I was asked to write a little post about what the Mises Institute has meant to me and this is my attempt to tell my readers about the Mises Institute and my intellectual journey leading to my present love of the Mises Institute.
In the 60s and 70s I was anti-war and somehow I knew that meant that I was anti-State but I had no intellectual foundation to support that position other than just my inborn morality. I had many family members, friends and acquaintances who served in the Vietnam War and came home to tell of the utter horror that blunder of a war was. I have always been an avid reader and so I knew some of our real history and it was not what our political leaders where saying. I knew I was being lied to. I felt alone in a way, being anti-State could be lonely in those days in the south. Luckily for me, I loved used book stores and could be found there many weekends with my wife. I have found many interesting books in those stores that are now disappearing from the American scene. I have found many books in those stores that I was certainly not looking for as I walked in. It was though a series of books over time that I came to know the Mises Institute and the site LewRockwell.com.
I read “Democracy in America” by Alexis de Tocqueville in the early 1970s. That work resonated with me because Tocqueville explained why a Republican form of government was working in America in the 1830s even as Democracy had failed in so many other places. But by the time I read it, there was no “Republican” form of government left that was like what Tocqueville had described. We had long been on the wrong road. Some years later in the 70s I read “The Road to Serfdom” by F. A. Hayek and it is a wonderful book on how dangerous the government is. Hayek described the dangers of leaving “Classical Liberalism” behind.
One day in the early 80s I found a book by Ludwig von Mises called “Human Action“. Now that book is an eye opener! I still have that book even though I am now an e-book reader and have let a lot of my old dead-tree library go to save space. And so, I had found an author that I knew I wanted to read. I found “Bureaucracy” by von Mises and it is a wonderful book. That little volume made a tremendous impact on me. I guess by this time you could say that I was a Classical Liberal of the von Mises variety.
Then one day Murray Rothbard sent me a form letter. He wanted me to subscribe to a new newsletter called “The Rothbard-Rockwell Report” A New York Jewish fellow was asking a southern boy to read his mussing each month. And who was this Rockwell guy? For some reason, I thought they sounded like my sort of people and I sent off a check to get the newsletter. I loved the RRR. Over time I considered Rothbard’s argument that there was no way to constrain a government and that our Constitution had always been doomed to failure. I distinctly remember in some essay or the other that he said: all governments will over time move leftward and become a tyranny. Over time I saw that market anarchism was the only hope for peace and prosperity for the masses.
Time went on and I read more books by von Mises and Rothbard. Technology changed and the internet was born. In due course a new resource opened up. Lew Rockwell started a small site to showcase essays by anarcho-capitalists and other like minded people. It was there that I learned about the Mises Institute.
The Mises Institute has become the world’s foremost think tank for liberty. It is as simple as that. The Institute did not change my thinking as I was already a Rothbardian market anarchist long before they opened their doors, but it is a place where I can read essays, books and out of print newsletters concerning our love of freedom and liberty. In addition they have all sorts of videos for those that like that sort of thing — I am still a text based person in most regards.
The Mises Institute has kept the flame of Rothbardian anarchy burning even as Rothbard and his beloved teacher von Mises have both left this earthly scene. I praise Lew Rockwell for starting the Institute when most men would have told him he was sure to fail I bet.
I wish the Mises Institute had been around in the 70s, it sure would have helped my intellectual journey. Today, I often use a link to the Mises Institute in my own posts here and that helps me a lot. I was worried that when we lost both von Mises and Rothbard that the movement might die, but with the Mises Institute and two campaigns by Ron Paul our beliefs have gone nationwide as ZZ Top would say. Well, worldwide really.
We have a long battle before us to educate the masses in economics and political philosophy so that we can overcome the long march toward collectivism. The Mises Institute is a rock we can depend on as we battle the forces of tyranny.