I can see it coming. Racist charges against Ludwig von Mises and anyone who acknowledges reading him.
Last time I commented on Leonard, he was shooting at Richard Ebeling with a water gun. Now, he has moved on from Ebeling to take a shot a Mises. In an attack piece on Michelle Bachmann for her comment to the Wall Street Journal that she reads Mises at the beach, he provides this Mises quote:
It must be emphasized that the destiny of modern civilization as developed by the white peoples in the last two hundred years is inseparably linked with the fate of economic science.So you know the racist charges are coming. Just to clue in his Regressive readers in case they miss the point of the quote, he begins his comment on the quote this way:
Never mind the puzzling injection of skin color into the argument.Puzzling perhaps to Leonard, but only because he doesn't understand the context of the quote even when it is staring him in the face. You see the paragraph before the one he quotes, begins this way:
The characteristic feature of this age of destructive wars and social disintegration is the revolt against economics. Thomas Carlyle branded economics a "dismal science," and Karl Marx stigmatized the economists as "the sycophants of the bourgeoisie." Quacks--praising their patent medicines and short cuts to an earthly paradise--take pleasure in scorning economics as "orthodox" and "reactionary." Demagogues pride themselves on what they call their victories over economics. The "practical" man boasts of his contempt for economics and his ignorance of the teachings of "armchair" economists...In other words, Mises on this page is attacking the Regressive hero, Thomas Carlyle, and also Karl Marx. In the essay, Occasional Discourse on the Negro Question, Carlyle said that blacks were subhuman "two legged cattle". Indeed, it was the notion that people are equal as human beings that Carlyle found as evidence that economics was the "dismal science". Carlyle was also anti-capitalist and argued that the advanced white economies were further evidence that blacks were inferior.
Mises argument, thus, is going something like this: Carlyle hails the success of the white economies, but they are successful only because they have left the economy pretty much a free market economy. The success of the economies "is inseparably linked with the fate of economic science." Mises is arguing that Carlyle is incorrect even about his view about the supposed superior white economies. He is saying that if the white economies adopted Carlyle's anti-capitalistic methods that they would never have had the increase in the standard of living that occurred.
Mises, in other words, is pointing to an economic weakness in Carlyle's argument about the success of white people. He is saying that Carlyle didn't realize that the economic system had a lot to do with it. At no other time, in all of the Mises writings, did he use the term "white peoples". I just searched Google books to verify. Mises is simply attacking the economic classification that Carlyle said was superior. Mises is saying, white people, a classification that Carlyle used, wouldn't have succeeded if they had adopted a socialist system instead of a free market system. Beginning and end of story.
And thus again, we have the seriously clueless Leonard spinning way out of control. Perhaps he should take Mises and Carlyle books the next time he goes to the beach so he can really understand what is going on.
UPDATE: Andrew Leonard has responded and now promises to himself take Mises to the beach. Details here.