07 November 2009

Historians Don't Learn From Their Own Discipline

“A free economy will not break down. All depressions are caused by government interference and the cure that is always offered . . . is more of the same poisons that caused the disasters.” ~ Ayn Rand

Of course, Rand was speaking in the wake of the Great Depression. After the market crash, government sprung into action to save the day. The government raised the top tax rate from 25% to 63%, then to 79% and then to 94% and choked off capital formation – the lifeblood of CAPITALism – you see, it is right there in the name. The Government also allowed the money supply to shrink by 1/3rd and spread the Depression around the globe by cutting off trade. That turned a significant recession into the Great Depression. Not so, according to FDR. Roosevelt thundered that ‘The rulers of the exchange of mankind’s goods have failed, through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence . . . Practices of the unscrupulous money-changers stand indicted . . . in the hearts and minds of men …’ So what was FDR’s answer? The same poison that caused the disaster – government action.

Too bad many historians can't learn from what they spend all their time studying and teaching. That's what happens when you're driven by political ideology instead of facts.


The Warrior said...

Are you a fan of Rand?

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Of much of her economic philosophy.

The Warrior said...

Ok, gotcha. I know VERY little but seem to be wary of her beliefs in some areas. Thanks!


Arthur B. Breedlove said...


I also find much to like in Rands economic philosophy. Where I tend to part company is in her advocacy of radical individualism. A philosophy that has seemingly triumphed in the West. It also seems to correspond almost perfectly in time with the rise of the centralization of power. Both liberalism and libertarianism seem to share in the exaltation (or highest ideal) of autonomous individuals and personal choice, over the needs of society. It is thought that the "liberation" of men from traditional social bonds leads to more freedom. It can be argued however, that the real result is more often tyranny. Something Rand was (ironically) attempting to avoid.


I don't know if I have spoken to any of your concerns, but if so I heartily recommend the books "Quest for Community", and The "Tyranny of Liberalism" in understanding these processes.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...


Great comment - thanks!

Arthur B. Breedlove said...

Mr. Williams:

Great blog!

I hope you have decided stay with us a while longer. After reading that earlier post I grew concerned that you might, "withdraw from the field." We are living in difficult times and this site provides much needed refuge.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Thank you Arthur. Yes, the difficult times are the main reason I'm still here, though I often think my energies should be focused elsewhere.