I remember when I decided to let my subscription to the Von Mises Institute's newsletter lapse, thus renouncing forever my right to be called a card-carrying libertarian, even with the appellation "pro-life" added. Well, all right, I don't remember the year. But I remember the occasion. It was when I realized that the Von Mises folks were so bent on showing the world that free trade is a Good Thing that they were willing to imply falsehoods regarding the horrors of China's one-child policy. Their articles on the subject, when they mentioned it at all, read like dispatches from the UNFPA--all about how all that was in the past, how China was changing. The iron fist of the one-child policy was gradually withering away like the state in a Marxist's dream. But of course the Von Mises spin was that this was one of the wonders of free trade. See what a great moral cleanser even a tiny taste of the free market is; it gradually turns totalitarian Communist countries into places of ever-greater freedom. With, of course, the unstated assumption that this process will go on and on indefinitely. Move along, folks, nothing to see here.
Well, it was balderdash then, as a factual matter, and I knew it and was disturbed by their elevation of ideology over truth. And it's balderdash now. In spades. Here is the latest: Chinese province rounds up elderly parents, imprisons them in unpleasant conditions, and lectures them about the one-child policy, to force couples to get back to the village double-pronto and be sterilized as part of a round-the-clock sterilization marathon so the province can meet its sterilization quotas. I guess doctors in China don't have to worry about malpractice lawsuits, at least not under these circumstances. Sounds like a libertarian's dream, doesn't it?
Oh. Guess not.
HT: Mike Liccione