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Ludwig von Mises: "Only stilted pedants can conceive the idea that there are absolute norms to tell what is beautiful and what is not. They try to derive from the works of the past a code of rules with which, as they fancy, the writers and artists of the future should comply. But the genius does not cooperate with the pundit." - Theory and History


Quotable MisesThis database of quotations from Mises was prepared for The Quotable Mises edited by Mark Thornton, available from the Mises Institute store for $20. Send corrections to the editor. Here is a source page on the editions of the books referenced.

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AuthorQuoteSourcePageSubject
Ludwig von MisesIt was not the first time in French history that the nationalists put their anti-Semitism above their French patriotism. In the Dreyfus Affair they fought vigorously in order to let a treacherous officer quietly evade punishment while an innocent Jew languished in prison.Omnipotent Government p. 190Anti-Semitism
Ludwig von MisesThe Nazis have an ally in every town or village where there is a man eager to get rid of a Jewish competitor. The secret weapon of Hitler is the anti-Jewish inclinations of many millions of shopkeepers and grocers, of doctors and lawyers, professors and writers.Omnipotent Government p. 192Anti-Semitism
Ludwig von MisesThere can be no freedom in art and literature where the government determines who shall create them.Omnipotent Government p. 52Arts
Ludwig von Mises[In a liberal world] it makes no difference where the frontiers of a country are drawn... In such a world the people of every village or district could decide by plebiscite to which state they want to belong.Omnipotent Government p. 92Borders
Ludwig von MisesOnly to bureaucrats can the idea occur that establishing new offices, promulgating new decrees, and increasing the number of government employees alone can be described as positive and beneficial measures.Omnipotent Government p. xBureaucracy
Ludwig von MisesTrue, governments can reduce the rate of interest in the short run. They can issue additional paper money. They can open the way to credit expansion by the banks. They can thus create an artificial boom and the appearance of prosperity. But such a boom is bound to collapse soon or late and to bring about a depression.Omnipotent Government p. 251Business Cycles
Ludwig von MisesMany pioneers of these industrial changes, it is true, became rich. But they acquired their wealth by supplying the public with motor cars, airplanes, radio sets, refrigerators, moving and talking pictures, and variety of less spectacular but no less useful innovations. These new products were certainly not an achievement of offices and bureaucrats.Omnipotent Government pp. ixxCapitalism
Ludwig von MisesThe salesman thanks the customer for patronizing his shop and asks him to come again. But the socialists say: Be grateful to Hitler, render thanks to Stalin; be nice and submissive, then the great man will be kind to you later too.Omnipotent Government p. 53Capitalism vs. Socialism
Ludwig von MisesConceit and overvaluation of ones own nation are quite common. But it would be wrong to assume that hatred and contempt of foreigners are natural and innate qualities. Even soldiers fighting to kill their enemies do not hate the individual foe, if they happen to meet him apart from the battle.Omnipotent Government p. 124Chauvinism
Ludwig von MisesChauvinism has not begotten nationalism. Its chief function in the scheme of nationalist policies is to adorn the shows and festivals of nationalism. People overflow with joy and pride when the official speakers hail them as the elite of mankind and praise the immortal deeds of their ancestors and the invincibility of their armed forces. But when the words fade away and the celebration reaches its end, people return home and go to bed. They do not mount the battlehorse.Omnipotent Government p. 125Chauvinism
Ludwig von MisesVirtually all the Christian churches and sects have espoused the principles of socialism and interventionism.Omnipotent Government p. 120Christianity
Ludwig von MisesProtestantism is no more a safeguard of freedom than Catholicism. The ideal of liberalism is the complete separation of church and state, and tolerance--without any regard to differences among the churches.Omnipotent Government p. 30Christianity
Ludwig von MisesMan is born an asocial and antisocial being. The newborn child is a savage. Egoism is his nature. Only the experience of life and the teachings of his parents, his brothers, sisters, playmates, and later of other people force him to acknowledge the advantages of social cooperation and accordingly to change his behavior.Omnipotent Government p. 241Civilization
Ludwig von MisesNo proletarian contributed anything to the construction of antiliberal teachings. At the root of the genealogical tree of modern socialism we meet the name of the depraved scion of one of the most eminent aristocratic families of royal France.Omnipotent Government p. 118Classes
Ludwig von MisesIt is not true that the dangers to the maintenance of peace, democracy, freedom, and capitalism are a result of a revolt of the masses. They are an achievement of scholars and intellectuals, of sons of the well-to-do, of writers and artists pampered by the best society.Omnipotent Government p. 119Classes
Ludwig von MisesThe elite should be supreme by virtue of persuasion, not by the assistance of firing squads.Omnipotent Government p. 120Classes
Ludwig von MisesFreedom, democracy, peace, and private property are deemed good because they are the best means for promoting human happiness and welfare. Liberalism wants to secure to man a life free from fear and want. That is all.Omnipotent Government p. 51Classical Liberalism
Ludwig von MisesThe main excellence of the liberal scheme of social, economic, and political organization is precisely this — that it makes the peaceful cooperation of nations possible.Omnipotent Government p. 91Classical Liberalism
Ludwig von MisesImagine a world order in which liberalism is supreme . . . there is private property in the means of production. The working of the market is not hampered by government interference. There are no trade barriers; men can live and work where they want.Omnipotent Government pp. 91-92Classical Liberalism
Ludwig von MisesThe marvelous achievements of the British administration in India were overshadowed by the vain arrogance and stupid race pride of the white man.Omnipotent Government p. 98Colonialism
Ludwig von MisesThe initiative for the great colonial projects came not from finance and business but from the governments.Omnipotent Government p. 99Colonialism
Ludwig von MisesCorruption is an evil inherent in every government not controlled by a watchful public opinion.Omnipotent Government p. 206Corruption
Ludwig von MisesDemocracy too is not divine.Omnipotent Government p. 47Democracy
Ludwig von MisesMajorities are no less exposed to error and frustration than kings and dictators. That a fact is deemed true by the majority does not prove its truth.Omnipotent Government p. 47Democracy
Ludwig von MisesNobody ever recommended a dictatorship aiming at ends other than those he himself approved. He who advocates dictatorship always advocates the unrestricted rule of his own will.Omnipotent Government p. 242Dictatorship
Ludwig von MisesNow the greatest accomplishment of reason is the discovery of the advantages of social cooperation, and its corollary, the division of labor.Omnipotent Government p. 121Division of Labor
Ludwig von MisesWestern Europe developed the system of obligatory public education. It came to Eastern Europe as an achievement of Western civilization. But in the linguistically mixed territories it turned into a dreadful weapon in the hands of governments.Omnipotent Government pp. 82-83Education
Ludwig von MisesSeen from the formalistic viewpoint of constitutional law, the United States and the Swiss Confederation may doubtless still be classified as federations, but in actual fact they are moving more and more toward centralization.Omnipotent Government p. 268Federalism
Ludwig von MisesThe enormous transfer of capital from Western Europe to the rest of the world was one of the outstanding events of the age of capitalism. It has developed natural resources in the remotest areas. It has raised the standard of living of peoples who from time immemorial had not achieved any improvement in their material conditions.Omnipotent Government p. 102Foreign Capital
Ludwig von MisesFree trade begins at home.Omnipotent Government p. 237Free Trade
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