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The Cato Institute

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C Le Master posted on Mon, Feb 15 2010 2:33 PM

I have been a long time reader of Mises.org, lewrockwell.com, and of Austrian economic texts and authors like Mises, Hayek, Rothbard, Woods, etc. I recently discovered something called "The Cato Institute". They seem to be free market, but do they follow Austrian economics? I know most Austrian thinkers like Rothbard support Austrian anarchocapitalist views, but I was wondering if Cato did as well, or if they were more minarchist or Chicago School in their thinking. While I am on the subject, I am a big supporter of Ron Paul, have read his books, been a rally of his, and know he contributes to Mises. Is he an anarchocapitalist though or does he believe in government police, justice, and infrastructure? Thank you everybody.

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Ron Paul is generally an advocate of constitutional minarchy.  He might find a stateless society appealing, but he can't explicitly endorse it because it's not politically acceptable. He has made comments about how - if people want to just live by themselves and hurt no one and receive no government benefits - they should be allowed to.  This is something of a roundabout way of endorsing a stateless society.

Cato is libertarian in the broad sense. Often known as "beltway libertarian".  Critics would say that they water libertarianism down too much, in order to gain credibility among the political elite. Supporters would acknowledge there is a division of labor in the supply of intellectual libertarianism - there need to be principled, extreme purveyors of libertarianism, but also institutions that acknowledge the broad themes of libertarianism, and labor on the margins of the political world in order to gain adherents and give libertarianism mainstream credibility. In terms of economics, Cato generally wouldn't come down in a specific "school" of economics, though traditionally I believe they have been more favorable to the Chicago School and Friedman.

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Ron Paul is generally an advocate of constitutional minarchy.  He might find a stateless society appealing, but he can't explicitly endorse it because it's not politically acceptable. He has made comments about how - if people want to just live by themselves and hurt no one and receive no government benefits - they should be allowed to.  This is something of a roundabout way of endorsing a stateless society.

Cato is libertarian in the broad sense. Often known as "beltway libertarian".  Critics would say that they water libertarianism down too much, in order to gain credibility among the political elite. Supporters would acknowledge there is a division of labor in the supply of intellectual libertarianism - there need to be principled, extreme purveyors of libertarianism, but also institutions that acknowledge the broad themes of libertarianism, and labor on the margins of the political world in order to gain adherents and give libertarianism mainstream credibility. In terms of economics, Cato generally wouldn't come down in a specific "school" of economics, though traditionally I believe they have been more favorable to the Chicago School and Friedman.

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Wow, great answer! You answered everything and explained it all, and to top it off it was like 5 minutes after I asked the question. Thanks alot haha.

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Rothbard was one of the founders of the Cato Institute.  This is an informative article by David Gordon, from LewRockwell.com. 

"The market is a process." - Ludwig von Mises, as related by Israel Kirzner.   "Capital formation is a beautiful thing" - Chloe732.

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C Le Master, the more I listen to Ron Paul and read what he writes weekly/daily, the more radical he appears to be.  He reads the same sites we do, reads the same books most of us have read, and have published essays/books that are clearly anti-state to a great degree. I have no doubt that there definitely is an arnarchist spark in that man's mind. However, admitting it publicly is an entirely different matter, in fact for him it would be political scuicide. Think of all the Neoconservatives in his state that would go into a wild, demonic frenzy over it. Think of what the Olbermanns, Hannitys, Levins, Limbaughs would have to say about this. This man has already been ostracized and mocked enough, inviting more of it wouldn't be beneficial to his cause. 

 

With that being said, I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for Ron Paul. I would still be following Limbaugh/ Levin/ Hannity and play my part in continuing the Neoconservative disgrace in this country....

Also unfortunately, anarcho-capitalism is far from a conversation starter in this country. Every try talking about it with friends/ family/ girl friend/ boy friend?No

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BobT replied on Mon, Feb 15 2010 3:18 PM

I talked to David Boaz, the VP of Cato.  He basically said that he supports Austrian Econ and it's conclusion, but that they take a less radical stance because they think that is more effective.  For example in his talk, he was saying about education something to the effect of 'of course we want government completely out of education, but it is more realistic to support voucher programs.' I'm sure some members support anarcho-capitalism and some small government, but they take a small government approach as a matter of practicality

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BobT:
practicality

Logically the concept practicality is debatable.  It could mean somebody gets practically screwedStick out tongue, or an individual is simply practicing/acting, which everybody does so the term no longer makes any distinctions on what one group is doing versus another group, as everybody is acting/practicing their desired purposes, even if they are only in their dreams but maybe those desires are simply fantasies, etc....  I don't want to debate this with anybody.  Simply wanted to make an assertion.

good dayBig Smile

"Do not put out the fire of the spirit." 1The 5:19
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C Le Master:
I have been a long time reader of Mises.org, lewrockwell.com, and of Austrian economic texts and authors like Mises, Hayek, Rothbard, Woods, etc. I recently discovered something called "The Cato Institute". They seem to be free market, but do they follow Austrian economics?

There is a reason during the presidential campaign 2008, Ron Paul did not even exist to them. In fact, they attacked him. They're in DC for the power.

http://www.ronpaulforums.com/showthread.php?t=129086

Unfortunately it appears the linked to article, no longer exists.

C Le Master:
While I am on the subject, I am a big supporter of Ron Paul, have read his books, been a rally of his, and know he contributes to Mises. Is he an anarchocapitalist though or does he believe in government police, justice, and infrastructure? Thank you everybody.

4.05 +..

NewLiberty:
Ron Paul is generally an advocate of constitutional minarchy.  He might find a stateless society appealing, but he can't explicitly endorse it because it's not politically acceptable. He has made comments about how - if people want to just live by themselves and hurt no one and receive no government benefits - they should be allowed to.  This is something of a roundabout way of endorsing a stateless society.

This is good, I'd only clarify that he advocates a reduction in the size of the state, the key is to ask "compared to what?" - everyone here would support a return to the size of government as outlined in the Constitution (compared to what we have now), and that is from the perspective he answers all those questions in debates, interviews etc, he is being asked from a statist perspective.

He is a radical, in the sense he is an abolitionist. The extent of his radicalism within the mainstream, goes right up to the constitution - so no IRS, no CIA, no FBI, no Fed etc etc. He leads people like you and me, to Libertarianism and the Austrian School...

"Thus, suppose that one is writing about taxation. It is not incumbent on the libertarian to always proclaim his full “anarchist” position in whatever he writes; but it is incumbent upon him in no way to praise taxation or condone it; he should simply leave this perhaps glaring vacuum, and wait for the eager reader to begin to question and perhaps come to you for further enlightenment. But if the libertarian says, “Of course, some taxes must be levied,” or something of the sort, he has betrayed the cause." 

- Rothbard's 1961 Confidential Memo to Volker Fund

He's never defended the state or government. Nor can many people can do what he can do, i.e remain principled. He acknowledges that voting never changed anything (i.e in Congress), and it never will. His role is education.

The way real change is going to come about is through non-political means, eg. Mises Institute, not Universities within the system. Historically, that's how it happens... the proliferation of good ideas, that have uprooted the status quo.

BobT:
they take a less radical stance because they think that is more effective.  

They take a less radical stance because they want the benefits of Washington. The State loves legitimacy, especially when it gets it from so called "Libertarians".

Their whole strategy is impossible and thus HIGHLY impractical. Trying to convert the King, used to be possible to implement change, now it is not.

Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 "Today, the State's protection monopoly is considered public instead of private property, and government rule is no longer tied to any particular individual, but to specified functions, exercised by unnamed or anonymous individuals as members of a democratic government. Hence, the one or few man conversion strategy does no longer work. It doesn't matter if one converts a few top government officials — the president and a handful of senators — because, within the rules of democratic government, no single individual has the personal power of abdicating the government's monopoly of protection. Kings had this power; presidents don't.

The president can only resign from his position, only to be taken over by someone else. But he cannot dissolve the government protection monopoly, because supposedly the people own the government, and not the president himself."

- What Must be Done: Hans Hermann Hoppe

Freedom cannot come from public policy, freedom is the absence of public policy.

Ron Paul is for self-government when compared to the Constitution. He's an anarcho-capitalist. Proof.
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BobT replied on Mon, Feb 15 2010 9:55 PM

Conza88:

They take a less radical stance because they want the benefits of Washington. The State loves legitimacy, especially when it gets it from so called "Libertarians".

Their whole strategy is impossible and thus HIGHLY impractical. Trying to convert the King, used to be possible to implement change, now it is not.

Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 "Today, the State's protection monopoly is considered public instead of private property, and government rule is no longer tied to any particular individual, but to specified functions, exercised by unnamed or anonymous individuals as members of a democratic government. Hence, the one or few man conversion strategy does no longer work. It doesn't matter if one converts a few top government officials — the president and a handful of senators — because, within the rules of democratic government, no single individual has the personal power of abdicating the government's monopoly of protection. Kings had this power; presidents don't.

The president can only resign from his position, only to be taken over by someone else. But he cannot dissolve the government protection monopoly, because supposedly the people own the government, and not the president himself."

- What Must be Done: Hans Hermann Hoppe

Freedom cannot come from public policy, freedom is the absence of public policy.

I agree that their strategy is misguided. I was merely sharing my insight into why they are like that. It seemed to me that they are just wrong in the means they use rather than their intentions. But of course, I could be wrong. 

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Your questions have been answered for the most part but I do think I can add something;

The Cato Institute is a wonderful institute, mostly run by minarchists and anarchists, but including all stripes of "libertarian" who attempt to influence policy much more than, for example, the LvMI. They tend to be much more optimistic for the political future of liberty, and are possibly more cosmopolitan than the LvMI.

They don't so much have a position on economics, although they mainly refer to Chicago School and other free-market neo-classicals and monetarists. They aren't against the Austrian School per se (for example Tom G. Palmer would recommend Mises University), but there is certainly a split between for example the LvMI and Cato, and there have been two "little spats" in the last few months.

Ron Paul is a minarchist (minimum government) who supports essentially what anarchists support, up to the point of keeping "public" courts, police, "national defence".

The difference between libertarianism and socialism is that libertarians will tolerate the existence of a socialist community, but socialists can't tolerate a libertarian community.

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Thedesolateone:
Ron Paul is a minarchist (minimum government) who supports essentially what anarchists support, up to the point of keeping "public" courts, police, "national defence".

Nope. Please provide a link / evidence / source of him denying / refuting self government / voluntarism / anarcho-capitalism... because I've got him doing the exact opposite.

Thanks. Smile

Ron Paul is for self-government when compared to the Constitution. He's an anarcho-capitalist. Proof.
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Sad that Ron's son is a full on war hawk

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Conza88:

Thedesolateone:
Ron Paul is a minarchist (minimum government) who supports essentially what anarchists support, up to the point of keeping "public" courts, police, "national defence".

Nope. Please provide a link / evidence / source of him denying / refuting self government / voluntarism / anarcho-capitalism... because I've got him doing the exact opposite.

Thanks. Smile

IIRC he denies the plausibility of anarchy in The Revolution: a Manifesto.

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sicsempertyrannis:
IIRC he denies the plausibility of anarchy in The Revolution: a Manifesto.

No. I don't think so. You should read his latest one, End the Fed.

"In reality, the Constitution itself is incapable of achieving what we would like in limiting government power, no matter how well written."

~ Ron Paul,  End the Fed

Kind of an odd thing to say for a "constitutionalist / limited government" kind a guy, right? lol.

Ron Paul is for self-government when compared to the Constitution. He's an anarcho-capitalist. Proof.
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sicsempertyrannis:
IIRC he denies the plausibility of anarchy in The Revolution: a Manifesto.

I have the book in my library. Do you remember what page or chapter it is in?

'Men do not change, they unmask themselves' - Germaine de Stael

 

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