Why are so many anarchists interested in Mises?

ConversesMises Circle

Afegeix-te a LibraryThing per participar.

Why are so many anarchists interested in Mises?

Aquest tema està marcat com "inactiu": L'últim missatge és de fa més de 90 dies. Podeu revifar-lo enviant una resposta.

1Toolroomtrustee
març 13, 2009, 6:26pm

I do not understand why so many anarchists are interested in Ludwig von Mises and the Mises Institute. I realize that Murray Rothbard was a student of Mises, but why didn't he name the organization he helped found after himself or Spooner or an idea connected to anarchy, instead of after an economist who supported limited government?

2lawecon
març 28, 2009, 10:05pm

The reason, I believe, is simple. While Mises himself considered anarchism a horror and was somewhat embarrassed by Rothbard, the logic of his outlook places no real barrier toward reaching anarchist conclusions.

Further, he was not per se "pro-business". He detested classism. He simply believed that "capitalism" private property, free competitive markets, enforceable contracts, etc. was the best way for all people to "just get along" and was a dynamo for harnessing private initiative and energies to consumer satisfaction. This is very compatible with a non-communist anarchist perspective.

3Toolroomtrustee
març 30, 2009, 3:02pm

Thank you.

Are you familiar with Rothbard enough to explain my question about using Austrian Economics and Mises to promote anarchism, particularly in light of the embarrassment Rothbard had caused his teacher?

4teewillis1981
maig 10, 2009, 3:00pm

I wouldn't say that Rothbard was an embarrassment to the Mises Institute. Rothbard simply took the NAP (Non-Aggression Principle) to its logical conclusion, which is a stateless society.

5KevinCK
jul. 13, 2009, 3:20pm

#3,

I will try my best. My bet is that Mises (in his book Liberalism Mises and others dichotomizes cooperation and coercion. He champions the former rather than the latter. As teewillis1981 points out, the logical conclusion of this is an anarchist state. If you are not for coercion, you are for cooperation.

At the heart of the issue, however, is a disagreement on whether people will follow certain rules (respect for others' propert) etc, only if they are coerced to, which anarchists often say is a contradiction (following a 'no coercion' rule by being coerced into it).

Of course, when I read Spooner, I get the feeling of reading a teenager who has not thought about the obvious fact that the very idea of property relies on property rights (and a right is only rhetoric if not protected by some kind of force - generallay, that of a state.)

6jahn
Editat: jul. 14, 2009, 11:51am

Whatever the merits of anarchism, it certainly cannot be implemented in one go, and one aware of that must by necessity applaud the half-way stage. Rothbard certainly did, as was shown by him giving active support to a long row of politicians, from Joe McCarthy to Pat Buchanan. Some of whom must be considered decidedly less anarchistic than some of the Austrian (classic) liberals that once were a real political factor in Mises’ Austria.

Mises, the forced expatriate, must have felt quite a bit of nostalgia for a time and a place when classic liberalism were something politically tangible and he was influentially part of it. Rothbard's vision would by necessity be more forward directed, towards a goal with less sharp contours.

The philosopher Charles S. Peirce claimed that all possible meaning existed in possible consequences, and on that base the difference between one believing in having a state to protect property and contract and quell violence, and one that believes that free citizens can arrange for those needs on their own, really can’t be all that great. It would be silly if a classic liberal should say no thanks to anarchism if it proved feasible, every bit as silly as for an anarchist to say no thanks to a reduction of the state less than existed as a possibility in his dreams.

Rothbard complained of a low roof height on the American right, cursing Bill Buckley and the National Review for throwing out the Birchers, the Randians, and the anti-Zionists. (In the Rothbard-Rockwell Report, reprinted in The Irrepressible Rothbard.) At the Mises Institute they seem to have set the roof beams quite high, welcoming a variety of freedom loving personalities (although perhaps not everybody Rothbard would have welcomed?). That might be a sensible policy, to quote a non-libertarian: “Politics is the art of the possible” - something more than mere self-congratulations for ideological purity must be demanded for a wider support to be obtainable?

Btw, here's an interesting analysis of the difference between the economics of Rothbard and Mises, between Mises' "consumer sovereignty" and Rothbard's "individual sovereignty" that easily links up to the classic liberal versus anarchist debate: http://it.stlawu.edu/sdae/aelistpapers/Gunning_Rothbard_on_Mises

7Toolroomtrustee
jul. 14, 2009, 4:27pm

Aquest missatge ha estat suprimit pel seu autor.

8Toolroomtrustee
jul. 14, 2009, 4:28pm

I would like to steer the conversation back to my original question, since several people seem familiar with Murray Rothbard (I am not): why didn't the organization Rothbard helped establish call itself The Anarchist Institute, The Center for Non-Aggression or the The Spooner Institute, rather than the Mises Institute?

The difference between Mises and Rothbard jahn notes above is quite significant, so I am wondering why Rothbard would bring Mises into the picture.

9jahn
Editat: jul. 15, 2009, 5:50am

I beg your pardon Toolroomtrustee: I confess to roughly compacting you questions to “Hey, why dilute anarchism?”

As to why so many anarchists are interested in Ludwig von Mises and the Mises Institute, I don’t know that they are: my impression is that it is not economics but rather jurisprudence that is the pure anarchists' main thing. But it should be possible to research whether that is so here on Librarything, one might find an indicated answer in what percentage of eager Mises readers possess books with the writings of Lysander Spooner say, and contrasting that with what percentage exists with books by Adam Smith.

If they really are that interested, it may be that the anarcho-capitalists among them feel that a convincing explanation of Laissez Faire capitalism as something benevolent to all, which Mises provides, is a prerogative for the acceptability of any deconstruction of the state. (Which is perhaps what lawecon said in his posting. And although his answer was not accepted as sufficient, and I can't really add much to it, I hope me repeating some thoughts will not offend you.)

The economist Murray N. Rothbard saw his own thoughts as including natural law, natural rights and Austrian economics. In the early 1950s, he studied – as you indicated - under Mises in his seminars at New York University, and he dedicated his Magnum Opus: Man, Economy, and State to Mises. In Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature and Other Essays in an eloge to Mises he writes: "Mises is able to show the happy consequences of freedom and the free market in social efficiency, prosperity and development..." And he ends it such: "Thanks in no small measure to the life and work of Ludwig von Mises, we can realistically hope and expect that mankind will choose the path of life, liberty, and progress..."

Rothbard was not among the Mises institute’s founders though, it looks as if Lew Rockwell founded it more or less alone. According to a Wikipedia entry: The Ludwig von Mises Institute was established in 1982 under the direction of Margit von Mises, widow of Ludwig von Mises, who chaired its board until her death in 1993. The founder and former president, since 2009 chairman, is Llewellyn H. Rockwell, and current president is Douglas E. French. The late economist Murray N. Rothbard was a major influence on the Institute's activities and served as its academic vice president until his death in 1995. Friedrich A. Hayek, Lawrence Fertig, and Henry Hazlitt also assisted in both its construction and continued scholarly development. (End of quote.)

Finally, one must regrettably get down to tautology: it is called the Mises Institute rather than the The Anarchist Institute, The Center for Non-Aggression or the The Spooner Institute, simply because it is dedicated to the Austrian school of economics, and not to what those suggested alternatives would indicate.

But you may consider the institute’s own web pages: http://mises.org/about.aspx they do provide lots of material online where answers to your questions might be searched.

(What touchstoning functions, and what does not looks to me a bit haphazard)

10Toolroomtrustee
jul. 15, 2009, 11:33am

Jahn: Thanks for the link to the Mises Institute's web page; in fact, I had searched there in vain for an explicit explanation as to why this group of Austrians had embraced anarchism, a political belief not advocated by Menger, Bahm-Bawerk, Mises or Hayek.

A better way to compact my question would be: "Hey, why change Austrian economics?" Or perhaps, "why not direct the Mises Institute towards incorporating insights from the Chicago School instead of a movement that has Noam Chomsky and Proudhon?"

>>As to why so many anarchists are interested in Ludwig von Mises and the Mises Institute, I don’t know that they are: my impression is that it is not economics but rather jurisprudence that is the pure anarchists' main thing.

I inferred that many anarchists are interested because references to their beliefs in Mises staff statements are done casually and without qualification and elaboration, suggesting that reconciling anarchism and natural rights/limited government is not controversial at the Institute.

Incidentally, was Mises not a utilitarian rather than a natural rights theorist and supporter? A number of institutes identify on their home page an explicit set of fundamental, core ethical beliefs, but, curiously for an institute emphasizing theory over detailed policy analysis (ie. Cato Institute), I do not see this at Mises.

11jahn
Editat: jul. 15, 2009, 2:00pm

Toolroomtrustee

A better way to compact my question would be: "Hey, why change Austrian economics?" Or perhaps, "why not direct the Mises Institute towards incorporating insights from the Chicago School instead of a movement that has Noam Chomsky and Proudhon?"

I think your suggestion of having the Chicago school accepted among the Austrians answers that. Those two lines of thought, although both considered fiercely pro capitalistic, are not very compatible. Considering the amount of words Rothbard spent to criminalize the very existence of the Fed (very many) and then considering that Friedman is perhaps mainly known for his diverse policies for exactly the Federal Reserve, it becomes obvious that the two groups could not stay long under one roof. While Austrian economics and some kind of anarchism are to a high degree compatible (this not being the Chomsky version, which I will suggest you knew), because the question of the necessity of a state police for example does not really infringe upon what Austrian economics claims to cover.

The lack of an ethical credo can perhaps be explained by Mises’ claim that his economics were “Wertfrei,” neutral as to values, pure deductive science. Mises’ long time friend Max Weber once described the fusion of ethical and scientific statements as “the work of the devil.”

And yes, I trusted you to have been able to find the Mises Institute on your own, but I felt linking to them was a duty, inasmuch as I think that theirs is the right economic policy, and also that the right policy is very important at the moment. It could be said that this then was done in an underhand way - sorry!

12Toolroomtrustee
jul. 15, 2009, 3:05pm

Jahn: >>the question of the necessity of a state police for example does not really infringe upon what Austrian economics claims to cover>>

This is the essence of our disagreement here. I have read a fair amount (but by no means all) of the early Austrian theorists, and I just do not see anything that suggests anarchism as a logical application of their views. I would welcome suggestions from anyone on whether this was discussed before Rothbard studied with Mises.

Perhaps in time I can see why some Austrians consider the Federal Reserve worse than an anarchist society, apart from the obvious fact that the Fed already exists and so demands their attention.

I read an early issue of *Liberty*, in which Rothbard recalled that he came to anarchism because he could not respond to a debater's question about why factories had to be privatized, but not police and militaries. Presumably Mises's distinction between commercial activity and responding to violence (expressed in *Bureaucracy*) rang hollow with him.