"Mises, Marx and Misery"


The misery manifest in Austin, San Francisco, Detroit and many other cities in our country should cause us to think about the reasoning of Marxian socialists.  We must think about what is being advocated and the persistence of those who are leading us.  What should be done?  Marx argued that socialism was inevitable because capitalism progressively impoverished the majority of people, taking the fruits of their labor and limiting them in innumerable ways.  As Ludwig von Mises observed about Marxism, “All the advantages of technological progress benefit exclusively the small minority of exploiters.  The masses are condemned to increasing ‘misery, oppression, slavery, degradation, exploitation.’  No action on the part of governments or labor unions can succeed in stopping this evolution.  Only socialism, which is bound to come ‘with the inexorability of a law of nature,’ will bring salvation by ‘the expropriation of the few usurpers by the mass of people.’”  

Mises clearly points out that this criticism of capitalism is inaccurate, intentionally deceptive and unrealistic.  Actually, capitalism has made possible in the United States and many other countries a level of prosperity and wealth heretofore unknown for the vast majority of people.  It was this fact that has clearly aided the collapse of the Marxian “utopia” in the Soviet Union.  What has happened is the actual reverse of this in Europe and now in the United States.  Socialists have taken the reins of government and begun to use them to impose their will on the majority of people.  They are benefiting some while they abuse the taxpayers, taking from those that have to benefit the “have-nots” who will not work or contribute positively to society.  It was this situation that frustrated the violent men and women in Black Lives Matter (not a movement promoting racial betterment but one hating white people and unashamedly advocating socialism/communism).   

The economic collapses we have experienced were not caused by evil bankers and lenders, but by the threats and intimidation of those running the Congress to force banks to lend to those who could not pay back their loans.  Such crises would then give the progressive socialists the platform for acting to “save” the country while taking over larger and larger sectors of commerce and economy.  This is something that we might consider historically.  Similar things took place during the 1920s and 1930s in Germany as Adolf Hitler and his cronies rose to power.  They made many promises and alliances, some they kept; others they conveniently ignored or actually rudely broke.  We must see that the extreme of the right is as disastrous as the extreme of the left, both are totalitarian and controlling in nature.  Both will not tolerate any difference of opinion.  Stalin was as evil, if not more so, than Hitler.

It is interesting what Ludwig von Mises wrote about this kind of situation in 1951.  It is relevant to our discussion today as we add enormous debt, invite thousands of illegals at our borders and give away billions that we do not have to foreign powers and enemies.  “In the last decades there prevailed a trend toward more and more government interference with business.  The sphere of the private citizen’s initiative was narrowed down.  Laws and administrative decrees restricted the field in which entrepreneurs and capitalists were free to conduct their activities in compliance with the wishes of the consumers as manifested in the structure of the market.  From year to year an ever-increasing portion of profits and interest on capital invested was confiscated by taxation of corporation earnings and individual incomes and estates.  ‘Social’ control, i.e., government control, of business is step by step substituted for private control.  The ‘progressives’ are certain that this trend toward wresting ‘economic’ power from the parasitic ‘leisure class’ and its transfer to ‘the people’ will go on until the ‘welfare state’ will have supplanted the nefarious capitalistic system which history has doomed for ever.  Notwithstanding sinister machinations on the part of ‘the interests,’ mankind, led by government economists and other bureaucrats, politicians, and union bosses, marches steadily toward the bliss of an earthly paradise.”  It was this very kind of situation that frustrated many violent people in our cities.  Could the answer be less government, less taxation, less regulation?  Is that the relief that we need?  With our new presidential administration led by Joe Biden and Kamala Harris we are going to find what will come with more debt, harsher rules, hostile rhetoric and shutting down anyone who criticizes them.  

The truth is we must pay a reasonable tax to sustain the common good and general welfare of our government, but not fund the waste and luxury of our state and federal leaders.  The truth is we should limit taxation, government interference, government regulation.  The truth is our treasure is people— their genius, creativity, resourcefulness and the innovation of each individual citizen.  We, the taxpayers of the nation, must rise up and take control of our destiny and our treasure, acting in timely manner to “fire” those who have brought this tragedy to us.  This is the real issue that the violence in our cities can prevent us from accomplishing if our attention is diverted and confused.  Violence is not the solution.  The calm exercise of voting correctly and electing those who will do the right thing for our state and nation is a step in the right direction.  Obviously, we are headed in a more centralized, controlled and bureaucratic government that will demand more in taxes, more in obedience and less in questioning and criticism.

Let me hear from you on what you think about the misguided Marx, his foolish advocates and the wise observations of Ludwig von Mises encouraging us to act creatively and positively to economic challenges we are facing. Share that with me at drjerryhopkins@yahoo.com.  You may also reach me by “snail” mail at Dr. Jerry Hopkins, P. O. Box 1363, Texas 75671.  Dr. Jerry Hopkins is a historian and retired university history professor