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Quotes from Reading Mises' Socialism

All ownership derives from occupation and violence. When we consider the natural components of goods, apart from the labour components they contain, and when we follow the legal title back, we must necessarily arrive at a point where this title originated in the appropriation of goods accessible to all. Before that we may encounter a forcible expropriation from a predecessor whose ownership we can in its turn trace to earlier appropriation or robbery. That all rights derive from violence, all ownership from appropriation or robbery, we may freely admit.

Natural ownership need not count upon recognition by the owners' fellow men. It is tolerated, in fact, only as long as there is no power to upset it and it does not survive the moment when a stronger man seizes it for himself. Created by arbitrary force it must always fear a more powerful force. This the doctrine of natural law has called the war of all against all. The war ends when the actual relation is recognized as one worthy to be maintained. Out of violence emerges law.

Economic action demands stable conditions. The extensive and lengthy process of production is the more successful the greater the periods of time to which it is adapted. It demands continuity, and this continuity cannot be disturbed without the most serious disadvantages. This means that economic action requires peace, the exclusion of violence. Peace, says the rationalist, is the goal and purpose of all legal institutions; but we assert that peace is their result, their function.[5] Law, says the rationalist, has arisen from contracts; we say that Law is a settlement, and end to strife, an avoidance of strife. Violence and Law, War and Peace, are the two poles of social life; but its content is economic action.

All violence is aimed at the property of others. The person—life and health—is the object of attack only in so far as it hinders the acquisition of property. ...

Thus it is no accident that it is precisely in the defence of property that Law reveals most clearly its character of peacemaker. In the two-fold system of protection according to having, in the distinction between ownership and possession, is seen most vividly the essence of the law as peacemaker—yes, peacemaker at any price. Possession is protected even though it is, as the jurists say, no title. Not only honest but dishonest possessors, even robbers and thieves, may claim protection for their possession.

As to the source of absolute justice, that is explained in different ways. According to one view, it was the gift of Providence to Humanity. According to another, Man created it with his Reason. But both agree that Man's ability to distinguish between justice and injustice is precisely what marks him from the animal; that this is his "moral nature."

Today we can no longer accept these views, for the assumptions with which we approach the problem have changed. To us the idea of a human nature which differs fundamentally from the nature of all other living creatures seems strange indeed; we no longer think of man as a being who has harboured an idea of justice from the beginning. But if, perhaps, we offer no answer to the question how Law arose, we must still make it clear that it could not have arisen legally. Law cannot have begot itself of itself. Its origin lies beyond the legal sphere. In complaining that Law is nothing more or less than legalized injustice, one fails to perceive that it could only be otherwise if it had existed from the very beginning. If it is supposed to have arisen once, then that which at that moment became Law could not have been Law before. To demand that Law should have arisen legally is to demand the impossible. Whoever does so applies to something standing outside the legal order a concept valid only within the order.

We who only see the effect of Law—which is to make peace—must realize that it could not have originated except through a recognition of the existing state of affairs, however that has arisen. Attempts to do otherwise would have renewed and perpetuated the struggle. Peace can come about only when we secure a momentary state of affairs from violent disturbance and make every future change depend upon the consent of the person involved. This is the real significance of the protection of existing rights, which constitutes the kernel of all Law.

Law did not leap into life as something perfect and complete. For thousands of years it has grown and it is still growing. The age of its maturity—the age of impregnable peace—may never arrive.

It is only slowly and with difficulty that the idea of Law triumphs. Only slowly and with difficulty does it rebut the principle of violence. Again and again there are reactions; again and again the history of Law has to start once more from the beginning. Of the ancient Germans Tacitus relates: "Pigrum quin immo et iners videtur sudore adquirere quod possis sanguine parare." (It seems feckless, nay more, even slothful, to acquire something by toil and sweat which you could grab by the shedding of blood.)[9] It is a far cry from this view to the views that dominate modern economic life.

It is an old trick of political innovators to describe that which they seek to realize as Ancient and Natural, as something which has existed from the beginning and which has been lost only through the misfortune of historical development; men, they say, must return to this state of things and revive the Golden Age. Thus natural law explained the rights which it demanded for the individual as inborn, inalienable rights bestowed on him by Nature. This was no question of innovation, but of the restoration of the "eternal rights which shine above, inextinguishable and indestructible as the stars themselves." In the same way the romantic Utopia of common ownership as an institution of remote antiquity has arisen.

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Busy this evening but the smackdown will come

But just the obvious.. We have already established Mises was a statist so what is your point here? Why, when lobbying for statism, are you quoting a statist?

Friedman was also good on economics (except for monetary economics, they always give you Nobels for your weakest suit) but we don't point to him as being good on anything else.

Your whole thrust is based on a flawed understanding of rhetorical fallacy. You aren't even doing ad hominem right. Is Mises right? Or is he wrong? What is it you want people to think?

You don't even know.

mises was a profound

mises was a profound thinker.. people should know what he thought. i happen to be reading socialism for the first time and sharing interesting passages as i come across them. why should that bother you?

Bill3 ......This is why no one likes you

Because you are demonstrating “passive aggressive personality disorder" traits. You throw this crap out there as if you are intelligently superior and then when someone challenges you……..you act like they are the one with the problem…….you know exactly what you are doing. What a DH.

And now we know your agenda.

“I just despise the cultists and worshipers who won't tolerate anyone disagree with their Guru, who is supposed to be right on all points for all time.”

Who is your “Guru” Bill3?

Me personally I prefer truth, it doesn’t matter who says it.

“The best way to destroy the capitalist system is to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. By this method they not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and, while the process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some. The sight of this arbitrary rearrangement of riches strikes not only at security but [also] at confidence in the equity of the existing distribution of wealth.

Those to whom the system brings windfalls, beyond their deserts and even beyond their expectations or desires, become "profiteers," who are the object of the hatred of the bourgeoisie, whom the inflationism has impoverished, not less than of the public. As the inflation proceeds and the real value of the currency fluctuates wildly from month to month, all permanent relations between debtors and creditors, which form the ultimate foundation of capitalism, becomes so utterly disordered as to be almost meaningless; and the process of wealth-getting degenerates into a gamble and a lottery.

There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.”
Vladimir Lenin

"Before we can ever ask how things might go wrong; we must first explain how they could ever go right"


lots of people like me.. i'm

lots of people like me.. i'm not here to get your approval or anyone else's. as for your above freduian analysis screed, tl;dr.

No, he was a "statist" like

No, he was a "statist" like Ron Paul, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington etc.

Ventura 2012

all throughout Socialism,

all throughout Socialism, Mises uses the word Etatisme, the french precursor to the English word statism, and critiques it extensively.

the word statism is being abused above, as it means

stat·ism (sttzm)
The practice or doctrine of giving a centralized government control over economic planning and policy.
statist adj. & n.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
statism [ˈsteɪtɪzəm]
(Government, Politics & Diplomacy) the theory or practice of concentrating economic and political power in the state, resulting in a weak position for the individual or community with respect to the government

The same could be said for philosophical definitions

"all these thinkers are flawed and become dated in some ways as time goes on"

It is unfortunately none too well understood that, just as the State has no money of its own, so it has no power of its own. All the power it has is what society gives it, plus what it confiscates from time to time on one pretext or another; there is no other source from which State power can be drawn. Therefore every assumption of State power, whether by gift or seizure, leaves society with so much less power. There is never, nor can there be, any strengthening of State power without a corresponding and roughly equivalent depletion of social power.
Albert Jay Nock

"Before we can ever ask how things might go wrong; we must first explain how they could ever go right"


I thought anyone who thinks

I thought anyone who thinks parents shouldn't be allowed to starve their children to death was a statist.

Ventura 2012

true. looks like quoting

true. looks like quoting mises has sent goldspan off the deep end above. what a tool.

He wants people to know what

He wants people to know what Mises thinks. The world does not revolve around you.

Ventura 2012

Are you lying or just

Are you lying or just gullible?

He's posting this because he doesn't want people to know what Mises thinks and he believes by picking things that he thinks are damaging so that they won't read Mises.

What's so damaging about what

What's so damaging about what Mises said? Remember that Bill3 is not an anarchist.

Ventura 2012

All Utopians think alike it

All Utopians think alike it seems

Ventura 2012

part 2 coming soon

part 2 coming soon

I don't fully agree with

I don't fully agree with Mises' radical positivist view of law, as I am a "natural rights" guy, but I do agree that absent enforcement your natural rights clearly mean very little when it comes to actual rights-in-fact.

Ventura 2012

you should do a post on your

you should do a post on your conception of natural rights. that would be an interesting addition to the discussion. fsck the haters and downvote hoes.

Im studying for the Bar, no

Im studying for the Bar, no time. Basically I think it is deduced from common law principles based on Christianity and Western thought. Also, it works on utilitarian grounds to give us the moral high ground and appeal to emotion of prospective supporters, as Ron Paul has pointed out.

Ventura 2012

similar to my view. you

similar to my view. you should come to dp chat occasionally good conversations. i think some regulars in there also studying for the bar.

ya i don't agree w/ mr mises

ya i don't agree w/ mr mises on everything either. on reading Socialism i became aware for the first time of his naive acceptance of Freud who was the psychological guru of he time. of course today he is regarded as a pseudo scientific cult leader who set back psychology by decades.

a lot of mises is dated, and there are some areas where someone like Hoppe or Rothbard is better than Mises, like on their understanding the nature of political democracy. And Rothbard's incisive analysis of the networks that underlie the market system like the legal-banking-security complex.

all these thinkers are flawed and become dated in some ways as time goes on. I just despise the cultists and worshipers who won't tolerate anyone disagree with their Guru, who is supposed to be right on all points for all time. they require this i suppose for their emotional peace of mind that every question have a readily accessible answer from a single guru or a handful of gurus.