Literature is not conformism, but dissent. Those authors who merely repeat what everybody approves and wants to hear are of no importance. What counts alone is the innovator, the dissenter, the harbinger of things unheard of, the man who rejects the traditional standards and aims at substituting new values and ideas for old ones. He is by necessity anti-authoritarian and anti-governmental, irreconcilably opposed to the immense majority of his contemporaries.
No better is the propensity, very popular nowadays, to brand supporters of other ideologies as lunatics. Psychiatrists are vague in drawing a line between sanity and insanity. It would be preposterous for laymen to interfere with this fundamental issue of psychiatry. However, it is clear that if the mere fact that a man shares erroneous views and acts according to his errors qualifies him as mentally disabled, it would be very hard to discover an individual to which the epithet [p. 186] sane or normal could be attributed. Then we are bound to call the past generations lunatic because their ideas about the problems of the natural sciences and concomitantly their techniques differed from ours. Coming generations will call us lunatics for the same reason. Man is liable to error. If to err were the characteristic feature of mental disability, then everybody should be called mentally disabled.
Neither can the fact that a man is at variance with the opinions held by the majority of his contemporaries qualify him as a lunatic. Were Copernicus, Galileo and Lavoisier insane? It is the regular course of history that a man conceives new ideas, contrary to those of other people. Some of these ideas are later embodied in the system of knowledge accepted by public opinion as true. Is it permissible to apply the epithet “sane” only to boors who never had ideas of their own and to deny it to all innovators?
The procedure of some contemporary psychiatrists is really outrageous. They are utterly ignorant of the theories of praxeology and economics. Their familiarity with present-day ideologies is superficial and uncritical. Yet they blithely call the supporters of some ideologies paranoid persons.
President Obama has pulled back on imposing new “air quality” regulations. The regulations would have hobbled many industries and created many spillover effects[…]There is no real way to know the costs of such egregious legislation, especially given that the highest costs of regulation are hidden. They consist of the jobs not created, the products that don’t come to market, the production that does not take place, the efficiencies not realized, the standards of living not raised. Indeed, it is worse than that: the more the government hobbles the economy, the poorer we become — and there is no real way to document a future we are not permitted even to see.
Do you disagree? Well, fine, but apparently none other than Obama does agree. He said, “I have continued to underscore the importance of reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty, particularly as our economy continues to recover.”
This is a gigantic intellectual concession. If this is true of some regulations, what about the billion-plus other regulations? The results are the same any time you shackle free enterprise, in whatever way you do it. You cut off options for entrepreneurs. You reduce the value of capital by providing fewer outlets for its use. You divert productive energies from making things for society and force them into complying with regulatory bureaucracies. The costs are always enormous.
It is vain to fight totalitarianism by adopting totalitarian methods. Freedom can only be won by men unconditionally committed to the principles of freedom. The first requisite for a better social order is the return to unrestricted freedom of thought and speech.
The Austrians have fought two battles…with the Socialists…[T]he result of those two battles is that for all intents and purposes Socialism and Marxism is dead. 100 years ago Böhm-Bawerk was able to show that Marx’s theory of value was inherently flawed and inherently inconsistent and was not the avenue to understand either the value of commodities or the nature of the market process…In the 20th century that criticism was completed by Ludwig von Mises.
People may disagree on the question of whether everybody ought to study economics seriously. But one thing is certain. A man who publicly talks or writes about the opposition between capitalism and socialism without having fully familiarized himself with all that economics has to say about these issues is an irresponsible babbler.
The so called liberals today have the very popular idea that freedom of speech, of thought of the press, freedom of religion, freedom from imprisonment without trial—that all these freedoms can be preserved in the absence of what is called ‘economic freedom’. They do not realize that, in a system where there is no market, where the government directs everything, all those other freedoms are illusory, even if they are made into laws and written up in constitutions.