Ludwig von Mises, a founder of the Austrian School of Economics served as a professor of economics at New York University from 1945 through 1969. He was a towering intellect who was influenced by and associated with some of the great historical figures in academic economics. For instance, his dissertation adviser was Eugene Bohm Bawerk, and he was a student of Carl Menger. Von Mises students’ included Oskar Morgenstern (NYU and Princeton) who along with mathematician John non Neuman, founded game theory. Another was Fritz Machlup (NYU and Princeton) who was one of the first economists to recognize and study knowledge as an economic resource, an idea that is taken for granted by economists today.
Way back in the 1920s von Mises was warning about the dangers of what he termed “Socialist Destruction”. Socialists, he argued, did not engage in reasoned debate over the merits of a proposition; instead they simply denounced their opponents while seeking their destruction. And not just their opponents, whom they considered (and consider) to be enemies. They sought to destroy the institutions of civil society that protect the freedom and dignity of individuals, including religion, the rule of law, due process, free speech, freedom of assembly, limited government and the nuclear family.
Mises was prescient. What he predicted is precisely what is going on today. Same wine, new bottle. It is at the heart of cancel culture and intersectionality that has gained so much power over intellectual and artistic life. First go the statues and symbols, then go the people.
The video below is that of Professor Thomas J. DiLorenzo discussing Mises theory of Socialist Destruction in light of what is going on today. It is a story that can be told over and over, but some people never seem to learn. Until it’s too late.
By now it should be clear to all sentient beings that protests over the killing of George Floyd have been hijacked by left wing radicals. Moreover, they (the radicals) mean to transform America by any means necessary, including the use of violence. The response from the political establishment that runs American cities set ablaze has been stone cold silence. It is then followed by a predictable cave-in to mob violence. What explains this?
It helps to look at history.
In the 1960s, the forerunner to today’s violence, Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, formerly known as H. Rap Brown proclaimed that “Violence is as American as cherry pie”. He urged his followers to use violence to resist the American government which he characterized as the “Fourth Reich” and urged his followers on with such comments as “If America don’t come around, we’re gonna burn it down.” That wasn’t an isolated remark.
Elected the 5th Chairman of the ironically named Student Non Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), he also served as Minister of Justice for the Black Panther Party. While Chairman of SNCC he urged followers at a Washington D.C. rally to “carry on guerrilla warfare in all the cities…and make the Viet Cong look like Sunday school teachers.”
A little earlier Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), which later became the Weather Underground, made an appearance. For the Weathermen, violence was necessary to create change. Brian Flanagan, a founding member, said “When you feel you have right on your side, you can do some pretty horrible things.”
And so the Weathermen set off a wave of violent protests and bombings across America. In 1970 Bernadine Dohrn announced a “declaration of War”. A few days later a bomb manufactured in a Greenwich Village townhouse, intended for an Army base, exploded killing three Weathermen. The explosion set off an FBI manhunt and the Weathermen went underground, hence the change of name to “Weather Underground”.
Other leaders of the movement included the infamous Chicago 7, the group put on trial for fomenting the riots at the 1968 Democratic convention, helped along by the behavior of the Chicago police. This group included Tom Hayden, a graduate of the University of Michigan. He authored the Port Huron Statement, the founding document of the Weathermen. Later in life he married Jane Fonda and won seats in both the California Assembly and Senate.
Renne Davis, who graduated from Oberlin College, was an early activist in the SDS. He was an organizer of MOBE, The National Mobilization Committee to end the War in Vietnam. His father had served as chief of staff of the Council of Economic Advisors under President Harry S Truman. Later in life Renee Davis became a business consultant advising Fortune 500 companies on business strategy.
Jerry Rubin, along with Abbie Hoffman, founded the Yippie Party. Rubin studied at Oberlin College before graduating from the University of Cincinnati with a degree in history. He attended the University of California, Berkeley in 1964, but quickly dropped out to pursue social activism. That included a trip to Havana to learn about the Cuban revolution.
Meanwhile his fellow founder of the Yippies, Abbie Hoffman, studied at Brandies University where he became a student of Marxist theorist Herbert Marcuse.
The influence of Herbert Marcuse, father of the New Left, can not be over emphasized. Marcuse worked as a professor at Columbia, Harvard and Brandeis Universities. It was at Brandies that he wrote his most influential work “One Dimensional Man”. Marcuse believed that “all questions of material existence have been solved, moral commands and prohibitions are no longer relevant”. The realization of man’s erotic nature was what was needed to truly liberate humanity.
Liberating humanity, according to Marcuse, would require intolerance for heretical beliefs. Below I quote from Marcuse’s A Repressive Tolerance,1965.
“Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left. Surely, no government can be expected to foster its own subversion, but in a democracy such a right is vested in the people (i.e. in the majority of the people). This means that the ways should not be blocked on which a subversive majority could develop, and if they are blocked by organized repression and indoctrination, their reopening may require apparently undemocratic means. They would include the withdrawal of toleration of speech and assembly from groups and movements that promote aggressive policies, armament, chauvinism, discrimination on the grounds of race and religion, or that oppose the extension of public services, social security, medical care, etc.”
Sound familiar? It ought to because it is the animating idea behind today’s cancel culture.
Which brings us to Black Lives Matter (BLM) and the real agenda the organization is pushing, which has precious little to do with civil rights. Because they have no use for civil rights for anybody. They are self described Marxists; individual rights are not part of their vocabulary. Anyone who doubts this has only to view this 2 minute clip (below) in which Co-Founder Patrisse Cullors declares “We actually do have an ideological frame…we are trained Marxists.”
And if that is not good enough, go visit the BLM Website where they proclaim their goal to transform Western society into a socialist Utopia through revolution. Here is specifically what they say:
“We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.
We foster a queer‐affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking, or rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual (unless s/he or they disclose otherwise).”
So let us not be naive about this. BLM is just one of many radical left wing Marxist groups who attack traditional Western institutions in an attempt to undermine the freedoms of a liberal society we take for granted. They, along with their brothers in arms, intend to stamp out those institutions that stand in their way; institutions like the traditional nuclear family, private property, the rule of law and the sovereignty of the individual.
Like the Weather Underground before them, they are at war with human nature and Western society. There should be no doubt about this. All you have to do is listen to them. It is the same old story; we have been here before, it is merely a reboot of 1968.
So why have progressives remained quiet in the face of this onslaught? After all, it is the progressive establishment that runs the major cities in America—the ones that have been torched. It is oh-so-progressive Seattle that stands by watching helplessly as a section of town is taken over by radicals in an armed insurrection. It is progressive Minneapolis that has a police department so lawless that the city council decided to defund it and turn it over to someone else. It is progressive New York mayor Bill de Blasio who announced that he was going to reduce the NYC police budget by $1 Billion—presumably to improve the quality of policing. The list goes on.
Why is it that in city after city minority citizens distrust police departments that report to progressive politicians? How is it that those same progressive politicians are silent when violent Marxist radicals hijack citizen demonstrations when those citizens peacefully and correctly demand that their rights be respected?
The best word for it is cowardice.
It was Aristotle who said the most important virtue is courage—because without courage the other virtues fade away. And so it is today. Progressives refuse to stand up for what they claim to believe about the rule of law, citizens’ rights and the liberal institutions that have protected what used to be known as the American way of life.
It is progressives that have been responsible for the management and oversight of city police departments and school systems for the last 50 years or so. And they have failed miserably. Rather than admit error and implement the reforms so desperately needed, they choose instead to appease the mob. They do this because they are captured by special interest groups (like public sector unions) and are more interested in virtue-signaling than doing the hard work of governing responsibly.
And so what we are left with is an incoherent political philosophy (progressivism) that lies at the root of the problem; a political class that would rather deal in sanctimony than govern, and affluent citizens who increasingly wall themselves off from the consequences of their votes.
In the meantime poor and minority citizens are distrustful of police, a sure sign of a governance failure—at the very least. Meanwhile poor and minority citizens do not have access to quality schools that would enable them to better their lives and compete on a level playing field. That opportunity is denied by progressives who refuse to allow school competition either through vouchers or charter schools.
So by all means, Progressives should keep on playing #Resistance. Virtue signaling is so fun and easy when somebody else pays the price.