SEE THE FOLLOWING FOR THE OTHER PARTS:
5[Mises, Planning for Freedom, chap. 6, pp. 50–63.]
In resorting to the method of innuendo and trying to make their adversaries
suspect by referring to them in ambiguous terms allowing of various interpretations, the camp-followers of Lord Keynes are imitating their idol’s own
procedures. For what many people have admiringly called Keynes’s “brilliance of style” and “mastery of language” were, in fact, cheap rhetorical tricks.
Ricardo, says Keynes, “conquered England as completely as the Holy Inquisition conquered Spain.” This is as vicious as any comparison could be. The
Inquisition, aided by armed constables and executioners, beat the Spanish people into submission. Ricardo’s theories were accepted as correct by British intellectuals without any pressure or compulsion being exercised in their favor. But
in comparing the two entirely diff erent things, Keynes obliquely hints that there
was something shameful in the success of Ricardo’s teachings and that those who
disapprove of them are as heroic, noble and fearless champions of freedom as
were those who fought the horrors of the Inquisition.
The most famous of Keynes’s aperçus is: “Two pyramids, two masses
for the dead, are twice as good as one; but not so two railways from London to York.” It is obvious that this sally, worthy of a character in a play
by Oscar Wilde or Bernard Shaw, does not in any way prove the thesis
that digging holes in the ground and paying for them out of savings “will
increase the real national dividend of useful goods and services.” But it
puts the adversary in the awkward position of either leaving an apparent
argument unanswered or of employing the tools of logic and discursive
reasoning against sparkling wit.
Another instance of Keynes’s technique is provided by his malicious
description of the Paris Peace Conference. Keynes disagreed with Clemenceau’s ideas. Thus, he tried to ridicule his adversary by broadly expatiating upon his clothing and appearance which, it seems, did not meet with the standard set by London outfitters. It is hard to discover any connection with the German reparations problem in the fact that Clemenceau’s boots “were of thick black leather, very good, but of a country style, and sometimes fastened in front, curiously, by a buckle instead of laces.” After 15 million human beings had perished in the war, the foremost statesmen of the world were assembled to give mankind a new international order and lasting peace — and the British Empire’s financial expert was amused bythe rustic style of the French prime minister’s footwear.
Fourteen years later there was another international conference. This
time Keynes was not a subordinate adviser, as in 1919, but one of the main
figures. Concerning this London World Economic Conference of 1933,
Professor Robinson observes: “Many economists the world over will
remember … the performance in 1933 at Covent Garden in honour of the
Delegates of the World Economic Conference, which owed its conception
and organization very much to Maynard Keynes.”
Thoose economists who were not in the service of one of the lamentably
inept governments of 1933 and therefore were not delegates and did not
attend the delightful ballet evening will remember the London Conference for other reasons. It marked the most spectacular failure in the history of international aff airs of those policies of neo-Mercantilism which Keynes backed. Compared with this fi asco of 1933, the Paris Conference of 1919 appears to have been a highly successful aff air. But Keynes did not publish any sarcastic comments on the coats, boots and gloves of the
delegates of 1933.
The Mises Reader–Unabridged, pp. 350-351, Shawn Ritenour, Editor