We sit at the precipice of the failure of state interventionism. Contrary to the rhetorical flare with which the two factions of the mainstream hurl at each other, we live neither in a free market world, nor a socialist one. Ours is the age of interventionism— not only economically, but socially and militarily as well.
But what comes next? If interventionist statism, and the culture that flows from it, are on a trajectory of disaster then are the “ideas” —such as they are— of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to replace the old? Is true socialism the inevitable future that will be born at the death of capitalism? While Marx held that socialism was the true and determined successor to capitalism, we Misesians understand that history is a product of human action. And humans act under the influence of the ideas they hold.
Thus, our battle is over ideas and it is not yet lost, but it has still to be won. We operate under what Rothbard refers to as the “eternal struggle between power and market.” Socialism seeks to replace the power structure of corporatist interventionism with a power structure that is distinct, and yet a deviation from private property and markets all the same.
The premier socialist publication Jacobin Magazine recently indicated in their end of 2018 email that “it’s the best time to be a socialist in the United States since the 1970s.” Why is this? Because interventionism is failing, and the social ramifications of this are as important as the economic ones. As Mises once observed, socialists— true socialists, not left interventionists a la Elizabeth Warren— also oppose economic interventionism; they know it cannot “work.” And thus, at the precipice, the socialist sees opportunity.
The Austro-Libertarian edifice is the true antidote to both the devastation of interventionism and the terrors of socialism. We recognize that the state has failed to “manage capitalism,” to “plan for freedom.” And yet, we are resolute in our position that only liberty grounded in private property rights can bring us forward to more prosperous and civilized ages.
We therefore envision, as part of our site moving forward, a quarterly printed publication that covers a broad range of subjects as can be overviewed here— economic theory, political and legal theory, social frameworks, history, and so much more. Our economics, which we hold as a value-free science, are Austrian; or more specifically, Mengerian, Böhm-Bawerkian, and Misesian. Our political theory is rights-based; Libertarian in the Rothbardian, Hoppean, anarcho-capitalist strain. We are adherents to a system of thought, rigorous and precise.
This magazine exists, in its own small and audacious way, to contribute to the Cause. Capitalism has bestowed upon the west a certain standard of living that would regress magnificently under socialism and it is up to us to fight for the return of freedom. We wage our battle in the realm of ideas, working to win the hearts and minds of those who seek to understand the profound contributions of liberty.
We believe that there should be a publication of sophisticated and elegant commentary, from the Austro Libertarian perspective, on the world as it is, and the world that should be. Of course, we have the indispensable Mises Wire and Fee.or and LRC and so on. And on the other side of the difficulty level, we have things like the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics. But if the socialist movement has Jacobin, I believe that there is nothing analogous in the libertarian world.
And by analogous, I am being specific: 100+ pages of exclusive, original, and thoughtful analysis. Full of graphics, world class presentation, pleasant and attractive prose, and an underlying “post-political” feel of cultural dissent. And printed on thick stock, glue bound, something to look forward to in the common attempt to escape the absurd and loud world of social media several times a week.
I believe that Jacobin founder Bhaskar Sunkara was right when he pronounced in 2011 at the birth of Jacobin that “there still is an audience for critical commentary.” He also observed in the same post that “Substantive engagement does not preclude entertainment. Discarding stale phrases and ideas does not necessitate avoiding thought itself. Voicing discontent with the trappings of late capitalism does not mean we can’t grapple with culture at both aesthetic and political levels.”
Critical commentary, substantive yet entertaining engagement, the embracing of thought, voicing discontent (though not over alleged capitalism, but against the state and its magnificent injustices). Sunkara had quite a vision— he really is an entrepreneur, proving of course that the market system does not depend on the actor understanding how it works in order to be successful.
And of course, I am not doing this alone. I have been in communication and planning stages with very able and brilliant writers– some of whom are Mises alumni. Chris Calton, for instance, has a piece in the inaugural Winter issue. Our spring issue will be on war, and we are looking forward to put a very able team of editors and contributors together, both on the content side, as well as the graphics and visual side. We are going all out. Do not the ideas of liberty deserve our very best?
We are hopeful that interventionism is on its deathbed, but we recognize that AOC, despite her pure thoughtlessness in so many ways, and her ilk are looking to take up the mantle of power. Jacobin exists as the intellectual justification for her antics. And Jacobin doesn’t have a quality, intentionally Misesian print peer. While I do not operate under illusions of immediate or ultimate success, this is why I am engaging this project: can we not offer more than the socialists?