Today Stephan Kinsella wrote a great piece for about a five-week online course he is offering called "Libertarian Controversies". I have taken several courses through Mises Academy and have very much enjoyed the experience.

However, what captured my attention today was Kinsella's splendid articulation of the personal joys that come from championing a reason-based philosophy of life and liberty. Kinsella writes:

"What could be more beautiful than the idea that we ought to respect each other's rights so we can live in peace and harmony? It's refreshing to be part of a community that has a passion for justice, freedom, and goodness — for truth, reason, and consistency. We believe society and prosperity are achievable if we simply adopt a civilized political ethic. It's a beautiful way to look at the world.

Appreciating the logic of liberty and the role of property rights in the social order is enlightening, provocative, and inspiring. Our approach also provides striking analytical advantages over conventional "left" and "right" oriented political views. Leftist and rightist political thinking alike are hypocritical, inconsistent, collectivist, and contrary to economic science and human nature. They give lip service to liberty and reason but renounce it on a dime to preserve their cherished statist policies. They end up defending policies and consequences contrary to their professed values.

By contrast, the libertarian perspective strives for consistency and justice. It recognizes the nonaggression principle and the important role of property rights in justice and the promotion of peace and prosperity."

Well said Stephan Kinsella!

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Bruce Smith (1851-1937) in Liberty and Liberalism: A Protest against the Growing Tendency toward undue Interference by the State writes:

"The broad principles, then, which I should venture to lay down as guides for any one assuming the responsible position of a legislator are three in number.
  1. The state should not impose taxes, or use the public revenue for any purpose other than that of securing equal freedom to all citizens.
  2. The state should not interfere with the legally acquired property of any section of its citizens for any other purpose than that of securing equal freedom to all citizens; and in the event of any such justifiable interference amounting to appropriation; then, only conditional upon the lawful owner being fully compensated.
  3. The state should not in any way restrict the personal liberty of citizens for any other purpose than that of securing equal freedom to all citizens."

All legislators should keep these principles in mind. Unfortunately, guidelines that lead with the words "the state should not" are quickly ignored by rulers and central planners.
"Credit expansion cannot increase the supply of real goods. It merely brings about a rearrangement. It diverts capital investment away from the course prescribed by the state of economic wealth and market conditions. It causes production to pursue paths which it would not follow unless the economy were to acquire an increase in material goods. As a result, the upswing lacks a solid base. It is not real prosperity. It is illusory prosperity. It did not develop from an increase in economic wealth. Rather, it arose because the credit expansion created the illusion of such an increase. Sooner or later it must become apparent that this economic situation is built on sand." - Ludwig von Mises, 1931

"To combat the depression by a forced credit expansion is to attempt to cure the evil by the very means which brought it about." F.A. Hayek, 1931

As we stand ready for the Fed to announce QE infinity, I can hear voices from history warning against this failed policy.

Read more about Hayek's insights from a recent article by Jeff Tucker on Hayek's Ghost Haunts the World