Mises: Four Reasons Inequality Isn’t What You Think It Is

Here is a short article from the Mises Institute, describing why free markets are no enemy of inequality, but rather regulated markets are greater causes of harm – Four Reasons Inequality Isn’t What You Think It Is.

One of the defining characteristics of advocates for socialism is an obsession with equality. According to this line of thinking, inequality is the central problem of the modern world, and it demands a centralized solution. Thus, socialists—and more mild social democrats—push to use the power of the state to force the transfer of wealth from the productive and successful to those who are less so. This is the way to achieve social justice, they contend.

But inequality is not the societal plague that socialists allege it to be.

The Source of Wealth: Consumer Judgment

Contrary to popular belief, the way to make money is not to exploit one’s customers. The reality is the opposite. Wealth is created by identifying the problems that people have and creating products that provide a solution and improve their lives.

In this process, the consumer leads the process by expressing his own preferences in the marketplace. If a consumer feels that a product is overpriced, he will not make an exchange. If a product seems worthwhile, he will buy it willingly. The sum of these individual choices—to purchase or not—make or break a business on the market, and this is the consumers’ prerogative. In order to meet his own needs, a person must produce something that satisfies another’s needs, whether they be labor, industrial machinery, or fine cuff links.

Does Wealth Accrue at the Expense of the Poor?

One of the socialists’ key assumptions is that there is always a losing side in a transaction. They think that wealth is like a pie, and that the rich take the largest slice, leaving workers and customers with almost nothing. In reality the market is always expanding the pie, and voluntary exchanges are always win-win when they are made.

Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and all the other “evil capitalists” have managed to create an unprecedented amount of wealth, but not only for themselves. Those working for them have benefited from their jobs, and the people who buy their products and services have benefited from better or cheaper goods (or both). Other benefits include more time to pursue more important things, and in ways that cannot be quantified (i.e., they are measured in psychic profit). The entrepreneurs, in turn, have benefited from the services of their workers—which are well worth paying for. Entrepreneurs also benefit from the voluntary purchases made by their customers.

Profit and Competition Are Not Antithetical to Collaboration

Socialists pit profit and competition against an ideal of sharing and collaboration. But rather than being a wicked, stolen good, profit is a crucial incentive for collaborative human action.

People are always searching for the best and cheapest products in order to satisfy their needs, and their demands raise prices. The prospect of profit quickly pushes entrepreneurs into producing what people want—and what they are willing to pay for. Profits illustrate how much people value an entrepreneur’s services. Consumers only pay if the entrepreneur satisfies their desires.

As long as there are profits to be made, others enter the market. The competition spurs entrepreneurs to make production more efficient and cheaper, because the greater the competition, the more the businessman will have to do to earn the customer’s business. As more goods enter the market, consumers can be more picky about whom to purchase from, and prices drop. It’s their own demand that sets the prices, and once they are satisfied and there’s not as much profit in the business, entrepreneurs shift to making other things that people want.

As many Austrian and non-Austrian economists have figured out, the market is an everyday “voting system” of what needs to be produced. Every penny acts as a vote for how best to use limited resources. Profits point entrepreneurs toward what people want most badly. The resulting production is a form of collaboration rather than exploitation. People can do more, because they don’t have to do everything themselves, and they can focus on what they do best.

Income Inequality Is Heightened by a Restrained Market

The Left makes the mistake of arguing that only the rich have gotten richer and attack capitalism without looking at the facts. The market has made nearly everyone richer, not only in terms of income but also in terms of the overall quality of life and the products that they own.

Leftists also ignore income mobility in market economies, when studies show that in fact most people born to the richest fifth of Americans fall out of that bracket within twenty years while most of those born to the poorest fifth climb to a higher quintile and even to the top.

Though their rhetoric makes it seem surprising, this makes sense. As Ludwig von Mises pointed out in The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality, the businessman owes his wealth to his customers, and this wealth is inevitably lost or diminished when others enter the market who can better satisfy the consumer through lower prices and/or a better quality of goods and services.

The problem with income inequality today is that it isn’t entirely a byproduct of the free market but instead is the result of a market crippled by interventionist policies, such as regulations, expensive licenses, and the most complicated tax system in the history of this country. Such restrictions have limited competition and made wealth creation more difficult, causing the stagnation of the middle and lower classes.

Though leftists contend that these restrictions protect people from the “dangers” of the free market, they actually protect the corporate interests that progressives claim to stand against.

Colossal businesses like Amazon and Walmart in fact favor higher minimum wages and increased regulations. They have the funds to implement them with ease, and such regulations end up acting as a protective barrier, keeping startups and potential competitors from entering the market. With competition blocked, these businesses can grow artificially large and don’t have to work as hard to earn people’s business. Instead they can spend money on lawyers and DC lobbyists to fence small businesses out of the market.

Ironically, efforts to regulate businesses in the name of protecting laborers and consumers harms small businesses and makes everyone less equal than they could be in a free market.

Conclusion

Markets are not the enemy of inequality. Regulated markets are. The income inequality that naturally occurs in the free market as a result of human uniqueness is needlessly amplified by restrictive government policies to the detriment of all.

Voluntary exchanges in capitalism are mutually advantageous. If they weren’t, the exchange would never take place. People who live in countries with more economic and social freedom enjoy greater incomes and a higher standard of living. Free trade has contributed more to the alleviation of poverty than have all the government-run programs. Socialist intervention in the market can only distance man from eradicating poverty and from happiness: only unrestrained competition driven by profit can bring about the expansion of choice, the fall in prices, and the increased satisfaction that make us wealthier.

Mises: 2019 Was a Bad Year for “Only Cops Should Have Guns”

Ryan McMaken at the Mises Institute writes this article about several instances of private firearm owners stopping a mass shooter or police ineptitude in response to the same. He also briefly notes the general decline in the US homicide rate over the last thirty years while the number of firearms in circulation has increased dramatically.

2019 Was a Bad Year for the “Only Cops Should Have Guns” Narrative

On December 29, an armed gunman entered the West Freeway Church of Christ in Texas and shot two members of the congregation. Within six seconds, a third member of the congregation drew a weapon and shot the gunman dead.

The events were captured on live-streamed video, with the dramatic events — in the minds of many observers — highlighting the benefits of privately owned firearms as a defense against armed criminals. Moreover, the gunman, who had a criminal history, obtained his gun illegally, and demonstrated one of the central pitfalls of the gun-control narrative: namely, that those with criminal intent are not easily restrained by laws controlling access to firearms.

Nonetheless, many media outlets were unable to bring themselves to admit that privately owned firearms in this case were the key to preventing a wider massacre. After all, had the congregation waited around for the police to arrive, it is unknown how effective a police response could have been. Nor is it clear that had the police arrived quickly, they would have immediately engaged the shooter or even engaged the right person.

These considerations were not sufficient to divert many media observers from their insistence that private gun ownership is helpful in situations like these. Both government agents and their media boosters continue to insist that even well-meaning ordinary citizens ought not be trusted with firearms and that what is really needed are “experts” with government-approved police training.

Elvia Diaz at the Arizona Republic demonstrated this premise well when she wrote:

The reality of Wilson’s heroism is a lot more complex. He wasn’t just an ordinary parishioner, as gun advocates may want you to believe. The church’s volunteer security team member is a firearms instructor, gun range owner and former reserve deputy with a local sheriff’s department, according to a New York Times detailed account.

In other words, he’s exactly the kind of man you want around with a firearm. But we know nothing about the at least six other parishioners who also appeared to draw their handguns at West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas.

And that’s terrifying.

To many people who aren’t left-leaning journalists, it is hardly “terrifying” that some other private citizens of unknown expertise were armed in the congregation. After all, these people never fired a shot once they saw the shooter had been incapacitated. None of them provided any reason to suspect they pose any risk to anyone else.

On the other hand, 2019 has provided plenty of reminders of what sort of “expertise” and heroism government-provided security forces offer…

Mises Institute: The Silicon Valley Gulag

Author and university professor Jason Morgan has written an review at Mises Institute of Michael Rectenwald’s Google Archipelago: The Digital Gulag and the Simulation of Freedom.

he near-homogeneity of Silicon Valley political beliefs has gone from wry punchline to national crisis in the United States. The monoculture of virtue signaling and high- and heavy-handed woke corporate leftism at places like Google, Twitter, and Facebook was once a source of chagrin for those who found themselves shut out of various internet sites for deviating from the orthodoxies of the Palo Alto elites. After the 2016 presidential election, however, it became obvious that the digitalistas were doing a lot more than just making examples of a few handpicked “extremists.” From the shadow banning of non-leftist sites and views to full-complement political propagandizing, Bay Area leftists have been so aggressive in bending the national psyche to their will that there is talk in the papers and on the cable “news” channels of “existential threats to our democracy.”

It is tempting to see this as a function of political correctness. Americans, and others around the world, who have found themselves on the “wrong side of history” (as determined by the cultural elite in an endless cycle of epistemological door closing) have long been shut out of conversations, their views deemed beyond the pale of acceptable discourse in enlightened modern societies. Google, Facebook, Twitter — are these corporations, and their uber-woke CEOs, just cranking the PC up to eleven and imposing their schoolmarmish proclivities on the billions of people who want to scrawl messages on their electronic chalkboards?

Not so, says reformed leftist — and current PC target — Michael Rectenwald. The truth of Stanford and Harvard alumni’s death grip on global discourse is much more complicated than just PC run amok. It is not that the Silicon Valley giants are agents of mass surveillance and censorship (although mass surveillance and censorship are precisely the business they’re in). It’s that the very system they have designed is, structurally, the same as the systems of oppression that blanketed and smothered free expression in so much of the world during the previous century. In his latest book, Google Archipelago, Rectenwald outlines how this system works, why leftism is synonymous with oppression, and how the Google Archipelago’s regime of “simulated reality” “must be countered, not only with real knowledge, but with a metaphysics of truth.”

Google Archipelago is divided into eight chapters and is rooted in both Rectenwald’s encyclopedic knowledge of the history of science and corporate control of culture, as well as in his own experiences. Before retiring, Rectenwald had been a professor at New York University, where he was thoroughly entrenched in the PC episteme that squelches real thought at universities across North America and beyond. Gradually, Rectenwald began to realize that PC was not a philosophy, but the enemy of open inquiry. For this reason, and because Rectenwald is an expert in the so-called digital humanities and the long history of scientific (and pseudo-scientific) thinking that feeds into it, Google Archipelago is not just a dry monograph about a social issue. By turns memoir, Kafkaesque dream sequence, trenchant rebuke of leftist censorship, and intellectual history of woke corporate political correctness, Google Archipelago is a welcoming window into a mind working happily in overdrive.

There is much in Google Archipelago addressing the lie that Google, Facebook, and Twitter are neutral platforms for free-ranging debate. This is not so much, because, statistically and empirically, it is irrefutable that Silicon Valley is hostile to non-Beltway-leftist opinions, but because, much more damningly, their woke-capital corporate structures are themselves iterations of massification, propaganda, and deep social control. For Rectenwald, the “Google archipelago” is not PC version 2.0; it is Marxism, version 1,000 (and raised by several orders of magnitude to boot).

For example, in the first and second chapters of Google Archipelago, Rectenwald lays out how the various elements of woke-capitalist ideological repression work together in actual practice. Rectenwald’s chief example is the Gillette ad campaign of January 2019, in which a company whose products (razor blades and shaving cream) are purchased, of course, was said to insult the very essence of its customers by belittling manhood as “toxic.” Why would a razor blade company go out of its way to alienate the people who buy the majority of razorblades? The answer is surprising…

Click here to read the entire review at Mises Wire.

Related:

SHTFPlan.com: The YouTube Censorship Continues: Thought Police Begin The PURGE

YouTube has begun to purge accounts that they have decided violate “acceptable thoughts.” The censorship is continuing and exponentially skyrocketing on all social media platforms…

Mises: How to Avoid Civil War

Echoing the thoughts of intelligence analyst Sam Culper of Forward Observer in his previous videos on Civil War, the Mises Institute weighs in on the need for political separation in the United States in order to avoid a bloody civil war.

How to Avoid Civil War: Decentralization, Nullification, Secession

It’s becoming more and more apparent that the United States will not be going back to “business as usual” after Donald Trump leaves office, and it is easy to imagine that the anti-Trump parties will use their return to power as an opportunity to settle scores against the hated rubes and “deplorables” who dared attempt to oppose their betters in Washington, DC, California, and New York.

This ongoing conflict may manifest itself in the culture war through further attacks on people who take religious faith seriously, and on those who hold any social views unpopular among degreed people from major urban centers. The First Amendment will be imperiled like never before with both religious freedom and freedom of speech regarded as vehicles of “hate.” Certainly, the Second Amendment will hang by a thread.

But even more dangerous will be the deep state’s return to a vaunted position of enjoying a near-total absence of opposition from elected officials in the civilian government. The FBI and CIA will go to even greater lengths to ensure the voters are never again “allowed” to elect anyone who doesn’t receive the explicit imprimatur of the American intelligence “community.” The Fourth Amendment will be banished so that the NSA and its friends can spy on every American with impunity. The FBI and CIA will more freely combine the use of surveillance and media leaks to destroy adversaries.

Anyone who objects to the deep state’s wars on either Americans or on foreigners will be denounced as stooges of foreign powers.

These scenarios may seem overly dramatic, but the extremity of the situation is suggested by the fact that Trump — who is only a very mild opponent of the status quo — has received such hysterical opposition. After all, Trump has not dismantled the welfare state. He has not slashed — or even failed to increase — the military budget. His fights with the deep state are largely based on political issues, and not on major policy disagreements. Trump, for example, sides with the surveillance state on matters such as the prosecution of Edward Snowden.

His sins lie merely in his lack of enthusiasm for the center-left’s current drive toward ever more vicious identity politics. And, more importantly, he has been insufficiently gung ho about starting more wars, expanding NATO, and generally pushing the Russians toward World War III.

For even these minor deviations, we are told, he must be destroyed.

So, we can venture a guess as to what the agenda will look like once Trump is out of the way. It looks to be neither mild nor measured.

And then what?

In that situation, half the country — much of it from the half that calls itself “Red-State America” may regard itself as conquered, powerless, and unheard.

That’s a recipe for civil war.

But how can we take steps now to minimize this polarization the damage it is likely to cause?

The answer lies in greater decentralization and local autonomy. But as long as most Americans labor under the authoritarian notion that the United States is “one nation, indivisible” there will be no answer to the problem of one powerful region (or party) wielding unchallenged power over a minority.

Many conservatives naïvely claim that the Constitution and the “rule of law” will protect minorities in this situation. But their theories only hold water if the people making and interpreting the laws subscribe to an ideology which respects local autonomy and freedom for worldviews in conflict with the ruling class. That is increasingly not the ideology of the majority, let alone the majority of powerful judges and politicians.

Thus, for those who can manage to leave behind the flag-waving propaganda of their youths, it is increasingly evident that something other than repeating bromides about teaching high-school civics, reading the Constitution, or electing “strong leaders” will have to be done…

Writing at The American Conservative, Michael Vlahos, for example, appears unconvinced that violence can be avoided. But even he concedes the violence is unlikely to take the form of mass bloodshed as seen in the 1860s:

Our antique civil wars were not bound to formal rules, yet somehow they held to well-etched bounds of expectation. American society today has very different norms and expectations for civil conflict, which certainly will constrain how we fight the next battle.

Today’s America no longer embraces a national landscape of an industrial-lockstep battlefield (think Gettysburg, D-Day). Our next civil war — as social media so eloquently reminds us — will enact its violence on a battle campus of equal pain, if less blood.

Many devotees of perpetual federal supremacy, of course, won’t admit even this. Any attempt at decentralization, nullification, or secession is said to be invalid because “that was decided by the Civil War.” There is no doubt, of course, that the Civil War settled the matter for a generation or two. But to claim any war “settled things” forever, is clearly nonsense.

It is true, however, that if the idea of a legally, culturally, and politically unified United States wins the day, Americans may be looking toward a future of ever greater political repression marked by increasingly common episodes of bloodshed. This is simply the logical outcome of any system where it is assumed the ruling party has a right and a duty to force the ways of the one group upon another. That is the endgame of a unified America.

Click here to read the entire article at Mises Wire.

Mises: Why We Can’t Ignore the “Militia” Clause of the Second Amendment

Author, economist and political scientist Ryan McMaken has an article at Mises on the Second Amendment and the militia clause. The analysis is, for the most part, good, but not new to those who spent time studying the history of the Second Amendment and the militia. I disagree where he says that “privately-armed citizens can only offer relatively token resistance” to today’s standing armies, and I suspect a lot of enemy fighters would disagree as well, unless we can call eighteen years of war against lightly armed Afghani resistance fighters “token.”

Why We Can’t Ignore the “Militia” Clause of the Second Amendment

While many defenders of private gun ownership recognize that the Second Amendment was written to provide some sort of counterbalance against the coercive power of the state, this argument is often left far too vague to reflect an accurate view of this historical context surrounding the Amendment.

After all, it is frequently pointed out that private ownership of shotguns and semi-automatic rifles could offer only very limited resistance to the extremely well-equipped and well-armed United States military.

It is often, therefore, just assumed that the writers of the Second Amendment were naïve and incapable of seeing the vast asymmetries that would develop between military weaponry and the sort of weaponry the average person was likely to use.

Was the plan really to just have unorganized amateurs grab their rifles and repel the invasion of a well-trained military force?1

The answer is no, and we know this by looking at the wording and reasoning behind the Second Amendment. The text, of course, reads “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

Gun-rights advocates often fixate on the second half of the amendment, claiming that the phrase about a militia is just something that provides a reasoning for the second phrase. Many opponents of gun control even suggest that the only phrase here of key importance is “shall not be infringed.”

The Second Amendment as a Guard Against a Standing Army

Looking at the debates surrounding the Second Amendment and military power at the end of the eighteenth century, however, we find that the authors of the Second Amendment had a more sophisticated vision of gun ownership than is often assumed.

Fearful that a large federal military could be used to destroy the freedoms of the states themselves, Anti-Federalists and other Americans fearful of centralized power in the US government designed the Second Amendment accordingly. It was designed to guarantee that the states would be free to raise and train their own militias as a defense against federal power, and as a means of keeping a defensive military force available to Americans while remaining outside the direct control of the federal government.

This grew out of what was a well-established opposition to standing armies among Americans in the late eighteenth century. In his book Eagle and Sword: The Federalists and the Creation of the Military Establishment in America, 1783–1802, Richard Kohn writes:

No principle of government was more widely understood or more completely accepted by the generation of Americans that established the United States than the danger of a standing army in peacetime. Because a standing army represented the ultimate in uncontrolled and controllable power, any nation that maintained permanent forces surely risked the overthrow of legitimate government and the introduction of tyranny and despotism.

We can see this plainly in the speeches and writings of the Anti-Federalists like Patrick Henry, but we also see it in the more moderate attendees of the constitutional convention as well, such as George Mason, who “When once a standing army is established in any country, the people lose their liberty.”

Sentiments like Mason’s did not represent the views of oddball outliers. Rather, Kohn notes, these were mainstream views of the danger of an unimpeded federal military establishment.

But how to combat the power of a federal standing army?

On this, the Americans did not need to re-invent the wheel. After all, the idea of locally-controlled military forces answerable to civil officials was put into place in seventeenth-century England. The English militias had been created out of fear of a large standing army directly answerable to the king.

Although the system had fallen into disuse in England by the time the Americans were debating the matter in the eighteenth century, the Americans were well aware of this history.

These ideas were further developed at the Virginia ratifying convention where Patrick Henry mocked the idea that liberties could be preserved by simply “assembling the people.” Without locally controlled, military might, Henry noted, federal force could destroy the independence of the state governments. Similarly, George Mason concluded that the “militia … is our ultimate safety. We can have no security without it.”

As historian Leon Friedman concludes, “the people organized in the state militias were regarded as a counterforce against the threat that the regular army could be used as an instrument of oppression and service in the militia was a right of the citizen that could not be transgressed by the federal government.”2

In light of this, it’s easier to see the key element offered by the “militia” phrase of the Second Amendment.

Even after the adoption of the new constitution, opposition to a powerful federal military continued. Congress opposed not only attempts to increase the size of the professional US army much beyond 1,000 men, but also opposed attempts to mandate any specific training in a “federally organized militia system.” In the end, opposition to federal control of military affairs meant training of militias was “left entirely to the states.”3

The “Unorganized Militia” and Private Gun Ownership

As Brion McClanahan has shown, the Second Amendment — like the First Amendment — was never written to apply to the states themselves, but to Congress. The states were still free to regulate the ownership of weaponry in their own constitutions and by their own legislatures. Most state governments, however, elected to include provisions in their own constitutions protecting private gun ownership as an element of the state’s overall militia strategy…

Click here to continue reading at Mises.

Related:

American Partisan: Violence Versus Aggression

Most are familiar with the right to be armed, while wholly unfamiliar with the duty assigned to that right. The preservation of such right is predicated upon first being armed then proficiency at arms, followed by the assurance of violence should any other right be taken. Your duties accompanying the right of being armed is the capacity for all three of those qualifiers. And that violence must be both quick and decisive; violence has no other legitimate purpose aside from the preservation of one’s liberty.

Mises: Mercantilism, Merchants, and “Class Conflict”

Conceived in Liberty is a book authored by economist Murray Rothbard, detailing the revolutionary USA’s founding struggle between liberty and power. The excerpt below is from the book, briefly discussing mercantilism and class conflict. It seems relevant in this day as Democrats and Republics alike squabble over the spoils of a strong government intervening in economic affairs. Conceived in Liberty is available as a free pdf download from Mises or as a hardback book.

Mercantilism, Merchants, and “Class Conflict”

[This article is excerpted from Conceived in Liberty (1975), volume 1, chapter 32: “Mercantilism, Merchants, and ‘Class Conflict.'”]

The economic policy dominant in the Europe of the 17th and 18th centuries, and christened “mercantilism” by later writers, at bottom assumed that detailed intervention in economic affairs was a proper function of government. Government was to control, regulate, subsidize, and penalize commerce and production. What the content of these regulations should be depended on what groups managed to control the state apparatus. Such control is particularly rewarding when much is at stake, and a great deal is at stake when government is “strong” and interventionist. In contrast, when government powers are minimal, the question of who runs the state becomes relatively trivial. But when government is strong and the power struggle keen, groups in control of the state can and do constantly shift, coalesce, or fall out over the spoils. While the ouster of one tyrannical ruling group might mean the virtual end of tyranny, it often means simply its replacement by another ruling group employing other forms of despotism.

In the 17th century the regulating groups were, broadly, feudal landlords and privileged merchants, with a royal bureaucracy pursuing as a superfeudal overlord the interest of the Crown. An established church meant royal appointment and control of the churches as well. The peasantry and the urban laborers and artisans were never able to control the state apparatus, and were therefore at the bottom of the state-organized pyramid and exploited by the ruling groups. Other religious groups were, of course, separated from or opposed to the ruling state. And religious groups in control of the state, or sharing in that control, might well pursue not only strictly economic “interest” but also ideological or spiritual ones, as in the case of the Puritans’ imposing a compulsory code of behavior on all of society.

One of the most misleading practices of historians has been to lump together “merchants” (or “capitalists”) as if they constituted a homogeneous class having a homogeneous relation to state power. The merchants either were suffered to control or did not control the government at a particular time. In fact, there is no such common interest of merchants as a class. The state is in a position to grant special privileges, monopolies, and subsidies. It can only do so to particular merchants or groups of merchants, and therefore only at the expense of other merchants who are discriminated against. If X receives a special privilege, Y suffers from being excluded. And also suffering are those who would have been merchants were it not for the state’s network of privilege.

In fact, because of (a) the harmony of interests of different groups on the free market (for example, merchants and farmers) and (b) the lack of homogeneity among the interests of members of any one social class, it is fallacious to employ such terms as “class interests” or “class conflict” in discussing the market economy. It is only in relation to state action that the interests of different men become welded into “classes,” for state action must always privilege one or more groups and discriminate against others. The homogeneity emerges from the intervention of the government in society. Thus, under feudalism or other forms of “land monopoly” and arbitrary land allocation by the government, the feudal landlords, privileged by the state, become a “class’ (or “caste” or “estate”). And the peasants, homogeneously exploited by state privilege, also become a class. For the former thus constitute a “ruling class” and the latter the “ruled.”1 Even in the case of land privilege, of course, the extent of privilege will vary from one landed group to another. But merchants were not privileged as a class and therefore it is particularly misleading to apply a class analysis to them.

A particularly misleading form of class theory has often been adopted by American historians: inherent conflicts between the interests of homogeneous classes of “merchants” as against “farmers,” and of “merchant-creditors” versus “farmer-debtors.” And yet it should be evident that these disjunctions are extremely shaky. Anyone can go into debt and there is no reason to assume that farmers will be debtors more than merchants. Indeed, merchants with a generally larger scale of operations and a more rapid turnover are often heavy debtors. Moreover, the same merchant can shift rapidly from one point of time to another, from being a heavy net debtor to net creditor, and vice versa. It is impermissible to think in terms of fixed persisting debtor classes and creditor classes tied inextricably to certain economic occupations.

The merchants, or capitalists, being the peculiarly mobile and dynamic groups in society that can either flourish on the free market or try to obtain state privileges, are, then, particularly ill-suited to a homogeneous class analysis. Furthermore, on the free market no one is fixed in his occupation, and this particularly applies to entrepreneurs or merchants whose ranks can be increased or decreased very rapidly. These men are the very opposite of the sort of fixed status imposed on land by the system of feudalism.

Mises Institute: Why Marxism Shifted from Economics to Culture

Brian Balfour has written a short article on Mises Wire about cultural Marxism.

In his recent Reason magazine article, senior editor Brian Doherty assures readers that “cultural Marxism” is nothing but mere “paranoia” conjured up by the “conspiratorial right” to provide cover for their hate of “multiculturalism and gay rights and radical feminism.”

He openly mocks the idea that the unmistakable uptick in identity politics these last few decades has anything to do with “sinister machinations of commies striving to enslave us.”

One must be “mistaken” and “foolish,” according to Doherty, to believe that such concerted efforts to build coalitions based on racial, national and gender identities to replace the economic “class” identities of classical Marxism is anything more than “dubious conspiratorial theories.”

Doherty’s stance is especially puzzling, however, given the fact that socialist leaders have openly written about this strategy for decades…

…to put it in more familiar terms, the new socialist revolution must shift the “‘exploitation’ schtick to culture: ― women exploited by men; ― gays exploited by heterosexuals ― The old exploited by the young ― and vice-versa.”

Ron Paul had it right.

Doherty is either ignorant or naïve to spurn those who recognize today’s identity politics as a tool in the modern socialist movement. Prominent socialist theorists like Laclau and Mouffe have openly divulged this exact strategy for decades. It’s not foolish conspiracy mongering or mere “clever rhetorical deck-stacking” to accurately identify the identity politics of ‘cultural Marxism’ as the preferred strategy of modern day socialists.

Mises: Brief History of Repressive Regimes and Their Gun Laws

From the Mises Institute comes the article A Brief History of Repressive Regimes and Their Gun Laws

Arguably one of the rights that has seen less government encroachment in the US — in contrast to other activities such as commerce — gun rights are now witnessing unprecedented attacks at the state level and even from politically-connected corporate entities.

Although gun control laws are not created equally in terms of overall impact, gun confiscation holds a special place in the halls of political repression. A trip down memory lane will give us a refresher of how gun confiscation has helped consolidate government power.

The Soviet Union and Its Satellite States

The Soviet Union left its mark as one of the deadliest political regimes in the history of mankind. However, it could not get away with such atrocities without having a complete monopoly on the use of force…

Although the numbers are highly disputed, Robert Conquest contends in his book The Great Terror that at least 15 million people perished under Soviet rule.

Nazi Germany

These days the word Nazi is tossed around liberally, almost rendering its definition meaningless. Regardless, the history of Nazi Germany should never be forgotten. Interestingly, both sides of the gun debate make mistakes when discussing gun control policy in Nazi Germany…

…Gun control may not have a path dependency toward tyranny. However, gun confiscation is an egregious form of gun control that allows authoritarians to steamroll their subjects at will. The way gun confiscation enhances the consolidation of state power is undeniable. A disarmed populace is simply no match for a repressive apparatus that has a monopoly on the use of force.

Gun rights might not guarantee victory against tyrants, but being deprived of them all but guarantees submission.

Click here to ready the entire article at Mises.org.