Saturday Book Review: Libertarianism A to Z by Jeffrey Miron

by wisdomhunt

I thought I was going to hate this book, and I was right.

That being said, I have to admit that it could have been worse. Doctor Kook, Ron Paul, clearly copied Miron’s format when he wrote his horrific Liberty Defined, which also used an A to Z format to discuss various topics. However, he should have copied some of Miron’s pragmatism.

But Liberty Defined is for a future book review. Today’s focus is on Miron’s work.

My first clue that this book might not be half bad came before I even got to the table of contents:

To the memories of

Milton Friedman

Well well, Milton Friedman. Maybe Miron isn’t half bad. Even the New York Times doesn’t think Friedman is half bad. Maybe I’m getting soft, but if Miron is dedicating his entire book to the man that helped craft fiat currency and income taxes, then how bad can he be?

Well, pretty bad unfortunately. He gets most things wrong, and all the wrongs are only occasionally offset by positions such as his opposition to the gold standard, his championing of school vouchers (as opposed to the abolition of public education), his neutrality on fiscal stimulus/Keynesian economics and his openness to pretty much all forms of taxation.

His entire perspective is summed up in the introduction:

Thoughtful application of the libertarian perspective nevertheless leads to consistent conclusions about which parts of government are beneficial and which are not.

This quote clearly illustrates to me that Miron is a practical minarchist at worst, and a minarchist is really just like any other politician that hasn’t had the power yet.

If given the reins of government, I have no doubt that Miron would merely implement his vision of society, as opposed to abolishing most government functions like a true libertarian. I might disagree with some points of that his vision, but at least he would never advocate relinquishing power to the people.