Tag Archives: liberalism

Ludwig von Mises – An Annotated Bibliography


Ludwig von Mises – An Annotated Bibliography

By Duncan Whitmore

As an appendix to a series of three essays on the importance of Mises for libertarian thought, the following is an annotated bibliography of his major works.

There is little point in beating about the bush when it comes to the accessibility of Mises’ work for a prospective student – Mises can be relatively difficult to read, and one does require a considerable investment in time and mental effort to grasp the substance of his writing.

Mises is certainly not difficult in the sense that he is unclear, opaque, or inconsistent. In fact, he is remarkable for avoiding almost any lapse into one or more of all three, an ability that is largely sustained between his individual works as well as within each one. But his writing style is very different from that of say, Rothbard. To be sure, both writers are extremely systematic and logical in the progression of their ideas. With Mises, however, one can feel the years of thought and wisdom pouring off of every page, and, even in translation, oodles of meaning and ideas are packed concisely into very carefully chosen sentences. Thus, one must often invest an extended amount of time in absorbing every detail. With Rothbard, on the other hand, one almost feels as though he sat down at the typewriter, began tapping at the keys and didn’t stop until the book was finished. The result is that even Rothbard’s scholarly work is imbued with something of an improvisatory or, perhaps, conversational style that makes it more accessible to the lay reader.

Fortunately, some of Mises’ works are more accessible than others, and there are a number of study guides available to assist with the reading of the most difficult works. Read more

Why Libertarians Should Read Mises – Part One


Why Libertarians Should Read Mises

Part One

By Duncan Whitmore

Introduction

There is little need to point out to members of the forum bearing his name that Ludwig von Mises was one of the most passionate and influential defenders of the free market in intellectual history – the lynchpin of a tradition running from Carl Menger in the late nineteenth century to the active members of the flourishing “Austrian” school today. Many libertarians – including the present author – first found their enthusiasm for the philosophy through contact with Mises’ work and, in spite of the undeniably titanic influence of other great men in the field (such as Murray N Rothbard), it is Mises who remains the primary inspiration of many an intellectual career within Austro-libertarianism.

Mises made relatively few pronouncements that were concerned specifically with ethics, his intellectual endeavours being focussed mainly on developing and expounding economic theory and epistemology. It is true that he regarded this theory as the basis for an unflinching advocacy of what could then be called liberalism – an aspect we will explore in detail. However, he did so on the basis that, in general, “people prefer life to death, health to sickness, nourishment to starvation, abundance to poverty” and that praxeology and economics “teaches man how to act in accordance with these [presupposed] valuations”.1

Many libertarians share this attitude and believe that the enormous increase in the standard of living that would be afforded by the free market provides its strongest justification. Indeed, it would be futile for any strategy for achieving a libertarian world to omit this powerful argument – particularly when it becomes clear that the established elite are using the existing corp-tocracy to enrich only themselves, causing the siren song of socialist alternatives to grow dangerously louder. Read more

An Introduction to Polish Politics: a Casual Stroll through the Lunatic Asylum


Jakub Jankowski

Through this short introduction you will become acquainted with the contemporary, post-Communist Polish political scene. I will not be presenting this in a chronological order of events; rather I will exhibit a more in-depth approach to each party movement individually, presenting their history, achievements, ideals and their relation to other parties and the Polish nation as a whole.

Currently, the Polish political scene is dominated by two major parties, a phenomenon, not too surprising in the western world. The two are called Civic Platform (PO), which has been the ruling party in Poland since 2007, and Law and Justice (PiS), the opposition. These parties did not exist prior to 2000-2001, they have been only in existence for the last 15 years, and both have a similar genesis. They were formed in 2001 out of the ashes of an earlier right-wing coalition of parties raised to combat the post-communist left in the 1997 elections and both of these parties were thought of as being ideologically similar at the time. They went into 2001 general elections separately, but joined forces a year later in local elections as one voting committee – POPiS.

Read more

Libertarian Alliance Quote of the Day


David Davis

“The general character and disposition of the Rationalist are, I think, not difficult to identify. At bottom he stands for independence of mind on all occasions, for thought free from obligation to any authority save the authority of `reason’. His circumstances in the modern world have made him contentious: he is the enemy of authority, of prejudice, of the merely traditional, customary or habitual. His mental attitude is at once sceptical and optimistic: sceptical, because there is no opinion, no habit, no belief, nothing so firmly rooted or so widely held that he hesitates to question it and to judge it by what he calls his `reason’; optimistic, because the Rationalist never doubts the power of his `reason’ (when properly applied) to determine the worth of a thing, the truth of an opinion or the propriety of an action.”[1]


Michael Oakeshott

You can see the full Libertarian Alliance publication from which this quote is truncated right off the top, here:-

http://www.libertarian.co.uk/lapubs/libhe/libhe015.pdf

The Libertarian Alliance Christmas Message, 2009


David Davis

Imagine a land.

Imagine this land here, now, if you can! It’s Christmas again, so let us dream a little. Come with me, now, let’s go there….

Imagine this land, where these things I will list for you, are taken for granted. I’m not presenting them in any particular order, they’re just nice things. I could dream up others, but fourteen is a nice number – it’s flashing blue and white and appears to me like a little bar code in my brain.***

You could call them David Davis’s Fourteen Points. Fifteen actually! The number of the Fourteen Points! (Fifteen’s green and red: yellowish in some contexts…)

(1)            The State’s organisation is so small and so un-visible, that you can spend most of your life without having to encounter one of its staff. They may be able to help you with the inconvenient documents you’d need, to cover you for travel in less fortunate lands and to call for protection by your State’s global-blue-water-forces – and that’s all. The State still runs a few libraries, staffed by some polite old ladies, and retired colonels who know about organisation and getting overdue books back.

(2)            There is a flat rate of taxation – say 10% for now – which everybody, including businesses on their profits, might reasonably be expected to pay without complaint. Progressive taxation is not approved of, but people earning under a certain amount are not taxed, which helps with those on a Shilling an hour, until they do better.

(3)            The Franchise is a Freehold Property qualification. It is qualified otherwise by age – 21. This has a number of benefits: (I) It cuts the number of voters down to those who own freehold land or buildings, or known parts of or all of a business – businesses, being property, can vote through their owners, and business votes are pro rata. (II) It reduces to almost zero the votes that would currently go to socialist parties. (III) It causes MPs to aggressively strive for all voters to own private freehold property of all kinds. (IV) Elections are important, and competition to gain property is immense.

(4)            This land is not in the EU. It has left, and simultaneously, having denounced and repudiated all the relevant “treaties”, has also downgraded its own bureaucracy’s ability to resist and defeat the measures stated. The said bureaucracy is also about 99% smaller. This land is rich, and businesses in EU-enslaved countries compete fiercely to sell their wares here. They need the Gold and Platinum and Rhenium Bars, to prop up their toilet-paper-monopoly-currency

(5)            The currencies which circulate in this land are whatever traders here will be pleased to accept as payment: there may be lots, even including fiat-papers, which may have tactical use for things such as holidays. The prevailing one, however, backed by a number of hard Bullions with commodity-prices, such as Gold, Platinum, Rhenium, Iridium, Cobalt and Silver to name a few, is universally respected. Many industrially-useful metals can be currencies. And you can take this State’s Promissory Note that you got, to any branch of the Central Bank, and they’ll hand you in return the right weight of the metal of your choice.

(6)            The Police are unarmed civilians who do, for you, what they do just like the lifeboatmen of the RNLI do what they do. The Police have not much to do these days, except sit about at the few remaining “Police Stations”, drinking tea in funny uniforms with pointy hats, and occasionally going out to the odd primary school, to tell humorous horror-stories of what it was like under the “Government”, when “some people used to commit crimes! And people thought that “crime” was caused by “deprivation!” ” (Chorus of screams and laughter from children who can factorise cubics before lunch.) You are allowed to keep any arms that please you, up to but not including heavy artillery for which you need permission from some retired colonel or other, locally: crime, therefore, is very rare.

(7)            The State, such as remains in organisation, has no function in employment or wage regulation. There are jobs in which people may work for less than Five Shillings an Hour, even in 2010. There is no “unemployment benefit”.

(8)            But the Shilling, restored to its rightful value, and fabricated in Sterling Silver, buys all this stuff at once, from Tesco or from your “local” little shop: a loaf of bread, a pound of butter, a Pound of bacon (454 grams to you lot) for which is for four people, a frying pan, and the electricity to turn it all into good old Bacon-Butties!

(9)            There is no “Ministry of Education”: not even a “Department of Skills”. Schools of all sorts flourish – you can even go to an Islamic one in Skelmersdale, or Wigan, or Wimborne, if you want, or a Jewish one in (don’t know) or a sort of funny one started in Birkdale by some scientist-madman who hated the “National(ised) Curriculum” under the GramscoFabiaNazis, and decided that when times got better he’d start his own Science and Engineering Academy for Boys and Girls who were “interested”. He’d take anybody – you just had to agree to turn up every day no-fail (or you’d be sacked) and you’d get lots of “prep”, which meant self-study in your own time, and in return he’d always answer all your difficult questions. A very, very old, smoking man with horn-rimmed spectacles, driving a Hillman Super-Minx, reg no “5518 PL”, goes round schools, when he feels up to it, seeing to it that they at least teach “Joined-Up-History”, with dates of kings and queens and important battles against continental Statists, and the easiest ways to solve simultaneous second-order-partial-differential-equations, for the eleven-year-olds to be able to compute the inter-orbital interactions of Saturn’s moons. Other stuff is up to them.

(10)      DEFRA is gone. Zapped. As if it’d never been. Farmers can grow food now, if they like. They are no longer “wildlife” or “countryside” “stewards” – they grow food efficiently and mechanically, for people, and they make real money. Butterflies are a nuisance anyway, being extinct all the time, and as for the white ones, they lay eggs which hatch into nasty caterpillars which eat all our five-a-day-broccoli. If farmers want to conserve wildlife, then they can, and can balance the cost of this against the potential lost revenue from food-buyers. It’s now their choice in this new land. But nobody will come and murder all their animals at gunpoint, and run away, ever again. If their animals get ill, nobody will buy them and they’ll lose money: it’s up to them.

(11)      Defence spending is enormous, but astonishingly efficient. The Armed Forces of this nation’s free people, even while inactive which is hopefully most of the time, strike terror into the hearts of evil-doers, other pirates, dictators of legacy-Statist-polities, and anti-liberal governments. The reason for enormous spending is the terrible threats from the other 190-odd “nations’ “ governments, continually received via the “Foreign Secretary”, whose title is soon to be changed to “Minister for War”. Procurement of kit is “open-source”: anybody may tender to provide, say, encrypted radios that work properly in cold bogs and hot sand, or real helicopters that actually exist right now today for hire or sale, and the like. The MOD is a small office in Whitehall with a telephone, an iPod dock for visiting Corporals’ mp3s, a laptop and a few gentlemen, one of whom sees to buying things.

(12)      The State has nothing to do with “Culture, Media and Sport”: from “State involvement” with these things, nothing but pretentious trash has been shown to emerge. What “culture” is, emerges by free interactions between individuals and voluntary institutions in this nation. No “grants” are given to any “groups” – whether “gays”, Moslems, LGBT groups, “Christians”, Jedi Knights, Zoroastrians (whatever those are), Jews, Rasta-men, new-agers, Gypsies and other “travelling people”, “settled folk”, or whatever. Each makes his own way and raises his own funds if needed, privately, if need be by jumble-sales in Church Halls. If the Mosque can’t hold a jumble sale, it will be legal for it to hire the Church Hall. I care not.

(13)      The astonishingly brazen up-front-scam of AGW has been exposed. Raging mobs of the “bourgeoisie”, irate small-business-owners, and other taxpayers have raided the offices of “climate-consciousness-organisations”, “Green” pressure groups, fake charities and DEFRA, have burnt all the records, malleted all identified hard disks, disk-stores, backups and pen-drives, and turned the staff into the street in the clothes they stood up in. The way is open for anyone, including Mutt and Jeff and their white van, to offer private-building-solutions to local people’s community-nuclear-power stations.

(14)      Hospitals abound in this land. The “NHS” is gone, without trace, but doctors, nurses and medicines of all sorts seem to be everywhere. You can even buy penicillins, the early ones, (via the chemist, at first!) in Tesco, as is right. (They’re not for everybody all the time, and scientific education has to catch up some decades of deliberate darkness in short order!) There is a hospital in almost every large village, in all small and large towns, and many in each city. These initially Spartan places (but they will get better) consist of some Doctors each, who do their own rota, plus some Nurses who might shout kindly at you for not taking your medicine on time but who will heroically attend you without complaint in the night if you are in great pain. There are many many interesting  and advanced machines, and always a couple of telephonists who know everyone in the area, and perhaps a duty-chemist too, to issue the more abstruse drugs. Plus lots of old ladies under an irascible local retired colonel, who come and clean up properly everywhere with strong stuff, every day, for a few quid. The poor buggerettes would stay alive outside care homes for longer if this was the case – they’d have something to do in their lives. There are no “managers” – the Colonels can do that stuff in their sleep. If you’re poor and can’t pay, they’ll fix you for nothing. If you’re insured, no problem. If you’re Sir Alan Sugar, you might also be asked if you’d like voluntarily to “pop something in this little box, it’s really just for the other ones, who, er, can’t really, you know….” on your way out…

(15)      The State wants nothing to do with the internet. Except to be a client, to make its operation more efficient for citizens, so you don’t even have to see anyone if you wanted a passport. Why’d you want a passport? Not to go to Spain [for example] for a holiday: “Spain” and all Spaniards would know you are protected, for you come from here, and they are civilised there, and you’d need no passport – your State has left the EU anyway and so they know you’re “good for the money you carry” and also well-protected forces-wise, so no change of a successful mugging there, then. No, you’d want a “Passport” (a modern wifi one) to call down protection by your Armed Forces, when you go for a working holiday, to less fortunate foreign lands for example – like North Korea or Cuba. You will want to distribute internet-ready computers and usb-G3 wifi devices to the oppressed natives of these poor places in the blinding darkness still. You’d regard it as your duty, so you’d need to go, and be protected by your State’s Armed Forces while you are doing your bit for world liberalism.

All of us here, in the Libertarian Alliance, and those of us locked in the Lancashire typewriting-Chimpanzees’ blogging-team Nissen-Hut (current temperature here = -3C) would like you all to have a marvellous and 100%-climate-free Christmas, and a relaxing and fully-non-Statist New Year, this time and always.

If you are not careful, we shall release video footage of us blogging.

***I have synaesthesia, I discovered about three years ago – I thought everyone saw numbers as strong colours like I do, and I was disappointed and saddened to find they don’t. Music is very very highly coloured too, for me, a lot (It’s numbers too I guess.) Shame really, it’s nice – others miss out on this sensory experience.

« Older Entries