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After the recent Virginia earthquake, an instantaneously infamous status update popped up on a fake Paul Krugman Google+ account that said, “People on Twitter might be joking, but in all seriousness, we would see a bigger boost in spending and hence economic growth if the earthquake had done more damage.” A frustrated Krugman quickly revealed that the account was fake, asking that “if you see me quoted as saying something really stupid or outrageous, and it didn’t come from the Times or some other verifiable site, you should probably assume it was a fake.” It is quite fair for the economist to be angry over such outrageous misquotes. After all, there are plenty of real Kurgman quotes that are equally ridiculous!

I therefore encourage my fellow liberty lovers to only lampoon Krugman for the laughable lines he has actually said or written. For example:

“And to do that, as Paul McCulley of Pimco put it, Alan Greenspan needs to create a housing bubble to replace the Nasdaq bubble.” -The New York Times; August 02, 2002

“Ghastly as it may seem to say this, the terror attack — like the original day of infamy, which brought an end to the Great Depression — could even do some economic good.” -The New York Times; September 14, 2001

“Consumer goods were rationed; people were urged to restrain their spending to make resources available for the war effort.
Oh, and the economy was at full employment — and then some. Rosie the Riveter, anyone?” -The New York Times; January 22, 2009 (Rebuttal)

“If we discovered that space aliens were planning to attack and we needed a massive buildup to counter the space alien threat and really inflation and budget deficits took secondary place to that, this slump would be over in 18 months. And then if we discovered, oops, we made a mistake, there aren’t any aliens, we’d be better.” -CNN’s Global Public Square; August 12, 2011

Feel free to post more examples in the comment section, just make sure they are “stupid and outrageous” things he said in “the Times or some other verifiable site.”

The rebellion in Libya seems to have been successful, or as successful as any rebellion can be. The Gaddafi-controlled capital of Tripoli fell Sunday to rebel forces, several of the tyrant’s sons have been captured, and Gaddafi himself is on the run. The streets of Benghazi and Tripoli were filled with Libyans elated by the news that the old regime was finally crumbling. But the joy that comes with the toppling of a dictator is always mixed with the apprehension that tomorrow might not be any better. This is the unfortunate reality of revolution.

Already the rebel fighters realize that their victory Sunday night was not as complete as it seemed at the time. Instead of being filled with jubilation, the streets of Tripoli are silent today, except when the crack of a sniper’s rifle resounds. Pockets of soldiers loyal to the state remain in the city. Gaddafi’s own compound is still well-fortified and manned by dedicated loyalists. When and if the rebels secure the entire country, dissatisfaction, fear, and hate will still exist. And with the fear and hate will come a new regime; a regime which will impose its laws and prejudices upon the people, disregarding any inconvenient protestations, especially if the minority dissents. Hopefully, and there is good reason to hope, these new impositions will be less burdensome than the old, but any hope must be measured against the real possibility of a regime fresh yet indistinguishable from the last.

Robert A. Heinlein’s novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress explores the very same problem. In the novel, Luna (the moon) is a prison colony run completely by the “prisoners.” They provide their own utilities, courts, police, and roads— all in very libertarian ways. A small group of prisoners plot to free Luna from the government of Earth. They begin building a resistance movement, which comprises the bulk of the novel. The rebellion grows, and Earth eventually attempts to land troops on the moon. The troops are repelled and Luna is free, but by the end of the novel the politicians on Luna are already undoing what the revolution accomplished. In a later Heinlein novel, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, it is revealed that Luna became even more oppressive than Earth had been.

As Heinlein proposes though, the outcomes of revolutions are not the most important or the longest lasting parts. It is the ideas which motivated the revolution and the revolutionary saga itself that endure. Heinlein’s novel is a transparent examination of the American Revolution’s legacy, but the theme of his book holds for other revolutions too.  In Egypt and Tunisia we have seen images of this theme, and it’s likely Libya will follow the pattern.

So, what will be the legacy of the Arab Spring? It seems to me that, regardless of the political outcomes, the demonstrations and rebellions in the Arab world affirm the dignity of the individual, and that this is what they will be remembered for. The war in Libya was a reaction to absolute despotism in one of its most flamboyant forms: it repudiated a system that demanded citizens be slaves. Wars are not fought or won by just money and power—ideas matter too; and the idea that has motivated the oppressed for thousands of years has been liberty. The desire for liberty is virtually universal, and that should be heartening to those fighting for liberty, whether they’re in Tripoli, Libya or Tripoli, Iowa.

Currently 100,000 copies of The Morality of Capitalism, What Your Professors Won’t Tell You are in route to student groups around the world for mass distribution on campus this fall.  The new book, a project of Students For Liberty and the Atlas Network, combines the writings of renowned economists, philosophers, historians, policy experts, and entrepreneurs from around the world to make the case that not only do free markets “deliver the goods”, but that true free market capitalism is a just and moral system.

Today, in preview of the book’s arrival on campus, we are releasing the Introduction to The Morality of Capitalism free to download in PDF format.  Written by the editor Dr. Tom G. Palmer, the Introduction explains why the term “capitalism” was chosen for the title, explores the history of the history of the term, illustrates the difference between free market capitalism and “crony capitalism”, confronts various challenges to the free market system, and invites the reader to explore the essays, read all the various viewpoints, and make up their minds for themselves.

The Click here to download the Introduction to The Morality of Capitalism (PDF)

We will be making the full text of the book available for download soon via PDF and also by Kindle.

These books will be an invaluable tool to the students in their fight for liberty.  As we say at Students For Liberty, if the professors will not teach these ideas in the classroom, then we will teach them in the dorm room.  These books are the intellectual ammunition that students need to win the war of ideas on campus.

Of course, printing and distributing these 100,000 books free to students is not a “free” endeavor.  We rely on our generous supporters to make it possible.  Click here to make a contribution today.  Every dollar donated will be put towards producing more resources like this and putting them into the hands of students who desperately need them.

2011 European Students For Liberty Conference 

November 18-20
University of Leuven (by Brussels, Belgium)
Hosted by the Flemish Classical Liberal Association

Register Here!

Almost one year after having the first European Liberty Conference in Milano, many things have happened in the European Students For Liberty Movement. We just kicked off the European branch of Students For Liberty and recently had our first leadership retreat in London. One of our main tasks for this year will be organizing the first European Students For Liberty Conference (ESFLC) at the Catholic University of Leuven, only a 20 minutes ride from the European capital Brussels, Belgium from November 18th-20th. The conference will be hosted by the Flemish LVSV, which is the world’s oldest pro-liberty campus organization.

The goal of the conference is to bring classical liberal/pro liberty/libertarian students across Europe together, to exchange experience in campus activism, to train students through workshops on activism, and help them to get more pro-liberty campus groups off the ground in Europe. Workshops will be run by senior European and US liberty activists. Besides workshops, the conference will also expose attendees to speeches by great champions of liberty in Europe.

We will also host a Liberty Fair in order to give free market think tanks and activist groups a forum to present their achievements, current projects, and publications, as well as provide students the chance to interact with European pro-liberty organizations.

The conference will begin on Friday afternoon and will end on Sunday at noon, with socials on both Friday and Saturday.

Our first Keynote Speaker is Dr. Tom Palmer of the Cato Institute and the Atlas Economic Research Foundation.  We will be announcing more in the upcoming weeks.  The conference will feature several breakout sessions addressing different and interesting topics. Pasquale Annicchino (researcher at EUI), for example, will talk about the relationship between religion and classical liberalism/libertarianism and several SFL Executive Board Members will host sessions on “How to Start a Group on Campus” and “Being Young Leaders for Liberty”.

Dr. Tom G. Palmer, Keynote Speaker

Tom G. Palmer is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, and director of Cato University, the Institute’s educational arm. Palmer is also the vice president for international programs at the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, and is responsible for establishing operating programs in 14 languages and managing programs for a worldwide network of think tanks. Before joining Cato he was an H. B. Earhart Fellow at Hertford College, Oxford University, and a vice president of the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University. He frequently lectures in North America, Europe, Eurasia, Africa, Latin America, China, and the Middle East on political science, public choice, civil society, and the moral, legal, and historical foundations of individual rights. He has published reviews and articles on politics and morality in scholarly journals such as the Harvard Journal of Law and Public PolicyEthics,Critical Review, and Constitutional Political Economy, as well as in publications such asSlate, the Wall Street Journal, the New York TimesDie Welt, the Washington Post, and The Spectator of London. He received his B.A. in liberal arts from St. Johns College in Annapolis, Maryland, his M.A. in philosophy from The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., and his doctorate in politics from Oxford University. He is the author of Realizing Freedom: Libertarian Theory, History, and Practice, published in 2009.


A parodied Paul Krugman Google+ account released this little gem late on Tuesday evening:

People on twitter might be joking, but in all seriousness, we would see a bigger boost in spending and hence economic growth if the earthquake had done more damage.

An already trending topic on Twitter, #KrugmanStimulus exploded with even more ridiculous 140-character economic solutions.*  Below is a list of favorites that I encountered, in no particular order… except for number 10.  I think that’s my all-time favorite.

*These are tongue-in-cheek, and are meant in no way to understate how serious both natural and human-caused disasters are.










Luckily, as students for liberty, we understand that this is a modern-day broken window fallacy.  Check out the collection of Bastiat’s essays that SFL published last year- The Economics of Freedom: What Your Professors Won’t Tell You.

See any other funny #KrugmanStimulus tweets out there?  Post them in the comments section!

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