I'm currently reading LVM's Socialism, and was a bit surprised by some of the content in Part IV: Socialism as Moral Imperative. To begin with, it seemed as if some of von Mises' ethical learnings were reminiscent of Ayn Rand's. I saw this with, for example, his identification of "Morality" with human "Happiness" (359), his assertion that "egoism is the basic law of society" (361), his reference to the "energistic conception of the moral" which "sees the highest good in fulfilling oneself, in the full exercise of one's powers" (361), and his claim that "War carried on... for our altars and our hearths... demands no sacrifice from the individual" (362). I understand that Mises' distances himself from these positions in a way which Rand does not. But could anyone possibly describe for me what von Mises' explicit or implicit ethical views were, and how they compared to Rand's? Furthermore, does anyone know what school of thought Mises is refering to when he talks about "the energistic conception of the moral"?
A second aspect of Part IV which surprised me concerns the attitudes expressed by von Mises in Chapter 29, Christianity and Socialism. Here he makes some pretty contentious statements. One instance of this is when he argues that "[t]oday, the Islamic and Jewish religions are dead... They suppress the soul, instead of elevating and saving it" (370). Later, he blasts Christianity as well, saying that it "prohibits and concern for sustenance and work, while it expresses fierce resentment against the rich, preaches hatred of the family, and advocates voluntary castration" (380). What do you make of this apparent antipathy toward the world's three largest religions, especially given the sympathy expressed by later Austrian authors (e.g. Rothbard, Woods) with the Christian religion? Also--and I would really like to have an answer to this, in order to help me make sense of this chapter--what were von Mises' own religious beliefs?
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Later, he blasts Christianity as well, saying that it "prohibits and concern for sustenance and work, while it expresses fierce resentment against the rich, preaches hatred of the family, and advocates voluntary castration" (380).
Well, he was born into a Jewish family. Maybe he was just pissed off about having his foreskin sliced off. Not an unreasonable reason to dislike the big three faiths.