By Mason Mohon | USA
As a Misesian Libertarian, I have to deal with very little representation in just about any social sphere, and especially in the media, and that is why I get so excited when I see lovers of liberty make headlines because they stand up for principles. I was excited during the 2016 election just because people were learning what the word libertarian even meant, and now I am excited once again because Loyola University professor Walter Block is taking on news giant The New York Times.
First off, it must be explored who exactly Walter Block is and what relevance he holds. Of course, as mentioned before, he is the Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair in Economics at Loyola University. At the same time, Professor Block is a senior fellow at the Mises Institute and the publisher of many books. He is also the legendary author who wrote a book answering the age-old libertarian question “who will build the roads?” His extensive answer can be found is his extensive economic explanation titled Privatizing the Roads and Highways, which can be found for free here.
Now let us move to the actual contention at hand: Block against The New York Times. Professor Walter Block is taking the times to court for defamation. The New York Times ran a piece in January 2014 titled “Rand Paul’s Mixed Inheritance,” which attempts to paint both the Mises Institute and Walter Block in a phenomenally negative light, attempting to extend that negative light to Rand Paul. The article can be found here, and the issue arizes in the following paragraphs:
That worldview, often called “paleo-libertarianism,” emerges from the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Alabama, started with money raised by the senior Mr. Paul. It is named for the Austrian émigré who became an intellectual godfather of modern libertarian economic thinking, devoted to an unrestricted free market.
Some scholars affiliated with the Mises Institute have combined dark biblical prophecy with apocalyptic warnings that the nation is plunging toward economic collapse and cultural ruin. Others have championed the Confederacy. One economist, while faulting slavery because it was involuntary, suggested in an interview that the daily life of the enslaved was “not so bad — you pick cotton and sing songs.”
It is necessary to dissect and scrutinize this sentence to get past the authoritarian leftist ideology and find out what is really true. The majority of the first paragraph is true, yet painting the teachings of Ludwig von Mises as an “unrestricted free market” is phenomenally simplistic and lacks in intellectual depth. The New York Times is attempting to slander a liberty-loving candidate, but they brush over such an important tenet of libertarian philosophy with almost no depth. I find is shameful that this is what journalism has begun to descend into.
Moreover, the New York Times article does not provide any sources for confederate championship and “dark biblical prophecy” that they claim is propagated by the Mises Institute, which really makes these amount to warrantless statements and fluff. After this follows the quote which sparked a legal battle that has spanned over the last few years – the quote claiming that Walter Block did not find slavery to be very bad.
Block has made the claim that, while the New York Times quoted his words, they quoted them without context and lacking intellectual depth. According to an article from LewRockwell.com that can be found here, Block was merely making the distinction that there is a difference between voluntary and involuntary slavery (which is more often referred to as indentured servitude). Obviously, The New York Times lacked the capacity to understand this, and misconstrued the words of the professor to show Rand Paul in a negative light.
Now, Walter Block is facing The New York Times with a defamation lawsuit, and for the sake of liberty lovers everywhere, I hope Block will prevail. Read the Reuters report from Tuesday here.