Mises 2017 Essay Prize


Mises 2017 Essay Prize

For the chance to win £500 and have your essay published by the Ludwig von Mises Centre UK, write and submit one of the following essays:

  1. To what extent is the UK economy ‘rigged’ in the interests of an elite?
  2. ‘The British Right has lost the Culture War.’ Discuss.
  3. ‘Oil wars.’ Is this an accurate summary of US-led interventions in the Middle East of the 21st century?

The author of the winning essay shall also receive an invitation to speak at a Mises 2018 conference.

We are looking for either undergraduate quality academic essays or well-argued opinion pieces of a publishable standard. Essays must be between 2,500 and 4,000 words (not including footnotes) and should be e-mailed to martland@misesuk.org 

The deadline for submissions is 12th December 2017. The winning essay will be revealed on 12th January 2018. Any runner-up essays shall – the author permitting – also be exhibited on the misesuk.org website.

Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito

(Do not give in to evil, but proceed ever more boldly against it)

The Austrian Approach to Economic History


The Austrian Approach to Economic History
Dr Matteo Salonia, Associated Scholar of Mises UK at King’s College London

matteoIt is safe to assume that most of the readers of Mises UK are not admirers of the Marxist historiographical school, and the defects and inadequacies of Marxian reconstructions of the past are by now well-known, even though a large percentage of academics in the Humanities insists in perpetuating Marxian myths and in using a Marxist vocabulary in textbooks and lectures. Yet, for all the shortcomings of the Marxist school, it is important to recognize that the narrative that it proposes has a strong relationship with economic theory. It is perhaps not by chance that after the crisis of Marxism the relation between economic theory and economic history has become quite tormented. The problem today is not simply that the two disciplines of history and economics do not speak to each other. Rather, it seems that many economic historians, in principle, do not accept the necessity of theoretical analysis when looking at the past. Some of them actually seem to believe that distancing themselves from any economic theory is the appropriate thing to do. The trouble comes when, in order to say anything meaningful, eventually they must say something about the causes of economic development or the economic structure of a certain society. But, as Sudha Shenoy has warned, “Those actions that historians actually find in the contexts they study, can be fitted together into ‘social complexes’ only if historians make use of the ‘schemes of structural relationships’ that theory provides ready-made. Without such developed theories, historians may implicitly use contradictory or unsustainable reasoning in their accounts.” This is why, for instance, in a recent book on the history of Japan, one reads that the growth of certain local industries and the beginnings of specialization in the Tokugawa period supposedly happened thanks to the intervention of regional political powers. But correlation is not causation, and the author does not even try to explain to the reader (let alone convince him) that, having shown the presence of government intervention, it is indeed theoretically safe to assume that this alone accounts for specialization in production – or even that specialization in production would not have happened without some sort of coercive action favoring it from above. Economic history textbooks and monographs are sprinkled with such problematic statements, and I want to stress once more that the issue here is not holding a wrong economic theory, but rather not holding a theory at all: in fact, it has become not unusual to find in the same article or volume scattered assumptions that seem taken from many different (and irreconcilable) economic theories. Read more

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What Cultural Marxists Like BBC News Say About Looting


Tucker Carlson and his guest Dan Bongino raised what you might call a look-away issue: Looting.

As the two looked on at footage of looters in post-Irma Florida, TV talker and guest volunteered that “this” was “not about race.” “This,” presumably, being a reference to the looting.

Here was one of those, “Who are you going to believe, me or your own lyin’ eyes?” moments.

Messrs. Carlson and Bongino were watching an embarrassingly uniform group of outlaws in action. Mr. Carlson even went on to quip that the looting landscape comprised not mothers in search of diapers and infant formula, but people dressed to the nines in gold chains.

If the “gold-chains” allusion is not a proxy for race in our navel-gazing nation, what is?

What, then, is one to take away from these obfuscations coming as they do from our side? That looting can “strike” anyone? That anybody can “catch” looting from Florida’s contaminated flood waters? (Incidentally, wastewater infrastructure is buckling under, due in large part to unmanageable population growth. Immigration is stinking up Florida. Literally.)

Please don’t tell your viewers that flaws of character marring individuals in certain groups in significant numbers are a systemic, societal, structural problem. That argument is taken. It’s the case made by Cultural Marxism and its watered-down political offshoots of multiculturalism and political correctness.

In a manner of speaking, when conservatives hearken back to the “Democrats'” Welfare State to explain away the color of crime; they, too, are making the Cultural Marxist argument.

Recall how blacks rampaged through Milwaukee, hollering their white-hot hatred for whites? “He white. Beat his shit,” yelled one hoodlum in footage featured on “Hannity.” But crime, race and the reality of such racial hatred was quickly averted in the ensuing discussion. Instead, Mr. Hannity and Sheriff David Clarke blamed … Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society. Or, something like that.

To go by the doctrine of Cultural Marxism, looting in Florida and elsewhere is black because blacks are locked-out of American institutions. Never mind that the black agenda (perspective and attendant claims) is echoed throughout the culture (in music, art and film), transmitted by the education system (at primary, secondary and tertiary levels); is repeated by most media, most think tanks, by the publishing industry and by public administration. Why, Sen. Tim Scott, a black Republican, has just read President Trump the riot act over the president’s comments following the events in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Metaphorically speaking, free African-American politicians and activists are boiling the bones of their enslaved ancestors to make soup. The suffering of slaves is being exploited posthumously to shape discourse in politically advantageous ways.

As ostensible outsiders, blacks (gays, feminists and the antifa Idiocracy, too) are compelled, in Cultural Marxism, to continue upending what remains of America’s staid, stifling institutions.

For a central tenet of this institutionally victorious form of Marxism is that middle-class values—the kind that built America—are evil and fascistic. (Also fascistic are monogamy, the nuclear family, heterosexuality, whiteness, conservatism, Christian conservatism, the quaint idea of good and bad, God and the Ten Commandments. Like Regan MacNeil, played by Linda Blair in “The Exorcist, any symbol of goodness will send a Cultural Marxist into paroxysms typical of the possessed.) Thus, does Cultural Marxism march on, an ill-founded, purely political construct that appeals not to empirical evidence and reason, but to the roiling, base emotions of rage and resentment.

In its triumphant march through this country’s institutions, Cultural Marxism’s representatives have sought to eviscerate bourgeoisie morality. One such middle-class idea upon which an entire justice system once rested was that the individual bore responsible for his crimes—not a political structure, conjured by well-fed communists in academia, in a thinly veiled push to supplant traditional morality.

On the BBC News, age-old truths have long since been replaced with the abstractions mentioned. BBC anchors exculpated the looting in Florida, and elsewhere in British territories, with reference to desperation, disparity and … slavery. To the BBC’s editorializing “news” anchors, blacks don’t commit crimes, but are driven to commit crime by an inherently unjust white society, in which power relationships are rigid (so ossified as to elevate a black man, Obama, to the presidency).

Overall, conservatives are to be commended for upholding the principle of individual responsibility irrespective of skin color. But in the same way that it’s obvious the left-liberal BBC News has become a creature of Cultural Marxism, it should be plain to see that where conservatives reduce the reality of crime to a political theory—too much welfare, too little capitalism, not enough Trumpism—they’re flirting with Cultural Marxism lite.

Conservatives will have taken a giant leap for civilization (and against the Southern Poverty Shakedown Center) were they to candidly confront the indisputable realities of race and crime in America.

Writes polymath Ron Unz: “[T]he statistical relationship between race and crime so substantially exceeds the poverty/crime relationship [poverty being one of those societal structural impediments, I presume] that much of the latter may simply be a statistical artifact due to most urban blacks being poor.” To discount the immutable reality of race and crime in urban America is to discount “the real-world impact of these grim statistics.”

Never-ever are righteous individuals within a community to be fingered for what the wicked among them do. Still, seekers of truth should be able to talk about trends within communities without fearing a loss of reputation and marginalization. The kind of trends social science measures. Or, once measured.

As I put it in Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa:

Provided they are substantiated by hard evidence, not hunches, generalizations are not incorrect. Science relies on the ability to generalize to the larger population observations drawn from a representative sample. People make prudent decisions in their daily lives based on probabilities and generalities. That one chooses not to live in a particular crime-riddled county or country in no way implies that one considers all individual residents there to be criminals, only that a sensible determination has been made, based on statistically significant data, as to where scarce and precious resources—one’s life and property—are best invested. (pp. 41-42)

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Ilana Mercer has been writing a paleolibertarian column since 1999, and is the author of The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed (June, 2016) & Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011). Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Gab & YouTube.

Book Review: Cosmopolitanism, by Kwame Anthony Appiah


Book Review: Cosmopolitanism, by Kwame Anthony Appiah

By Neil Lock

September 2017

Although it was first published in 2006, I only recently became aware of this book. One advantage of being so late to the party is that I had plenty of reviews to look at, and so could judge what others think of the book before trying it. And the judgements were varied and interesting. Many of them, indeed, told me as much about the reviewers as they did about the book itself. Those on the political left tended to be dismissive of both its substance and its style. Of the rest, some seemed bemused by it, but many were enthusiastic. So, as the subject is in an area of great interest to me, I decided to read the book and add my twopennyworth.

Read more

The Value of the Greek and Roman Classics


The Value of the Greek and Roman Classics
Speech Given to the Property and Freedom Society
15th
September 2017
Sean Gabb

When a member of the House of Commons rises to speak on a subject in which he has a pecuniary interest, both the rules of the House and plain decency require him to declare that interest. It is a just requirement, and I propose to follow it here. My agreed title for this morning is “The Value of the Greek and Roman Classics.” I run the Centre for Ancient Studies, which provides tuition in Greek and Latin and Classics in general. I am also the author of twelve novels set in the early Byzantine Empire. Give or take the inevitable problem of converting interest into direct sales, the more people I can inspire to a love of the Ancient World, the greater my income. Read more

The Radical Republicans: The Antifa Of 1865


By ilana mercer

“Anybody who would trash Lee and laud Lincoln is either stupid as a post or just plain evil,” said a sage reader. This applies in spades to anyone who would laud the Radical Republicans of 1865, as one TV GOP blonde has recently, and asininely, done.

The Radical Republicans, if you can believe it, considered Abraham Lincoln a moderate (a bad thing, in their book). Lincoln successor Andrew Johnson these fanatics branded a reactionary (punishable by obstruction and impeachment).

Praised these days by the blonde-ambition faction of the Republican Party, the Radicals were stars of America’s own Reign of Terror over the South, at the end of the War Between the States.

If the French Reign of Terror was led by the terrifying Robespierre and his Jacobins; its American equivalent was infused with the spirit of lunatics like John Brown. (His abolitionist activists snatched five pro-slavery settlers near Pottawatomie Creek, in 1856, and split the captives’ skulls with broadswords, in an act of biblical retribution gone mad.)

Thaddeus Stevens was another of their “inspirational” madmen, lauded in the annals of the Party of Reconstruction. In his biography of Stevens, Thaddeus Stevens: Nineteenth Century Egalitarian, historian Hans Trefousse even makes a brief reference to the Jacobin Club, a term reserved for the most extreme Republicans in Congress (p. 168). Other club members: Henry Winter Davis, Benjamin Butler, Charles Sumner, Benjamin Wade, Zachariah Chandler.

Although Republicans shared “the drive toward revolution and national unification” (the words of historian Clyde Wilson, in The Yankee Problem, 2016), the Radicals distinguished themselves in their support for sadistic military occupation of the vanquished Rebel States, following the War Between the States.

While assorted GOP teletarts may find the rhetoric of Radical Republicans sexy; overall, these characters are villains of history, for helping to sunder the federal scheme bequeathed by the Founding Fathers. In their fanatical fealty to an almighty central government, Radical Republicans were as alien to the Jeffersonian tradition of self-government as it gets.

Today’s Republicans should know that the Radical Republicans were hardly heartbroken about the assassination of Lincoln, on April 14, 1865.

A mere month earlier (March 4, 1865)—and much to the chagrin of the Radicals—Lincoln had noodled, in his billowing prose, about the need to “bind up the nation’s wounds and proceed with “malice toward none … and charity for all.”

Radical Republicans were having none of that charity stuff. They promptly placed their evil aspirations in Andrew Johnson. A President Johnson, they had hoped, would be a suitable sockpuppet in socking it to the South some more.

Alas, Johnson, a poor, white tailor from North Carolina, turned out, in today’s political nomenclature, to be something of a populist. In going against the Radical Republicans, the 17th president of the United States was the Trump of his time, up against the Rubio-McCain-Graham Radical Republicans. (Marco Rubio, incidentally, has gone as far as to rationalize the Antifa ruffians’ violence, tweeting: “When [an] entire movement [is] built on anger and hatred towards people different than [sic] you, it justifies and ultimately leads to violence against them.”)

When Johnson failed to deliver the radical changes Radical Republicans demanded, our 1865 Antifans accused him of being “tainted by Lincolnism.”

Let’s unpack this:

To rational and righteous individuals, Lincoln did a radical thing in prosecuting a fratricidal war in 1861. Did not the ignoble institution of slavery dissolve relatively uneventfully in most slave societies, around that time? Indeed, it did. Alone in all nations did the U.S.  and Haiti share the dubious distinction of shedding blood, where other options presented themselves.

But to Radical Republicans, the late Lincoln had not been radical enough and Johnson had disappointed.

While number 17 was a Southern Unionist, President Johnson was, nevertheless, still a Democrat. Then as now, the Republicans were the party of the crony capitalist centralized State. Unlike the current Dems, 1861 Democrats were the party of states’ rights.

And it was proving a little harder to take the old republic of radical decentralization out of President Johnson.

Consequently, Johnson allowed “each of the Rebel States to determine its suffrage.” Remember, only the rights to life, liberty and property are inviolable natural rights. Not so the right to vote. The franchise is a grant of government privilege, never a natural right.

And it was to field hands that the Radicals gave the vote and, subsequently, governorship of the South. “Nearly four million slaves had been freed overnight. Very few of these were equipped to meet the rudimentary responsibilities of citizenship.” (A Complete History of the United States, by Clement Wood, p. 342.) Confessed one freedman: “I can’t read, I can’t write. We go by the [Union League’s] instructions. We don’t know nothing much.” (In their strong-arm, violent tactics, Union League members were most definitely the Antifa arm of Reconstruction-era Republicans.)

Is there any wonder that the South under Radical-Republican Reconstruction became a “howling Babylon of Corruption”? This was to be expected from the “riffraff of conquerors and conquered alike.” The planter class had been destroyed. “Many whites and Negroes of the new ruling class could not even sign their name,” attests historian William Miller.

In mitigation, the less-radical Lincoln had proposed that “the right to vote be given to the most capable [blacks].” Johnson’s advice was to give the vote to propertied blacks worth $250. (Wood, P. 349.)

Not unlike today’s Republicans and Democrats, the Radical Republicans of yore had sidelined a large segment of the white population in the South. Johnson had dared to flout congressional Radicals by showing some fairness to these vanquished Southerners.

“When the South came to elect its Senators and Representatives in 1865, it had but one class of men it would trust to turn to, and that was leading secessionists.” (Wood, P. 349.)

“Northerners were [being] asked by the Southern States to recognize, on terms of civic and official equality, confederate cabinets members, congressmen and brigadier generals.” (P. 346.) Radical Republicans set about preventing such charitable normalization.

During the lame-duck session of December 1865, the Radicals excluded “men elected in the rebel states.” Full-well did they know that the 14th Amendment was unconstitutional  (A New History of the United States by William Miller, p. 220). Over Johnson’s veto and advice to the South to reject the rigged ratification process—the Radicals demanded the South ratify the 14th Amendments as a condition of representation in Congress.

Johnson’s riposte, bless him, was to accuse Republican Representative Thaddeus Stevens of “seeking to destroy the rights of Southern states” (Wood, p. 349). And with good reason:

The Supreme Court had ruled against the legality and constitutionality of martial law in the South. Against the SCOTUS’s ruling, the Radical Republicans went on to,

  • “Throw out the governments of all confederate states (but Tennessee) and bring the South under military rule.” “Military governors backed by national troops” replaced governments whose formation Johnson allowed in 1865.” Twenty thousand “troops were quartered in the South,” shades of the reason an earlier generation of Americans fought the War of Independence.
  • Radical Republicans next divested the SCOTUS of its constitutional role. They removed the constitutional jurisdiction of the Court over deciding—yea or nay—about martial rule over the South. Neither was the SCOTUS permitted to test the First Reconstruction Act.
  • Radical Republicans also made the ratification of the 14th Amendment subject to a quid pro quo: If the Rebel States ratified it, they’d be let into the Union again.
  • The Radicals “disqualified all trusted leaders of the Confederacy from holding either national or state office,” “branding them as criminals, depriving them of political rights at the same time that [they] gave civil rights” to all Africans.

In a word, white electors were largely disqualified.

“Having brushed aside the Court, the Radicals tried to subordinate the Executive.” These odious types turned to divesting the commander-in-chief of his constitutional authority and role.

These days, the Army ignores President Trump’s executive order as commander-in-chief, a precedent Radial Republicans may have helped cement, when they “forbade President Johnson to give the army orders except through [Generalissimo] Grant.”

The Radicals soon put in place new state constitutions which—wouldn’t you know it?—were liberal in the extreme, prescribing much of the publicly-funded miseducation that has propagandized America’s kids even since.

The nation’s schools soon became a conduit for the “dispensing of radical doctrine,” starting with the un-American Radical Republican orthodoxy.

So, Ms. Liz Wheeler, one can’t at once claim a commitment to the ideas of a decentralized constitution and regional autonomy yet twerk (politically) on TV for the Radical Republicans.

 

* My thanks to historian Dr. Boyd D. Cathey for useful comments and corrections.

† Historian Clyde Wilson corrects historian Clement Wood, quoted in the column: “The Southern states,” writes Dr. Wilson, “in the first elections after the war, did not elect ‘secessionists’ to office. In fact, they carefully elected, and Johnson appointed, men who had not been active secessionists.”

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Ilana Mercer has been writing a paleolibertarian column since 1999, and is the author of The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed (June, 2016) & Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011). Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Gab & YouTube.

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