Max Keiser, Let Me Know When You Answer My Challenge

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.

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  • Greg LeFevre

    Does anyone else recall when Max Keiser picked a fight with Gary North last year? Keiser had the notorious sophist and greenbacker Ellen Brown on his show and North very easily discredited her “research” and convoluted economics (if her arguments can even be considered economic). This set off a few fiery (actually, flat out rude) responses from Keiser. The man has ZERO credibility.

  • Floyd Jack

    Irrelevant… while both you and Keiser fight to be “right” over the interpretation of an antiquated ideology the rest of the world drowns in debt created fraudulently by criminals the likes of which the world has never seen. Priceless :-/

  • Pablo

    Bloody austrian shapeshifters, no matter what the crisis they will adapt and try to seize the moment, even if their very ideas have caused the disaster in the first place. Its the nature of bare faced opportunists. The libertarians have been playing a game of infiltrating the ranks of the angry betrayed masses for some time. Its about time someone called a stop to this bevause otherwise they are poised to seize the initiative when things reach breaking point. More power to Max for initiating this conflict.

  • Jayk Wiggins

    ^ says someone who has never even had a cursory introduction to Austrian business cycle theory

  • Jayk Wiggins

    Please Pablo, elucidate us on what ideas you have seen change? Also of interest would be which ideas you feel caused the disaster?

  • Dan

    *is not so ignorant….

  • Dave

    Max “Russia Today” Kaiser vs. Dr. Tom Woods. Uh, yeah. I know where I’d put my money. Way to go, Tom!

  • Lou Ferrigno

    Bloody Randists channelling the spirit of Arnold Schwarzenegger again! We’ve had enough of your f*****g steroids!

  • El Gordo

    People in general, and Keiser in particular have a tendency to reveal their true characters the more they talk.

    I wonder which ‘higher-UPS’ give him his marching orders?

    What a strange world-view, where heirarchy determines personal identity.

    I suppose did he accept the axiom, “I think therefore I am”, he would disappear in a puff of smoke!

    Higher ups.
    Called off.

  • dude

    yeah bro, down with the Illumilibernati!!!

  • P. Nym

    Wenzel’s childish arguments against Jeffrey Tucker and Stephen Kinsella were enough for me to ignore anything he has to say.

  • J

    Dr. Woods, is there a scholarly criticism of Antal E. Fekete’s views in the paper referenced above present? I checked the citations of the paper that you pointed out but could not find any such thing. While I understand the concept of time preference, have read some criticisms of productivity theory but do not have enough knowledge to critically examine Dr Fekete’s claims. It would be great to see some critical review.

  • Andrew Mackenzie

    So during times of crisis all discussion not related to the crisis should cease? How could discussions like this be any less important in the currency crisis? If we expect to persuade future generations of people to adopt Austro-Libertarianism, we need to guard our flanks. You’re just being a tool, and your argument has no basis.

    P.S. While you debated what to eat for breakfast this morning, people were debating if they would even have enough food for one meal today. How selfish and petty of you! /sarc

  • Andrew Mackenzie

    *currency = current

  • Hy

    Tom: Forget Keiser. If you want to debate, then concentrate on Jaitly.

    I’m sure some neutral third party would moderate a debate.

    I think Jaitly’s statements/claims were way off, but it was the way that the claims were stated with no explanations and the crazy way that Randian / Libertarian / Austrian ideas were twisted BY MAX so that no matter what was said Max could ATTACK someone. His final snide remarks aimed at Lew Rockwell was proof that the whole segment was to give the viewer the idea that somehow MAX had uncovered something. For many viewers that have never read anything Rand, Rothbard, (or Mises or Menger?) wrote, they would be sure Max was onto something BIG, but certainly not anything they would quickly look into.

    Where his show is concerned, Max’s rants are becoming worn out and he seems to know it.

    It’s time for him to move up to some serious interviewing instead of making uninformed, unexplained and incomprehensible accusations.

  • Joe

    @ThomasEWoods:disqus it appears that Max and Stacy (you do realize that Stacy is driving a lot of this, right?) want to skim the finer details of what you have been focusing on and simply take it up higher and talk about Randian Objectivism and Christian Reconstructionism (“fake Libertarianism”) versus Rothbardian Libertarianism / Austrian Subjectivism……i’m sure they would love if you went on their show with Gary North, but i’m thinking that Walter Block might be a better tag team partner. again, i think you might be getting too bogged down in the details. as i’m sure you are aware, their show is a mix of pop culture, populism, and an political / economic Molotov cocktail.

  • GoldenDragon

    It’s important to set the record straight: not to convince Keiser (possibility: 0) but to unsettle and possibly persuade Keiser’s many viewers. It was the same motive that led Gary North to go head-to-head with Ellen Brown.. See the first few grafs here.

  • Anon

    Max apparently can be instigating and he shouldn’t do that. However, people in the “movement” are detrimental. Austrian economist, Peter Schiff, is one such example. I don’t bash austrian economics, but look at where it got Schiff. He is on mainstream media saying good things about romney, saying ‘romney would give capitalism a chance’, ignoring a real liberty candidate like Gary Johnson as if he didn’t exist in order to defer matters to the two-party cover-up, and being an idiot by saying Romney is better than Newt.

    romneycare is not exactly capitalism, but to an austrian economist, it appears to be that way.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t know if I’d call Schiff an Austrian Economist. He has Austrian leanings, but…

  • Simon

    Would be REALLY funny if you’d do a Skype with Jaitley direct and cut Max/Stacy completely out of the conversation. Man would they be pissed at all the lost views. HAHA! Sandeep is a good guy and he’d do it for sure. I’d bet Sandeep never appears on Keisers show ever again.

  • chris

    Plus, Tom gives epic smackdowns. Like with Levin.

  • chris

    Kaiser and Jaitly are quick to call Mises a non-Austrian (while the Austrians of note continue to claim Mises as a patron saint), but neglect to point out the deviations from pure Keynsian theory (can it even be referred to as “pure”?) by ALL the mainstream Keynsians, many of whom (Krugman, The Bernanke) are considered leading policy-makers and commentators.
    If (BIG if!) Mises and Menger differ, it is in minutia, or a simple articulation difference, or clarification by Mises of Menger.

  • William Norris

    Wow, I am glad I got the email heads up on this.
    With regard to “Keiser’s” point of,

    (1) It is silly and “fundamentalist” to think private owners might take better care of resources than the state.
    I am under the impression that Max Keiser is a fundamental believer that vested interest is inversely proportional to the measure of personal impact an action may cause… even if he does not realize it.

    Case example: A humanist group I was inquiring with was promoting saving the rain forest in Brazil by limiting what farmers are doing, then they were promptly baffled when I stormed out with this quote, “Do you live there?”.

    “Vested interest is directly proportional to the measure of personal impact an event/action will have. The understanding and application of this is ignored when it comes to American politics. Read about a local politician receiving funding from constituents of another region, the integrity of the politician is questioned little if at all. Anyone who says differently has an ulterior agenda or lacks vital reasoning skills.” -Me

  • Mary

    I would absolutely hate to see this situation become a real conflict. Seems to me that this is just part of Max’s schtick. Clearly, he is wrong about Mises. But I wonder if through some back channels, Tom couldn’t arrange to appear on his show and forge some kind of understanding. I’m not kidding. Keiser is very respectful to his guests and gives them ample time to answer questions and often entertains questions from them. Take a look at past shows on the archives. I totally agree that his economic ideas are not consistent, but Keiser has been FANTASTIC at pounding the table about the fraud and corruption on Wall Street and in the City, like no one else. He has quite rightly exposed the whole scam of “austerity” and been very clear that Ireland and Greece are being literally raped. I think the attitude we should adopt is one of patience with the goal of winning him over, or at least establishing a cordial relationship. We can’t let pointless infighting damage the libertarian movement any more, if we can help it.

  • Anonymous

    OMG, Your patience is truly remarkable Tom. Keiser lost me before I got halfway through his ridiculous drivel. It was pretty clear that he hadn’t read the works of the people he claimed knowledge of. Then he alluded that Rand was a libertarian, instead of just having some common ground. He then tops it off by essentially claiming that he was the litmus test on what “libertarian” is when he had already proven that he didn’t have a clue.

    I salute your efforts in educating people like MadMax. I fear, however, that your efforts will fall on infertile ground. The viable seed of knowledge does not grow on the solid rock between the ears of the likes of Mr Keiser.

  • Adam Green

    I’ve been following Keiser Report for a year or so. It’s worth the hysterical, wobbling chin wattle antics of Keiser to hear his reports on the finance industry. But I agree that he plays it fast and loose, and sometimes people and the facts get trampled.

  • Tim Chavez

    Good idea

  • David23433

    How does Romneycare “appear to be capitalism” to any Austrian economist? Which Austrian economist? Can you cite a passage in which an Austrian economist argues that government control of an industry is the same as no government control of an industry?