Quote of the day—Ludwig von Mises

The welfare of the nation takes precedence over the selfishness of the individuals … was the fundamental principle of Nazi economic management. But as people are too dull and too vicious to comply with this rule, it is the task of government to enforce it.

Ludwig von Mises
1949
Human Action: A Treatise on Economics (4 Volume Set)
[For more context see here.

“Dull and vicious.” That is what they think of you if you do not place the welfare of the nation above that of your own. When people tell you this today inform them there have been a lot of people in agreement with them. It was the fundamental principle of Nazi economic management.—Joe]

5 thoughts on “Quote of the day—Ludwig von Mises

  1. It’s something like the witch test in which, if you’d sink and drown, you were OK– you’re not a witch, but if you float and live it proves you’re a witch and so you must be killed.

    If you’re willing to be a slave, that’s well and good, and as it should be. If you long for freedom, that alone is proof that you’re suitable only as a slave.

    The “dull and viscous” claim seems to echo throughout all of history. Its often been the excuse for slavery, robbery, or any criminal behavior. It’s a case of the pot calling the kettle black isn’t it? The dull and viscous in any population are always the kidnappers, slave traders, the slave keepers, the authoritarians, the schoolyard bullies, Progressives, socialists, communists, pickpockets, scammers and every day street criminals.

    Talk to any criminal type personality and he’ll eventually tell you that all his victims were some variation on “dull and viscous”. They deserved it you see.

  2. That “Attitude” is the basis for JFK’s “Ask not what your Country…” line. Which explains some of why the Uber-Libs consider him a “Martyr” to the “Cause”.

    • We’ve really come to the matter here, haven’t we? Virtue, in this case selflessness or enlightened self interest, being parlayed into something horrible (slavery).

      If you’re opposed to being a slave it is only because you are a selfish pig. If you assert and uphold the rights of the individual, it is only because you are stupid or evil, or both.

      Everyone wants “freedom”. While some want freedom from what is wrong, so that they may do right, others want freedom from right, to do wrong.

      It’s easy to spot the difference. For one thing, the latter sees the U.S. constitution as an obstacle and seeks to degrade it, deny it, impugn it, redefine it or ignore it. For another thing, they’re always laying claim to someone else’s ideas, good works or property while at the same time impugning the owner. Note how those demanding the property of others are the quickest to accuse others of selfishness.

  3. Please note that the quote you have here is a DESCRIPTION written by von Mises, and absolutely NOT something he supported (quite the contrary). It appears in a description of the notion of “Volkswirtschaft” (which one might translate to “People’s Economy”). It’s economics as practiced by Bismarck, or Hitler, or Lenin. And those words are the words those people would have used if they had been asked to describe the essence of their practice.

    • Yes. I know. That is part of the reason why I put in the link for more context. With the succinct quote it would be easy to conclude he advocated something very different from he actual did. Including enough context to make it clear diluted my real purpose for the quote–it is a required reference for my QOTD on Tuesday. Which is required reference for another post that will go live a minute after the QOTD on Tuesday.

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