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Monday, November 14, 2016

Von Mises and Tony Wikrent

Economic Sophism

Sophism in economics and politics is like the Hydra. As soon as you cut off one head, new ones grow. Fascism never really goes away.

After we defeated the Nazis their fascism simply morphed into new forms. The same tropes that animated Mediterranean fascist states soon animated Latin American, Greek, Indonesian and other movements. What works for bomb throwing lefties works for bomb throwing righties. And it gets hard to tell them apart as they radicalize.

Similarly, the economic theories that support both monarchism and fascism never really went away. They are too convenient to the patroons to fund them to be allowed to go away. They serve the needs of the ambitious, to social climbers, grifters, swindlers and those with the perverse ambition and power to preserve and extend their personal power using them to bamboozle followers. So the shills for such ideas, don't disappear, they adapt.

Fascism as an agency of Authoritarianism & wealth preservation

When the Axis powers on Central Europe were defeated in the 40s, their leaders appeared to vanish, but that was a magician trick. Their economic theorists, scientists, and even some of their most ruthless technocrats were too valuable to the victorious powers to be allowed to vanish. And so instead of actually vanishing, or us learning from World War II, Russian and US authorities competed with each other to recruit ex Nazis and fascists. Those not recruited fled to South America, or in some cases simply laid low and told the occupiers that now they were Anti-Fascist Democrats.

Something similar happened with the pre-war Fascists in Italy and Austria. And in Spain and Portugal the fascists there had been wise enough to stay out of World War Two, so they never stopped being fascists they just rebranded. Salazar (Portugal) and Franco (Spain) would die of old age with authoritarian regimes in place that would crack open when they did.

Fascism Lives on

So while the days when Fascists would play world conquest with machine guns and Tank blitzkriegs were possibly over in Europe. Fascism lives on, and the authoritarian ideas that were behind it as well. To many in the USA, Hitler became a martyr to the cause of "white supremacy" and Nativistic people adopted him and his ideas as theirs. They rebranded.

Von Mises as a Fascist Economists.

Ludwig Von Mises is popular among many libertarians. At the core of his arguments is a kind of economics as faith. He argued that economics should be taught using Aristotelian logic. His Aristotelian "praxeology" established economics as a form of faith.

"Praxeology is the study of those aspects of human action that can be grasped a priori"

His Praxeology made assumptions about man and economics and then sought evidence to justify them. The result was an ideology with faulty assumptions. Rather than examining those assumptions, the Austrians tend to look for some other causality to blame for failure. Other economists inherited this approach. Fascists on the left and right eschew verification and validation for claiming their beliefs are "a-priori." Marxists made similar logical errors. Fascism is at heart about accepting authority, irregardless of the actual factualness of what the authorities say. If the authority says 2+2=5 then you are supposed to believe them. That is the key for both their enduring continuance and continuing destructiveness.

I've read how Ludwig Von Mises fled Austria

Similarly the folks who guided the economics of the central powers, even where they'd been thoroughly repudiated, escaped the mobs seeking to punish them and found new homes in colleges funded by soap or plastics. Their ideas were rebranded as "libertarianism and those ideas influenced movements led by cynical politicians who thought they could stoke the fires of nativism without consequence. Ludwig Von Mises may rail against Central Banks, but he directed the Austrian Central Bank.

He fled the country to Switzerland. Maybe in much the same way as Baron Von Trapp. I can hear him singing

"Goodbye, Fair Well, Alvidizen Goodbye..."

....except he left before the Nazis actually arrived after Dolfuss was executed. Dolfuss had been a protege of Mussolini, and Mussolini almost went to war with Russia to keep Hitler from taking over Austria. But Mussolini thought better of it. Dolfuss sent his wife to Italy for protection. Then a Nazi Hit squad executed him. Von Mises exited the country so fast he left his papers behind. He didn't get them back until many years later, when he found the Nazis had helpfully preserved them. He had, after all, helped them take power in Austria.

Von Mises had advocated for and helped launch a war against leftist workers seeking better wages, and his hard money theories, which you can read about ad-nauseum in any Libertarian website, destroyed Austrian tranquility, the middle class, and paved the way for Hitler. He'd have to rebrand himself as a Libertarian, but he'd started as a fascist supporter of Dolfuss. Wikram notes:

"Fearing the prospect of Germany taking control over Switzerland, in 1940 Mises with other Jewish refugees left Europe and emigrated to New York City.[10] There he became a visiting professor at New York University, from 1945 until his retirement in 1969, though he was not salaried by the university. Instead, he earned his living from funding by businessmen such as Lawrence Fertig. For part of this period, Mises worked on currency issues for the Pan-Europa movement led by a fellow NYU faculty member and Austrian exile, Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi."

A fellow named Tony Wikrent at the "Real Economics Blog" goes so far as to intimate that Von Mises (and maybe his disciple) was an agent of the Habsburgs. Looking at most libertarian economists, from Rothbard to Hayek and to the present, one finds that most of them were shills for somebody important. So the link to the Habsburgs, just makes sense. Wikram also talks about Von Hayek, who also was a protege of rebranding former fascists. I quoted some of this in my article about the Mt. Pelarin society.

The conservative movement is not really about anything but preserving the power and privilege of elites. Their intellectuals tend to pine for the days when money was in the control of bankers and had to be a commodity like gold or silver. They typically align themselves with fascists thinking they can control them. But like Dolfuss and Von Mises found out in Austria, and Cons in the USA are finding out with Trump; it is incredibly hard to contain anger, hate and nativism once released. Those with a lot of power, usually don't understand the limits of their power. And those riding the mob delude themselves that it belongs to them.

Mt. Pelarin
http://holtesthoughts.blogspot.com/2014/04/mt-pelarin-and-milton-friedman-fighting.html
Wikram's Article:
http://real-economics.blogspot.com/2010/08/open-source-intelligence-profile-of.html, in the light of this I'm no longer laughing.
I started this several years ago. But the subject is now an issue so I'm finishing the article. I may use it to update my article on the Mt. Pelarin society but maybe not, it is better that folks read Wikram's article. There tends to be an injection of anti-semitism into critiques of Hayek and Von Mises, but this has nothing to do with that.

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