WaPo’s Jennifer Rubin on the Mises Institute

480px-B-2_spirit_bombingWhile E.J. Dionne was certainly wrong about many things in his article from February 9, I wouldn’t go so far to call it a smear job or a screed. Indeed, Dionne, in his book Why Americans Hate Politics, mentions the tactics and thought of Murray Rothbard on more than one occasion, and gives him a somewhat evenhanded treatment.

We should not expect as much from Jennifer Rubin.  When I read Dionne’s piece, I was unaware that WaPo had already issued an attack on the Mises Institute in the form of Jennifer Rubin’s column from January 27, which more or less parrots the New York Times’s smear job of the Mises Institute from the day before. Rubin’s article uses the usual tactics of guilt by association, and like the NYT, refers to unnamed “institute scholars” who have supposedly said horribly racist things, although Rubin of course fails to find or link to anything published by the Mises Institute on which she can hang this accusation.

Rubin primarily writes on foreign policy matters in the form of relentless boosterism for more war always and everywhere. In this case, Rubin smears the Mises Institute as part of a larger takedown of Rand Paul, who is, by the way, unaffiliated with the Mises Institute. Rubin’s attack on the Mises Institute is adjunct to her larger purpose of attacking all foreign-policy anti-interventionists (a group which may or may not include Rand Paul) who are, in Rubin’s view, insufficiently enthusiastic about her favored wars. Focusing on Rand Paul, she was on the attack at least as long ago as July 2013 when she wrote:

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has strenuously insisted that he is not the ideological twin of his father. But recent events – his paranoia about drones; his praise of Edward Snowden; his defense of his aide, the “Southern Avenger” Jack Hunter; and his lashing out at “neocons” – suggest he’s not far enough from his father to achieve respectability with a substantial segment of the GOP.

For Rubin, being an “ideological twin” of Ron Paul is a horrible thing, and of course, not liking drone warfare is apparently a sign of paranoia. In Rubin’s world, Edward Snowden is also a villain.  Yet, beyond the fact that Rand Paul happens to be related to Ron Paul, it’s hard to see how anything here could lead Rubin to the Mises Institute.

In Rubin’s mind, though, it has everything to do with the Mises Institute, although she can’t actually make a case for such a position. Instead, she just quotes a few lines from the NYT piece that confirms her long-time assumption that anyone who opposes the firebombing of Pakistani toddlers and the lawless surveillance of everyone everywhere, must also support slavery.

Rubin has conveniently created a world for herself in which it is impossible for reasonable people to disagree with her. Witness last year’s nomination process for milquetoast politician Chuck Hagel, who as a reward for showing even slight opposition to bombing Iran into the stone age, was said by Rubin to harbor “rank prejudice against American Jews.”  If we match up this accusation with the laughable statement that “[t]he elected official who most resembles Hagel’s extreme voting record and views is now former congressman Ron Paul,” we finally start to see the bizarre logic that Rubin is bringing.

In her mind, anyone who opposes her is an anti-semite, ergo Chuck Hagel is an anti-semite, and Hagel’s (supposedly) meek interventionism makes Hagel just like Ron Paul. You can see how Rubin then leaps from there to the point where she’ll re-print whatever smear of the Mises Institute she can find in the establishment press.

Rubin’s monomaniacal obsession with starting more wars in and around the Middle East leads her to lash out at anyone anywhere who might have qualms about starting another war in the midst of two wars the US has already lost or is losing. The New York Times‘s hit piece provided her with an convenient avenue of attack, and it’s not surprising that she added nothing to the Times‘s accusation. When a smear is based on nothing in the first place, it’s best to not dig too deep.





  1. I was likewise impressed, Ryan, until he made the “break” perhaps 2/3′s of the way through. It was so abrupt, it rather surprised me, but it was clear that he made good on his attempt to re-invent the argument against. It is typical of the contemporary arguments to convince us that all is truly well and that government managed strategy rightfully belongs in the normative. He illustrates an appeal to the “heyday” of years past when the bogies of free-market capitalism where properly tamed for the good of the world by Keynesian-based thought and policy. It was, and is, he asserts, the only explanation for the post-war (expansion). Let us not forget what he advocates and what he attempts to discredit.

    Mr. Dionne stated, in unambiguous fashion, that our considered theories have been proven by history and practice as discredited. How profound an example, I thought, than to illustrate such alluded to triumph of thought than the approved of practice of raising “debt ceiling” to “pay our bills”. For being the unfortunate advocates of accounting that balances, we are admonished as being “obstructionist”. We can example also the creative nexus of base-line budgeting from that same extension of “credit”. If we oppose the increasing absurdity, it is proof to the kindred collectivist of the banal stupidity of the old Austrian theorist thought that will not yield to progress.

    We are expected to accept without question that government must be allowed to intervene in any myriad of ways that affect markets, and that if the results appear unfavorable, the only option for corrective policy is to allow more intervention. I suppose we should admit that the proponents have been successful. We need only exemplify the results. In the final analysis, we can only find one dominant theme to justify the dysfunctional policy that E. J. defends: control.

    How ironic it appears when recalling his mocking of Hayeks’ thoughts regarding (social engineering). His assertion proven false- again- by that annoying obstruction of reality. There is not sufficient wool to hide from view, however, the imperious posture of the executive and collective tyranny of a centrist government that taxes productive enterprise and imposes more restriction upon, and surveillance of, our liberties. Thank-you, Mr. Dionne, for more abundantly clarifying my preference.

Leave a Reply