Ignoramus in the Áras

Did Michael D. Higgins seriously claim that the heterodox Austrian School of Economics was responsible for the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act and the fact that credit was too cheap during Ireland’s boom period? This is not only a massive factual error, but to my mind a great sign of who people like Higgins are really afraid of.

At a recent debate at the LSE, one of the world’s most renowned Keynesians, Lord Skidelsky, was able to say with a lot of accuracy (unfortunately) that Austrians have virtually no influence on public policy. If Michael D. Higgins were anything but a pretensions and disgraceful ignoramus, he would know that the Austrian School has made rapid gains in recent years, especially among young people, precisely because the Austrian theory of the business cycle is a perfect explanation for the crash of 2008 and our ongoing recession. In fact, I have made acquaintances with several Marxists and socialists who will concede this point.

Michael D. Higgins should be forced to explain what exactly he believes the Austrian School of Economics is about, as he showed no signs that he knew this during his interview on RTE Radio. As Murray Rothbard, often regarded as the ‘Dean’ of the Austrian School said:

“It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a ‘dismal science.’ But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance.”

UPDATE: Just to remind everyone, the only advocate of Austrian Economics in the US Congress at the time, Ron Paul, actually voted against the repeal of Glass-Steagall.

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About Cranky Notions
Reactionary. That fella from the Norris scandal.

7 Responses to Ignoramus in the Áras

  1. Pingback: Michael D. Higgins: Economic Ignoramus?

  2. William says:

    While the ignorance from our new president in wrongfully claiming that the Austrian School had any hand in this crisis frustrates me, especially seeing as i would consider myself a follower of the school and the greats like Hayek and Von Mises, a lot of opinions on the current crisis seem to state without much qualification that this is a clear failure of capitalism in general. I had a guest lecturer last year come giving a talk last year where the opening line on her slides was that this current crisis was a “Clear failure of capitalism”. She then went on apparently to give a glowing review of socialism and Marxism, while conveniently failing to mention the likes of Stalin and Pol Pot. This seems to be a all to common fallacy that seems to be perpetuated by most left or left leaning politicians and activists. Because apparently a bit of knowledge on the situation or a quick read of some economics books would kill them apparently.

    Just thought i would let you know that there is a libertarian contingent left in Ireland, however small we might be. Lets hope people realize the fallacy before we end up in some socialist democracy.

    • I worry so much for our future. Austrians and lovers of freedom are more confident than ever because we have been proved right. However, lets not forget that the Marxists and statists are equally emboldened as they believe they are right (because they blame all the problems of the world, even things like racism, on capitalism, ‘neoliberalism’, etc.). The Austrians lost the fight during the Great Depression despite Mises’s predictions of what was to come in the late 1920’s. Roosevelt and Keynes promised a frightened populace something for nothing, a message politicians find far easier to deliver than, say, expressing hope that unhealthy businesses, whether they be banks or coalmines, must be liquidated from the system. We may lose again this time around, especially given the persistent policy of debauching the currency, something that Lenin said created the best grounds for a socialist revolution.

      So, how can libertarians make this crisis the birth-pangs for liberty? Change through the political sphere seems so hopeless (barring a Ron Paul victory in the US) that forming Galt’s Gulch-style projects in some remote regions seem more promising in comparison.

      I always wonder why so few people mention or even realise that virtually all the pillars of the Communist Manifesto are in place today in the West and accepted by all mainstream political parties (centralization of money, mandatory public schooling, progressive rates of taxation). Yet capitalism is supposedly the source of all troubles. Don’t you wish for a day that the appearance of that Marxist professor on a college campus might be as controversial as an appearance by Nick Griffin? When that happens, I know we will be living in a sane society. Until then, we have to suffer fools like Michael D. Higgins as a Head of State.

      • William says:

        I wish for the day when I go to vote in an election and i get a choice to vote between different parties with clear varied political positions. Where i can join a party committed to the furtherance of real free market capitalism and champions of civil liberties. Where we can see a debate or RTE between well educated intelligent politicians clearly stating what they would do if they came to power rather than using the populist buzz words like “reform”, “cutting waste” and “fairness”, which would be very compelling if i thought for one minute that these were actual promises.

        But alas the difference in the political spectrum still comes down to the same thing. Pro- or Anti-Treaty? Or more common these days, “the lad that fixed the potholes down the road!

      • Ireland’s electoral system may bear a lot of the blame for that last point. Under PR, absolutely every vote counts and it encourages ‘gombeenism’, particularly as the constituencies are comparatively small. My experience of Irish politics led me to vote No to AV this year in England and canvass against it.

  3. Toejam says:

    The position of president of the Irish republic is useless. He or she is merely a figurehead with little to do but usher people around Áras an Uachtaráin and tell bullshit stories about how wonderful and powerful Ireland is.

    OH, and collect €335000 per annum. In Michael higgans case that’s about €72,222 per foot.

    It’s time to dump the patronage position.

  4. Roxymuzak says:

    The comment by William (fixing potholes) is summed up by the The Savage Eye here. Irish politics summed up in 14 seconds.

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