by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
As 2013 draws to a close, let’s pause to recall some important developments for the cause of liberty – some of which you already know well, and others you’ll be hearing about for the first time.
Edward Snowden. After sitting on the Bush-era warrantless wiretapping story for 18 months, the New York Times revealed a portion of the surveillance activities of the US government in 2005. Thanks to Edward Snowden, we now know that the National Security Agency’s spying activities vastly exceeded anything we heard about in the media.
The Snowden revelations served two functions from the point of view of public enlightenment. First, the regime in DC was once again exposed as untruthful, even sinister. But second, the bipartisan condemnation of Snowden on the part of the political establishment – both Nancy Pelosi and John McCain denounced him, unsurprisingly – reminds us that there is, after all, one party: the state party. Whatever cosmetic differences separate politicians otherwise, when push comes to shove, they rally to one another in the face of a truth-teller.
New President for the Mises Institute. At the end of 2013 the Mises Institute named Jeff Deist, former as chief of staff to Ron Paul, as its new president. Jeff is a significant figure in so many ways – smart, well spoken, principled, and knowledgeable about money, banking, the Fed, and indeed the entire edifice of Austrian economics.
“Ron Paul’s congressional staff viewed the Mises Institute as our intellectual home,” Jeff recalls. “We applied Austrian principles and scholarship to virtually everything Ron did as a member of Congress. I’m honored to join an organization Ron has enthusiastically supported from the very beginning, and excited about dedicating myself to furthering the Austrian message.”
Ron, for his part, says he’s thrilled that Jeff “is fighting for liberty again.”
Obamacare. Everybody knows about the Obamacare fiascoes – the useless website and “if you like your plan, you can keep it” chief among them. But what a disaster the rollout of this program has been for the regime, which hates nothing more than looking ridiculous and incompetent, and being the butt of the people’s jokes. Meanwhile, supporters of the president think they’re helping matters by casually pointing out that of course the president knew he was lying when he said people could keep health plans they liked; he had to lie to them in order to get this program passed.
It’s rare to encounter such refreshing candor from the political and media classes.
The Austrian School. Meanwhile, interest in the Austrian School continues to grow, and demands for our resources and services have never been greater. Our Austrian Economics Research Conference, which attracts the best scholars from around the world working in the Austrian tradition, promises to be among our best ever, with an illustrious list of named lecturers and scores of papers advancing the Austrian School in new and exciting ways.
The Great Deformation. David Stockman’s gripping book The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America is more than a devastating blow to the conventional narrative of the financial crisis and the geniuses who supposedly put things right. It is a sweeping, revisionist account of 20th-century US history, bristling with insights and little-known history. Imagine reading a book on 20th-century America without a systematic pro-Fed bias, and without the usual deference to the “great presidents.” I reviewed it for LRC. I urge you to read it. [Here is a Mises Institute Q and A with David Stockman.]