translated by O.T.):

I am an absolute opponent of dictatorships as long-term institutions. But dictatorship may be a necessary system for the transition period. Sometimes a country needs a temporary establishment of dictatorial power in one form or another. As you know, a dictator can rule in a liberal way. Just as democracy can rule completely without liberalism. Personally, I prefer a liberal dictator to a democratic government that lacks liberalism. My personal impression — and this is true for [all] South America — is that in Chile, for example, we will see a transition from a dictatorial government to a liberal government. And during this transition, it may be necessary to maintain certain dictatorial powers, not as something permanent, but as temporary measures.

Pinochet's Liberal Dictatorship in Chile

So, from the liberal point of view, fascism is justified as a temporary measure in a situation where the organized working class begins to threaten the free market as a condition of capitalist domination. But in this case it is difficult to call such a dictatorship temporary: simply, when the workers' organizations are defeated and the workers themselves are intimidated, open terror ceases to be expedient and can be abandoned. Having shot a leg in rebellious slave, you can remove the gun on the shelf, the main thing is that it should be loaded there.

So it is not at all surprising that Pinochet’s dictatorship is also admired by modern Russian liberals, such as, for example, Julia Latynina :

It is ridiculous, for example, to separate Pinochet’s economic reforms from his military actions and to believe that liberal economic reforms could be carried out in Chile without repression against the revolutionary bastard class that had formed under Allende.

Latynina knows very well that real, not fake democracy is harmful to capitalism, it knows it as well as the founders of the ideology of liberalism:

How did all these people, so different - from members of the Venetian Council of Ten to American founding fathers - be guided in their dislike of universal suffrage? <...> The second thing all these people were guided by - from the Venetian giants to Locke and John Stuart Mill - was elementary common sense. Simply put, they believed that a wealthy man protects his property, and a beggar thinks about how to get someone else's. <...> Towards the middle of the 19th century, proponents of progress and opponents of democracy made their claims crystal clear: pure democracy "incompatible with personal security or the rights of property" [O.T.] (James Madison ), and it will be destroyed by a “disease called socialism” (Lord Acton).

For the very reason that far from all liberals understood this and admitted some democratic rights, the Nazis usually denied liberalism, criticizing its softness and dangerous tolerance for the organization of the working masses. However, there were exceptions. You can recall the philosopher Giovanni Gentile, a former member of the fascist party, the Minister of Education in the government of Mussolini, and generally one of the ideologists of the regime. He wrote in a letter to Mussolini (quoted by Ishay Landa. The Apprentice's Sorcerer: Liberal Tradition and Fascism. Brill, 2010) that he sees the Duce as a genuine interpreter of “liberalism, as I understand it and how people understood it ... who led Italy in the era Risorgimento . "

Obviously, not all liberals share an enthusiastic attitude towards the Nazis. However, under certain conditions, their own ideology pushes them to this. Indeed, for liberals, the main freedom is the freedom to own property and make a profit. Accordingly, democracy is good as long as the common people agree with the established order of things. As soon as the people have doubts about the justice of the social system, the basis of which is the liberal capitalist economy, and the desire to change something, democracy is discarded. If this were not so and the liberals put democracy above the liberal economy, they would have to become socialists, agreeing with the democratic demands of the masses of socialist transformations.

Ishay Landa, author of the wonderful book The Apprentice Wizard: Liberal Tradition and Fascism ( Ishay Landa. The Apprentice's Sorcerer: Liberal Tradition and Fascism. Brill, 2010 ) compares liberalism with the sorcerer's apprentice from Goethe's famous poem, which“Brought to life the forces, which at first were useful, but later out of control, these terrible violent and multiplying brooms - modern workers - who refused to put up with their role as simple tools in the production process and began to gain their own life and will. And now, the liberal student calls the sorcerer, again, so that he restores order, and turns the revived brooms back into ordinary woods. Fascism, in spite of [his] words and gestures, did not come to fight liberalism at all, but first of all as [his] ally, though arrogant and arrogant, but providing much-needed assistance. ”

A bloody October 1993 can be considered a classic example of this .when Russian liberals supported the usurped dictatorial power of Yeltsin. Then they applauded the execution of the tank guns of the Supreme Council, shouting "crush the reptile!" and demanded a classic measure for the Nazis - a ban on communist parties. Moreover, they did this under the hypocritical pretext of the fight against fascism - after all, on the side of the Supreme Council there were also nationalists, as reactionary as the liberals, but dissatisfied with Yeltsin's pro-Western course, fearing the transfer of property from the hands of the national bourgeoisie to the hands of a foreign one. And the reason for this liberal attack on democracy and the rule of law was that the activities of the then Supreme Council could slow down the implementation of market reforms and limit the capitalist plunder of public property. When democracy threatens capitalism, liberals are enemies of democracy.


It is also appropriate to recall the results of the elections to the Reichstag immediately before the Nazis came to power in Germany. The amount of votes cast for the Social Democrats and Communists in 1932 remained at about the same level as in 1928 — a little more than a third of all votes (40.4% in 1928 and 37.3% in November 1933 g.). But at the same time with the take-off of votes cast for the NSDAP in 1932, there was a sharp drop in the number of votes cast for the liberal party (German People’s Party) - from 8.7% to 1.9%. That is, apparently, most of the liberals at the decisive moment voted for the Nazis. A little earlier, in August 1917, the cadets (the party of people's freedom, the name of which is being imitated by today's RPR-PARNAS Kasyanov and Nemtsov) supported the rebellion of General Kornilov,

However, such changes do not happen to liberals from scratch. If we talk about the current situation with the civil war in Ukraine, here is indicative of the recognition of Konstantin Remchukov, editor-in-chief of Nezavisimaya Gazeta (spelling preserved):

... it became obvious that the Russian character of the militias is a secondary sign for me compared to the primary sign - their social-class is this "red Orthodox project", an extremely conservative, essentially inherently left-wing movement.

In this confused speech, the main thing is clear: Russian liberals saw behind the conservative form of the uprising of the DPR and LPR the left, working class content. They saw - although in reality the workers had not yet completely matured to independent actions - and were immediately frightened. And this fear makes them ignore and even justify any violation of the rights and freedoms of citizens by the Ukrainian government and militarized fascist organizations. At the same time, the Russian government is confident that the working class of Donbass and the Luhansk region is under control and is currently not so much a threat as a convenient ally in the fight against competitors represented by the USA and the EU.

However, the Russian government, not excluding the president, is made from the same liberal test as the “swamp-bulk opposition”. Indeed, in every cabinet in Putin’s ministers of economics are staunch liberals, right up to the present — student and ally of Gaidar Ulyukaev. At the same time, in the ideological sphere, nationalist, great-power, conservative ideas, characteristic of fascist regimes, in the field of legislation, are playing an ever greater role - the democratic rights of citizens are becoming increasingly limited. So far, liberals from the opposition see in these measures only a harmful restriction of access to the “feeding trough” of the budget and state monopolies. However, if tomorrow a simple working people stir up their demands, they will immediately support all these measures, as happened with Ukraine. Like the current pro-government patriots, if they press,

So for real democracy, only conscious and organized workers can consistently fight, there is no one else.

O. Taranov ... %b7%d0%bc/

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"We ask no compassion from you. When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror."

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