Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Murphy Twin Spin

At LRC I have a revised version of my critique of Landsburg's case against the existence of God. At Mises.org I have an article explaining why Haiti is not in anarchy:
If many Americans thought it was "just the right thing to do" to send guys with big guns to Haiti in order to make sure everyone played by the rules, then why did the US federal government have to get involved at all? The Americans who thought it was a good idea could have volunteered themselves, or paid for others to go and do this moral work. There was no reason Barack Obama had to chime in with his own thoughts on the matter, except to say that he was strapping on an M16 to cover Michelle as she handed out bottled water to orphans.

Obviously, I am being facetious. The reason the US federal government "had to" coordinate the rescue efforts in Haiti is that it would violently punish any private group that tried to field a comparable effort with adequate defense for its participants. If foreign arms dealers began trying to sell grenade launchers, tear-gas canisters, riot gear, and other equipment to nongovernmental groups in Haiti, the US Navy would almost certainly interrupt their shipments as wildly "destabilizing."

Upon reflection, we see that there never was any hope for the blossoming of Rothbardian defense agencies in Haiti. For an analogy, if the US Air Force bombed any nonapproved Haitian farms while the US Navy intercepted any incoming shipments of food, then statists could "prove" that a free market in agriculture is a horrible idea that leads to preventable starvation.

Dr. Murphy,

I would like you to comment on the stories that cruise ships are docking in Haiti. People are making it a moral issue. I will be presenting a paper on this in my managerial ethics class. Any comments on this will be helpful.

here is one link

There are many other stories on the internet.
Dr. Murphy, if you want to use your time productively, I would suggest addressing the arguments of Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and Richard Dawkins on the god question.

As an atheist myself, I'd find it much more interesting than a critique of a mathematical economist like Landsburg, whose book sales likely don't even come close to the sales of the previously mentioned speakers.

Harris' book, "Letter to a Christian Nation," is particularly challenging to believers. I would suggest that one if you haven't already read it. (And I suspect you haven't)
Bob - I incidentally wrote a similar article at my blog called Was the Wild West Really that "Wild?" The incentive came from a very similar accusation by someone on a message forum.
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