Although Austrian economists agree on most of the “big picture” issues, even so there are some internal controversies. One of the most heated debates within the Austrian camp centers on the economic benefits (or lack thereof) of the practice of fractional-reserve banking. Just about every Austrian today thinks that our current financial system — cartelized and propped up by the government — is prone to excessive inflation and the boom-bust cycle.
Even so, many prominent Austrian banking experts believe that in a truly free market, private institutions could usefully engage in limited fractional-reserve banking (see, e.g., Steve Horwitz’s book). On the other hand, Murray Rothbard and his followers thought that fractional-reserve banking per se was illegitimate and economically harmful.
Thanks to Wikileaks and heroic leakers inside the military, we now know the U.S. government has killed many more innocent Afghan civilians than we were aware of heretofore. We also know that American military and intelligence personnel roam Afghanistan assassinating suspected bad guys. Sometimes they kill people they later acknowledge weren’t bad guys at all. “Bad guys,” like “Taliban,” is implicitly defined as anyone who resists the U.S. occupation force and the corrupt puppet government it keeps in power.
What other atrocities are our misleaders and misrepresentatives committing in our name?
Last week the National Bureau of Economic Research published a report on the effect of civilian casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq that confirmed what critics of our foreign policy have been saying for years: the killing of civilians, although unintentional, angers other civilians and prompts them to seek revenge. This should be self-evident.
The Central Intelligence Agency has long acknowledged and analyzed the concept of blowback in our foreign policy. It still amazes me that so many think that attacks against our soldiers occupying hostile foreign lands are motivated by hatred toward our system of government at home or by the religion of the attackers. In fact, most of the anger towards us is rooted in reactions towards seeing their mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and other loved ones being killed by a foreign army. No matter our intentions, the violence of our militarism in foreign lands causes those residents to seek revenge if innocents are killed. One does not have to be Muslim to react this way, just human.
The GOP is frantically searching for the person who will lead them to the Promised Land (translate: White House) in 2012. Barack Obama is leaving a death stench so heavy that even most of the political allies in his own party are asking him to stay away from their reelection campaigns. You gotta give it to Obama: he has done in one term what most Presidents cannot accomplish until their second (lame duck) term. The problem is, the GOP just can’t seem to find their Moses (or even their Ronald Reagan). That means, as far fetched as it sounds now, Obama has a good chance of being reelected. And, once again, when any Democrat candidate for President wins, the GOP will have no one to blame but themselves. 2012 could be another example.
You see, the GOP (including their lackeys at Fox News) either really don’t know what a constitutional conservative looks like, or they do know what he or she looks like and don’t want them leading the party. I believe the answer is the latter, but in either case, the GOP continually does nothing to groom constitutionalist conservatives for leadership. Just the opposite: such people are routinely ignored, shunned, besmirched, or impugned. (Can anyone say, “Ron Paul”?) Is it any wonder that by the time the general election comes around, the GOP candidate for President is usually nothing more than a Democrat-lite, or a “Democrat in Drag” to borrow from Steve Farrell.