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« Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 269 -- Tax Code Complexity. | WILLisms.com | Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 270 -- Where The People Are. »

Great Aphorists: Ludwig Von Mises

Ludwig Von Mises, 1881-1973

Mises is the patron saint of libertarianism, an adherent of the very influential Austrian School of economics. The aphorisms here are from his 1949 classic Human Action.

My favorite aphorism, because it sums it all up so well:

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

More gold from Mises:

Government and state can never be perfect because they owe their raison d'etre to the imperfection of man and can attain their end, the elimination of man's innate impulse to violence, only by recourse to violence, the very thing they are called upon to prevent.

The criterion of truth is that it works even if nobody is prepared to acknowledge it.

Competition on the market aims at assigning to every individual that function in the social system in which he can render to all his fellow men the most valuable of the services he is able to perform.

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

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

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.

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

For the sake of domestic peace, liberalism aims at democratic government. Democracy is therefore not a revolutionary institution. On the contrary it is the very means of preventing revolution and civil wars. It provides a method for the peaceful adjustment of government to the will of the majority.

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

Facts per se can neither prove nor refute anything. Everything is decided by the interpretation and explanation of the facts, by the ideas and the theories.

Progress cannot be organized.

Previous Great Aphorist: Friederich Nietzsche

P.S. As a side note, I would like to mention my penchant for Wikipedia. I try to use it whenever I need a link to a definition or explanation for a term or concept, because I think it is a great starting place, deserves support, and actually is a great product. You have to use your judgment about the veracity of the articles sometimes . . . but isn't that true for anything you read? Besides, it is a self-correcting organism that should, in theory, fix itself when errors are present. Just like a blog(?).

Posted by Ken McCracken · 15 February 2006 08:28 PM


He is a distinguished looking fella!...

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at February 15, 2006 08:43 PM

Improving one's education is why I so enjoy WILLisms...

Posted by: DANEgerus at February 16, 2006 11:30 AM

Ken,...I kept coming back to Willisms today for Reform Thursday and the aphorisms of Von Mises...I think the aphorisms are giving me an epiphany!! I think I always knew I was more a conservative than a libertarian as to social issues while economically I am more of a libertarian and Von Mises has crystallized this for me. I love the concept that private property enhances the chances of a civilized society....yay private property, yay ownership society, lets reform social security and have ourselves a new homestead act besides!!!

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at February 16, 2006 09:21 PM

Yay! I am so glad other people are getting something out of this.

Better than just blogging for myself!

Posted by: Ken McCracken at February 17, 2006 08:22 AM

I think I comment too much... I used to do that at Am I A Pundit if you recall...???

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at February 17, 2006 09:11 AM

I would have hardly had any comments there if you hadn't come by Zsa Zsa - they are always appreciated.

Posted by: Ken McCracken at February 17, 2006 01:40 PM

I really liked Am I A Pundit alot! ...
File It Under is another one of my favorites!
Say Anything is my latest adventure!

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at February 18, 2006 01:49 PM