Monday, January 29, 2007

Uma História do Movimento Libertário Americano

Michael Shermer escreve sobre o livro de Brian Doherty “Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement". Ele faz uma observação muito pertinente acerca da intolerância das idéias que ocorre com todo movimento intelectual que se presume absolutamente correto: "Another disturbing theme running throughout the libertarian movement, so well recounted by Mr. Doherty, is the sense that we are absolutely right. Absolute certainty generates absolute intolerance". E mais adiante ilustra esse ponto com a seguinte passagem: "Barbara Branden, a close friend of Rand's, recalled a dinner catastrophe that resulted from the first meeting between Rand, the libertarian economist Henry Hazlitt, and Ludwig von Mises, the greatest intellectual defender of freemarket economics of the 20th century. "The evening was a disaster. It was the first time Ayn had discussed moral philosophy in depth with either of the two men. ‘My impression,' she was to say, ‘was that von Mises did not care to consider moral issues, and Henry was seriously committed to altruism. . . . We argued quite violently. At one point von Mises lost his patience and screamed at me.'" Economist and Nobel laureate Milton Friedman, one of the godfathers of libertarianism, recalled an incident at the first meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society in 1947, at which was gathered a veritable Who's Who of free market economists (including himself, Hayek, Hazlitt, Mises, Fritz Machlup, George Stigler, and Frank Knight). "One afternoon, the discussion was on the distribution of income, taxes, progressive taxes, and so on. In the middle of that discussion von Mises got up and said ‘You're all a bunch of socialists,' and stomped out of the room." Such moral absolutism leads to moral absurdities, and the libertarian movement has been plagued with the problem for the entirety of its history. Defining a movement with bullet points that require a commitment to the entire list before membership is conferred more often than not leads to lower membership rolls, and libertarians are more guilty than most at excommunicating those who deviate even slightly from the canon".

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