Information icon.svg

RationalWiki has reached 7,000 articles!

Walter Block

From RationalWiki
(Redirected from Walter Edward Block)
Jump to: navigation, search
Block in 2008
The dismal science
Economics
link=:category:
Economic Systems

  $ Capitalism
  $ Communism
  $ Socialism

Major Concepts
People

Walter Edward Block (1941–) is an American Austrian School economist, anarcho-capitalist theorist, supporter of "praxeology" pseudoscience and a nutcase. According to the chairman and former Ludwig von Mises Institute president Lew Rockwell, he holds the dubious "honor" of being the true owner of the fringe tradition of libertarianism created by Murray Rothbard.[1] Indeed, Dr. Block considers himself even more of a libertarian than Rothbard, who, according to himself was only about 97% libertarian, similar to what he thinks of Rand Paul.[2]

Ideas[edit]

Defending the undefendable[edit]

Mr. Block has written a pantagruelic amount of articles, books and papers, the most famous being his 1976 book Defending the Undefendable,[3]often regarded as a classic among wingnut libertarians. With a commentary by the Nobel Prize winner Friedrich Hayek, (whom Block however considers a "socialist"), the book presents "pimps, drug dealers, blackmailers, corrupt cops, and loan sharks as economic heroes."[4] [5] After finishing the book, a sane person will undoubtedly conclude that Block failed to defend most of these groups.

On economics[edit]

The consensus on the mainstream economics is that free market enterprise with some regulation is the best way to allocate resources and achieve prosperity. Walter Block, However, disagrees with most of these views, considered by him "socialists", "positivists" (for using a scientific method). Mr. Block advocates for many ideas considered to be outdated by most of economists, even those on the right wing. Those failed ideas include, the Gold standard, full-reserve banking, praxeology, and Austrian business cycle theory among others. He also thinks that deflation is a good thing and there's no such a thing as natural monopolies (defending the privatization of every highroad, and even the oceans). When confronted by evidence, he would probably believe that his ideas cannot be proven because he's an Austrian economist, and all these problems can be just coincidence. How can someone with so many fringe ideas have such a curriculum that includes a Ph.D. in economics at Columbia University, and a distinguished chair at Loyola University New Orleans is hard to know, but they might be an evidence that Mr. Block is at least partially correct at one of his points: criticism of the academy.

On other subjects[edit]

Walter Block manages to be even more disgusting outside of economics. Among other bad ideas, Block thinks that a free society should permit "volunteer slavery".[6] How slavery can possibly mean freedom is something that he cannot explain, but thankfully even other libertarians disagree on him about this subject. Worse comes to worst when Block also jokes that slavery in US was not so bad:[7]

Free association is a very important aspect of liberty. It is crucial. Indeed, its lack was the major problem with slavery. The slaves could not quit. They were forced to 'associate' with their masters when they would have vastly preferred not to do so. Otherwise, slavery wasn't so bad. You could pick cotton, sing songs, be fed nice gruel, etc. The only real problem was that this relationship was compulsory. It violated the law of free association, and that of the slaves' private property rights in their own persons. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, then, to a much smaller degree of course, made partial slaves of the owners of establishments like Woolworths.

Among other stranger opinions, Block also thinks that Civil servants (except for his friends like Ron Paul and Hans-Hermann Hoppe) should be punished for their crimes against humanity in a huge Nuremberg-like trial.[citation needed] That wouldn't however be an example of ex post facto, since by his reasoning the law of the state is illegitimate and the only law that exist is the natural law of private property.

Perhaps his most famous idea in the field of what was supposed to be "ethics" is "evictionism", a proposed form of abortion based on property rights. Simply put, the idea is that abortions are cool as long as the life of the baby is not in danger. Giving how much he's a horrible person, that can actually be a sound idea.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. Block's Building Blocks by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. and Walter E. Block (November 23, 2010) LewRockwell.com.
  2. The libertarian case for Rand Paul by Walter Block (Apr 20, 2015) Walter Block.
  3. Defending the Undefendable by Walter Block (1976) Fleet Press. ISBN 0830301364.
  4. Defending the Truly Undefendable, book review by Marcus Epstein (December 22, 2008) Taki's Magazine.
  5. Defending the Undefendable by Walter Block (2008) Ludwig von Mises Institute.
  6. Toward a Libertarian Theory of Inalienability: A Critique of Rothbard, Barnett, Smith, Kinsella, Gordon, and Epstein by Walter Block (2003) The Journal of Libertarian Studies 17(2):39-85.
  7. Reply to the Scurrilous, Libelous, Venomous, Scandalous New York Times Smear Campaign by Walter E. Block (January 30, 2014) LewRockwell.com.