Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Anti-Imperialism of Mises

Mises Daily:Tuesday, June 25, 2013 by Leonard P. Liggio
[This originally appeared as “Mises and History,” in the January 1974 edition of The Libertarian Forum.]
The death of Ludwig von Mises has brought forth numerous essays on his contribution to economics. It is equally in order to discuss his work in the historical sciences, as he called them. Having had the honor and pleasure of attending Mises’ graduate seminar during the years in which he wrote Theory and History and devoted his seminar to that subject, I had the rare opportunity of participating in the final formulation of his long-considered concepts of the historical sciences. But, before discussing that part of his contribution in another article, I shall indicate some of the substantive historical analyses which Mises made.
Faced with the rise of classical liberalism in the 19th century and its collapse since the first world war, Mises had very special motives for examining contemporary history. Mises emphasized that ideas are the base on which all social activity takes place. It is in the realm of ideas that the battle for civilization and progress takes place. Mises emphasized the fact and the necessity that classical liberalism had to be obstinate and uncompromising. Success of liberal ideas required the enlightenment of people who studied ideas who would convince the citizenry of their correctness. Mises advocated a revolution in ideas as the necessary step to the revolution of the practice of freedom. However, the advocates of classical liberalism in the 19th century were not obstinate and uncompromising. The English utilitarians, especially Ricardo, had incomplete and compromised notions leading succeeding liberals not to correct and complete them but to turn away to more compromises as in the case of John Stuart Mill….To Read More…

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