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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Laissez-faire capitalism: The best and only moral system under which to live -- no exceptions!, October 30, 2008
This review is from: Defending the Undefendable (Paperback)
In the classic Defending the Undefendable, Austrian School economist Dr. Walter Block makes both moral and utilitarian cases for completely laissez-faire capitalism -- no exceptions! The premise of the book is, if freedom to choose can be defended and even celebrated when it comes to the prostitute, the pimp, the drug user, and other social pariahs, then certainly that same freedom should be afforded to everyone else. These supposedly "undefendable" figures, Dr. Block shows, are not only "defendable" but actually heroic.

For example, the drug dealer: He is only providing a product that is in demand to a customer who demands it. It isn't the drugs themselves that promote crime, says Block (with supporting evidence included), but the high cost of the drugs -- and that high cost is a direct result of the drugs' prohibition. To the extent that the drug dealer braves the dangers of the black market to supply drugs to willing customers, he is putting downward pressure on the substances' prices, thereby reducing the likelihood of drug-related crimes against people and property. In this sense, the drug dealer is not only not a bad guy, but indeed a hero.

Libertarians are already very familiar with arguments (moral and utilitarian) for the legalization of drugs and prostitution. But what about blackmailers, slanderers, and libelers? Block takes up their cause. My favorite chapter features Block's analysis of "crooked" cops actually being superior to "honest" cops. After all, the crooked cop gives non-violent "criminals" (i.e. drug dealers, drug users, prostitutes, johns, etc.) the choice of paying a bribe or going to jail, while the honest cop gives them no such choice and instead kidnaps and confines them for their non-crimes. The crooked cop might park his car in an alley and go to sleep on the clock -- wasting taxpayer money, to be sure -- but not as much as the cop who actually "does his job" destroying liberty and property.

Another interesting thing about the book is how the public dialogue has changed since Defending was first published in 1976. For example, while America has drifted even deeper into socialism in the past 32 years, today's statists are not so brazen as to make arguments against the very existence of the profit system! But Block felt compelled to write a chapter defending the profiteer, as well as chapters defending the advertiser and the middle-man.

One final thought on this great book: I never cease being amazed at how thoroughly statism has been ingrained on my mind through the public schooling system, etc. For example, even as a staunch libertarian, I always supported the idea that you couldn't yell "fire" in a public theater -- this is where laws against "free speech" were sensible, right? Well, obviously, there's no need for such laws: "free speech" does not exist on private property, and the theater owner has every reason and right to make a rule against yelling "fire" -- there's no need for a government law. Duh! Block devoted an entire chapter to this concept, and it was ink and paper well spent.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 15, 2011 2:22:27 PM PDT
BruceK says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 8, 2012 8:06:43 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 8, 2012 8:07:24 AM PST
so are you (minus the rational part).

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 8, 2012 10:08:52 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 8, 2012 11:27:00 AM PST
BruceK says:
I dd not attack the person, i attacked the argument, but you and your right-wing irrationals just can't take that, you have to resort to personal insults. There is no rational support for laissez-faire capitalism and the US has not gotten more socialist in the last 32 years, whatever that even means anymore. Socialism is a meaningless terms thanks to Conservative operatives who must stop any discussion about anything to scare people and keep them from free inquiry. What started in the last 30+/- years the Orwellian redefinition and spin from the many "Conservative", whatever that even means anymore, think tanks. Pro-Life, Healthy Forests, Clean Coal, Clear Skies, blah, blah, blah, until nothing has any meaning anymore.

Go ahead call me some more names, you are on ignore now.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 17, 2012 4:48:13 AM PDT
"There is no rational support for laissez-faire capitalism and the US has not gotten more socialist in the last 32 years,"

Umm... no rational support for Laissez-Faire? Are you serious? Laissez-Faire has the most "rational" support out of any of the proposed economic systems. Read anything by Ludwig Von Mises or Murray Rothbard. Secondly, the US hasn't gotten more Socialist in the last 32 years? Are you kidding me? The fact that you would say this tells me that you don't know what Socialism is. And as for your whining about Orwellian redefinition, the biggest Orwellian redefinitions have occurred every-time the Socialists try to call their doctrines (or their opponent's doctrines) by different names. The Communists call the old Soviet Union "State Capitalism". They call every system that doesn't conform to their branch of Socialism by some variant of Capitalism.

The Socialist Party here in the US changed it's name to the Democratic Party, and rather than calling themselves Socialists, they use the terms LIBERALISM (which in reality has a vastly different meaning than the one attributed to it these days), Progressive, Social Democrat, etc. Capitalism on the other hand has always had the same definition; unhampered private ownership of the means of production, and the United States (contrary to what you think) doesn't have this anymore.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 6, 2015 9:07:17 PM PDT
neonpisces says:
> The Socialist Party here in the US changed it's name to the Democratic Party.

No, it didn't.
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Jason Seagraves
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Location: Saginaw, Michigan

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