Monday, October 17, 2022

Taleb: On Academic Libertarians

“I cannot for the life of me understand why today's libertarians do not go after tenured faculty (except perhaps because many libertarians are academics).” ~ Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his book The Black Swan: The Impact Of The Highly Improbable (page 183)

Taleb makes this point during his analysis of Hayek’s Academic Libertarianism. His point is pertinent. The libertarians claim that they stand for minimum government. Some extremist libertarians claim that they stand for stateless society (whatever that means). 

The truth is that libertarianism is an academic cult. Most libertarians are tenured professors; they are bureaucrats who draw their salary and pensions from the public.


Daniel [] said...

If we agreed that, once the state has captured an institution beyond the proper scope of the state, libertarians could not avail themselves of that institution, then libertarianism would already be defeated because life would thus have been made impossible for libertarians. But those reaching for such a principle ought to do rather better than pretending that it is obvious.

As to libertarians being relatively quiet about the desirability of privatizing all of education, I don't see them as more or less quiet on this issue than on most.

A large share of those libertarians visible to non-libertarians will be academics, but the vast majority of libertarians are simply not. They are not so visible because they are shut-out of popular culture by a corporate left that utterly loathes them.

Anoop Verma said...

@Daniel: Good points. I think the libertarian movement is being led by academics and professional philosophers. It is a movement of "men of ideas," not of "men of action." But politics is the handmaiden of men of action.