Don’t Dis Crony Capitalism, Sniffs Bruce Bartlett

Bruce Bartlett, who’s almost twice my age, and apparently had some sort of “important” job back when I was in grade school, says I’m “living in the past” for talking about the transcontinental railroad:

Wow. This is a guy who calls himself a historian. I guess that fact that Obama and other pols still invoke the railroads as a justification for modern infrastructure projects escapes Bartlett. Or perhaps he’s just mad that someone would point out that it’s a bad thing to steal from the taxpayers and give to politically-well-connected corporations.

Or he may just be still on his anti-Mises Institute/anti Lew Rockwell crusade, which recently included his nutty about Peter Klein’s article on budget default.

Also, Bruce, don’t look now, but there’s a whole teevee show about the transcontinental railroad on AMC right now called Hell on Wheels, It’s actually quite popular, and a fourth season is likely. And even though a popular television show would never, ever have any effect on modern ideologies or modern politics, I’m going to review it for Mises Daily. I look forward to reading your tweets about it.


  1. I’m happy to have played a role in this exchange, drawing out Mr Bartlett as the superficial windbag he is. Yes, I’m the “Chris Faille” to whom he directed that inane comment.

    I’d like to invite all readers of this blog to follow my twitter feed. I’ll be happy to reciprocate. I have both something to contribute and much to learn.

    In re the former — I’d like to refer you all to an uneven but in parts fascinating book by Dennis Drabelle, THE GREAT AMERICAN RAILROAD WAR. [I reviewed it for THE FEDERAL LAWYER in early 2013, but that review is no longer available online without a paid subscription.] The parts of the book that work the best discuss William Randolph Hearst, Ambrose Bierce, and their struggle against a big railroad bailout that the Central Pacific and its legislative friends were trying to push through Congress in 1893. That bailout was an effort to save the RRs from the debt legacy of the building of the transcontinental.

    It isn’t too difficult to see what all of this is germane to the very recent past, the present, and most of all the future.

  2. Please don’t use the name Bruce Bartlett and Ronald Reagan in the same breath. Bartlett left the Reagan fold back in the 1990s. The only way he is still printing articles is because Progressive journalists can use him to defame Reagan. Bartlett is a shame. I say this as a Reagan supply sider.

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