Wednesday, 19 July 2017

The Sassy Mises, vol. 2

It's time for a repeat of our favourite pastime: exploring the amazing world of our dear friend Ludwig von Mises and his snappy, sassy comments about his academic life  particularly his intellectual opponents. I remain dedicated to compiling some of the best examples of absolutely stunning and entertaining Mises quotes; this hillarious exercise in Misesian delight may very well be my proudest achievement. But less me, and more Mises  please!

My new favourite insult, found in Memoirsin a passage where Mises reflects on the actions by the Austro-Hungarian central bank in regards to its de facto gold commitment:
This was readily acknowledged by intelligent opponents of gold payment, such as Professor Landersberger and Richard Riedle, chairman of the Commerce Department's tariff division. Only a mental midget like Federn* could believe that a refusal of note redemption would not affect the stability of the exchange rates. (p. 41) 
 *=, Walther Federen was the publisher of Österreischichen Volkswirt

Also in Memoirs, referring to a conversation with Otto Bauer in November 1905 after massive workers' protest in Vienna ("250 000 workers, in military rows of eight"):
Marxism made the Social democrats blind and stupid. (p. 74)
Others, believing the nonsense sometimes referred to as the Great Man Theory of History, deserve nothing less: 
Simplified accounts of history, adapted to the capacity of people slow of comprehension, have presented history as a product of the feats of great men. (Theory and Historyp. 186)
But immense stupidity is not restricted to the comparatively prosperous parts of the world, and it has repurcussions beyond the realm of ideas:
Many of the richest deposits of various mineral substances are located in areas whose inhabitants are too ignorant, too inert, or too dull to take advantage of the riches nature has bestowed upon them. (Human Action, p. 683) 
continuing along the same lines (surprisingly accurate even in the 21st century), Mises was complaining about the low quality of the Austrian university education system: 
the majority of doctors of law, of the social sciences, and of philosophy was inadequately trained in their professions, could not think, and was careful to avoid serious books. (Memoirs, p. 80)

The uneducated statist who avoids serious books, instead  try different routes to reach their goals:
There is, of course, but one way to make one's own judgments of value supreme. One must beat into submission all those dissenting. This is what all representatives of the various collectivist doctrines are striving for. They ultimately recommend the use of violence and pitiless annihilation of all those whom they condemn as heretics. Collectivism is a doctrine of war, intolerance, and persecution. (Theory and History, p. 61)
Another one of my favourites is highly appropriate in regards to thetsunami of intellectual gibberish coming out of the abysmal joke of a magazine that is The Economist. Apparently, The Economist negatively reviewed one of Mises books back in the 1950s. In a private letter written to a friend in May 1957, Mises says:
That the London Economist, that harbinger of the policies that are ruining British prosperity and civilization, does not like my Anti-Capitalistic Mentality is, in the eyes of discerning people, a recommendation. (quoted in Hülsmann 2007, p. 981)
Pre-empting by decades such mindnumbingly bad reasoning as made by the Economist's editors the other week, Mises wrote in 1928 (before the Great Depression) one of his least appreciated essays 'Monetary Stabilization and Cyclical Policy' (re-published as chapter 2 in this 2006 collection by Percy Greaves). I can highly recommend this complete destruction of Fisher and every kind of stabilisation policies:
Many a person believes himself competent to pass judgment, orally and in writing, on the problem of the formulation of monetary value and the rate of interest. If given the opportunity—as legislator or manager of a country’s monetary and banking policy—he feels called upon to enact radical measures without having any clear idea of their consequences. (p. 56)
Mises speaks only very rarely about Keynes and his disillusioned attempt of being an economist. This section, however, ridiculing Keynes' objection to the Gold Standard, is nevertheless fairly epic:
If one takes pleasure in calling the gold standard a "barbarous relic," [As Lord Keynes does] one cannot object to the application of the same term to every historically determined institution. Then the fact that the British speak English  and not Danish, German, or French  is a barbarous relic too, and every Briton who opposes the substitution of Esperanto for English is no less dogmatic and orthodox than those who do not wax rapturous about the plans for a managed currency. (Human Actionp. 468)
We conclude volume 2 of The Sassy Mises with another passage from Human Action's chapter 17, one particularly sassy-intense instance of his many writings. Again, ridiculing those proposing fiat money or objecting to the Gold Standard:
the most fanatical attacks against gold are made by those intent upon credit expansion. With them credit expansion is the panacea for all economic ills. It could lower or even entirely abolish interest rates, raise wages and prices for the benefit of all except the parasitic capitalists and the exploiting employers, free the state from the necessity of balancing its budget – in short, make all decent people prosperous and happy. Only the gold standard, that devilish contrivance of the wicked and stupid "orthodox" economists, prevents mankind from attaining everlasting prosperity. (Human Actionp. 470)

1 comment:

  1. Great stuff. But shouldn't it be Keynes' delusional attempt at being an economist?