• The Constitution of Liberty

      On my FBN show tonight, I will confront New York Times reporter Kate Zernike about an article she wrote for the Times that said Tea Party activists read "once-obscure texts by dead writers."

      Despite her employment at the Times, her coverage of the Tea Party has been largely fair. But I was bothered by her saying that:

      ... [W]hen it comes to ideology, it has reached back to dusty bookshelves for long-dormant ideas. It has resurrected once-obscure texts by dead writers — in some cases elevating them to best-seller status — to form a kind of Tea Party canon. Recommended by Tea Party icons like Ron Paul and Glenn Beck, the texts are being quoted everywhere from protest signs to Republican Party platforms. Pamphlets in the Tea Party bid for a Second American Revolution, the works include Frédéric Bastiat’s “The Law,” published in 1850, which proclaimed that taxing people to pay for schools or roads was government-sanctioned theft, and Friedrich Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom” (1944), which argued that a government that intervened in the economy would inevitably intervene in every aspect of its citizens’ lives.

      I enjoyed David Boaz’ take on that at Cato@Liberty.

      So that's, you know, "long-dormant ideas" like those of F. A. Hayek, the winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, who met with President Reagan at the White House, whose book The Constitution of Liberty was declared by Margaret Thatcher "This is what we believe," who was described by Milton Friedman as "the most important social thinker of the 20th century" and by White House economic adviser Lawrence H. Summers as the author of "the single most important thing to learn from an economics course today," who is the hero of The Commanding Heights, the book and PBS series by Daniel Yergin and Joseph Stanislaw, and whose book The Road to Serfdom has never gone out of print and has sold 100,000 copies this year. So that's Kate Zernike's idea of an obscure, long-dormant thinker. Meanwhile, over the next few weeks after that article ran, the following headlines appeared in the New York Times:

      ·        Cuts in Britain Ignore Views of Keynes
      ·        What Would Keynes Say Today?
      ·        Democrats Are at Odds on Relevance of Keynes

      Apparently the Times isn't always opposed to looking in the dusty books of long-dead writers. By the way, Keynes died in 1946, Hayek in 1992.

      Tea Party