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Praxeological Prose (or Quotable Mises)

"The rich, the owners of the already operating plants, have no particular class interest in the maintenance of free competition. They are opposed to confiscation and expropriation of their fortunes, but their vested interests are rather in favor of measures preventing newcomers from challenging their position. Those fighting for free enterprise and free competition do not defend the interests of those rich today. They want a free hand left to unknown men who will be the entrepreneurs of tomorrow and whose ingenuity will make the life of coming generations more agreeable. They want the way left open to further economic improvements. They are the spokesmen of material progress."

"The only means to well-being is to increase the quantity of products. This is what business aims at."

"Scientific criticism has no nobler task than to shatter false beliefs."

"Reason is the main resource of man in his struggle for survival."

"It is not conclusive proof of a doctrine's correctness that its adversaries use the police, the hangman, and violent mobs to fight it. But it is a proof of the fact that those taking recourse to violent oppression are in their subconsciousness convinced of the untenability of their own doctrines."

"Luxury is the roadmaker of progress: it develops latent needs and makes people discontented."

"Society is only possible on these terms, that the individual finds therein a strengthening of his own ego and his own will."

"The main political problem is how to prevent the police power from becoming tyrannical. This is the meaning of all the struggles for liberty."

"The state can be and has often been in the course of history the main source of mischief and disaster."

"The worst evils which mankind has ever had to endure were inflicted by bad governments."

"The political concept of the individual's freedom means: freedom from arbitrary action on the part of the police power."

"The history of the West, from the age of the Greek polis down to the present-day resistance to socialism, is essentially the history of the fight for liberty against the encroachments of the officeholders."

"The essential characteristic of Western civilization that distinguishes it from the arrested and petrified civilizations of the East was and is its concern for freedom from the state."

"Against nature and within nature there is no freedom."

"He who disdains the fall in infant mortality and the gradual disappearance of famines and plagues may cast the first stone upon the materialism of the economists."

"Education rears disciples, imitators, and routinists, not pioneers of new ideas and creative geniuses. The schools are not nurseries of progress and improvement, but conservatories of tradition and unvarying modes of thought."

"As the science of economics ... exploded the fallacies of every brand of utopianism, it was outlawed and stigmatized as unscientific"

"It is impossible to understand the history of economic thought if one does not pay attention to the fact that economics as such is a challenge to the conceit of those in power"

"Economic history is a long record of government policies that failed because they were designed with a bold disregard for the laws of economics"

"Economics is not about things and tangible material objects; it is about men, their meanings and actions."

"If the small minority of enlightened citizens who are able to conceive sound principles of political management do not succeed in winning the support of their fellow citizens and converting them to the endorsement of policies that bring and preserve prosperity, the cause of mankind and civilization is hopeless"

"The essence of democracy is not that everyone makes and administers laws but that lawgivers and rulers should be dependent on the people's will in such a way that they may be peaceably changed if conflict occurs."

"What matters is not the allocation of portions out of a fund presented to man by nature. The problem is rather to further those social institutions which enable people to continue and to enlarge the production of all those things which they need."

"A genius is precisely a man who defies all schools and rules, who deviates from the traditional roads of routine and opens up new paths through land inaccessible before. A genius is always a teacher, never a pupil; he is always self-made."

"Society is joint action and cooperation in which each participant sees the other partner's success as a means for the attainment of his own."

"Neither love nor charity nor any other sympathetic sentiments but rightly understood selfishness is what originally impelled man to adjust himself to the requirements of society, to respect the rights and freedoms of his fellow men and to substitute peaceful collaboration for enmity and conflict."

"Thinking and acting are not contrary to nature; they are, rather, the foremost features of man's nature"

"Human civilization is not something achieved against nature; it is rather the outcome of the working of the innate qualities of man"

"If history could teach us anything, it would be that private property is inextricably linked with civilization."

"What pays under capitalism is satisfying the common man, the customer. The more people you satisfy, the better for you"

"All people, however fanatical they may be in their zeal to disparage and to fight capitalism, implicitly pay homage to it by passionately clamoring for the products it turns out"

"The first condition for the establishment of perpetual peace is the general adoption of the principles of laissez-faire capitalism"

"Those fighting for free enterprise and free competition do not defend the interests of those rich today. They want a free hand left to unknown men who will be the entrepreneurs of tomorrow"

"Business is a means - the only means - to increase the quantity of goods available for preserving life and rendering it more agreeable."

"...it is solely bigness in business which makes it possible to supply the masses with all those products the present-day American common man does not want to do without. Luxury goods for the few can be produced in small shops. Luxury goods for the many require big business."

"People can consume only what has been produced. The great problem of our age is precisely this: Who should determine what is to be produced and consumed, the people or the State, the consumers themselves or a paternal government?"

"The truth is that capitalism has not only multiplied population figures but at the same time improved the people's standard of living in an unprecedented way. Neither economic thinking nor historical experience suggest that any other social system could be as beneficial to the masses as capitalism. The results speak for themselves"

"There is no kind of freedom and liberty other than the kind which the market economy brings about"

"The market economy involves peaceful cooperation"

"All varieties of interference with the market phenomena not only fail to achieve the ends aimed at by their authors and supporters, but bring about a state of affairs which - from the point of view of their authors' and advocates valuations - is less desirable than the previous state of affairs which they were designed to alter"

"Marx and Engels openly declared that the progressive income tax and the death tax are 'economically untenable' and that they advocated them only because 'they necessitate further inroads' upon the capitalist system and are 'unavoidable' as a means of bringing about socialism"

"This, then, is freedom in the external life of man-that he is independent of the arbitrary power of his fellows."

"Once it has been perceived that the division of labour is the essence of society, nothing remains of the antithesis between individual and society. The contradiction between individual principle and social principle disappears"

"Action based on reason, action therefore which is only to be understood by reason, knows only one end, the greatest pleasure of the acting individual."

"Progress is precisely that which the rules and regulations did not foresee."

"The worst evils which mankind has ever had to endure were inflicted by bad governments. The state can be and has often been in the course of history the main source of mischief and disaster."

"The class of those who have the ability to think their own thoughts is separated by an unbridgeable gulf from the class of those who cannot."

"Historical knowledge is indispensable for those who want to build a better world."

"The first condition for the establishment of perpetual peace is the general adoption of the principles of laissez-faire capitalism."

"[It] is a proof of the fact that those taking recourse to violent oppression are in their subconsciousness convinced of the untenability of their own doctrines."

"The first thing a genius needs is to breathe free air."

"People do not cooperate under the division of labor because they love or should love one another. They cooperate because this best serves their own interests."

"The meaning of economic freedom is this: that the individual is in a position to choose the way in which he wants to integrate himself into the totality of society."

Find more quotes at American Ideals.


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