Free market economists/libertarians spend a lot of their time reacting against proposals, often mixing up technocratic discussions with ideology (something for which we can thank Milton Friedman). The result is that they often contradict themselves somewhere along the line. Here are a few examples:
1. Voluntary cooperation is justified and produces superior outcomes, except when people join unions.
2. People maximise utility and should be free to do what they want, except when they vote.
4. Rational self interest is optimal for society, except in the case of political movements.
6. Excessive wages are bad and cause unemployment, but CEO pay is always justified.
7. Voluntary exchanges are always just and right, but not in the case of fractional reserve banking.
8. Protecting people from risk with benefits, deposit insurance and consumer protection is bad – what are limited liability laws?
9. Government funded job creation is unnatural and inflationary, but throwing money at banks is not.
10. Bail the banks out, but any subsequent tightening of regulation is an invasion of the free market.
11. The broken window fallacy is always a fallacy, but creative destruction is a vital part of capitalism. (That particular book is linked because he puts Schumpeter and Hazlitt right next to each other, apparently without realising the irony).
12. Top-down planning is bad, but we should never question the actions of corporations.
13. Public debt needs to be attacked, but private debt doesn’ t matter – let’s increase it.
14. Obama is a Socialist! But eliminating oil company subsidies is un-American.
15. Left wing governments make people dependent on welfare for votes, but drug companies doing something similar should be ignored.
16. Public choice theory means the government can’t do anything right, but it doesn’t apply to economists themselves.
18. State intervention is bad, but the government should increase interest rates to stop wage inflation.
20. Investors need to be confident about the future. No, we shouldn’t shore up their confidence by injecting money into the economy! What on earth…
21. If the government spends money it will crowd out private investment. If the private sector spends money it won’t crowd out other private sector investment.
22. Committee think is a terrible way to do things. But shareholder value capitalism is the best system ever designed.
23. Aggregate demand is a meaningless concept, but Say’s Law still holds.
24. And of course, the classic: government shouldn’t interfere in people’s lives, except when it’s telling them exactly how to behave.