Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Corey Robin — The Hayek-Pinochet Connection: A Second Reply to My Critics

In my last post, I responded to three objections to my article “Nietzsche’s Marginal Children.” In this post I respond to a fourth regarding the connection between Friedrich von Hayek and Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.
The Hayek-Pinochet Connection: A Second Reply to My Critics
Corey Robin

The road to socialism troubled Hayek as political philosopher. The road to fascism, not so much as long as economic liberalism was maintained institutional. BTW, essential to economic liberalism for Hayek was zero collective bargaining power for labor, that is, no trade unions. If it took a dictator to do away with them, that was a feature of progress, in which all innovation is the result of intervention by great men.

If you don't already know the details, here they are.

BTW, Hayek's ideas were not very different from those of Mises:
It cannot be denied that Fascism and similar movements aiming at the establishment of dictatorships are full of the best intentions and that their intervention has, for the moment, saved European civilization. The merit that Fascism has thereby won for itself will live on eternally in history. But though its policy has brought salvation for the moment, it is not of the kind which could promise continued success. Fascism was an emergency makeshift. To view it as something more would be a fatal error.
Ludwig von Mises, Liberalism

Quoted in Mises and the “Merit” of Fascism by Jeet Heer at sans everything (December 15, 2007), which is also worth a read.
 Mises styled himself a classical liberal, a position which after the First World War lost its political salience in Central Europe. Amid the strife of the era, Mises hated above all else any form of working class militancy, not just in the manifestation of Bolshevism but also moderate social democracy. This led him to look with favour on some authoritarian regimes. In his 1927 book Liberalism, Mises expressed great ambivalence about Mussolini’s new political doctrine of fascism. He recognized that, of course, that fascism was illiberal and was even farsighted in seeing that it would lead to another European war. Still, Mises thought that as a reaction to communism, fascism was understandable and even admirable. 
The approval that Mises gave to Dollfuss was a precursor to the squirmy support Friedrich August von Hayek and Milton Friedman gave to the Pinochet regime in Chile. All three men were in some ways acting in consistency with the doctrines of classical liberalism, which prizes private property while being fearful of democracy. What they failed to realize is that under modern dictatorships, neither property nor any other right is secure. I like classical liberals and libertarians well enough but I don’t think they can be depended upon to defend liberty.


Bob Roddis said...

I guess those positions are co-extensive with Hayek's support for welfare and socialized medicine.

Bob Roddis said...

I've refuted the nonsense about Mises and the fascists so many times before:

Your Mises’ quote is taken completely out of context. Mises was clearly (and merely) pointing out that (in his opinion in 1927) the pre-Hitler form of fascism had halted the spread of Stalinist Pol Pot-like mass murdering Communism in Italy (Mussolini was indeed quite popular with hip leftists and even FDR until he joined up with Hitler in the late 1930s). But Mises also makes clear that fascism is a brutal and ignorant movement because fascists cannot even argue or engage in debate (just like socialists) and that fascism will lead to a civilization-ending war:

“Fascism can triumph today because universal indignation at the infamies committed by the socialists and communists has obtained for it the sympathies of wide circles. But when the fresh impression of the crimes of the Bolsheviks has paled, the socialist program will once again exercise its power of attraction on the masses. For Fascism does nothing to combat it except to suppress socialist ideas and to persecute the people who spread them. If it wanted really to combat socialism, it would have to oppose it with ideas. There is, however, only one idea that can be effectively opposed to socialism, viz., that of liberalism. ****

So much for the domestic policy of Fascism. That its foreign policy, based as it is on the avowed principle of force in international relations, cannot fail to give rise to an endless series of wars that must destroy all of modern civilization requires no further discussion. To maintain and further raise our present level of economic development, peace among nations must be assured. But they cannot live together in peace if the basic tenet of the ideology by which they are governed is the belief that one's own nation can secure its place in the community of nations by force alone.

It cannot be denied that Fascism and similar movements aiming at the establishment of dictatorships are full of the best intentions and that their intervention has, for the moment, saved European civilization. The merit that Fascism has thereby won for itself will live on eternally in history. But though its policy has brought salvation for the moment, it is not of the kind which could promise continued success. Fascism was an emergency makeshift. To view it as something more would be a fatal error.”
Pages 50-51


Ralph Raico further explains:


Unknown said...

Fascism is merely the last man standing because it is more consistent with human nature than, say, Communism.

But fascism is not stable either, being inconsistent with justice.

Bob Roddis said...

Have any of you "progressive" commies pointed out how much aid the monstrous and genocidal USSR regime gave Allende?

Material based on reports from the Mitrokhin Archive, the KGB said of Allende that "he was made to understand the necessity of reorganising Chile's army and intelligence services, and of setting up a relationship between Chile's and the USSR's intelligence services". It is also claimed that Allende was given $30,000 "in order to solidify the trusted relations" with him.[62] According to Vasili Mitrokhin, a former KGB major and senior archivist in the KGB intelligence central KGB office in the Yasenevo area of Moscow, Allende made a personal request for Soviet money through his personal contact, KGB officer Svyatoslav Kuznetsov (codenamed LEONID), who urgently came to Chile from Mexico City to help Allende.[63] The original allocation of money for these elections through the KGB was $400,000, a personal subsidy of $50,000 was sent directly to Allende, with an additional $100,000 funneled through funds provided to the Chilean Communist Party.[63]
Historian Christopher Andrew has argued that help from the KGB was a decisive factor, because Allende won by a narrow margin of 39,000 votes of a total of the 3 million cast. After the elections, the KGB director Yuri Andropov obtained permission for additional money and other resources from the Central Committee of the CPSU to ensure an Allende victory in Congress. In his request on 24 October, he stated that the KGB "will carry out measures designed to promote the consolidation of Allende's victory and his election to the post of President of the country". In his KGB file, Allende was reported to have "stated his willingness to co-operate on a confidential basis and provide any necessary assistance, since he considered himself a friend of the Soviet Union". He willingly shared political information.[63]
Andrew writes that regular Soviet contact with Allende after his election was maintained by his KGB case officer, Svyatoslav Kuznetsov, who was instructed by KGB's the 'Centre' to "exert a favorable influence on Chilean government policy". Allende was said to have reacted "positively."
Political and moral support came mostly through the Communist Party and unions. For instance, Allende received the Lenin Peace Prize from the Soviet Union in 1972. However, there were some fundamental differences between Allende and Soviet political analysts who believed that some violence – or measures that those analysts "theoretically considered to be just" – should have been used.[64] According to Andrew's account of the Mitrokhin archives, "In the KGB's view, Allende's fundamental error was his unwillingness to use force against his opponents. Without establishing complete control over all the machinery of the State, his hold on power could not be secure."[62]
Declarations from KGB General Nikolai Leonov, former Deputy Chief of the First Chief Directorate of the KGB, confirmed that the Soviet Union supported Allende's government economically, politically and militarily.[64] Leonov stated in an interview at the Chilean Center of Public Studies (CEP) that the Soviet economic support included over $100 million in credit, three fishing ships (that distributed 17,000 tons of frozen fish to the population), factories (as help after the 1971 earthquake), 3,100 tractors, 74,000 tons of wheat and more than a million tins of condensed milk.[64]
In mid-1973 the USSR had approved the delivery of weapons (artillery, tanks) to the Chilean Army. However, when news of an attempt from the Army to depose Allende through a coup d'état reached Soviet officials, the shipment was redirected to another country.[64]


Bob Roddis said...

I note that Mises basically called the fascists a bunch of warmongering monsters in his "tribute". Did Cory Robin do the same about the USSR, the great benefactor of Allende?

(As long as we are smearing via guilt by association).

JK said...

"Fascism is merely the last man standing because it is more consistent with human nature"

I'm suspicious of the arugment that competition and egoistic self-interest are more indicative of human nature than cooperation and altruistic self-interest.

We are a messy mix of it all. If cooperation and altruistic self-interest were not very important and infulential aspects of our "human nature" then it's likely the human species never would have survived and thrived.

Because we've created a world where competiion and egoistic self interest is rewarded, we see it everywhere. This doesn't mean it's more indicative of "human nature".

Unknown said...

I said "merely the last man standing." Fascism won't last long either.

Curiously, neither fascists nor Communists have much trouble with the money system. Even Marx was a gold-bug, for example.

Bob Roddis said...

Rothbard in 1958 and 1960:

F.A. Hayek’s Constitution of Liberty is, surprisingly and distressingly, an extremely bad, and, I would even say, evil book.14 Since Hayek is universally regarded, by Right and Left alike, as the leading right-wing intellectual, this will also be an extremely dangerous book.*****

This then, is the face that F.A. Hayek will present to the world in his Constitution of Liberty. It is a face such that, if I were a young man first getting interested in political questions, and I should read this as the best product of the “extreme Right,” I would become a roaring leftist in no time, and so I believe would almost anyone. That is why I consider this such a dangerous book and why I believe that right-wingers should attack this book with great vigor when it appears, instead of what I am sure they will do: applaud it like so many trained seals.******

Hayek favors the following:

government enforcement of religious conformity in an age when people believe that the collective community is responsible for everyone’s actions against God (e.g., if people believe that homosexuals would bring down the wrath of Sodom and Gomorrah upon them, homosexuality should be outlawed);

government enforcement of “rules of conduct” in public places (a vague endorsement);

suspension of liberty in “emergencies” (e.g., the right of habeas corpus), in the “public interest”;

the “clear and present danger” invasion of free speech;

Unknown said...

A gold-standard is fascist so what does that make Mises and Rothbard?

Tom Hickey said...

The acceptance of fascism and dictatorship to avoid "the evils of socialism" sound an awful lot like Marx's "dictatorship of the proletariat" that was supposed to automatically result in the withering of the state.

Once dictatorship is in place it is very difficult to extirpate it without conflict.

This is a big reason that the actions taken by Bush and Obama, justified as needed to guarantee national security against terrorism, is so disturbing to many, especially when this supposedly involves endless war.

Matt Franko said...

"Curiously, neither fascists nor Communists have much trouble with the money system. Even Marx was a gold-bug, for example..."

Well we are not under gold anymore...

I dont think Nazi Germany was under gold either but based on the history the leadership appears to be metal-lovers anyways...


Jose Guilherme said...

That its foreign policy, based as it is on the avowed principle of force in international relations...

Unfortunately this is common to all great powers - both authoritarian and liberal. Using force abroad is certainly not a unique or special characteristic of "fascist" powers; for instance, liberal England gladly annexed half the world in a fit of absentmindedness. And that most certainly didn't make it "fascist".

Magpie said...

When a psychopath like Mises says:

"It cannot be denied that Fascism and similar movements aiming at the establishment of dictatorships are full of the best intentions and that their intervention has, for the moment, saved European civilization".

What he really means is that Nazi-Fascism (and their fellow travelers, like Roddis) accepts as sacred property rights, the only sacred right they feel European civilization embodies.

The protection of private property rights is "the merit that Fascism has thereby won for itself". The expropriation of private property was the real Bolshevik crime Mises deplored.

That parties like the NSDAP and the Fascio di Combatimento accepted and worshipped private property rights finds its best expression in Auschwitz-Birkenau, where German "entrepreneurs" opened factories and made lotsa money with the work of slave-workers, before the slave-workers received their pay in a gas chamber.

In Auschwitz-Birkenau the Nazi-Fascist "good intentions" were clearly seen: Nazi Totenkopfverbande guards would beat slave-workers to death, if they didn't work to their managers' satisfaction.

That's what people like Roddis (I'll assume he is just an ignoramus, not a deliberate liar) don't say.

But, Mises continues, for all their "good" intentions, brutes like Mussolini and Hitler who may initially accept private property rights, eventually will not content themselves with being the perennial servants of the real Uebbermenschen.

So, Nazi-Fascism can only be a temporal solution, a stop-gap measure, to avoid the most horrible crime: expropriation of the fortunes those Uebbermenschen stole from their workers. The collapse of Western civilization!

So, the Nazi-Fascist/big business "friendship" must be ephemeral: eventually the brutes must be sent to Dachau themselves, so the Uebbermenschen recoup their "legitimate" place in society.


And "social democrats",

Don't fool yourselves believing that the label "social democracy" affords you any protection.

Dachau (the first concentration camp) and Sachsenhausen were created to "accommodate" communists, trade unionists, anarchists and, yes, social democrats.

We commies shall keep a nice, comfy place there for all of you.

Magpie said...

There were many similarities between Engelbert Dollfuss and his Austro-Fascism and the Austrian and German Nazi. The most important one to my purposes here was that both groups were staunch anti-Socialist (note the word carefully, I am not talking about communists or anarchists only) and had no trouble whatsoever in killing, torturing and imprisoning people, if these people were not useful to them (which Roddis cannot in good conscience say he doesn't approve).

But, there were, of course, differences between both groups:

The first difference is that Dollfuss was a Mussolini puppet. Initially and much to Hitler's disappointment, Mussolini saw himself as opposed to the German Nazi: Mussolini wanted to dominate Europe as much as Hitler did, but there is only one and only one Europe to dominate... You see the problem there, don't you?

Second, unlike the Nazi, Fascists were not openly anti-Semite, at least initially. In fact, there were prominent and wealthy Italian Jews who believed they could ride the Fascism horse (just like Mises himself thought he could ride the Austro-Fascism one): the banker Ettore Ovazza [*] was one such fellow. The Fascists and the Nazi made Ovazza and his family paid with their lives for that mistake. Mises had better luck.

And the third difference is that Mises (who had a Jewish background, although he wasn't much of a religious man) managed to join Dollfuss, when the anti-Semite Austrian Nazi would not accept him.

Well, there was a fourth difference: the Nazi had a better fashion sense than the buffoonish Dollfuss: unlike Dollfuss's, the Nazi black uniforms, believe it or not, were Hugo Boss designs.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_Fascism

Magpie said...

First They came... - Pastor Martin Niemoller
First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.


Mises and Roddis would surely have applauded the first two bits.

Mises, however, was smart enough to avoid the third.

One day Roddis may have to regret reaching the last.