Monday, May 2, 2011

In which I step into dangerous territory...

...but given the back and forth, it seems fair enough to just pose the question.

I'm specifically curious with how Austrians take this line from Mises:

"It cannot be denied that Fascism and similar movements aiming at the establishment of dictatorships are full of the best intentions and that their intervention has, for the moment, saved European civilization. The merit that Fascism has thereby won for itself will live on eternally in history. But though its policy has brought salvation for the moment, it is not of the kind which could promise continued success. Fascism was an emergency makeshift. To view it as something more would be a fatal error”.

Mises, L. von, 1978. Liberalism: A Socio-Economic Exposition (2nd edn; trans. R. Raico), Sheed Andrews and McMeel, Mission, Kansas. p. 49.

I provided my detailed thoughts on the German preface - a very fascinating read, in my mind - so I think it's fair to ask Austrians what their thoughts are on this.

And to borrow and modify a one-liner that has accompanied the recent spate of German preface posts: can you imagine Keynes ever writing something like this? I certainly can't.

Thoughts? Does this make anyone uneasy?

67 comments:

  1. I'm not sure what Mises is saying is entirely true. Fascism is the cause of the whole war, and to say it has "saved European civilization" seems very strange.

    At any rate, like I said Daniel, it's a single phrase in a whole book dedicated to expounding liberal government. Then there's his whole life's work on fighting for liberalism and laissez-faire (His book Omnipotent Government is directed towards Nazi Germany). It's certainly not a pleasant phrase, I'll grant you. But it's not consistent with the rest of his life's achievements.

    I write as much in your earlier thread:

    Mises also founded his entire life to establishing a positive case for laissez-faire economics - not to mention the story of him fleeing Nazi Germany during the war. It's an ocean of fighting state intervention and an island of admitting the state is capable of some good (which he really DID believe - Mises was no anarchist.)

    Compared to Keynes who, you must admit, is not readily seen as the "last knight of liberalism" but who is more apt to endorse specific state measures that many of us would consider "top-down."

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  2. Because I think it's rather obvious that Keynes had a more "state-centered" view than Mises did. Just like you have a more "state-centered" view than I do.

    It wouldn't be nearly as surprising if you made that comment as if I did (and I'm not making any judgment on that).

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  3. Well what are we saying - that he had a greater role for the state or that he was not as great a defender of liberalism as Mises?

    I would certainly agree with you that Keynes had a greater role for the state in his vision ("state centered" might be going a little too far). But I think he probably did more to advance the cause of liberalism than Mises. This wasn't because Mises was an enemy of liberalism, of course: I just think some of his work could be more counter-productive to that end.

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  4. But the line itself - is that just a fluke?

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  5. Samuel WonacottMay 2, 2011 at 1:10 AM

    Would you really deny that Keynes was less of a classical liberal/libertarian than Mises was?

    Many people consider Mises and the rest of the Austrians somewhat kooky for their uber laissez faire beliefs. For some reason I can't really see you wanting to cast Keynes in that same light.

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  6. Samuel WonacottMay 2, 2011 at 1:11 AM

    Ah, already sort of answered above. My bad. Delete my comment if you want to, haha. It's rather redundant.

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  7. that he had a greater role for the state or that he was not as great a defender of liberalism as Mises?

    Both, actually. I honestly don't consider the man a defender of liberalism (of course, I don't know him as well as you do).

    ("state centered" might be going a little too far)

    I'm TRYING to be courteous. That was the most non-offensive way I could think to say Keynes was a statist (seeing as you objected to such phraseology earlier).

    I just think some of his work could be more counter-productive to that end.

    Really??? Which work by Mises would you consider counter-productive to liberalism? Keep in mind that you have read none of his work as you formulate your answer.

    But the line itself - is that just a fluke?

    No, I'm sure Mises believed it. For various reasons, I completely disagree with him.

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  8. Mattheus -
    I simply think a lot of libertarianism is counter-productive to advancing liberalism, although I'd agree that they are within the liberal tradition.

    I've noted the reasons before on here - libertarianism to a large extent takes the position of defending a status quo property rights regime, and it defines liberty as the non-violation of that rights regime. It ignores the extent to which status quo rights regimes can be artificial and coercive and therefore it is not always working to advance what I think true liberty is: the minimization of coercion. Libertarianism often stands in the way of various measures (including democratic governance, in many cases) that are attempting to advance liberty.

    In addition to all this, I think Mises in particular can be guilty of turning liberals against each other (i.e. - "you're all a bunch of socialists"), and that certainly doesn't help liberty either.

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  9. I've argued before it's not a "status quo" property rights regime - it's an a priori category of human interaction (despite your gratuitous Bentham quotations to the contrary). And yet we've never actually hashed it out properly.

    That line didn't turn liberals against each other; it just made everyone realize how stubborn and shocked Mises was.

    I can't believe you're really trying to argue that Keynes did more to to advance liberty than Mises. Most shocking discovery tonight, more than this Osama nonsense.

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  10. "I can't believe you're really trying to argue that Keynes did more to to advance liberty than Mises."

    Really?

    What did you think - that I agree with libertarians as an analytic matter and I just don't like liberty all that much? You can't have honestly thought that!

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  11. Now I'm getting off on a tangent in my own comment section - I'm looking forward to hearing more peoples' thoughts on Mises and fascism.

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  12. Samuel WonacottMay 2, 2011 at 1:43 AM

    I think it is a bit much to argue that Keynes did much to advance liberty in any sense. However, that's not to say he did anything to negate liberty, either.

    Advancing liberty in any specific way wasn't his goal. He didn't focus his energy on combating state violations of property rights, limiting government, or giving blacks civil liberties. He was an economist, and unlike some of the Austrians, he didn't seem to be too motivated by lofty political ideals (correct me if I'm wrong here).

    One could certainly argue that Keynes did a lot to advance modern capitalistic economies, and one can certainly argue that Mises' attempts to advance liberty were counterproductive, but it seems like reaching to try and claim Keynes as someone who advanced liberty broadly or specifically. I best I can tell, it just didn't seem to be his game.

    I know that Skidelsky in his book, "Keynes: The Return of the Master" tries to say essentially the same thing, but it's just not all that convincing. Maybe Keynes didn't have much influence on liberty throughout the world (either promoting or negating), and maybe that's okay?

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  13. Daniel,

    What did you think - that I agree with libertarians as an analytic matter and I just don't like liberty all that much? You can't have honestly thought that!

    And I never thought that. It just seems to me that Sam has it right: Keynes wasn't too concerned with the prospect of advancing liberty (and I would argue his intellectual descendants did much to negate it). He was more concerned with other matters.

    Not that there's anything wrong in suggesting that one's intellectual role model/hero didn't do X. It's not a huge blow to Mises that he fought Rothbard on anarchy, that Hayek turned a bit in his later years, or that Rand was an emotional trainwreck.

    I'm looking forward to hearing more peoples' thoughts on Mises and fascism.

    Take it for what it's worth, this is one of the few examples where I think Mises is totally wrong.

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  14. You are misinterpreting Mises.

    When Mises says that the movements toward Fascism were driven by good intentions, he means it as if to say, "People do not set out to become cruel tyrannical dictators, they set to do as they think is right and when their democratic or peaceful attempts fail, they are forced to either abandon their virtues or go all fascist with them."

    For an example of contemporary pertinence, listen to the rhetoric out of Ezra Klein, or Matt Yglesias, or Krugman, or DeLong, or... you - that there are important things that cannot be accomplished under fully liberal society (universal health care, financial stability, interest rate clarity, etc). Mises would argue that reality has revealed similar thoughts result in either, the abandoning of the original virtue, or the abandoning on liberal society.

    However, I have a feeling that this is not the thing you highlighted you have a problem with. As for the Mises loves fascism thing, let me add the thesis statement from the paragraph before that one and we'll see if some context helps:
    "It has often been said that nothing furthers a cause more than creating, martyrs for
    it."
    When Mises says Fascism has saved western civilization, he is making the same point Thomas Jefferson had made as well, when he said that, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants."
    What both are saying is that from time to time people are served by being reminded why they care about things like liberty and freedom. In this sense, fascism saved western civilization by showing how even well-intentioned interventions to create a "better," but less free, world may often end in a way that no one considers better than what they had before the interventions began.

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  15. Well, to be fair aaron I didn't offer any interpretation :)

    The intention he was refering to - if I recall the broader context - was the intention to repress the communists.

    I don't think those guys have claimed that those things can't be accomplished under a liberal society, have they?

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  16. See Raico on this in the Journal of Libertarian Studies. Don't have the link right in front of me but you should be able to find it on the mises site.

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  17. Daniel,

    I think that depends on how you define victory over Communism. I read this section to be talking about intellectual victory, about turning people away from Communism. In this regard, I do believe many of those mentioned, and others, would favor more top-down state control if it was unambiguously effective at accomplishing the goals they sought of it. Samuelson, for example, famously wrote every year about the merits of the Soviet economy as being able to eventually out invest and overtake the American economy.

    However, I read this section of Mises to be making the following two points:
    A) Benevolent dictatorship and liberalism are both superior to Fascism;
    B) Liberalism is arguably superior to benevolent dictatorship;
    C) Fascism has made point B moot;
    D) Therefore, Fascism is helpful for those who argue B.

    And/Or:

    A) The problem with top down control is that the deprivations are often unseen;
    B) Under Fascism the deprivations are very easily seen;
    C) Therefore, Fascism offers a temporary solution to "benevolent" top-down control;
    D) However, only Liberalism can offer a real solution.

    In this regard, arguing that Fascism is useful because, by being so inarguably bad, it helps defeat the ideas that spawned it is quite different from arguing that Fascism is useful on its own because it allows for the more easy implementation of top-down economic policy. Here, it is quite obvious that Keynes was, at minimum, more supportive of Fascism than Mises was. No matter how little support you believe Keynes gave to Fascism, it was clearly more than Mises did.

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  18. If you want to see libertarians defend Mises, take a look at the comments on my post:

    http://socialdemocracy21stcentury.blogspot.com/2010/10/mises-on-fascism-in-1927-embarrassment.html

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  19. This seems like an absolutely incredible statement to make: "Here, it is quite obvious that Keynes was, at minimum, more supportive of Fascism than Mises was. No matter how little support you believe Keynes gave Fascism, it was clearly more than Mises did."

    Even if you this statement is just saying that Fascism is expedient but inferior (which perhaps is a fair read - and I think what you're saying), that still demonstrates more support for fascism than anything I'm aware of in Keynes.

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  20. Here's the journal article Anonymous mentioned.

    http://mises.org/journals/jls/12_1/12_1_1.pdf

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  21. I think Mises saw fascism as a reaction to full-blown communism. Mises regarded fascism as a different route towards socialism (the 'German' route). He saw it as illiberal, but he preferred it to socialism. It's important to remember that in his formative years Mises was a right-wing conservative.

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  22. "It's not a huge blow to Mises that he fought Rothbard on anarchy, that Hayek turned a bit in his later years..."

    In fact, it's big pluses for both. It shows Mises had some common sense, and that Hayek was still able to learn and improve his ideas even at 70 or 80.

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  23. Daniel,

    Mises does not, in any way endorse Fascism. None. None at all. He is in fact saying that BECAUSE Fascism is inarguably terrible, that it has no redeeming qualities - IS its only redeeming quality. Mises is saying that Fascism is so terribly, horrifically bad that it makes the logical alternative - liberalism - so much more attractive by comparison.

    Mises is saying that Fascism serves an amazing purpose of revealing to everyone why liberty is essential. Keynes is saying that Fascism is on its own useful. This is a huge difference. Mises is saying that because Facism cannot be defended it shows the flaws of Socialism. Keynes is actually offering a partial defense of Fascism.

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  24. I of course agree with you that he is not "endorsing" Fascism. I think this is a little implausible: "Mises is saying that Fascism is so terribly, horrifically bad that it makes the logical alternative - liberalism - so much more attractive by comparison."

    I'm curious enough to ask you how you came to the conclusion that's what he was saying.

    I haven't provided all that much detail on what I think so far, but hear it goes - in 1927, Mises was most concerned about the Communists. He saw them as the much greater threat and as a member of the Austrian right himself, he saw the fascists as excessive and illiberal but not a threat in the way the Communists were. And the Fascists had another thing going for them: they were willing to violently fight Communists and Mises thought Communists were worth violently fighting. He was not endorsing Fascism, but he was certainly grateful that someone stood up to the Communists.


    Keynes is saying nothing like what you're suggesting - several posts back I provide a link to a post where I go through the German preface (which you seem to have in mind) line by line. I encourage you to read it - I think you're very confused.

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  25. Daniel,

    This is nothing like I way I read this passage from Liberalism. The entire section above the paragarph you quoted talks about how intellectual - rather than physical - victory. In this section at least, Mises is not concerned with physical defeating Communism, but rather intellectually defeating it. Demonstrating to people that Liberalism is intellectually superior to any of its alternatives and drawing them away from Socialism of any kind. Mises also believed that Communism and Fascism had the same intellectual roots - that if you could show one to be cruel, terrible and unimaginably bad you discredit the other. This is why he says that the best thing Fascism ever did was make a marytr of liberalism - not that it was willing to fight Communism. Because, here at least, he did not care about physical victory, rather intellectual victory.

    I have read your run-through of the German preface to Keynes' general theory. I do not accept your arguments as valid - that is different entirely from not understanding them. You can dress it up all you want, but, "The theory of aggregated production can be much easier adapted to the conditions of a totalitarian state than the theory of production and distribution of a given production put forth under conditions of free competition and a large degree of laissez-faire." Can either be read as a historical anecdote or a normative statement - Keynes actually cared about the theory of aggregated production, making this is a normative statement. He is offering a partial justification for totalitarianism - you say that he was just trying to sell the story of his theories. I disagree, I contend that Keynes honestly believed that democracy was messy and convoluted and that these things made top-down control of any aspect of the economy more difficult. That totalitarianism had merits, that it had redeemable features that made it less terrible.

    You can believe as you wish, but even believing that Fascism did important things better than liberalism did is a much stronger endorsement that when Mises says Fascism serves only the purpose of demostrating how terrible it is.

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  26. I read the whole chapter months ago - I'll read it all again later.

    Do you have any particular quotes to demonstrate your point.

    Could you provide me where he says anything like this: "You can believe as you wish, but even believing that Fascism did important things better than liberalism did"

    And again, could you provide me where Mises says this: "Mises says Fascism serves only the purpose of demostrating how terrible it is."

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  27. I understand what you think. I understood that the first time you said it. I'm curious about your evidence.

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  28. I would argue Keynes was more an advocate of liberty. However, like all humans he was flawed and probably was a eugenicist and there were some other things I didn't like about him. He made anti-semitic statements, just as Mises held many racist sentiments. I don't think he or Mises ever showed a kind of syndicalism to be impossible.

    As for the whole only Mises was a classical liberal nonsense -- this is just typical Libertarian nonsense. Mises said that Liberalism is a kind of science where one can ignore the thoughts and opinions of the actual classical liberals and just follow a certain tradition (presumably his pseudo-intellectual axiomatic system). I've never heard of a science being built like that. In any case, there are plenty of political scientists and philosophers who would argue modern liberalism is more in line with the liberal tradition, and also that the interpretation of Smith as an advocate of pure laissez-faire is false. I can post them if anybody wishes.

    As for liberty I'd much rather live in a Keynesian system than a Misean system. I've seen people at Mises defend slavery and say that it's not force for a group of people to declare to hold a bunch of land and starve all people who are trying to access it, all while claiming there is no "force" involved in this. Huh? Property is based on exclusion. In fact, this kills their whole "if you buy something, you think the trade is fair" argument. Obviously, if people didn't think monopolies existed and were unfair they wouldn't complain about them. This is basically just a variant of the "love it or leave it" argument. And I certainly don't want to live in a system where I have to pay a hundred tolls just to get to Grandma's house, nor do I think everything can be resolved by contracts etc.

    I think more flexible Keynesians would even abolish the requirement that public companies have to turn a profit, allowing a kind of communitarian access or the establishment of institutions that pick up where markets fail, such as research etc.

    So for me and my ability to do what I want I'd stick with Keynes rather than Mises tyranny.

    --Successfulbuild

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  29. I am not even paraphrasing as much as interpreting.
    With Mises it is the entire introductory chapter of Liberlism (pdf do not work on my work PC, but I wanted to answer promptly) where he talks about intellectual victories over socialism. For more specific quotes, I believe it's the three or four paragraphs before the one you quote - he shows how Fascism fails basically everywhere, it's particularly relevant to this discussion that in the paragraph right before the one you quote, Mises says that even in foreign policy - the fight against Communism - Fascism was doomed. Two paragraphs before the one you quote, he talks about the only good Fascism did was make a marytr out of Liberalism.

    For Keynes, again, it's not even paraphrasing, but Keynes thought his economic policies were important. He thought they were more suited to totalitarianism. Therefore he thought totalitarianism was more suited for at least one set of important things. I know you disagree that Keynes actually thought this, but I think you are making up an alternative reason, that he was just selling a story. I do not buy this. I can very easily see how one would go from advocating top-down direction to believing that this would be more easily accomplished if the "top" was relatively more powerful and more streamlined. My doubts are then confirmed, less by Keynes than by those who followed after him. Samuelson would be the easiest to pick on, but even today, many Keynesians talk about how the mechanisms of liberal society get in the way of doing the things Keynes talked about.

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  30. Gene,

    "It shows Mises had some common sense, and that Hayek was still able to learn and improve his ideas even at 70 or 80."

    Those aren't pluses. Analyzing the state and thinking about justice were not big concerns for Mises - and unfortunately his view on government was erroneous (as well as monopoly theory and a few other points that Rothbard corrected). As for Hayek, it's not a benefit that he changed his mind later in his years - he hit his peak intellectually early in life. Prices and Production, Road to Serfdom, Individualism & Economic Order - these all were early in his career when he was truly laissez-faire.

    My only point is that these drawbacks don't negate their whole view. Just because Heidegger was a Nazi doesn't invalidate his philosophies.

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  31. Anon,

    "Liberalism is a kind of science where one can ignore the thoughts and opinions of the actual classical liberals and just follow a certain tradition (presumably his pseudo-intellectual axiomatic system)."

    Liberalism isn't a science; it's a system of social organization. And he never suggested you should ignore the opinions of "actual" (he wasn't one?) classical liberals. He specifically endorses Bastiat, Say, Smith (in certain contexts), Ricardo, Jefferson - I don't know what you're getting at, but it doesn't sound close to anything Mises actually said.

    He thinks economics can be defended on an axiomatic system - but not "society."

    "I've seen people at Mises defend slavery and say that it's not force for a group of people to declare to hold a bunch of land and starve all people who are trying to access it, all while claiming there is no "force" involved in this."

    What? Where does holding land turn into slavery? Is it slavery if you want to grow food on my land and I charge you for it?

    "In fact, this kills their whole "if you buy something, you think the trade is fair" argument. Obviously, if people didn't think monopolies existed and were unfair they wouldn't complain about them. "

    Technically, the argument is that if you buy something, you agree to the exchange. Trade has nothing to do with fairness. People complain about monopolies because monopolies present them with less attractive trades than there might be without monopolies. It's only the Rothbardians who argue that monopolies are inherently unfair.

    "the establishment of institutions that pick up where markets fail, such as research etc."

    Prove that markets fail.

    "I'd stick with Keynes rather than Mises tyranny."

    More evidence that you truly do not understand liberalism, Austrian economics, or what Mises spent his life fighting for.

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  32. Keynes said that they were flexible. Interestingly, at the Mises institute many present arguments that it's easier to implement so-called Libertarian "liberty" under monarchies and private dictatorships than under democracies. So who really favors totalitarianism?

    Anyway, I wanted to point out that Bertrand Russell also dabbled in eugenics, but he came to feel that the costs associated with implementing any eugenics program, even voluntary ones, would outweigh the benefits. He condemned harshly any type of system where the strong hold unnecessary "power" over the weak (see his book "Power" where he creates his own framework for judging political systems). He absolutely despised arbitrary and imperialistic power being held over other human beings, and estimated that the Belgians in the Congo killed at least 10 million (I've seen current historians place the figure higher).

    http://emperors-clothes.com/analysis/russell.htm

    Keynes like Mill didn't do enough to criticize imperialism. That's another flaw. Mill even favored some British attempts to "civilize" third world countries, whereas in this case someone like Rousseau could be said to be "more liberal." He opposed imperialism and spoke highly of the third-worlders who resisted it. Keynes also held the view that eugenics was like economics: to be modeled, studied extensively, etc. I think people have abandoned this as being ultimately fruitless (much like "racial theory").

    --Successfulbuild

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  33. Such effort...and for what?

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  34. Mattheus:
    "Liberalism isn't a science; it's a system of social organization"

    "On the contrary: it [Liberalism] is the application of the teachings of science to the social life of man." --Mises

    If something is an "application of science" it is a science (or at least based on scientific principles). Here, Mises is essentially saying that anybody opposed to liberalism is opposed to the "scientific methodology" employed.

    I'm not suggesting you couldn't find anything contrary to the above -- with worthless pieces of crap like "Human Action," like with any other religious or pseudo-intellectual text, there are going to be contradictions.


    "And he never suggested you should ignore the opinions of "actual" (he wasn't one?) classical liberals."

    "Nor does it any longer suffice today to form one's idea of liberalism from a study of the writings of its great founders." --Mises.

    So I'm not supposed to read liberals to understand them? Welcome to the world of Mises.

    "...He specifically endorses Bastiat, Say, Smith (in certain contexts), Ricardo, Jefferson..."

    I would say he would have to endorse Jefferson only in certain contexts to. I've read a lot of Jefferson and I can find some mutually exclusive opinions between him and Mises.

    Furthermore, Bastiat generally isn't considered the leading light of classical liberalism anywhere except to the Mises Institute. I would argue he was really a conservative, as was Mises (and a totalitarian one at that). (My interpretation at least, which I think is more accurate because I know how you guys treat the "study of history.")

    "
    What? Where does holding land turn into slavery? Is it slavery if you want to grow food on my land and I charge you for it?"

    Anybody with any knowledge of history can understand how exclusive use of land and property rights were the basis of slavery.

    "Prove that markets fail."

    An impossible standard. I can't just "prove" with absolute certainty that markets fail just as people can't prove that they absolutely do not fail (pseudo-intellectual axiomatic system notwithstanding). And I'm not going to go over the classical arguments for the existence of market failure.

    This claims are odd coming from people who claim to be well versed in the philosophies of the scientific method and the social sciences.

    "More evidence that you truly do not understand liberalism, Austrian economics, or what Mises spent his life fighting for. "

    Classic Libertarian debate tactic. Claim the other side just "doesn't understand" the works of the liberals no matter how much they've read or no matter how much expert opinion they've studied.

    Of course, they make these claims that they, and only they, know the truth all while absolutely insisting that they're not a cult.

    I think the problem with liberals like DK is that they're too kind. They should call out Miseans for being incoherent and point out how Libertarianism could lead to totalitarianism.

    --Successfulbuild

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  35. Wow, Anonymous

    Condescend much?

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  36. Anon,

    If something is an "application of science" it is a science (or at least based on scientific principles). Here, Mises is essentially saying that anybody opposed to liberalism is opposed to the "scientific methodology" employed.

    Are you serious? Mises' claims about liberalism being an application of science are rhetorical. Furthermore, he is using science in a different way, which makes you look really stupid when you start talking about the scientific method - when he never comes close to meaning that

    To Mises and the Germans, science is an organized body of knowledge - not an exercise in hypothesis, data collection, and refutation. We use the latter when modeling physics. You are so off on this.

    I'm not suggesting you couldn't find anything contrary to the above -- with worthless pieces of crap like "Human Action," like with any other religious or pseudo-intellectual text, there are going to be contradictions.

    What contradictions are in Human Action? And how is it a 'pseudo-intellectual' or 'religious' work at all?

    So I'm not supposed to read liberals to understand them? Welcome to the world of Mises.

    Read the following sentences. He's making the point that liberalism is an evolving concept. God, talk about pulling out of context.

    Furthermore, Bastiat generally isn't considered the leading light of classical liberalism anywhere except to the Mises Institute.

    Really? Daniel's made a point recently of incorporating Bastiat into Keynesian philosophy. I would say Bastiat is underappreciated, but not at all unknown.

    I would argue he was really a conservative, as was Mises (and a totalitarian one at that).

    Because his books Omnipotent Government, Socialism, Bureaucracy, Liberalism, and Human Action don't contradict that claim at all.

    Anybody with any knowledge of history can understand how exclusive use of land and property rights were the basis of slavery.

    'Exclusive use of land and property rights' are also the basis for trade. What's your point? It's not slavery if I have arable land and charge people to use it.

    An impossible standard. I can't just "prove" with absolute certainty that markets fail just as people can't prove that they absolutely do not fail (pseudo-intellectual axiomatic system notwithstanding). And I'm not going to go over the classical arguments for the existence of market failure.

    Ad hominem. I-Don't-Have-Time Fallacy.

    Why do I bother responding to you? It's not at all clear to me why markets should fail, and it's certainly not clear to a lot of economists either.

    This claims are odd coming from people who claim to be well versed in the philosophies of the scientific method and the social sciences.

    The scientific method has nothing to do with social sciences. You're just trolling right now.

    Claim the other side just "doesn't understand" the works of the liberals no matter how much they've read or no matter how much expert opinion they've studied.

    Show me you understand. Calling praxeology a pseudo-intellectual axiomatic system isn't enough. You seem to be pretty uninformed about this whole picture (not wholly uninformed - maybe you learned your Austrianism from Krugman and DeLong?).

    Of course, they make these claims that they, and only they, know the truth all while absolutely insisting that they're not a cult.

    Replace Austrians with mathematicians.

    'Of course, they [the mathematicians] make these claims that they, and only they, know the truth while absolutely insisting that they're not a cult.'

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  37. Kuehn: "Thoughts? Does this make anyone uneasy?"

    No, because I read just a little bit more than you quoted:

    Mises: "Fascism can triumph today because universal indignation at the infamies committed by the socialists and communists has obtained for it the sympathies of wide circles. But when the fresh impression of the crimes of the Bolsheviks has paled, the socialist program will once again exercise its power of attraction on the masses. For Fascism does nothing to combat it except to suppress socialist ideas and to persecute the people who spread them. If it wanted really to combat socialism, it would have to oppose it with ideas. There is, however, only one idea that can be effectively opposed to socialism, viz., that of liberalism."

    Why do you quote 1978 instead of 1927? Do you want people to be confused about when he wrote this?

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  38. Trying to answer a question of what someone's personal thoughts were is a very tricky issue. It's difficult enough to know the inner thoughts of people we know well. This inclines me to be very cautious in the matter at hand.

    It's important to note that the book wasn't written and published in 1978; it was a work from 1927. Mises was not reflecting in the late 70s about fascism. He was speaking about current events in a very tumultuous time, when it's not much of an exaggeration to say that the foundations of the modern world were being shaken.

    With that in mind, it's very easy for a highly intelligent and principled person (which Mises surely was) to say things which come across as thick and cringe inducing, when you have several decades of intervening history to provide you with ample hindsight.

    Do I think Mises was off the mark when he said that? Certainly. But I doubt there are any great thinkers for whom you couldn't find embarrassing and problematic statements.

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  39. I seem mobsrule beat me to the point about the date the book was published. Though, Mr. Rule, I'd be inclined to be a bit more charitable. I very much doubt Daniel was deliberately trying to be confusing. He was citing a specific page number of a specific reprinting. Pretty standard stuff.

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  40. "Are you serious? Mises' claims about liberalism being an application of science are rhetorical."

    How am I supposed to know this? What does this even mean? Clearly, from my reading it is implying that anybody who is opposed to Mises' methodology is anti-science.

    "Furthermore, he is using science in a different way, which makes you look really stupid when you start talking about the scientific method - when he never comes close to meaning that..."

    He doesn't say he's not referring to the scientific method.

    "To Mises and the Germans, science is an organized body of knowledge - not an exercise in hypothesis, data collection, and refutation. We use the latter when modeling physics. You are so off on this."

    This statement would come as a surprise to the authors of my first physics textbook, who also refer to science as an "organized body of knowledge." Furthermore, there is no one method employed in the sciences. Any book will tell you serendipity, chance, and so on have all played a role in scientific discoveries. If he is implying that it's a science referring to an "organized body of knowledge" he's making claims about true, or at least factual, statements, and saying people who are opposed to them are anti-truth.

    Even if Mises did explain somewhere exactly how his science is different if he doesn't explicitly state it in sentences like that we're only to conclude that people opposed to liberalism are anti-scientific.

    And how do you know all Germans feel the same way about science? Ludicrous.

    "
    Read the following sentences. He's making the point that liberalism is an evolving concept. God, talk about pulling out of context."

    He says it isn't sufficient to read them. What else is there? Understanding his pseudo-intellectual method.

    --Successfulbuild

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  41. And how is it a 'pseudo-intellectual' or 'religious' work at all?"

    Like religions it falls back on unprovable claims and assumptions to make its case.

    "Ad hominem. I-Don't-Have-Time Fallacy."

    There is no "ad-hominem, I don't have time" fallacy. There are abusive ad-hominems, cirumstantial, ad-hominem tu quoque.

    "The scientific method has nothing to do with social sciences."

    Not exactly true. Social scientists also could be said to use the scientific method. They use it to some degree in linguistics for example. If a theory in linguistics has a sentence that implies that native speakers find it natural when they do not, then that theory is bad. (Process of falsification.)

    There are also those such as Morgenthauand the realists who claimed to have established science. (See, six principles of realism.)

    "Show me you understand. Calling praxeology a pseudo-intellectual axiomatic system isn't enough. You seem to be pretty uninformed about this whole picture..."

    All purposeful actions aren't the result of "motives." Our decision making is far more complex than this. I have studied some psychology. We also have wants, ends, desires because we have a brain, not because we have an axiom. Self-evident axioms are endless and pointless to argue over, but if you want to spend all day arguing about this pointlessness, knock yourself out.

    "Replace Austrians with mathematicians.

    'Of course, they [the mathematicians] make these claims that they, and only they, know the truth while absolutely insisting that they're not a cult.' "

    This poster is ignorant of mathematical philosophy. For example, Godel's incompleteness system. For any axiomatic system there exists Godel's statement G, which cannot be proven. If G were proven under the theory's axioms, then the theory would have a theorem, G, which contradicted itself. The same contradiction would occur if G were proven to be false, so we have to accept the fact that G cannot be proven true or false, and we have to accept this truth about G. G will only lead to a contradiction if we assume we can prove it to be true, but not if we assume that it is not provable. This is all we need to show it is not provable. Ultimately, what Gödels theorem showed is that since the axiomatic systems are necessarily incomplete, proof within the system is not the same thing as truth, or absolute truth is impossible.

    --successfulbuild

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  42. This whole post is intentionally misleading.I couldn't believe Kuehn's quotation of Mises at first because it seemed so counter to everything else Mises stood for. All I had to read was a few sentences prior to see that Mises was claiming that facism was great as a reaction to communism. No other reasons mentioned and communism wasn't mentioned in Kuehn's quote. Intentionally misleading. Writing 1978 instead of the initial publication date when the internet can easily supply it is obnoxious because a quick reading of the quote could lead one to believe Mises wrote it post-WWII.

    Plus, Keynes was actually treasurer of the British Eugenics Society when he wrote his contentious quote. Ha Ha!

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  43. Kuehn's citation was normal and common. That speaks more to your own lack of knowledge and shows you probably haven't read much of anything outside of the Mises Institute.

    If anything, Kuehn's isn't critical enough of Mises which weakens his point. We know from history Mises was very wrong on this: Fascism is inherently imperialistic and leads to wars.

    --successfulbuild

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  44. I think the entire pyramid of nonsense being brewn over the comments in this blog proves one thing:

    Economics enthusiasts don't care about ideas. They care about people who were the source of the ideas.

    Economics enthusiasts don't want to argue merits or demerits of ideas put forth in works of Keynes, Hayek, Mises,.etc. They want to discuss Keynes, Hayek, and Mises (and which one was a eugenics loving fascist).

    Economics enthusiasts don't want to discuss what was said. They want to discuss who said.

    Economics enthusiasts don't want a liquidationism vs. public expansion rap battle. They want a Keynes vs Hayek rap battle.

    Economics enthusiasts want to discuss social respectability of ideas. They don't want to discuss the nature of ideas.

    In the end, we have proven that the economics blogosphere has few scholars and thinkers and many internet cocktail party invitees.

    And this is the reason for the lack of respectable discussion on the internet.

    Without playing false equivalence, I think Gary Gunnels has worst abused this.

    Also, there was no need for people on this page to defend Mises. Even if Mises was a fascist, and he wasn't, it would do nothing to undermine his actual ideas. Geometry is not worthless because Euclid may have had sex with children.

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  45. Mattheus -
    re: "The scientific method has nothing to do with social sciences. You're just trolling right now."

    It's not trolling for him to disagree with you on a point where you're demonstrably wrong. That's called "disagreeing".

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  46. mobsrule and Kevin -
    I copy and pasted the citation from a comment "Lord Keynes" made in another comment thread. Mobsrule, read the whole damn chapter in the Mises version. I did. I actually wrote an extensive post to aaron about the paragraph you provide and about other paragraphs, but deleted it because I'm not interested in dragging this out. What in the paragraph you've quoted contradicts anything I've said mobsrule?

    If you read the entire chapter, Mises is pretty clear:
    - He starts by talking about the violent repression of the communists.
    - He called this justified becasue the communists were violent first.
    - He said that liberals and fascists don't disagree on this point.
    - He said that fascists have inherent liberal tendencies and so they'll probably moderate their position over time.
    - He said that fascists will ultimately fail in the fight against communism because they don't have viable ideas - only liberalism does, and
    - He said that fascists would be remembered forever as the guys that saved Europe.

    Mises is a very clear writer in this passage, mobsrule. There's no way around his train of thought, mobsrule. If you think fear of the communists justifies the view that fascism saved europe, you're entitled to that opinion.

    At this time - and even a decade earlier - Keynes was warning about both communists and fascists.

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  47. Kuehn,

    "I actually wrote an extensive post to aaron about the paragraph you provide and about other paragraphs, but deleted it because I'm not interested in dragging this out. What in the paragraph you've quoted contradicts anything I've said mobsrule?"

    So you re-quote this Mises quote from a different comment thread from a different post that was a reaction to a different post which is all part of a big internet argument. This whole site of yours is morphing into an exercise in "dragging this out" so posting some long rejoinder to "aaron" which includes the number "1927" and the word "commies" shouldn't cost you anything. Even DeLong the "Lyingist economist alive" got it right when he quoted this Mises piece by including the uber-relevant context.

    "There's no way around his train of thought, mobsrule. If you think fear of the communists justifies the view that fascism saved europe, you're entitled to that opinion."

    In 1927? Really? 1927? Mises was dead wrong about the fascists (in 1927), but he was right that the commies were much, much, MUCH worse. And he was right about how people find commie arguments convincing. If your point is that Mises was really wrong about something really important, then we all agree (post Mein Kampf), but you're implicitly comparing him to Keynes... who wrote arguably pro-totalitarian stuff in 1939 while he was also espousing state population control as an officer of the Eugenics Society while under a man who wrote this in 1941: "The lowest strata are reproducing too fast. Therefore... they must not have too easy access to relief or hospital treatment lest the removal of the last check on natural selection should make it too easy for children to be produced or to survive; long unemployment should be a ground for sterilisation."

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  48. Daniel,

    I guessed as much about the souce of your citation, and as alluded earlier, I find it unobjectionable. But I do think that the date of original writing was a (not wholly) mitigating factor.

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  49. mobsrule -
    So to be clear to EVERYONE - Keynes did not write or endorse that quote that you have there?

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  50. Write? No.

    Endorse? Well...

    1926: Keynes writes piece calling for government to decide the optimum size of the population, to make it happen, then to decide what INNATE characteristics people need to have.

    1937: Keynes gives address "Some economic consequences of a declining population" at Eugenics Society.

    1937-1944: Keynes is officer and sometimes V.P. of the EUGENICS Society/Galton Institute.

    1937-1944: Some contemporaneous members call for forced sterilisation of the stupid or write things like Huxley's above. (How did Keynes respond to this stuff? During his eight years in the Society, did he write anything to counter his compadres?

    Endorse this specific quote? Not that I've read, but given his history I wouldn't be surprised.

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  51. Forgive me for not taking the mobsrule synopsis at face value.

    Links????

    We've gone over the eugenics on here before - nobody is trying to hide it or provide a defense of it.

    My understanding is that he did not support the calls for forced sterilization (which is precisely why it's so misleading for you to provide that quote of someone else entirely who did).

    One thing he certainly didn't have was Mises's illusion that fascists were liberals at heart, or gratitude towards the fascists. He did have a classist outlook, an unjustified fear of overpopulation, and a comfort with voluntary sterilization that makes me very uneasy.

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  52. What I find somewhat disturbing about you and Gary here is that instead of expressing a similar unease at Mises's far more direct sentiments you provide misleading interpretations of some admittedly problematic stuff that Keynes thought. I think my approach is better - I'm disturbed without being hysterical and misleading about what Keynes thought on eugenics, and I'm disturbed without being hysterical and misleading about what Mises thought of fascists. Mattheus takes this quite fair position as well. I do find the gratitude towards fascists somewhat more disturbing because it gives a *wink wink* to atrocities as long as they were used against the communists in a way that Keynes never countenanced for eugenics atrocities. But that comparison is a matter of opinion.


    This raises another question in my mind... would Mises have supported waterboarding and torture today? From the context here it seems like he probably would. He is fine with using ruthless violence against evil opponents; he does not think that those using that violence necessarily pose a threat to everyone else - that they will "moderate" to use Mises's words; and he thinks these things without accepting the underlying premise of fascism and while prefering the underlying premise of liberalism.

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  53. Kuehn,

    If the contemporaneous eugenics writings of other eugenicists who were part of Keynes' Eugenics Society are irrelevant to you, I'll drop it. You must think that his views were very distinct from those of all of the unsavory eugenicists, and you could be right. (I wonder what they talked about at their cocktail parties.)

    "One thing he certainly didn't have was Mises's illusion that fascists were liberals at heart, or gratitude towards the fascists."

    Yep, Mises the jew was a huge fan of Hitler. All the way up to 1978 he was convinced that fascists were peace-loving, liberal, and worthy of praise irrespective of their stance on the commies.

    "This raises another question in my mind... would Mises have supported waterboarding and torture today? From the context here it seems like he probably would."

    I'm pro-torture, so I would. Waterboarding as practiced by the U.S. was/is nothing like what the Japanese did in WWII. They did a version on Fear Factor and anything that Joe Rogan would O.K. is fine with me. I'd much prefer that criminals receive severe, but non-debilitating physical pain than that they be imprisoned, so it seems reasonable to extend this idea to our current enemies. But that's only about the morality; there's still the empirical question of whether torture is effective. I can't imagine not spilling the beans if I were waterboarded, but maybe our enemies are less wussy.

    "He is fine with using ruthless violence against evil opponents; he does not think that those using that violence necessarily pose a threat to everyone else - that they will "moderate" to use Mises's words; and he thinks these things without accepting the underlying premise of fascism and while prefering the underlying premise of liberalism."

    Governments all use "ruthless violence." That's their advantage. That's how they get me to pay your salary. There is no way for a government to do anything without some ruthless violence and no way to get some terrible people to do anything without using ruthless violence. You, like Keynes, want to expand the sphere where government can do ruthless violence and I, like Mises did, want to contract it.

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  54. re: "If the contemporaneous eugenics writings of other eugenicists who were part of Keynes' Eugenics Society are irrelevant to you, I'll drop it."

    Simply acknowledge that there is a wide distribution of opinions and that citing a very bad opinion gives us no insight whatsoever into whether Keynes shared it.

    Would you like me quoting a full-blown fascist because Mises had a very mild apprecaition for fascism and offer that as some kind of evidence of Mises's perspective on fascism? I have not done this because I know there's a wide distribution of reactions and this would not be useful in understanding Mises's reaction.

    re: "Yep, Mises the jew was a huge fan of Hitler."

    mobsrule, if you don't take this seriously stop commenting. Mises said "As soon as the first flush of anger had passed, their [fascist] policy took a more moderate course and will probably become even more so with the passage of time. This moderation is the result of the fact that traditional liberal views still continue to have an unconscious influence on the Fascists.". This is why I said he had more illusions about fascism than Keynes did at the time. Don't pull this crap about Mises loving Hitler. I never said anything even resembling that. If you have a problem with my reading of the quote, then provide your own interpretation - don't post irrelevancies.

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  55. "Would you like me quoting a full-blown fascist because Mises had a very mild apprecaition for fascism and offer that as some kind of evidence of Mises's perspective on fascism? I have not done this because I know there's a wide distribution of reactions and this would not be useful in understanding Mises's reaction."

    Do you have any other data points on Mises' pro-fascism? Maybe like he was a member of the Royal Fascist Society for eight years where some of his colleagues openly called for eugenic sterilisation of the jews or just anything else at all? Anything but this one weird passage?

    "Mises said "As soon as the first flush of anger had passed, their [fascist] policy took a more moderate course and will probably become even more so with the passage of time. This moderation is the result of the fact that traditional liberal views still continue to have an unconscious influence on the Fascists."

    Mises said that when their reaction to the commies had run its course they would moderate some because the fascists still held some of his values. He expressed his hope and he was super-wrong. What a pinhead. If it was wrong for Keynes to be an officer of the Eugenics Society for so long, then how was he wrong? Did he MISCALCULATE the way that Mises did or was it something else? We're not just answering the question of whether he was correct that IQ, etc. has a genetic component. We're discussing what it says about him that he thought that some colleague (or maybe he) should get to decide pro- and anti- breeding policies. The government needed to be bigger! Do you not see a difference in kind in the wrongs we're comparing?

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  56. "status quo rights regime"

    Anyone know what this phrase means? Daniel's use of it on this thread is the only known use google can find.

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  57. I'm very quickly tiring of you.

    Eugenics to a large extent was nothing more than misplaced concern with overpopulation, the new birth control movement, and some classism. Elsewhere (ie - in Europe or the U.S.) it had some racist elements too, but this was less noteworthy in Britain. He "miscalculated" the population question, he was simply arrogant on the classism. I've said this over and over and yet you keep bringing it up as if I haven't said this.

    What is disturbing is that you are so petulant over Mises ("weird passage" is about the most ground you've given).

    Do I think a man that says "I'm glad the fascists brutalized the communists and I bet they'll turn out OK and moderate" is more disturbing than I guy that says "we have a real population problem so the people I turn my nose up at ought to be encouraged not to breed"? Um - yes - I'm more disturbed by the former. The latter is just Keynes being an asshole. The former is Mises embracing some pretty disturbing stuff.

    So perhaps the Bolsheviks are a different case - and I don't know what the major threat was in Germany - but in other parts of Europe (Spain for example) if you were going to take a side in this civil war the liberal side was clearly with the communists. Maybe Austria's situation was different - maybe the threat was somewhat different. But Mises disturbs me here, and I'm surprised it doesn't seem to disturb you.

    I think Keynes is a complete asshole when it comes to eugenics and his work on that is not something I embrace in the slightest. I've made no bones about it. If you think he is worse than I think he is, then perhaps it's worth providing evidence that it's even worse than he's presented. Otherwise, why keep talking about Keynes? We agree he was deplorable in this regard. The real question here is why you're so apologetic for Mises.

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  58. anonymous -
    If I wasn't so caught up in addressing mobsrule's highly problematic comments, I would talk more about it, but I hope you can gather the gist of what I mean here:

    http://factsandotherstubbornthings.blogspot.com/2011/04/two-good-posts-from-krugman-and.html

    http://factsandotherstubbornthings.blogspot.com/2011/02/lovecraft-me-and-jefferson-on-property.html

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  59. "I'm very quickly tiring of you."

    Pinhead!

    "Eugenics to a large extent was nothing more than misplaced concern with overpopulation, the new birth control movement, and some classism."

    Got it. You've decided the scope and motivations for Keynes' eight year leadership in the Eugenics Society and I just need to believe you. Any person today espousing the Society's more moderate views would have no place in this society... would be fired from almost any job, but we're supposed to get all worked up about Mises statement from our post WWII worldview.

    "... if you were going to take a side in this civil war the liberal side was clearly with the communists."

    They were psychotic atheists but they weren't liberal.

    "What is disturbing is that you are so petulant over Mises ("weird passage" is about the most ground you've given)."

    If I'm petulant, then you're the lyingest economist alive. Weird isn't the right word. Unusual or unique for him would be better... in contrast to Keynes' many un-unique YEARS of open eugenics-mongering.

    ""we have a real population problem so the people I turn my nose up at ought to be encouraged not to breed"? Um - yes - I'm more disturbed by the former. The latter is just Keynes being an asshole. The former is Mises embracing some pretty disturbing stuff."

    You're right, Keynes' 8 years membership with people who ran the gamut from wanting to use the state to induce the right people to breed the right amount of children to wanting the state to sterilise the stupid isn't "pretty disturbing stuff." Preferring fascists to commies is totally disturbing by comparison. I mean, think of all the beauty that Stalin, et al had brought to the world pre-1927.

    "The real question here is why you're so apologetic for Mises."

    Because he was right about the commies before 1927 and he was right about them after:
    http://econfaculty.gmu.edu/bcaplan/museum/comfaq.htm

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  60. re: "Any person today espousing the Society's more moderate views would have no place in this society... would be fired from almost any job, but we're supposed to get all worked up about Mises statement from our post WWII worldview."

    Why is it so hard for you to process the fact that I have called Keynes's views on eugenics "deplorable" and repeatedly denounced them, and you have continued to defend sympathy for fascism???

    My only point on Keynes is that you are not fooling anyone by shrouding your apologetics for fascism-sympathy by making Keynes sound even worse than he actually was.

    re: "You're right... isn't "pretty disturbing stuff." "

    I called Keynes's views "disturbing" I used that exact word, mobsrule! I also used the word "deplorable" and I called him an "asshole". Don't lie so blatantly when anyone can do a word search on this comment thread.

    re: "Preferring fascists to commies is totally disturbing by comparison"

    No - calling fascists "saviors" is what's more disturbing.

    re: "Because he was right about the commies before 1927 and he was right about them after"

    Nobody here has disagreed with Mises on Communists. We are disagreeing with Mises on Fascists.

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  61. "Nobody here has disagreed with Mises on Communists. We are disagreeing with Mises on Fascists."

    Tell me how you make sense of Mises' piece without the context of his statements on commies. Pretend I'm super slow and describe to me how that piece is about Mises' affection for fascists and not about his hatred for commies and socialists where fascists were only good by comparison.

    Word count of passage:

    Bolshevik, etc.: 6
    Communist, etc.: 5
    Third International: 5
    Socialism, etc.: 6
    Rightist: 1
    Fascist, etc.: 20

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  62. re: "Tell me how you make sense of Mises' piece without the context of his statements on commies."

    You cannot make sense of Mises' piece without the context of his statements on commies. Who said you could make sense of Mises' piece without the context of his statement on commies???

    re: "Pretend I'm super slow and describe to me how that piece is about Mises' affection for fascists and not about his hatred for commies and socialists where fascists were only good by comparison."

    Review the comment thread and reread the passage in full again if you have to.

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  63. 1)That they have not yet succeeded as fully as the Russian Bolsheviks in freeing themselves from a certain regard for liberal notions and ideas and traditional ethical precepts

    Fascists aren't as illiberal as commies.

    2)Because of this difference, Fascism will never succeed as completely as Russian Bolshevism in freeing itself from the power of liberal ideas.

    Fascists aren't as illiberal as commies.

    3)This moderation is the result of the fact that traditional liberal views still continue to have an unconscious influence on the Fascists.

    "Unconscious" influence. Fascists aren't as illiberal as commies.

    4)But however far this may go, one must not fail to recognize that the conversion of the Rightist parties to the tactics of Fascism shows that the battle against liberalism has resulted in successes that, only a short time ago, would have been considered completely unthinkable. Many people approve of the methods of Fascism, even though its economic program is altogether antiliberal and its policy completely interventionist, because it is far from practicing the senseless and unrestrained destructionism that has stamped the Communists as the archenemies of civilization.

    Fascists aren't as illiberal as commies.

    5)Now it cannot be denied that the only way one can offer effective resistance to violent assaults is by violence. Against the weapons of the Bolsheviks, weapons must be used in reprisal, and it would be a mistake to display weakness before murderers. No liberal has ever called this into question.

    Excepting "pacifists"

    6)What distinguishes liberal from Fascist political tactics is not a difference of opinion in regard to the necessity of using armed force to resist armed attackers, but a difference in the fundamental estimation of the role of violence in a struggle for power.

    Fascists are illiberal and prone to violence.

    7)For Fascism does nothing to combat it except to suppress socialist ideas and to persecute the people who spread them. If it wanted really to combat socialism, it would have to oppose it with ideas. There is, however, only one idea that can be effectively opposed to socialism, viz., that of liberalism.

    Fascists are illiberal but they're against commies.

    Now, which number leads you to believe that (in 1927) Mises wasn't specifically lauding fascists ONLY because their tactics at least combated the worst people in the world: commies.

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  64. You could have saved your breath - I've said since the beginning "Mises likes fascists because they brutally repressed the communists".

    Why did you feel the need to list all this?

    Do you think I somehow missed that point, despite the fact that I've been saying that?

    I'm still not sure it's a viable enough point to praise fascists, particularly when he throws in line about how fascists still have liberal tendencies.

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  65. "I'm still not sure it's a viable enough point to praise fascists"

    All you're left with is an unsure feeling that Mises had a point. If this were post-WWII we were talking about, Mises' piece would have sounded insane, but we're talking about 1927. The commies looked like and were the most evil and illiberal people right out of the box. Marx is sickening. Anyone who wanted to build a society on his ideas understood that they had to murder people en masse to get their reforms and their reforms included no private property! Of course Mises would properly and immediately view any commie as enemy number one and any effective adversary to them as at least useful, which is all he said fascists were.

    "particularly when he throws in line about how fascists still have liberal tendencies."

    It's by comparison to commies only! He said that they were illiberal over and over. How can you mischaracterize:

    "That they have not yet succeeded AS FULLY AS the Russian Bolsheviks in freeing themselves from a CERTAIN REGARD for liberal notions"

    "What distinguishes liberal FROM Fascist political tactics"

    "Fascism will never SUCCEED AS COMPLETELY as Russian Bolshevism in freeing itself from the power of liberal ideas."

    "Many people approve of the methods of Fascism, even though its economic program is ALTOGETHER ANTILIBERAL."

    "For Fascism DOES NOTHING to combat it except to suppress socialist ideas and to persecute the people who spread them. If it wanted really to combat socialism, it would have TO OPPOSE IT WITH IDEAS. There is, however, ONLY ONE IDEA that can be effectively opposed to socialism, viz., that of LIBERALISM."

    So if Mises had written this in 1946, I'd agree with you. Sometime before 1946 you'd probably agree with me that he had a point in finding fascists sliiightly praiseworthy because of their opposition to commies. How far before 1927 would it have to be?

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