Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Audio of the Mises Lecture That Inspired Ron Paul

Danny Sanchez of the Mises Institute emails me and points to this great news:
In End the Fed, Ron Paul writes:
Early on, I had heard Ludwig von Mises lecture at the University of Houston.  This was probably in 1972, a year before his death.  At that time I was extremely busy with my medical practice but saw a very small newspaper notice that Mises would be lecturing at the university on a weekday.  I knew there was only one other physician in the town of Lake Jackson, Dr. Henry May, who would care about such an unusual event.  I called him to see if he cared to travel the fifty miles to hear Mises.  We arranged our office schedules and made the trip.
Mises, at the time, was elderly but sharp. His subject was socialism, and his lecture explained why socialism always fails due to the absence of a free market pricing structure for capital goods.  He was on his last lecture tour of the United States, and Houston may well have been his last stop.  (Mises died on October 10, 1973, at ninety-two years of age.)
Not to our surprise, the university did not give him a prestigious reception.  The lecture was held in a modest-sized classroom, but the place was overflowing.  Popularizing Austrian economics at the time was in its very early stages, but it was obvious even then that there was a starvation for truth in economics. The early 1970s were truly hectic, and since gold prices were soaring and the dollar was dropping more and more, people were searching for solutions.  Today, of course, the problems are so much worse and the need for answers even more urgent.
To say the least, my trip to Houston to hear Mises in person was an inspiration. I suspect that when the definitive history of the twentieth century is written, Mises will be considered on of the greatest economists, if not the greatest, of the century.
This very 1972 Houston lecture on socialism  has been rediscovered at the Ludwig von Mises Institute.  The recording was generously donated by Professor Jeffrey Calvert, who also attended.
This one may require headphones; the audio is not ideal.  But it is definitely worth the effort it may take to listen to what really is a historical gem: a recording of the last knight of liberalism, at the end of his “intellectual lion in winter” phase, inspiring the man who has inspired a movement for liberty.

The audio is here. 

A note on the accent of Mises. Ludwig von Mises learned his English while he was still in Austria and he learned it mostly from reading English. Thus, he did not get much verbal feedback on his English, by the time he arrived in America, he pretty much had ingrained in his head a pronunciation of English words, based on how he pronounced the words when reading to himself.

But he sure knew how to pick a wife with an ability to speak English with incredible eloquence. Margit von Mises was a stage actress in Vienna and her English voice is clear and powerful. In this clip, she discusses her husband.


  1. A lot of history would be different if a ninety-two year old man would've canceled his lecture. Going strong till the end of your life is important. I can just see him tired and/or sick, and thinking for a moment "Houston, really? What difference will it make if I give this speech in Houston?"

    You can never tell who's listening.

  2. I hope someone attempts a transcript of this...

  3. Carroll Quigley said that truth is a communal process unfolding through time. He said that is why the west developed free speech. Knowing that humans will never be perfect, no one group should hold a monopoly on anything. This allows the freedom of competition to help each other survive and thrive. Competition enables future "perfection" and shared knowledge. Strange that such a man would agree with a plan for world government at any point in his life.