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Bronze-level articleLudwig von Mises Institute

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Von Mises' family crest. The Institute's choice to proudly use the logo of a feudal estate indicates that they really don't get it.
The dismal science


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Central banking is monetary central planning. The United States and, indeed, virtually the entire world operate under a regime of monetary socialism.
—Richard Ebeling, former Mises Professor of Economics at Hillsdale College[1]

The Ludwig von Mises Institute is an American libertarian think tank specializing in Austrian school economics and vulgar libertarian social philosophy. It was established in 1982 with the approval of Margit von Mises, the widow of the Austrian school economist Ludwig von Mises, and is right across the street from Auburn University. Make of that what you will.[2] It publishes several journals on political economy, economics, and philosophy, and has also published several books. The Institute offers fellowships to students of economics. It also gives awards to those who have made (in their opinion) exceptional contributions in the field of economics.

Lew Rockwell, a former Ron Paul staffer, was the founder and president of the Institute until his retirement in 2009 (though he remains as a chairman), and also has his own blog and news aggregator site at LewRockwell.com (often shortened to "LRC"), its position summed up as "anti-state, anti-war, pro-market."

They also offer an array of summer camp-style "seminars" where the future leaders of tomorrow can learn how to apply Austrian theory to get laughed out of the boardroom take advantage of other suckers by saying "prax" a lot.


[edit] Hail Hydra

Nothing, however, is as ill founded as the assertion of the alleged equality of all members of the human race.
—Ludwig Von Mises, Liberalism, p. 28

Baron Von Mises (key Austrian economist who invented praxxing), Baron Von Hayek (Nobel Prize-winning Austrian economist), and Kaiser Von Habsburg (would-be emperor) all knew each other and all were Austrian Nobility at one point or another. They all hated FDR for refusing their requests to use American power to reinstate the Austrian nobility/monarchy after WWII.[3][4][5] They put this institute to work combating his ideas,[6] placing it in the deep south to win over disillusioned racists to libertarianism, but also to inspire a new right-libertarianism.[7]

How do you get southerners, who have a long-standing rebellious streak, generally few wealthy areas, and strong opposition to banking establishments and trading floors, to want to deregulate Wall Street? These things are not in their best interests. To that end, Mises embarked on "Christian Reconstructionism", marrying neo-confederate author Gary North to Rousas Rushdoony's daughter. Rousas Rushdoony is the founder of christian reconstructionism, a movement which seeks to take the finer points of Calvinism and insert that into Southern Baptism.[8] Add to all this the fact that they're pandering to neo-Confederates on purpose (especially DiLorenzo), and we begin to understand the type of propaganda they're pushing.

So they're actively working from multiple angles to combine racism with wealth worship and empirical science denial. Use fuzzy libertarian math to prove that segregation is good and millionaires are great and the poor (read: black) deserve to suffer. Now, get the church to re-enforce that message, and bam, you've got "The Republican South" for the first time ever.

[edit] Political positions

The Institute leans toward anarcho-capitalism and tends to view more soft-line libertarian think tanks like the Cato Institute as compromising Beltway insiders. They believe we were better off under monarchy, 'cos no democracy and the king privately owns everything so way moar serfdom freedom. Even a constitutional monarchy is a step in the wrong direction. If you disagree then you're just not rational enough to hang with the Austrians.[9]

The Institute supports a non-interventionist foreign policy. That includes a retrospective opposition to America's involvement in World War II, harkening back to the paleocon philosophy which really took off around that time. They walk a fine line of expressing overt sympathy with the Axis powers:[10] Austrian praxers hate Hitler for his public works and monetary policies. To them that is the defining characteristic of Nazism. Everything apart from the whole 'racism, mass-murder and invading other countries' stuff.[11] That way, they can say that literally everyone is Hitler[12] except people very similar in thinking to Hitler who lean libertarian, such as that great American David Duke.[13]

Between your Pinochet-whitewashing,[14] DUI-defending,[15] rape-apologizing,[16] child market-advocating,[17] cryptoracism just open racism,[18][19] homophobia,[20] anti-environmentalism[21] and every insane wingnuttery in-between, they cover almost every Ayncrap trope... ALMOST: They don't like Bitcoin. You should buy gold![22] Burton Blumert, a chairman of the Institute, owned one of the biggest bullion companies at the time (hence the obsession with gold).[23]

Surprisingly, they have been known to play host to left-libertarians now and again; a notable example is Roderick T. Long. Of course, given how the Institute treats "leftists" with unmitigated scorn, they are careful not to leak any left-wing viewpoints into the articles, especially in regards to the market. To play it safe they more often than not cherry pick parts of their left-leaning philosophies that are deemed acceptable by the Institute and right-libertarianism in general.

[edit] Conspiracy theories, pseudohistory, and pseudoscience

[edit] Pearl Harbor and 9/11

The Institute seems to be sympathetic to the Pearl Harbor conspiracy theory as well as 9/11 conspiracy theories, going so far as to give a rather favorable review to David Ray Griffin's book The New Pearl Harbor.[24]

[edit] Climate change

The Institute swallows the old canard that climate change is money-making scheme perpetrated by scientists to get grant money.[25][26][27][28]

[edit] Smarter than Einstein

Both Lew Rockwell and LvMI have published articles claiming that the theory of relativity is a sham.[29][30] At this point it would be simpler to list the conspiracy theories ancaps don't believe.

[edit] Typhoid Mises

The Institute web site supports the old and groundless accusation that the MMR vaccine causes autism.[31]

Lew Rockwell has also published an article claiming that HIV is not the cause of AIDS.[28]

[edit] Blood for the Blood God!

Walter Block, misinterpreting the shocked silence of the audience as a lack of a counterargument. (Why does everything in Libertarian Fantasy Land reduce to selling your children?)

The Institute defends a competitive market for human organs, including from living people.[32]

Also, parents mustn't be required to feed or clothe their babies. Everyone should have the right to abandon their babies to death, especially if the babies are deformed. If you disagree with that, your best hope is to convince the parents to sell the babies in the free baby market.[33] If you were disappointed that A Modest Proposal was satire, you might be a libertarian.

The Institute promotes the books Defending the Undefendable I and II,[34][35] from Walter Edward Block. The books defend blackmail, slander, libel, hate speech, the death penalty, and (of course) child porn. These are only "defendable" insofar as he can rely on tricky definitions of NAP to make them O.K. Charity, on the other hand, is condemned as being "undeniably harmful". The reason for opposing charity is their idea that charity disrupts the survival of the fittest, thus obstructing the evolution of the human species. Remember that the Institute already defends that the State has no right to invest in education, orphanages, day care, health care, and social security. And on top of that, they actively discourage voluntary charity.[36] The book has a foreword by Rothbard and an enthusiastic preface by Hayek.

[edit] White supremacy

The head of the Institute, Lew Rockwell, wrote some rather interesting things about black people in the wake of the L.A. riots.[37] In addition, it has a rather interesting interpretation of the American Civil War, viewing President Abraham Lincoln as the statist villain who sought to drastically expand the power of central government at the expense of states' rights, rather than keep the Union intact in the face of a secession motivated by slave ownership. On that last, they feel that compensation for slave owners (as some had proposed back then) would have been better, preserving "states' rights" and averting war, though Murray Rothbard has quipped that it was more the slaves who deserved compensation than their owners, at least. Some also point to various banking conspiracy theories as causes of the conflict. Ironically Lincoln himself feared the rising power of banks and industrial capitalism (as Thomas Jefferson did) while conspiracy theories of his own assassination often name international bankers as suspects. The Southern Poverty Law Center has condemned Rockwell and Rothbard's racially-tinged rhetoric and endorsement of questionable candidates[38][39]

Mises himself sidestepped the issue of whether some races are superior to others by stating that even if that is the case, the law of comparative advantage (referred to by Mises as "Ricardo's law of association") still enables members of different races to cooperate in mutually beneficial ways: "It may be admitted that the races differ in talent and character and that there is no hope of ever seeing those differences resolved. Still, free trade theory shows that even the more capable races derive an advantage from associating with the less capable and that social co-operation brings them the advantage of higher productivity in the total labour process."[40] Mises believed that due to that economic law, there need not be irreconcilable conflict between the races, or enslavement of any race by another, although he also noted, "It is nonsensical to fight the racial hypothesis by negating obvious facts. It is vain to deny that up to now certain races have contributed nothing or very little to the development of civilization and can, in this sense, be called inferior."[41]

[edit] Greatest hits

They dare defend their rights parking. Too bad it isn't a worthwhile cut-through.

With its zealous defense of everything free market, the von Mises Institute frequently lapses into bouts of self-parody. For salient and highly comical examples, see:

[edit] Luminaries

  • Walter Block - Senior Fellow. Ah yes, the man who says that poor people should basically die for the good of the species while "pimps, drug dealers, blackmailers, corrupt policemen, and loan sharks" are somehow free speech heroes.[34] Block defends a lot of other crazy shit, like letting wealthy pedophiles rape your kids and the "race realism"[42] which is all the rage in recent years.[note 1] But those don't show up in his book, which was written when he was still only interested in economics.[43] Most ancaps seem to be social conservatives, but they love them some Block even though he is the most disgusting person in libertarianism today or possibly ever. At the same time, his arguments are consistent with libertarianism: extreme devotion to property and applying market logic to everything.
  • Thomas DiLorenzo - Senior faculty member and Lost Causer-in-chief.[44] Well, you know, slavery wasn't really that bad. I mean, it's not like it compares to real oppression, like paying taxes.
  • Hans-Hermann Hoppe - Distinguished Senior Fellow. Einstein was wrong; HHH praxxed it out, yo.[30]
  • Gary North - Contributor and winner of the Murray N. Rothbard Medal of Freedom. He's also the son-in-law of R.J. Rushdoony, and one of the most explicit Talibanists in the US at present.
  • Lew Rockwell - Chairman. Criminals should RIDE THE LIGHTNING but we need to raise our BAC standards because we drive better when we're a little buzzed. He also argues that if you aren't an anarcho-capitalist, you differ from Hitler only in the details.[45]
  • Murray Rothbard - Mises' heir. Praised David Duke, Joseph McCarthy, and worked with Pat Buchanan in order to "break the clock of social democracy". Wow, after the whole "it's O.K. to starve your kids"[46] thing we didn't think this guy could get more evil, but he found a way.
  • Lysander Spooner - 19th-century anarchist and one of Rothbard's heroes. Spooner (fascinating name) was the original libertarian advocate for pedophilia in Vices are Not Crimes, saying it is okay to lure kids with rewards to have sex. Loudmouths like Rockwell celebrate Spooner's defense of confederacy and secession, but leave out the, uh, vital parts of his philosophy.[47]

[edit] Mises Wiki

This is much like how, in a communist society, the dictator or electorate can decree that any business be closed so that resources can be devoted elsewhere; the person who took the initiative in founding and operating the business has no greater say than anyone else, despite his greater familiarity with the subject matter.
—The Mises Wiki having interesting ideas about Wikipedia[48]

The Mises Wiki is a wiki, owned and operated by the Institute, whose stated purpose is to write and maintain an up-to-date encyclopedia covering economic and political topics from an Austrian school point of view. One of its co-founders[49] writes, "I want the good features of Wikipedia with a certain POV, without devolving into the raving madness of Conservapedia or, Mises forbid, RationalWiki. ;)"[50] Mises Wiki is the successor to the Austrian Economics Wiki, which was hosted on Wikia.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

[edit] Notes

  1. This guy spends an awful lot of time thinking up moral justifications for pedophilia. Block is the "economist" who, on Seder's podcast, when the topic of "arbitrary" laws came up, his very first example was age of consent laws. (i.e. imagining "a starvation situation" where it would preferable to just let Walter bang your kid rather than letting your whole family starve.) Ancaps, this is your brain trust.

[edit] Footnotes

  1. Leonard, Andrew, "A new powerhouse for ridiculous GOP economics"
  2. Per Hanlon's razor, Austrian school economists probably just like Momma Goldberg's.
  3. Miss, Memo to Otto von Habsburg, dated New York, April 20, 1942. Mises: "Unfortunately, it cannot be denied that the Habsburg monarchy has been unable to win the allegiance of these nations...Austria will become the laughingstock of the world if things continue as they have been going. Right now, all manner of politically clueless dilettantes are pressing the Czech and Polish statesmen to gain an audience for their naïve viewpoints."
  4. Stefan Wandycz, Piotr, Ideology, Politics, and Diplomacy in East Central Europe (2003), p.141.
  5. Christopher Westley, William L. Anderson, and Scott A. Kjar, "War and the Austrian School: Ludwig von Mises and F.A. Hayek", 6.24.14. ("Mises roundly criticizes war socialism—defined as increased state control of the economy during wartime—in Germany and Austria, claiming that it hastened their final collapse. In both countries, socialists and democrats rushed to fill the void left by the destruction of the monarchy...")
  6. Berlet, Chip, "Von Mises Rises From the Ash Heap of History", Z Magazine
  7. Tabachnick, Rachel and Cocozzelli, Frank L., "Nullification, Neo-Confedeates, and the Revenge of the Old Right", Political Research Associates, 11.22.13.
  8. Peron, Jim, "Von Mises Washed in the Blood of Jesus", First Published in Laissez Faire City Times, Vol. 6, No. 2, 1.14.01.
  9. Hoppe, Hans-Hermann, Introduction to Democracy: The God That Failed, 12.4.01.
  10. Mises, On the Argument of FascismLiberalism (1927). Mises: "The deeds of the Fascists and of other parties corresponding to them were emotional reflex actions evoked by indignation at the deeds of the Bolsheviks and Communists. As soon as the first flush of anger had passed, their policy took a more moderate course and will probably become even more so with the passage of time." Oh, the irony that the ideology he loves ends up killing his own people 12 years later.
  11. Reisman, George, "Why Nazism Was Socialism and Why Socialism Is Totalitarian", Mises Daily 11.11.05.
  12. Anderson, William L., "The Economics of Bernie Sanders", Mises Daily 9.1.13. tl;dr Going off the gold standard and having any government at all is literally Hitler.
  13. Rothbard, Murray, "A Strategy For the Right", Mises 3.9.10. Rothbard: "[Duke] was not a libertarian, he was not an isolationist, he was not even a conservative, but in fact was a moderate Republican."
  14. Reisman, George, "General Augusto Pinochet is Dead", Mises 12.16.06.
  15. Rockwell Jr., Llywellyn H. "Legalize Drunk Driving", Mises 11.1.00.
  16. Andersen, William L., "When Accusations Are Proof", Mises' 2.6.14.
  17. Tucker, Jeffrey A., "The Trouble With Child Labor Laws", Mises Daily 2.11.08
  18. Rockwell Jr., Llywellyn H., "Open Borders are an Assault on Private Property", Mises Daily 11.16.15.
  19. Rockwell Jr., Llywellyn H., on Rodney King, L.A. Times 3.10.91. Lewser: "But street criminals, as economist Murray N. Rothbard points out, have the time preference of depraved infants. The prospect of a jail sentence 12 months from now has virtually no effect."
  20. Freiling, Nicholas, "Public Accommodation and Social Engineering", Mises Daily 10.24.14.
  21. Reisman, Gregory, "Environmentalism Refuted", Mises 4.20.01. Reisman: "Even if global warming turned out to be a fact, the free citizens of an industrial civilization would have no great difficulty in coping with it—that is, of course, if their ability to use energy and to produce is not crippled by the environmental movement and by government controls otherwise inspired."
  22. Shostack, Frank, "The Bitcoin Money Myth", Mises Daily 4.17.13.
  23. Baedeker, Rob, "The gold standard - A precious metal that's not just an investment but a worldview too", SFGate 2.25.08.
  24. Review of The New Pearl Harbor in The Mises Review.
  25. "I Was on the Global Warming Gravy Train", Mises Daily
  26. "25 Years Ago NY Times Got Global Warming Right". https://mises.org/blog/25-years-ago-ny-times-got-global-warming-right. Retrieved 2016-02-08. 
  27. David Deming (2009-06-29). "Global Warming Is a Fraud". https://www.lewrockwell.com/2009/06/david-deming/global-warming-is-a-fraud/. Retrieved 2016-02-08. 
  28. 28.0 28.1 "Questioning HIV/AIDS, Human-Caused Global Warming, and Other Orthodoxies in the Biomedical Sciences". 2008-03-04. https://www.lewrockwell.com/2008/03/donald-w-miller-jr-md/questioning-hivaids/. Retrieved 2016-02-08. 
  29. Tom Bethell (2011-02-28). ""Relativity and the Priesthood of Science"". https://www.lewrockwell.com/2011/02/tom-bethell/relativity-and-the-priesthood-of-science/. Retrieved 2016-02-08. 
  30. 30.0 30.1 Hoppe, Hans-Hermann, The Economics and Ethics of Private Property: Studies in Political Economy and Philosophy, 287-288 (2nd edn., 2006), Ludwig von Mises Institute. Hoppe: "Since the discovery of non-Euclidean geometries and in particular since Einstein’s relativistic theory of gravitation, the prevailing position regarding geometry is once again empiricist and formalist...Recognizing knowledge as praxeologically constrained explains why the empiricist-formalist view is incorrect and why the empirical success of Euclidean geometry is no mere accident." Gravity is a statist lie!
  31. "CDC, PHARMA, And Mainstream Media On The Same Team". 2014-10-17. https://mises.org/blog/cdc-pharma-and-mainstream-media-same-team. Retrieved 2016-02-08. 
  32. Danny Frederick (2010-11-07). "A Competitive Market in Human Organs".
  33. Murray N. Rothbard. "Children and Rights". Retrieved 2016-02-08.
  34. 34.0 34.1 Block, Walter, Defending the Undefendable (2008). That book might be the prax to end all praxes.
  35. Thorton, Mark, "Walter Block is Still Defending the Undefendable", Mises Daily 12.30.13.
  36. Petersen, William H., "Capitalism: The Greatest Charity", Mises Daily 1.1.12.
  37. Ron Paul, the Gold Standard, and Neo-Confederates, The Aporetic
  38. SPLC on LvMI
  39. SPLC: The Neo-Confederates
  40. Ludwig von Socialism
  41. Mises, Ludwig von Human Action
  42. A review of Nicholas Wade's A Troublesome Inheritance by Walter E. Block. A criticism of Wade here, he's just not racist enough: "From the libertarian (Rothbard 1982) perspective, since racism does not necessarily violate the non-aggression principle (NAP) of this philosophy, it should be legalized. Williams and Sowell support discriminatory behavior as a right, and deny that it has any serious deleterious effects on its targets."
  43. Block, Walter, "Libertarianism vs Objectivism; A Response to Peter Schwartz", Reason Papers, Summer 2003. Block: "Suppose that there is a starvation situation, and the parent of the four year old child (who is not an adult) does not have enough money to keep him alive. A wealthy NAMBLA man offers this parent enough money to keep him and his family alive – if he will consent to his having sex with the child. We assume, further, that this is the only way to preserve the life of this four year old boy. Would it be criminal child abuse for the parent to accept this offer?"
  44. DiLorenzo, Thomas, "The Very Model of a Modern Major Lincoln Cultist", Lew Rockwell 4.15.15. Wow, a president in 19th century had little formal education and an undiagnosed mental illness, shock horror.
  45. Rockwell, Llewellyn H., "Hitler's Economics" Mises Daily 6.28.12. Also a quote-mining douchebag: Sounds to us like Paul Samuelson is blaming laissez-faire economics for the rise of Hitler, not subtly praising the Nazis, as Lew Rockwell claims.
  46. Rothbard, Murray, The Ethics of Liberty (1982). Rothbard: Applying our theory to parents and children, that means that the parent does not have the right to aggress his chldren, but also that the parent should not have a legal obligation to feed, clothe, or educate his children, since such obligations would entail positive acts being coerced upon the parent and depriving him of his rights."
  47. Spooner, Lysander, Vices Are Not Crimes (1875), reprinted on Mises Daily w/ foreword by Murray Rothbard, 12.24.09. This one "managed to escape the editor" of Spooner's Collected Works. Spooner: "To have carnal knowledge of a woman, against her will, is the highest crime, next to murder, that can be committed against her. But to have carnal knowledge of her, with her consent, is no crime but, at most, a vice. And it is usually holden that a female child, of no more than ten years of age, has such reasonable discretion, that her consent, even though procured by rewards, or promises of reward, is sufficient to convert the act, which would otherwise be a high crime, into a simple act of vice." (The only thing we can conclude here is that Lew Rockwell is mental. He knows his reservations about the Molestation Party Libertarian Party are baked into its philosophy, and keeps reprinting articles by Spooner and Block.)
  48. "Neutrality or lack thereof" on Mises Wiki.
  49. User talk:Leucosticte
  50. Mises Wiki Co-Founders
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