Skip to content

Ep. 221 Why Biden Paid Leave Will Hurt Women, and Why Morpheus Gives Bad Moral Advice

Bob explains the economics of paid leave, and he points out some disturbing trends in the “post-libertarian” discussions about fighting tyranny.

Mentioned in the Episode and Other Links of Interest:

The audio production for this episode was provided by Podsworth Media.

About the author, Robert

Christian and economist, Chief Economist at infineo, and Senior Fellow with the Mises Institute.


  1. Not Bob on 11/05/2021 at 1:40 PM

    “Post-libertarianism” aka “I don’t understand libertarianism.”

  2. Tyler on 11/05/2021 at 2:58 PM

    This was a refreshing episode. I’ve been frustrated that some of this rhetoric has been going around in the Tom Woods Show Elite.

  3. gunkslinger on 11/05/2021 at 10:18 PM

    Excellent analysis.

  4. Haryommeldo Quineopele on 11/06/2021 at 2:24 AM

    I think many of the things those being called “post-libertarians” are saying are important and need to be taken seriously even though I have significant criticisms of many of them. I imagine much of their frustration is a result of libertarians insisting on speaking out against the idea of a government doing something as relatively mild as banning private vaccine mandates. Anti-discrimination legislation and regulations on the employee/employer relationship are nothing new, and no one thought they were the greatest acts of tyranny. As far as unlibertarian government policies go, I just do not see how this is so bad. On the other hand, as far as actions permitted by the non-aggression principle, few are as disgustingly abusive as firing people because they do not get injected with a possibly harmful drug which does not stop the spread of any contagion and is immune from liability. This is far worse than paying an employee less than an arbitrary amount and the size of the business or whether there is a federal mandate does not matter; this evil just needs to stop. I do not believe aggressive force is needed to stop it, but this is hardly a terrible use of it. Additionally, the coordinated agenda by the federal government and crony globalist corporations this is a part of means that this needs to be stopped with such urgency that I will not complain if imperfect means are used.

    Of course principles still matter, but not so much when none of the governors doing this have ever called themselves libertarians. Libertarians who support them are only choosing the best of several imperfect options, the worst of which is doing nothing. The question relevant to the discussions taking place is what should a libertarian do if he were in a position of government power. I think there is a very simple solution, but in order to see it, one must be honest about something. “libertarianism” is misnamed. It is about peace more than it is about liberty. The non-aggression principle says that one person’s freedom ends where other people and their property begin. “anarcho-capitalism” would effectively be government by landlords and contractual obligations and would be no less authoritarian and hierarchical than any arrangement which exists now. I think this would be better described as “archo-capitalism”, as the functions of government would be goods produced in the market. Reading your work helped me realize this. With the understanding that a fully privatized and voluntary society would be effectively unfree in many ways, it seems like a rather obvious possibility that existing governments can become more like private voluntary associations with only relatively small changes. Instead of reducing or abolishing a government and hoping things turn out well, it seems like it would be better and mostly in line with the NAP for the faction controlling a government to pursue a positive agenda to advance their and their supporter’s interests while also creating ways for people to opt-out or secede from that government. The government would impose costs and prohibitions while also providing benefits which would be denied to anyone who does not pay the cost or obey the restrictions. In this way, a government could ban private vaccine mandates using similar means by which those mandates are enacted.

    The goal of limited government has clearly been a political failure and it does not make sense. If people should be allowed to do what they want as long as they do not hurt others, then so should governments. A government which does not hurt people must allow secession. I think this is the one idea libertarians should argue for as a solution. The idea of small government is not helpful for achieving this.

    • Tyler on 11/12/2021 at 6:25 PM

      Aggressive force is both unnecessary and not helpful. The states need only announce that they will uphold businesses in their decision in terms of a vaccination policy, and ensure that they will protect businesses from discriminatory treatment based on their vaccination policies, from all levels of government.

      The vaccine mandate only affects companies with more than 100 employees, while the vaccine bans tend to be more sweeping. Some Libertarians have tried to argue that the giant corporations imposing vaccine mandates are too in bed with the government to be considered private (sometimes merely by virtue of their imposing vaccine mandates). But these large companies are not the ones being impacted by vaccine mandate bans. In fact, they have tended to flaunt the state bans, which is unsurprising since they do most of their business in other jurisdictions that do have mandates. So not only do the bans not affect the companies that the proponents claim to want to go after, but they also affect a lot of undeniably private businesses, and set an even wider precedent than the federal mandate by casting a broader net with their dictates.

      I agree that this is a minor instance of aggression compared to other kinds of aggression which are ongoing, and I don’t think Libertarians should put any resources into resisting vaccine mandate bans except to oppose them for the record. I also agree that with politicians, we have to evaluate them on the whole. I will be voting for De Santis even though I disagree with the vaccine mandate bans. But Libertarians should oppose this specific measure. If we get into the business of doing cost/benefit analysis with human rights, then we don’t actually believe in rights and are just doing what every other political ideology does.

  5. wait what on 11/10/2021 at 10:13 PM

    How about a law that says only Bob Murphy can be taxed? All taxation is ended, but there is no limit to tax Bob. The government would collapse and cease to exist. But by Bob’s logic only Bob could morally vote for such law, everyone else would be violating libertarian principles.

    • Tyler on 11/12/2021 at 6:08 PM

      Not if they had Bob’s consent, which probably they would.

      • wait what on 12/01/2021 at 6:24 PM

        Okay, let’s say it’s not Bob. It’s John, and John doesn’t give you consent. What then? Do you vote for it anyway and break your principles? If not, it’s pretty silly, and accusations of “muh principles” are valid.

  6. Tuppenceworth on 11/11/2021 at 9:30 PM

    Thought provoking ep, as per. Meant to post this when I first listened:—

    Regarding changes made to taxes which are beneficial to many but which harm others — I had actually just finished reading this geeky article about (the important subject of) alcohol taxes in the UK which had already got me thinking along these lines.

    Not just a conceptual liberal dilemma, but also a real political one. Margaret Thatcher fell foul of the golden rule of *don’t raise anyone’s taxes* when she introduced the “community charge” or poll tax for local authorities which was supposedly economically fairer overall than the existing property value system but involved a lot of people’s taxes going up unexpectedly and lead to civil unrest.

    • Tel on 11/19/2021 at 10:06 AM

      Margaret Thatcher went up against Willie Sutton’s Law … there’s great difficulty in taking money from people who don’t have any.

  7. Tel on 11/22/2021 at 9:26 PM

    I’ve been meaning to put together some kind of essay and/or speech on Libertarians and compromise.

    It should be the most natural thing for a group of people who believe in the constant negotiations of the business world and the free market, to also grasp the idea of coming to a political agreement. Every buyer wants a lower price, every seller wants a higher price, and how they sort themselves out and eventually reach a position where both parties are better off than they would be walking away.

    Why would it be any different with an example (one example among many) such as the War on Drugs? One side wants total prohibition and heavy enforcement, while the other side wants open slather … but it’s ridiculous to think there’s no place in between. You can have a law that says that buying and selling certain listed drugs is prohibited, but at the same time households can legally grow up to 10 plants for personal use (not enough to start a business) and provided they keep it small they will stay out of trouble. There’s a compromise position, that doesn’t entirely satisfy either side, but the prohibitionist wowsers still have something they can enforce going after the big dealers, while the little guy can say “I just wanna grow a bit of weed, go away and don’t tread on me!”

    There are some problems with the compromises of the past, which is that typically socialists don’t give you anything in return, and stupid “conservative” politicians aren’t even bright enough to require they get anything in return. This isn’t compromise, this is surrender, and it wouldn’t work in business either.

  8. Bill on 12/05/2021 at 3:07 AM

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think it’s correct to say that employers are only willing to pay employees less than their DMRP, however slightly, (9:52, 10:59) because this claim ignores the time element. As an analogy, suppose a free-market economy where the prevailing interest rate is 10%. Say someone is looking to sell an airtight claim to $11,000 payable one year from now. The present value of such a claim is $10,000. Would it be correct to say that no investor would be willing to pay $10,000, because the purchase would be a wash? Obviously not. An investor would make the purchase because he prefers the larger sum of future money to the smaller sum of present money.

    Wages are essentially a form of investment – the employee is paid now for an output that is sold later. If a worker’s DMRP is known with certainty, then just like in the case of the loan, we would expect an investor to pay precisely this amount for the worker’s services – not a penny more and not a penny less. The reason for the purchase is the same: the investor prefers the larger sum of future money to the smaller sum of present money. If the worker’s DMRP is not known with certainty, then his wages will vary according to the investors’ expectations of the DMRP and their risk tolerance, but again will be biased neither upward nor downward. (This is setting aside possible real-world complications, such as the costs of finding job candidates, but I took the original claim to be setting aside such complications as well.)

    I realize this has no bearing on the larger point he was making, but I’ve heard Murphy make this claim a few times, and I want to make sure we’re thinking about this clearly.

    • Robert Murphy on 12/07/2021 at 3:52 AM

      Bill, I was getting ready to roll my eyes and think you didn’t realize what the “D” in DMRP meant, but then I re-read your comment and realized what you were saying. Let me think about this; that’s a really interesting question.

Leave a Comment