“equality with a capital ‘E’ was a recipe for permanent revolution”

When Lew speaks it’s always a pleasure to listen. And on the topic of egalitarianism he does not disappoint.

I liked Jeff Deist’s introduction

Ron Paul is what brought them to Libertarianism, Ron Paul is what woke them up. Well, I would argue that Lew Rockwell, through his efforts at the Mises Institute and LewRockwell.com is what keeps them in the Libertarian movement by providing an unbelievable amount of content and education and knowledge everyday. One of the hardest working guys I know. Please welcome Lew Rockwell.

The rest is my effort at transcription.

The real truth is the range of opinions that its citizens may actually entertain is rather more narrow than at first appears.  There . . . are certain ideas and positions that all Americans are supposed to believe in, as salute.  The top of the list is Equality, an idea to which we’re never given a precise definition but to which everyone is expected to genuflect.  A Libertarian is perfectly at peace with the universal phenomenon of human difference.  He does not wish it away.  He does not shake his fist at it.  He does not pretend not to notice it.  It affords him neither another opportunity to marvel at the miracle of the market.  Its ability to incorporate just about anyone into the division of labor.  Neither the division of labor is based on human difference.

Our fellow man specializes in what he is best suited for.  Ricardo’s Law of comparative advantage,  which Mises generalized into the law of association, even if one person is better at absolutely everything, the less abled person is still able to flourish in a free market.  For instance, even if the greatest, most successful entrepreneur you can think of is a better office cleaner than anyone else in town, and is likewise a better secretary than all the secretaries in town. it would make no sense for him to clean his own office or type and file all his own correspondence. His time is so much better spent in the market niche in which he excels that it would be preposterous for him to waste his time doing these things.  In fact, anyone looking to hire him to do the office cleaning would have to pay him millions of dollars to draw him away from the extremely renumerative work he is otherwise doing.  So even an average office cleaner is vastly more competitive in the office clearning market than our fictional enterpreneur.  Since the average office clearn can charge $15/hour instead of the $15,000 an hour our entrepreneur mindful of opportunity costs would have to charge.  So there is a place for everyone in the market economy.  What’s more the market economy rewards those who are able to produce goods at affordable prices for a mass market it is precisely the average person to whom the captains of industry are all but forced to cater.  This is an arrangement to celebrate, of course, not to deplore.

This is not how the egalitarians see it, of course.  In . . . of the works of that great anti-egalitarian, Murray N. Rothbard, Murary dealt with the subject of equality in part in his great essay, “Freedom, Equality, Primitivism, and the Division of Labor.” But really took it on in Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature.  It’s from Murray that my own comments take their inspiration.  The current devotion to equality is not an ancient provinence as Murray pointed out.  He said the current verneration of equality is indeed a very recent notion in the hisotry of human thought.  Among philosophers or prominent thinkers, the idea scarcely existed befvore the mid-18th century.  It was mentioned if only as the object of horror or ridicule.  Profoundly anti-human and violently coercive nature of egalitarianism was made clear in the influential classical myth of Procrustes. [Be sure to check out Erik Ritter von Kuehnelt Leddihn’s The Menace of the Herd of Procrustes at Large, 1943.]  who forced passing travelers to lie on an iron bed, and if they were too long for the bed, he lopped off those parts of their bodies which protruded.  While he racked out the legs of anyone who was too short.

What are we to understand by the word Equality?  The answer is “We don’t really know.”  His proponents make precious little effort to disclose what they have in mind.  All we know is that we better believe in it.   And it is precisely this lack of clarity that makes the idea of equality such an advantage for the state.  No one is entirely sure what the princiuple of equality commits him to.  And keeping up with ever changing demands is more difficult still.  What were two previously different things yesterday can become preciously equal today and you’d better believe that they’re equal if you don’t want your reputation destroyed or your career ruined.

This was the heart of the celebrated disputed between neoconservative, Harry Jaffa, and paleoconservative, M. E. Bradford, carried out in the pages of Modern Age in the 1970s.  Equality, Mel Bradford argued is a concept that cannot be or will not be restrained or nailed down.  He tried to make Jaffa understand that equality with a capital ‘E’ was a recipe for permanent revolution, which was not a problem for Jaffa, who came from the neoconservative Trotskyite tradition.  Now do egalitarians mean we are committed to proposition that anyone is a potentially an astrophysicist so long as he is raised in the proper environment.  Maybe maybe not.  Some do believe in such a thing.  In 1930, in the Encyclopedia of Social Sciences they claimed, “at birth,” that human infants, “regardless of their heredity are as equal as Fords.”

I could only transcribe the first 7:40 minutes.  Enjoy the rest without the transcript.


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