Tuesday, March 16, 2010

One Unjust Discrimination Justifies Another?

Justin Wolfers is angry that the Texas Board of Education, as part of a general move to allow Texas students to hear not just the left-liberal perspective on various issues, but also hear "conservative" ideas, will start to present Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek alongside Adam Smith, Karl Marx and John Maynard Keynes when teaching economics.

He argues that this means that "Hayek is propped up by government intervention". First of all, any government mandated school curriculum constitutes government intervention. So, as long as government school curriculum exists it will be government intervention, regardless of whether or not Marxist and Keynesian views are challenged by Austrian ideas, or not.

His sole argument for why it is somehow worse to let students know about Hayek in addition to Marx and Keynes, instead of just Marx and Keynes, seems to be that Hayek is less quoted in academic journals.

But this just reflects the general leftist and anti-Austrian bias of modern universities. Austrian theory is the most logically coherent and empirically relevant around, and the fact that economics departments generally pretends it doesn't exist is no argument for why Texas schools should do the same. If anything, it makes this change all the more justified.