Bryan Caplan  

Somin on Libertarians and Jim Crow

Econ Blog Humor... Incorruptibly Evil...
Here are Ilya Somin's interesting observations on my recent bleg, reprinted with his permission.

Bryan, David Bernstein probably knows more about this than I do. But here are a few examples:

1. Moorfield Storey, one of the early leaders of the NAACP and a big player in Supreme COurt victories such as Buchanan v. Warley, was a libertarian:

2. Milton Friedman briefly denounced Jim Crow in Capitalism and Freedom and argued that school choice could help undermine it (108-18).

Despite these examples, and a few others like them (e.g. - Ayn Rand's denunciation of racism), I think it's fair to say most libertarians of this era did not give Jim Crow the attention it deserved, and a few were even on the wrong side of the issue on states' rights grounds. It's noteworthy that Hayek and von Mises almost completely ignored the issue, so far as I know, though that may be a result of their unfamiliarity with US racial issues.

BTW, I blogged about this issue here:

And here:

One other person you may want to note is South African libertarian economist W.H. Hutt, who was in the US during much of the 1960s, I think, and wrote against racially discriminatory laws in both the US and South Africa (though more the latter, I think, publishing his classic book on the Economics of the Colour Bar in the early 1960s (I think 1964). Here's a link to it:

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Vipul Naik writes:

Very interesting, thanks!

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