Libertarian History/Philosophy

Blast From the Past: Isabel Paterson on Blaming the Financiers

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The Notorious I.M.P.

Reason has been celebrating (or at least chronicling) the life and times of journalist, literary critic, curmudgeon, and all-around interesting proto-libertarian gal Isabel Paterson with a cartoon series in the print edition drawn by our own Peter Bagge. (The exciting conclusion will appear in the next issue of the print edition, subscribe today!) If you haven't come across her before, think Ayn Rand, but with Dorothy Parker's sense of humor and sharp tongue, plus a pinch of deism.

Purely coincidentally, I happen to find myself at a conference on Paterson's most famous book, about which Ayn Rand said: The God of the Machine "does for capitalism what DasKapital does for the Reds and what the Bible did for Christianity." I.M.P. isn't much read these days, but there are some real gems in the book. Originally published in 1943, there's one passage that's astonishingly relevant today:

At any time when finance is under attack through the political authority, it is an infallible sign that the political authority is already exercising too much power over the economic life of the nation through manipulation of finance, whether by exorbitant taxation, uncontrolled expenditure, unlimited borrowing, or currency depreciation.

How's that for a Friday Fun Link?

NEXT: What Is It They Say About the Best Laid Plans?

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  1. “through manipulation of finance, whether by exorbitant taxation, uncontrolled expenditure, unlimited borrowing, or currency depreciation.”

    ALL OF THE ABOVE.

  2. I can tell from the cartoon that she was hot…

    1. Hotter than Ayn Rand at least.

  3. …plus a pinch of deism.

    I guess that Ayn Rand considered her a raving mysticist then.

    1. You’re not even trying.

  4. I.M.P. isn’t much read these days, but there are some real gems in the book.

    It’s only $5.95 on Kindle… going to check it out this weekend.

  5. For the last 100 years the political authority is already exercising too much power over the economic life of the nation through manipulation of finance, whether by exorbitant taxation, uncontrolled expenditure, unlimited borrowing, or currency depreciation.

  6. You can read “God of the Machine” for FREE, courtesy of Mises.org, by going here and downloading a .pdf version:
    http://mises.org/resources/3363/God-of-the-Machine

    1. Ooooh, Mises.org has a Stanza catalogue for e-readers.

  7. At any time when finance is under attack through the political authority, it is an infallible sign that the political authority is already exercising too much power over the economic life of the nation through manipulation of finance, whether by exorbitant taxation, uncontrolled expenditure, unlimited borrowing, or currency depreciation.

    We don’t really need any preconditions for this to be true.

  8. At any time when finance seems to be under attack through the political authority, on closer examination the political authority proves to be directed by a bunch of people with “Goldman-Sachs” or “Citigroup” on their resumes.

    Both the Paulson and Geithner versions of the TARP program are essentially the same: a Hamiltonian project of taxing the public to buy up bad assets at face value, in order to prevent them being marked down to their real market value. Jeez, I wish I could come under that kind of “attack.”

  9. Paterson’s uncanny ability to foreshadow HER future (and OUR tragic reality) is incredible.

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