Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving Was a Triumph of Capitalism over Collectivism

This time of the year, whether in good economic times or bad, is when we gather with our family and friends and enjoy a Thanksgiving meal together. It marks a remembrance of those early Pilgrim Fathers who crossed the uncharted ocean from Europe to make a new start in Plymouth, Massachusetts. What is less appreciated is that Thanksgiving is also a celebration of the birth of free enterprise in America.

The English Puritans, who left Great Britain and sailed across the Atlantic on the Mayflower in 1620, were not only escaping from religious persecution in their homeland. They also wanted to turn their backs on what they viewed as the materialistic and greedy corruption of the Old World.
Two years of communism in practice had left alive only a fraction of the original number of the Plymouth colonists.

In the New World, they wanted to erect a New Jerusalem that would not only be religiously devout, but be built on a new foundation of communal sharing and social altruism. Their goal was the communism of Plato’s Republic, in which all would work and share in common, knowing neither private property nor self-interested acquisitiveness.

What resulted is recorded in the journal of Governor William Bradford, the head of the colony. The colonists collectively cleared and worked land, but they brought forth neither the bountiful harvest they hoped for, nor did it create a spirit of shared and cheerful brotherhood.

The less industrious members of the colony came late to their work in the fields, and were slow and easy in their labors. Knowing that they and their families were to receive an equal share of whatever the group produced, they saw little reason to be more diligent their efforts. The harder working among the colonists became resentful that their efforts would be redistributed to the more
malingering members of the colony. Soon they, too, were coming late to work and were less energetic in the fields.

As Governor Bradford explained in his old English (though with the spelling modernized):
For the young men that were able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children, without recompense. The strong, or men of parts, had no more division of food, clothes, etc. then he that was weak and not able to do a quarter the other could; this was thought injustice. The aged and graver men to be ranked and equalized in labor, and food, clothes, etc. with the meaner and younger sort, thought it some indignant and disrespect unto them. And for men’s wives to be commanded to do service for other men, as dressing their meat, washing their clothes, etc. they deemed it a kind of slavery, neither could their husbands brook it.
Because of the disincentives and resentments that spread among the population, crops were sparse and the rationed equal shares from the collective harvest were not enough to ward off starvation and death. Two years of communism in practice had left alive only a fraction of the original number of the Plymouth colonists.

Realizing that another season like those that had just passed would mean the extinction of the entire community, the elders of the colony decided to try something radically different: the introduction of private property rights and the right of the individual families to keep the fruits of their own labor.
As Governor Bradford put it:
And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number for that end . . .This had a very good success; for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little-ones with them to set corn, which before would alledge weakness, and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.
The Plymouth Colony experienced a great bounty of food. Private ownership meant that there was now a close link between work and reward. Industry became the order of the day as the men and women in each family went to the fields on their separate private farms. When the harvest time came, not only did many families produce enough for their own needs, but they had surpluses that they could freely exchange with their neighbors for mutual benefit and improvement.
In Governor Bradford’s words:
By this time harvest was come, and instead of famine, now God gave them plenty, and the face of things was changed, to the rejoicing of the hearts of many, for which they blessed God. And the effect of their planting was well seen, for all had, one way or other, pretty well to bring the year about, and some of the abler sort and more industrious had to spare, and sell to others, so as any general want or famine hath not been amongst them since to this day.
Hard experience had taught the Plymouth colonists the fallacy and error in the ideas of that since the time of the ancient Greeks had promised paradise through collectivism rather than individualism. As Governor Bradford expressed it:
The experience that was had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years, and that amongst the Godly and sober men, may well convince of the vanity and conceit of Plato’s and other ancients; -- that the taking away of property, and bringing into a common wealth, would make them happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God. For this community (so far as it was) was found to breed confusion and discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort.
Was this realization that communism was incompatible with human nature and the prosperity of humanity to be despaired or be a cause for guilt? Not in Governor Bradford’s eyes. It was simply a matter of accepting that altruism and collectivism were inconsistent with the nature of man, and that human institutions should reflect the reality of man’s nature if he is to prosper. Said Governor Bradford:
Let none object this is man’s corruption, and nothing to the curse itself. I answer, seeing all men have this corruption in them, God in his wisdom saw another course fitter for them.
The desire to “spread the wealth” and for government to plan and regulate people’s lives is as old as the utopian fantasy in Plato’s Republic. The Pilgrim Fathers tried and soon realized its bankruptcy and failure as a way for men to live together in society.
Let us remember that what we are really celebrating is the birth of free men and free enterprise in that New World of America.

They, instead, accepted man as he is: hardworking, productive, and innovative when allowed the liberty to follow his own interests in improving his own circumstances and those of his family. And even more, out of his industry result the quantities of useful goods that enable men to trade to their mutual benefit.

In the wilderness of the New World, the Plymouth Pilgrims had progressed from the false dream of communism to the sound realism of capitalism. At a time of economic uncertainty, it is worthwhile recalling this beginning of the American experiment and experience with freedom.
This is the lesson of the First Thanksgiving. This year, when we sit around our dining table with our family and friends, let us also remember that what we are really celebrating is the birth of free men and free enterprise in that New World of America.

The real meaning of Thanksgiving, in other words, is the triumph of capitalism over the failure of collectivism in all its forms.
Richard M. Ebeling
Richard M. Ebeling
Richard M. Ebeling is BB&T Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Free Enterprise Leadership at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. He was president of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) from 2003 to 2008.
This article was originally published on Read the original article.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Socialist Academics Contributed to the Rise of the Third Reich

Throughout the last three chapters of F.A. Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom, I have found myself questioning whether I am still reading the same book. In chapters 1-11, Hayek went from being an economist to a philosopher, to a historian. But in chapter twelve, “The Socialist Roots of Nazism,” he takes on the role of biographer.

Nazism did not simply appear out of thin air and infect the minds of docile German people.

Hayek highlights the very important connection between the socialist and Nazi intellectuals by profiling a handful of prominent German Marxist supporters whose philosophical beliefs would radicalize during WWI. While their academic careers were centered on spreading socialist philosophy, many would later come to the conclusion that nothing short of Nazism would help bring about the necessary revolutionary change they each wanted. 

But most importantly, Hayek points out that contrary to what many think, Nazism did not simply appear out of thin air and infect the minds of docile German people. There were academic roots that, while grown in the soil of socialist thought, grew into a philosophy that praised German superiority, ultimate war, and the degradation of the individual.
As Hayek writes:
It is a common mistake to regard National Socialism as a mere revolt against reason, an irrational movement without intellectual background. If that were so, the movement would be much less dangerous than it is. But nothing could be further from the truth or more misleading.”
Speaking of socialism’s intellectual leaders who later helped lay the intellectual foundation for the rise of the Third Reich, Hayek says:
...It cannot be denied that the men who produced the new doctrines were powerful writers who left the impress of their ideas on the whole of European thought. Their system was developed with ruthless consistency. Once one accepts the premises from which it starts, there is no escape from its logic.”
While touching on each of Hayek’s examples would be just as long as Hayek’s own twelfth chapter, I will touch specifically on Werner Sombart, Johann Plenge, and Oswald Spengler.
Werner Sombart
Hayek writes:
From 1914 onward there arose from the ranks of Marxist socialism one teacher after another who led, not the conservatives and reactionaries, but the hardworking laborer and idealist youth into the National Socialist fold. It was only thereafter that the tide of nationalist socialism attained major importance and rapidly grew into the Hitlerian doctrine.”
Beginning his list of influential thinkers prior to WWII, Hayek begins with the dedicated Marxist who later embraced nationalism and dictatorship, Werner Sombart (1863-1941). Hayek says of Sombart:
Sombart had begun as a Marxian socialist and, as late as 1909, could assert with pride that he had devoted the greater part of his life to fighting for the ideas of Karl Marx. He had done as much as any man to spread socialist ideas and anticapitalist resentment of varying shades throughout Germany; and if German thought became penetrated with Marxian elements in a way that was true of no other country until the Russian revolution, this was in a large measure due to Sombart.
Sombart was no stranger to radicalized thought. In fact, he would never be allowed to rise to the ranks of university chair in the course of his career because of his ties to Marxism.
Under totalitarian rule, people are seen as means to an end, rather than as ends themselves.

He was also a strong believer in the glory of war and, specifically, the German people’s global role as ideal soldiers. In his works can be found this belief that a “German War” between England’s capitalist society of “peddlers” and Germany’s warrior culture of “heroes” was inevitable and vital for the progress of the world. He seethed with criticism for the English people, who, in his mind, had lost their warlike instincts. This became a recurring theme for him in later writings. 

His other main criticism of English culture was the emphasis placed on the individual. For Sombart, individual happiness was hampering societies from being truly great. As Hayek said of Sombart, “Nothing is more contemptible in his eyes than the universal striving after the happiness of the individual…”

Sombart’s dismissal of the individual tied in with his obsession with and glorification of war. In Sombart’s view, the concept of individual liberty was a barrier, preventing Germany from obtaining its true greatness. As Hayek says of Sombart’s beliefs, “there is a life higher than the individual life, the life of the people and the life of the state, and it is the purpose of the individual to sacrifice himself for that higher life.”

This all plays in perfectly with the rise of the Third Reich, where people were seen as means to an end, rather than as ends themselves. 

Johann Plenge
Professor Johann Plenge (1874-1963) was another leading intellectual authority on Marxist thought during this time. He also saw war with England as a necessary struggle between two opposite principles: emphasis on the individual and organization and socialism.
Hayek explains what organization meant to Plenge by saying, “Organization is to him, as to all socialists who derive their socialism from a crude application of scientific ideals to the problems of society, the essence of socialism.” But for Plenge, the Marxist doctrine did not take this belief far enough.
Quoting Plenge, Hayek writes:
Marx and Marxism have betrayed this basic idea of socialism by their fanatic but utopian adherence to the abstract idea of freedom.
Interestingly enough, many of these socialist philosophers eventually abandoned Marxism in favor of National Socialism because they considered the former too liberal. Since Marxists at least claim to incorporate principles of democracy into the philosophy, this was thought to give too much power to individuals and was thus seen as dangerous by these intellectuals.
The doctrines which had guided the ruling elements in Germany for the past generation were opposed not to the socialism in Marxism but to the liberal elements contained in it, its internationalism and its democracy...It was the union of the anticapitalist forces of the Right and of the Left, the fusion of radical and conservative socialism, which drove out from Germany everything that was liberal.”
Both Sombart and Plenge would have agreed. In order to have an ideal world, an extreme regimentation of society would have to take place and strong intellectual ideas would need to form the basis for this new planned world.
In Plenge’s own words:
Because in the sphere of ideas Germany was the most convinced exponent of all socialist dreams, and in the sphere of reality she was the most powerful architect of the most highly organized economic system.—In us is the twentieth century. However the war may end, we are the exemplary people. Our ideas will determine the aims of the life of humanity.—World History experiences at present the colossal spectacle that with us a new great ideal of life penetrates to final victory, while at the same time in England one of the World-Historical principles finally collapses.”
Plenge believed that Germany’s war economy born in 1914 was:
The first realization of a socialist society and its spirit the first active, and not merely demanding, appearance of a socialist spirit. The needs of the war have established the socialist idea in German economic life, and thus the defense of our nation produced for humanity the idea of 1914, the idea of German organization, the people’s community (Volksgemeinschaft) of national socialism... The feeling of economic responsibility which characterizes the work of the civil servant pervades all private activity.”
If Marxism, as it was believed, allowed too much of an emphasis on democracy, many of these intellectuals believed that their socialist views had to be taken even further to achieve the ends they wanted. By 1918, Plenge was already reflecting his new belief that something stronger and more authoritarian than Marxism was needed.
Plenge writes:
It is high time to recognize the fact that socialism must be power policy, because it is to be organization. Socialism has to win power: it must never blindly destroy power. And the most important and critical question for socialism in the time of war of peoples is necessarily this: what people is pre-eminently summoned to power, because it is the exemplary leader in the organization of peoples?”
However, while Sombart and Plenge are thought to have provided the intellectual basis for Nazi thought, it was Oswald Spengler (1880-1936) who took the thoughts of these men and directly channeled them into the burgeoning philosophy of the National Socialist Party.

Oswald Spengler
Like the other two intellectuals, Spengler believed philosophy wasn’t enough to ensure the continuation of the German people and viewed liberalism as a dangerous English philosophy that was spreading throughout the world. 

For Spengler, the Prussian model stood in opposition to England’s liberalism and was the ideal example of what Germany should aspire to. In the Prussian political model, the individual has no other role than to be a part of the whole and to serve the collective’s interests in the name of the state.
As Hayek says:
The three last nations of the Occident have aimed at three forms of existence, represented by famous watchwords: Freedom, Equality, Community. They appear in the political forms of liberal Parliamentarianism, Social Democracy, and authoritarian socialism... The German, more correctly, Prussian, instinct is: the power belongs to the whole. . .  Everyone is given his place. One commands or obeys. This is, since the eighteenth century, authoritarian socialism, essentially illiberal and anti-democratic, in so far as English Liberalism and French Democracy are meant.
And while Prussian militarism was seen to be the enemy of socialism, Spengler helped bridge that gap. Both schools of thought require an abandonment of the individual identity and a dedication to the greater good of society. Explaining the similarities, Hayek says:
In Prussia there existed a real state in the most ambitious meaning of the word. There could be, strictly speaking, no private persons. Everybody who lived within the system that worked with the precision of a clockwork, was in some way a link in it. The conduct of public business could therefore not be in the hands of private people, as is supposed by Parliamentarianism.”
This sounds shockingly similar to the requirements made of the German people by the Third Reich. This is exactly why Spengler hated English liberalism so much. He targets it as the enemy of the Prussian model.

But unlike the other two, Spengler’s views were directly manifested in his support for Nazism. Spengler, more so than the others, wanted to incorporate these views in a tangible way that made Germany the ultimate authority on the matter.
Spengler writes:
The decisive question not only for Germany, but for the world, which must be solved by Germany for the world is: Is in the future trade to govern the state, or the state to govern trade? In the face of this question Prussianism and Socialism are the same...Prussianism and Socialism combat the England in our midst.”
At its very core, liberalism was the archenemy of planning and organization.

The Birth of National Socialism
At its very core, and as specified by these German thinkers, liberalism was the archenemy of planning and organization. And unless full-fledged National Socialism was adopted, the individual would not be sufficiently squashed as to allow for authoritarian rule.

This hatred and fear of the individual is the worldview espoused by these thinkers and it continues on with those who claim to be socialists today. Unless the concept of individualism is completely eradicated, the glorified state cannot come into existence. Let this, of all things, be a lesson on why Hayek places so much importance on the individual. 

It is the individual, above all things, and the philosophical outlook that defends his or her rights, who presents the greatest obstacle to totalitarianism.
Brittany Hunter
Brittany Hunter
Brittany Hunter is an associate editor at FEE. Brittany studied political science at Utah Valley University with a minor in Constitutional studies.
This article was originally published on Read the original article.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Robert Green Ingersoll on Socialism

Wikipedia: "Robert Green 'Bob' Ingersoll (August 11, 1833 – July 21, 1899) was an American lawyer, a Civil War veteran, politician, and orator of the United States during the Golden Age of Free Thought, noted for his broad range of culture and his defense of agnosticism. He was nicknamed 'The Great Agnostic.'"

Question. Colonel Ingersoll, are you a Socialist?

Answer. I am an Individualist instead of a Socialist. I am a believer in individuality and in each individual taking care of himself, and I want the Government to do just as little as it can consistently with the safety of the nation, and I want as little law as possible—only as much as will protect life, reputation and property by punishing criminals and by enforcing honest contracts. But if a government gives privileges to a few, the few must not oppress the many. The Government has no right to bestow any privilege upon any man or upon any corporation, except for the public good. That which is a special privilege to the few, should be a special benefit to the many. And whenever the privileged few abuse the privilege so that it becomes a curse to the many, the privilege, whatever it is, should be withdrawn. I do not pretend to know enough to suggest a remedy for all the evils of society. I doubt if one human mind could take into consideration the almost infinite number of factors entering into such a problem. And this fact that no one knows, is the excuse for trying. While I may not believe that a certain theory will work, still, if I feel sure it will do no harm, I am willing to see it tried.
—New York World, October 26, 1886.


Unless humanity is a failure, society will improve from year to year and from age to age. There will be, as the years go by, less want, less injustice, and the gifts of nature will be more equally divided, but there will never come a time when the weak can do as much as the strong, or when the mentally weak can accomplish as much as the intellectually strong. There will forever be inequality in society; but, in my judgment, the time will come when an honest, industrious person need not want. In my judgment, that will come, not through governmental control, not through governmental slavery, not through what is called Socialism, but through liberty and through individuality. I can conceive of no greater slavery than to have everything done by the Government. I want free scope given to individual effort. In time some things that governments have done will be removed. The creation of a nobility, the giving of vast rights to corporations, and the bestowment of privileges on the few will be done away with. In other words, governmental interference will cease and man will be left more to himself. The future will not do away with want by charity, which generally creates more want than it alleviates, but by justice and intelligence. Shakespeare says, "There is no darkness but ignorance," and it might be added that ignorance is the mother of most suffering.
—The Enquirer, Cincinnati, Ohio, September 30, 1886.


The definition of socialism given by its bitterest enemy is, that idlers wish to live on the labor and on the money of others. Is not this definition—a definition given in hatred—a perfect definition of every monarchy and of nearly every government in the world? That is to say: The idle few live on the labor and the money of others.
—The Mail and Express, New York, November 3, 1887.

For a list of all of my disks and ebooks (PDF and Amazon) click here

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Philosophy, Rand, Illuminati & other Books you won't believe are online for FREE (Nov 15 2017)

Books you won't believe are online for free...but you may have to hurry before they are taken down. I did not post any of these books, these are simply books I found in my online travels.

For a list of all of my digital books and books on disk click here

See also Philosophy, Religion, History & Mystery Books you won't believe are online for free and Books and Magazines you won't believe are online for free (May 25, 2017) and More Books and Audiobooks you won't believe are online for free (May 8, 2017) and Books and Audiobooks you won't believe are online for free (Apr 26, 2017) and Gods, Lies, Philosophy & other books you won't believe are online for free and Guns, Global Warming, God & other books you won't believe are online for free and Unholy Alliance, Malachi Martin & other books you won't believe are online for free

IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance between Nazi Germany and America's Most Powerful Corporation

The Denial of Death by Ernest Becker (Audio and text)

Thomas Ligotti - The Conspiracy against the Human Race

Being And Nothingness by Jean Paul Sartre

The Six Pillars of Self Esteem by Nathaniel Branden (Audio)

How To Make Anyone Fall in Love with You by Leil Lowndes (Audio)

How to Make People Like You In 90 Seconds by Nicholas Boothman (Audio)

The Good News Bible

Paved With Good Intentions:The Failure of Race Relations in Contemporary America by Jared Taylor

10 Books That Screwed Up the World

MEDITATIONS on the TAROT - A Journey into Christian Hermeticism

Goodspeed New Testament

Cosmos by Carl Sagan

Strange New Gospels by Edgar J Goodspeed

The Closing of the American Mind by Allan Bloom

Drink: A Cultural History of Alcohol by Iain Gately

Reflections on the Failure of Socialism - Max Eastman (epub)

Race Differences in Intelligence by Richard Lynn


The World is Flat by Thomas L Friedman

Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic & Madness and the Fair That Changed America

The Nurture Assumption: Why Children Turn Out the Way They Do by Judith Rich Harris

Robert Nozick's Philosophical Explanations

The Thirteenth Tribe by Arthur Koestler

All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn- 200 Years Together

Five Little Pigs by Agatha Christie Audiobook

Ayn Rand - The Virtue of Selfishness

Not A Penny More, Not A Penny Less by Jeffrey Archer (Audiobook)

The Sociopath Next Door

The Wisdom of Psychopaths by Kevin Dutton FULL Audiobook

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell

Best What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures - Audiobook Online

The Art of War by Sun Tzu (Audiobook)

M Scott Peck - People of the Lie (Audiobook)

1984 by George Orwell (Audio)

1984 By George Orwell


The Godfather By Mario Puzo Audiobook Novel

The Sicilian (Godfather 2) Mario Puzo Audiobook

The Last Don (GodFather 3) by Mario Puzo Audiobook

Mario Puzo Omertà Audiobook

Empires and Kings: A Mafia Duet, Book 1 Audiobook

American Crime Stories Full Audiobook

Shallow Graves (John Pellam #1) by Jeffery Deaver

H.P. LOVECRAFT - The Lurking Fear

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

Modern Man In Search Of A Soul by C G Jung

Why Businessmen Need Philosophy by Ayn Rand Audiobook

Ayn Rand - Philosophy: Who Needs It (Audiobook)

Anthem by Ayn Rand

Stephen Hawking - A Brief History Of Time

Don't Make the Black Kids Angry

The Young Hitler I Knew by August Kubizek, Full Audiobook in English

The Plague by Albert Camus Audiobook

Albert Camus -The Stranger (FULL English Audiobook)


Rolf Furuli on John 8:58

Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow by Constance Cumbey


Might is Right By Ragnar Redbeard


America's Decline - The Education of a Conservative

Kenneth Anger's Hollywood Babylon

Kenneth Anger's Hollywood Babylon II

On Genetic Interests - Family, Ethnicity, And Humanity In An Age Of Mass Migration ( 2006) By Frank Kemp Salter

Drunk With Blood, God's Killings in the Bible by Steve Wells

The Spear Of Destiny By Trevor Ravenscroft
The Occult Power Behind the Spear which Pierced the Side of Christ...and how Hitler inverted the Force in a bid to Conquer the World

Permanent Instruction of the Alta Vendita - Masonic Subversion of Catholic Church

The Lost Journals Of Nikola Tesla

Media Sexploitation - You are Being Sexually Exploited

Marx: Prophet Of Darkness by Richard Wurmbrand

The God Makers - Ed Decker

Kinsey, Sex And Fraud - the Indoctrination of a People

Big Sister Is Watching You Texe Marrs - Hillary Clinton

The New Dark Ages Conspiracy

Shattering The Icon Of Abraham Lincoln

The Invisible Empire - The Story of the Ku Klux klan

Anne Frank - The Diary Of A Young Girl

Night By Elie Wiesel

History of Antichrist

The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America

The Menace Of "Anti-Fascism"

Terrorism and the Illuminati

Secret Societies: Their Mysteries Revealed

Vatican Assassins

Dean Koontz - One Door Away From Heaven

The Giants of Philosophy Arthur Schopenhauer - Audiobook

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Five Free-Market Themes in Don Quijote

Economists from the Austrian School have long argued that the free-market mindset, which reached its pinnacle during the classical liberal period of the 18th and 19th centuries, traces its own origins back to the early modern period, especially the ideas of the neo-scholastic thinkers of 16th and 17th century Spain known as the School of Salamanca.

Free-market thinking is at the core of Don Quijote, the first modern novel.

Just to name a few, men like Domingo de Soto (1494-1560), Martín de Azpilcueta (1491-1586), Diego de Covarrubias (1512-77), Luis Saravia de la Calle (1500s), Tomás de Mercado (1525-75), Luis de Molina (1535-1600), Juan de Mariana (1536-1624), and Felipe de la Cruz Vasconcillos (1500s) were keen to define, analyze, debate, and explain things like interest rates, the pricing of goods and services, the causes and effects of inflation, the advisability of different monetary policies, and the relation between supply and demand.

Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616), author of the first modern novel, Don Quijote de la Mancha (part one, 1605; part two, 1615), was familiar with the School of Salamanca. As evidence, here are five major ideas at the core of free-market thinking which are also at the core of Don Quijote:
Subjective Value
Salamancan and Austrian economists embrace the notion that free and voluntary exchange implies that even two wrongs can make a right. If both of us leave happy, the “true” value of things we exchange matters less than the fact that we exchange them. Tastes, wants, and needs are subjective. Indeed, such differences are precisely why we produce stuff and trade it. Without them we would all be poor, starving brutes.

Examples of subjective value theory abound in Cervantes. For example, in Don Quijote Part 1 Chapter 21, Don Quijote, the eccentric hidalgo (gentleman) asks Sancho, “Do you not see that knight coming toward us, mounted on a dappled gray and wearing on his head a helmet of gold?” The squire is unconvinced: “What I see and can make out ... is just a man riding on a donkey that’s gray like mine, and wearing something shiny on his head.”

The Time Value of Money
In the Protestant world, men like John Calvin and Henry VIII began eroding usury laws around 1550. In Spain, the Salamancans debated. Saravia’s Instrución de mercaderes (1544) marked a transition between different ways of thinking about business; Mercado’s Suma de tratos y contratos (1569) advanced a liberal view of charging interest; Vasconcillos’s Tratado único de intereses (1637) indicated the basic injustice of borrowing money for free.

If we laugh at Don Quijote's money calculations, we endorse the official policy against interest.

Cervantes’s critique of usury laws appears in Don Quijote Part 1 Chapter 4’s dialogue between the hero and Juan Haldudo regarding the back pay the peasant owes a shepherd. Don Quijote calculates that “nine months, at seven reales a month” comes to “73 reales,” which includes an interest of 10 reales. It’s a game of perspectives. If we laugh at Don Quijote, we endorse the official policy against interest; if we accept his calculation, we think like rational market participants.

By the way, a surcharge of 10 reales for the use of 63 reales for nine months, or 21% annually, was a reasonable rate around 1600.

Free-Labor Markets
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels credited Thomas Hobbes as an originator of their materialist assessment of how the world works. They liked Hobbes’s critique of metaphysical thinking but also his understanding of labor as a commodity subject to the law of supply and demand. A fundamental aspect of the transition from feudalism to bourgeois capitalism involved an awareness that we should compensate people for their property or services.

Hobbes was a serious reader of Don Quijote. Throughout the book, squire and hidalgo negotiate Sancho’s salary. In Part 1 Chapter 20, Sancho presses his master: “I would like to know ... just how much a squire made from a knight-errant in those days, and if they were paid on a monthly basis or daily, like bricklayers.” When Sancho threatens to go on strike in Part 2 Chapter 7, Sansón Carrasco, also known as “perpetual diversion and delight of the courtyards of the schools of Salamanca,” offers his services. Don Quijote perceives a market: “Did I not tell you, Sancho, that I would have plenty of squires from whom to choose?”

Stable Currency
John Maynard Keynes observed that only one man in a million perceives the destructive effects of inflation. Hoping likewise, the Habsburg kings of early 17th-century Spain undertook the first modern industrialized production of fiat money to finance their wars, corruption, and extravagance. The results correlate well with the fall of the Spanish Empire marked by the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 (see figure below). Artificially induced inflation was criticized by members of the School of Salamanca, especially Mariana. Philip III burned Mariana’s books and the Inquisition charged him with lèse-majesté – insulting the monarch, which was treason.
Purchasing power of the billon cuarto coin reverting to the market value of copper, 1597-1659. The maravedí was one of the era’s units of account. Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

In Don Quijote Part 1 Chapter 1, the first metaphor in this greatest work of fiction involves a comparison between Rocinante’s hooves and the decayed purchasing power of the era’s quarter coins. Later, in Part 2 Chapter 17, Cervantes has his hero attack what is first described as the king’s money cart. It’s really a cart carrying the King’s lions, which refuse to fight with Don Quijote. But when he uses gold coins to tip the driver and the lion tamer, bribing them to say he vanquished the beasts, it’s symbolic: gold is a store of value against Philip III’s money. The narrator reports that the lion tamer “promised to relate that valiant deed to the King himself when he arrived at court.”

Sweet Commerce
Montesquieu’s notion of “doux-commerce,” a vision of the positive effects of trade, anticipated Adam Smith, James Madison, David Ricardo, Norbert Elias, Steven Pinker, and Niall Ferguson. Anticipating Montesquieu was Mariana, who said, “There’s nothing more excellent in human life than that good faith by which commercial relations are established and society among men is constituted.”

Cervantes was a capitalist? An Austrian? A free-market Randian? A libertarian? An English liberal? A precursor.

Don Quijote also concerns this lesson. The protagonist’s madness dissipates as he comes to terms with bourgeois virtues. In Part 1 Chapter 1, he is mismanaging his domestic economy such that not even Aristotle could help him. Just one chapter later, he learns that, unlike chivalric novels, the real world requires payment for goods and services. Fittingly, the innkeeper knights him by pretending to read Latin from an accounting ledger. By Part 1 Chapter 7, our hero grasps that he must finance his adventures: “Hawking one thing and pawning another, all for less than he should have, he came up with a reasonable amount.” Don Quijote is perhaps most bourgeois in Part 1 Chapter 44, where he quietly resolves, without his usual recourse to violence, a payment dispute between the innkeeper and two guests.

The greatest irony involving commerce in Don Quijote is that the marketplace rescues the novel from its own violence against itself. In Part 1 Chapter 9, the narrator explains how he acquired the continuation of the text that ended in the middle of the knight’s battle with the Basque in Part 1 Chapter 8. Asymmetrical information about bundles of paper the narrator finds in Toledo’s marketplace results in their purchase and then the employment of a local Morisco to translate them. Think about this: we couldn’t read the novel past Part 1 Chapter 8 were it not for the miracle of a multiethnic marketplace for goods and services.

Cervantes was a capitalist? An Austrian? A free-market Randian? A libertarian? An English liberal? I hedge by saying he was a precursor.

Nevertheless, when it comes to thinking about economics, there’s a tangible intellectual feedback mechanism amplifying the influence of the first modern novel: Salamancan thoughts on political economy influenced Cervantes; later, proto and classical liberals who also read Salamancans often validated their ideas while reading Don Quijote. John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, and Frédéric Bastiat were also intense fans. But that is another story.
Republished from PanAm Post.
Eric Clifford Graf
Eric Clifford Graf
Eric Clifford Graf (PhD, Virginia) is director, writer, and host of Universidad Francisco Marroquín’s Discover Don Quijote de la Mancha, a MOOC (“massive open online course”) available in both English and Spanish.
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Thursday, November 9, 2017

Envy is the Root of Egalitarianism By Henry S. Constable 1897

Envy the Root of Radical's Equality-Worship

Equality-worship is founded on envy. "But," says Mr. Percy Greg, as also the poet Longfellow, "the master passion of democracy is envy." Now, let us see how the case stands. Envy is proverbially the vilest of passions. "It is," says Bacon, "the special quality of the devil." But, says the science of the day, diabolic passions are called diabolic —that is, evil in the extreme degree—because they have been proved by the experience of untold ages to be ruinous to happiness in the extreme degree. Then envy is ruinous to prosperity and happiness in the extreme degree. But envy is the special vice of democracy. Then democracy must be ruinous to mankind. But there are all degrees of democracy. I suppose, then, the conclusion we must come to is that democracy beyond a certain degree is ruinous; and, undoubtedly, experience and history hitherto show this to be the case; and we have nothing else but history to go by. "Ultra-democratic institutions are made," says Macaulay, "for the destruction of both liberty and civilization." Of course one race of men will bear a greater degree of democracy than another. So, doubtless, the greatest question that a nation can ask itself is: "What degree of democracy can I bear without falling back to a lower stage in the development from barbarism?" Sir Charles Dilke says that the Asiatic races will never bear democratic institutions.

Sometimes equality-worship comes not from envy, but from Utopian or gushing weak-mindedness. The test of honest, genuine belief in equality is simple. Does the equality lover habitually get the dirty, drunken, thieving tramp to sit down at dinner with him and his family? If he does, however foolish he may be, he is an honest man. According to this test, I wonder how many rich Americans are honest men. They all profess to believe in that clause jof the Declaration of Independence which proclaims that fall men are equal. Then, do they have negroes and Chinamen at their balls and dinner-parties?

A lady was once holding forth at her dinner-table to Dr. Johnson on the beauty of democratic equality. "Madam," said the Doctor, "your footman here seems a well-behaved young man; I think he might sit down at the table with us." The silly woman said nothing more about equality to Dr. Johnson. Plutarch tells a similar story. Lycurgus said to a man who was belauding equality: "Try it in your own household." Poor old human nature is, I suppose, poor old human nature for ever and ever.

"Nine-tenths of Radicalism," says Bulwer, "is envy." "Envy," says Balzac, "is the curse of democratic France." Envy and hatred are inseparable. But hatred is the extreme manifestation of the evil principle in man, and is, according to Dr. Maudesly, "very closely connected with insanity. 'Bad,'" he says, "is a terribly near relation of 'mad.'" Again, all hatred and want of sympathy and of goodwill is, necessarily, accompanied by its corresponding stupidity exactly to match. But national stupidity in sufficiency means national ruin. Thus we see how envy and hatred of all superiorities may turn a nation into a community of fools, madmen, and devils. At least this must be the necessary logical deduction from the above sayings of the wise.

It is a fact that sometimes a whole nation will become insane—-" bad and mad," as Dr. Maudesly has it. France undoubtedly became insane at the great Revolution. Insanity sometimes takes place in the smaller communities within a community. A whole school of girls has sometimes gone mad and hysterical together. Whole communities have been afflicted with a general suicidal mania. At the French Revolution the whole country was afflicted with a mad, malignant, envy-and-hatred-inspired craving for equality; the nation's evil passions had completely the upper hand for a time. But this, in fact, was national insanity. France became "bad and mad."

Mr. John Morley, who has tried to lay coats of whitewash on Robespierre and his fellow-devils, talks of the glorious principles of the French Revolution, which he seems to think were never heard of in the world before.

How about these glorious principles of "liberty, equality, and fraternity"? Well, to begin at the end, fraternity is nothing but a weak word for Christian charity, as described by St. Paul; so there was nothing new there. Liberty is what England had been striving for for centuries before the French Revolution, so that is not a new idea; and equality, as everyone knows, is as old as the hills, being simply the social condition of savages. Still, there was one new thing in these "glorious" principles-—namely, crying out for both equality and liberty as if they could exist together in the same nation. This astounding belief undoubtedly was new, and can be accounted for only by the fact that the French nation at the time was mad.

The Radical or Socialist of the envious or malevolent class (the working partner of the Radical firm) means a poor, pitiful creature, full of effeminate envyings, whining unceasingly to his Government: "Oh, do prevent anybody from being richer than I am"; or, "Do prevent anybody from being better educated or cleverer than I am; it is so very disagreeable to see people driving horses when I have to walk, or doing cleverer things than I can do. Besides, my wife does so very much dislike seeing other people's wives dressed smarter than she is." In fact, he is a deplorable wretch, without a spark of manliness in him.

Equality, or sameness, means stagnation and death, *l whether in the spiritual or physical world. "Why," says the fool, "did not the Creator give us an equable and uniform climate, free from hurricanes, cold, and heat?" Because hurricanes, though they kill a few, save the world from death, by preventing stagnation of the air, and thence pestilence. "A uniform climate over all the earth," says Mr. Stopford Brooke, " means the death of all living beings." "The fool who asks for it asks," he says, "for a stagnant atmosphere and a rotting sea."

So it is with the fool who asks for equality among men. He really asks for stagnation, decay, and rottenness.

"In England," says M. Gallenga, "well-being is more widely spread, and reaches a lower stratum in society, than anywhere else in the world." This has come from England having hitherto preferred liberty to equality. The great effort of our Socialist-Radical or French school of politicians is to do away with this exceptional prosperity by the introduction of those French ideas of equality and sameness that lead to stagnation, decay, and rottenness.

A writer in the Spectator of October 10th, 1896, says that he "detests Socialism as a stereotyping of humanity in one sordid form." Of course people with sordid natures wish for sordid natures everywhere, inasmuch as they can conceive nothing higher. "Nobody can fly above himself." Mediocrity, says the French moralist, generally condemns everything that is beyond itself.

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