Thomas E. Woods, Jr., is the New York Times bestselling author of 11 books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History and Meltdown (on the financial crisis.) A senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, Woods has appeared on MSNBC, CNBC, FOX News, FOX Business, C-SPAN, Bloomberg Television, and hundreds of radio programs... (Read More)
Max Keiser and his co-host continued the barrage of insults while I was in Tampa this weekend, and of course portrayed my absence as evidence that I am a charlatan who can’t stand the intellectual heat of Max Keiser. They’re a charitable bunch, these guys.
So far, my friends and I have been called at least a dozen vicious names by Keiser. I would provide the links, but there’s no point. I have actually lost track of all the insults. Check out @maxkeiser for yourself, and check out some of the tweets that involve me, @ThomasEWoods.
I have conducted myself like a gentleman. Anyone can see that. Keiser has not.
I posed a challenge to Keiser, who has uncritically adopted the bizarre line that Mises doesn’t qualify as an Austrian economist. He said my view that private property owners take better long-term care of property than the state does was another example of the wicked Mises deviation from Menger.
I demanded that Keiser put up or shut up.
Instead, he has talked about every issue under the sun except this one, and then pretends I am the one who has been defeated and is running away.
Economist Bob Murphy has weighed in, pointing out that I may have misinterpreted some of Keiser guest Sandeep Jaitly’s opaque remarks, remarks Keiser himself didn’t understand on the show. Unlike Keiser, I am honest enough to admit this possibility. Keiser has responded that my acknowledgment is evidence that I am throwing in the towel, even though Murphy’s point is that Jaitly was in fact much more confused than I thought. As Bob says, “This particular critic is so wrong that it’s not even fun.” Keiser leaves this out.
Keiser writes, “My sources tell me the higher ups who pull Tom’s strings gave him the ‘retreat’ order.”
This is borderline insane. There are no such sources, and there are no such strings. I have not retreated one iota. I acknowledged that the lack of clarity of his guest left open several interpretations of his statements, all of them wrong, and noted that on one point his guest may have been wrong for a different reason than I thought.
So the new rule, when listening to one of Keiser’s attacks, is this. If it does not respond to my challenge, read it this way:
“I really stepped in it when I made that claim about Menger, Mises, and Woods. But instead of honestly admitting a mistake, I will lash out with insults in the hope that no one will notice I have not answered, and cannot answer.”
On every major innovation in economic theory, Menger and Mises were identical. To discuss the alleged differences between them might be an interesting topic for a peer-reviewed paper, but not particularly interesting to the general public.
When Keiser answers my challenge to him, we can go from there. If Max wants to talk to me, we can find a suitable third-party outlet, not a program where he gets to ask all the questions. I have a few questions of my own.
Sandeep Jaitly and his mentor Professor Fekete, meanwhile, would no doubt like to turn all this into a debate on interest theory, but again, the general public (as opposed, perhaps, to the scholarly community, which does not watch Max anyway) has no interest in this (so to speak). If you want to read Professor Fekete’s interest theory, here it is. If you want to read Misesian interest theory, read Human Action. If you want to read defenses of the pure time-preference theory, you can read them in this book.
Keeping our eye on the ball, the point I was debating was simply this: it is ludicrous to claim that Mises doesn’t qualify as an Austrian economist. Surely Prof. Fekete has never gone that far. On subjectivism, on reverse imputation, on “cost of production,” on method, on marginal utility, on the origin of money — on everything we remember Menger for, in other words — Mises was a Mengerian, and thus an Austrian.
But meanwhile, Max, you have a challenge to answer. You accused me of something, and I am asking for evidence. Until you provide that evidence, we stay right here.
Keep calling me names, though. Each name means “I can’t answer the Woods challenge.”
UPDATE: Bob Murphy writes, after reading this post:
Oh my gosh. I just skimmed his post before. I *assumed* he said:
“It must be the higher-ups who pull Tom’s strings told him to retreat.”
But now, since I read your post more carefully than I read his, I see that he claims “sources” (plural!!) told him that.
Are these voices in his head?
I mean really, is this guy just flat-out lying, or do you think some of his fans are saying in the comments, “Great job Max! No doubt the higher-ups told Woods to retreat!” and then in his head, this is “sources told me” by the time he writes it up?
I’m being serious, this kind of stuff fascinates me. I can’t even make
a model of what would generate Keiser’s posts.