Posts Tagged Ludwig von Mises

WORLDbytes – After Fukushima: The Fear Factor | Atomic Insights

Why is anyone who suggests that the radiation news may not be all bad, immediately labeled an apologist for the nuke industry? Hint: it has something to do with Marxism. See below the video for my answer.

In the video, Ms. Fox tells how many of the journalists that she regularly serves from the Science Media Center were being told by their editors to find more sensational ways to frame the Fukushima story. She even mentions that several respected reporters were actually pulled off of the story because they continued filing reports that were measured, balanced and not sensational enough.She describes how hurtful and insulting it was to her experts, nearly all of whom are professional academics, to be referred to as “apologists” for the nuclear industry merely because they refused to blow the story out of proportion. She tells how one of her experts is a radiation health specialist who has worked with patients undergoing radiation treatments for many years and has never had any association with the “nuclear industry.” That expert knows a great deal about the effects of radiation on the human body, both from study and personal experience. She also talked about how often radiation is used to save lives and how she cannot understand why the media believes that it is the basis for unique levels of fear.

via WORLDbytes – After Fukushima: The Fear Factor | Atomic Insights.

Scrolling to the bottom, I see the article is penned by Rod Adams, a feisty type whom I’ve come across before.

A distinctive feature of Marxist rhetoric is the grouping of people into classes. According to Marx, people think the way they do because they belong to a particular class. Marxism does not recognize individuals. If you are a member of the proletariat, you will have certain values and philosophies and opinions which are wholly shaped by your class.  Whatever you say or think will be proletarian.  There may be some truth in this, but the disadvantage (or the advantage, depending on your point of view) is that it takes away the need to discuss a person’s ideas or opinions on their merits.  Whatever you believe, you believe it because you are a member of a particular social class. There is no need to delve into the merits of what you believe, and whether or not it is believable. If you are not a member of the proletariat, whatever you say can be dismissed as “bourgeois” or worse, “capitalist” (a term invented by Marx as one of sneering contempt.)

This thinking is so pervasive these days, many people take it as a given and think nothing of it: “Oh, he’s only saying that because he’s a politician/a Republican/a Democrat/a Japanese/etc.” (take your pick of group).

The Christian writer C.S. Lewis lampooned this way back when in “The Pilgrim’s Regress” (and I see I’ve quoted this before):

Jailor: “You there… what is argument?”

Master Parrot: “Argument is the attempted rationalization of the arguer’s desires.”

Jailor: “Very good… What is the answer to an argument turning on the belief that two and two make four?”

Master Parrot: “The answer is ‘You say that because you are a mathematician’”.

Ludwig von Mises analyzed this very clearly in a chapter of his opus magister Human Action called Polylogism (Human Action is available as a free PDF download thanks to the generosity of the Mises Institute):

Human reason, [Marx] asserted, is constitutionally unfitted to find truth. The logical structure of mind is different with various social classes. There is no such thing as a universally valid logic. What mind produces can never be anything but “ideology,” that is, in the Marxian terminology, a set of ideas disguising the selfish interests of the thinker’s own social class. Hence, the “bourgeois” mind of the economists is utterly incapable of producing more than an apology for capitalism. The teachings of “bourgeois” science, an offshoot of “bourgeois” logic, are of no avail for the proletarians, the rising class destined to abolish all classes and to convert the earth into a Garden of Eden.

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Yakuza link undoes TV’s Shimada | The Japan Times Online

During the news conference announcing his retirement, Shimada said he hadn’t considered Watanabe a gangster and continued exchanges with him via phone and email.

Although that doesn’t violate any laws and Shimada didn’t have any business relationship with the gangster, he offered to immediately retire to take responsibility, the agency said.

“I did not feel that I was doing something wrong. To me (the relationship) was ‘safe,’ but I learned the day before yesterday that it was ‘out,’ ” Shimada said, using baseball terminology.

The agency issued a statement saying “this kind of act is not allowed for any reason for a person who appears in mass media such as TV, which has a strong influence on society.”

via Yakuza link undoes TV’s Shimada | The Japan Times Online.

A Japanese expression “ashi wo hipparu” comes to mind. In Japanese, it doesn’t mean “I’m joking”.

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Ludwig von Mises wrote in 1956 about what has since been called the politics of envy:

If a man’s station in life iss conditioned by factors other than his inherent excellence, those who remain at the bottom of the ladder can acquiesce in this out-come and, knowing their own worth, still preserve their dignity and self-respect. But it is different if merit alone decides. Then the unsuccessful feel themselves insulted and humiliated. Hate and enmity against all those who superseded them must result.*

(* Möser, No Promotion According to Merit, first published 1772. (Justus Möser’s Sämmtliche Werke, ed. B. R. Abeken, Berlin, 1842, Vol. II, pp. 187–191. Quote by Mises in chapter 1, section 4, of The Anti-Capitalist Mentality, available free online on the website and also as a free PDF download here.)

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The gift that keeps on giving…Your taxes!

Speaking of taxes, Trooper Thomson writes on the Englands Freedome, Souldiers Rights blog:

PFI: Labour’s gift to future generations
The Telegraph reports:

“Official figures show that, under Private Finance Initiative [PFI] schemes, British taxpayers are committed to pay £229 billion for new hospitals, schools and other projects with a capital value of just £56 billion. Several contracts are due to run for 60 years, documents released under freedom of information requests show, meaning taxpayers will be paying for the projects for generations to come. ”

Thanks Labour. What was that Mises said about socialism and economic calculation?

Hat tip: The Angry Exile

Mises? Who dat? Click to find out.
And what DID he say about socialism and economic calculation? He said it was impossible! Click to read more on the website.

Or read Mises’ 1920’s monograph Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth, for free, online, and kindly translated from the German for you. Plus it costs nothing except your time.

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More on education

Ludwig von Mises
Image via Wikipedia

I wrote earlier about whether universities have a future, a subject I’m obviously interested in as a I work in one. After writing that entry, I came across these quotes from the Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises on the subject of education and schooling:

It is often asserted that the poor man’s failure in the competition of the market is caused by his lack of education. Equality of opportunity, it is said, could be provided only by making education at every level accessible to all. There prevails today the tendency to reduce all differences among various peoples to their education and to deny the existence of inborn inequalities in intellect, will power, and character. It is not generally realized that education can never be more than indoctrination with theories and ideas already developed. Education, whatever benefits it may confer, is transmission of traditional doctrines and valuations; it is by necessity conservative. It produces imitation and routine, not improvement and progress. Innovators and creative geniuses cannot be reared in schools. They are precisely the men who defy what the school has taught them.

In order to succeed in business a man does not need a degree from a school of business administration. These schools train the subalterns for routine jobs. They certainly do not train entrepreneurs. An entrepreneur cannot be trained. A man becomes an entrepreneur in seizing an opportunity and filling the gap. No special education is required for such a display of keen judgment, foresight, and energy. The most successful businessmen were often uneducated when measured by the scholastic standards of the teaching profession. But they were equal [p. 315] to their social function of adjusting production to the most urgent demand. Because of these merits the consumers chose them for business leadership.
– Human Action, Chapter XV The Market


The emphasis laid by sociologists upon mass phenomena and their idolization of the common man are an offshoot of the myth that all men are biologically equal. Whatever differences exist between individuals are caused, it is maintained, by postnatal circumstances. If all people equally enjoyed the benefits of a good education, such differences would never appear. The supporters of this doctrine are at a loss to explain the differences among graduates of the same school and the fact that many who are self-taught far excel the doctors, masters, and bachelors of the most renowned universities. They fail to see that education cannot convey to pupils more than the knowledge of their teachers. Education rears disciples, imitators, and routinists, not pioneers of new ideas and creative geniuses. The schools are not nurseries of progress and improvement but conservatories of tradition and unvarying modes of thought. The mark of the creative mind is that it defies a part of what it has learned or, at least, adds something new to it. One utterly misconstrues the feats of the pioneer in reducing them to the instruction he got from his teachers. No matter how efficient school training may be, it would only produce stagnation, orthodoxy, and rigid pedantry if there were no uncommon men pushing forward beyond the wisdom of their tutors.

It is hardly possible to mistake more thoroughly the meaning of history and the evolution of civilization than by concentrating one’s attention upon mass phenomena and neglecting individual men and their exploits. No mass phenomenon can be adequately treated without analyzing the ideas implied. And no new ideas spring from the mythical mind of the masses.

  • Theory and History, Chapter 11.
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