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Ludwig von Mises: "There is no such thing as an absolute notion of justice not referring to a definite system of social organization. . . . There is neither right nor wrong outside the social nexus." - Human Action

Quotable MisesThis database of quotations from Mises was prepared for The Quotable Mises edited by Mark Thornton, available from the Mises Institute store for $20. Send corrections to the editor. Here is a source page on the editions of the books referenced.

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Ludwig von MisesMonetary calculation and cost accounting constitute the most important intellectual tool of the capitalist entrepreneur, and it was no one less than Goethe who pronounced the system of double-entry bookkeeping one of the finest inventions of the human mind.Liberalism p. 97Economic Calculation
Ludwig von MisesThere is simply no other choice than this: either to abstain from interference in the free play of the market, or to delegate the entire management of production and distribution to the government. Either capitalism or socialism: there exists no middle way.Liberalism p. 79Capitalism vs. Socialism
Ludwig von MisesEvery sort of chauvinism is mistaken.Liberalism p. 144Chauvinism
Ludwig von MisesAs long as nations cling to protective tariffs, migration barriers, compulsory education, interventionism and etatism, new conflicts capable of breaking out at any time into open warfare will continually arise to plague mankind.Liberalism pp. 150-51Chauvinism
Ludwig von MisesThe foundation of any and every civilization, including our own, is private ownership of the means of production. Whoever wishes to criticize modern civilization, therefore, begins with private property.Liberalism p. 63Civilization
Ludwig von MisesModern civilization will not perish unless it does so by its own act of self-destruction. No external enemy can destroy it.Liberalism pp. 18889Civilization
Ludwig von MisesNo chapter of history is steeped further in blood than the history of colonialism. Blood was shed uselessly and senselessly. Flourishing lands were laid waste; whole peoples destroyed and exterminated. All this can in no way be extenuated or justified.Liberalism p. 125Colonialism
Ludwig von MisesIt may be safely taken for granted that up to now the natives have learned only evil ways from the Europeans, and not good ones. This is not the fault of the natives, but rather of their European conquerors, who have taught them nothing but evil. They have brought arms and engines of destruction of all kinds to the colonies; they have sent out their worst and most brutal individuals as officials and officers; at the point of the sword they have set up a colonial rule that in its sanguinary cruelty rivals the despotic system of the Bolsheviks.Liberalism p. 126Colonialism
Ludwig von MisesA return to the Middle Ages is out of the question if one is not prepared to reduce the population to a tenth or a twentieth part of its present number and, even further, to oblige every individual to be satisfied with a modicum so small as to be beyond the imagination of modern man.Liberalism p. 86Conservatism
Ludwig von MisesThe evil that a man inflicts on his fellow man injures bothnot only the one to whom it is done, but also the one who does it. Nothing corrupts a man so much as being an arm of the law and making men suffer.Liberalism p. 58Corruption
Ludwig von MisesIt is by virtue of the division of labor that man is distinguished from the animals. It is the division of labor that has made feeble man, far inferior to most animals in physical strength, the lord of the earth and the creator of the marvels of technology.Liberalism p. 18Division of Labor
Ludwig von MisesThe alcoholic and the drug addict harm only themselves by their behavior; the person who violates the rules of morality governing mans life in society harms not only himself, but everyone.Liberalism p. 35Drugs
Ludwig von MisesAs soon as we surrender the principle that the state should not interfere in any questions touching on the individuals mode of life, we end by regulating and restricting the latter down to the smallest details.Liberalism p. 54Drugs
Ludwig von MisesLet no one object that the struggle against morphinism and the struggle against evil literature are two quite different things. The only difference between them is that some of the same people who favor the prohibition of the former will not agree to the prohibition of the latter.Liberalism p. 54Drugs
Ludwig von MisesIt is an established fact that alcoholism, cocainism, and morphinism are deadly enemies of life, of health, and of the capacity for work and enjoyment... But this is far from demonstrating that the authorities must interpose to suppress these vices by commercial prohibitions...More harmful still than all these pleasures, many will say, is the reading of evil literature.Liberalism p. 53Drugs
Ludwig von MisesThere is, in fact, only one solution: the state, the government, the laws must not in any way concern themselves with schooling or education. Public funds must not be used for such purposes. The rearing and instruction of youth must be left entirely to parents and to private associations and institutions.Liberalism p. 115Education
Ludwig von MisesContinued adherence to a policy of compulsory education is utterly incompatible with efforts to establish lasting peace.Liberalism p. 114Education
Ludwig von MisesNothing, however, is as ill founded as the assertion of the alleged equality of all members of the human race.Liberalism p. 28Equality
Ludwig von MisesIf the goal of the Pan-European movement could be achieved, the world would not be in the least the better for it. The struggle of a united European continent against the great world powers outside its territory would be no less ruinous than is the present struggle of the countries of Europe among themselves.Liberalism p. 147Europe
Ludwig von MisesThe only way to counteract tendencies toward protectionism and autarky is to recognize their harmfulness and to appreciate the harmony of the interests of all nations.Liberalism pp. 146-47Europe
Ludwig von MisesAs soon as we surrender the principle that the state should not interfere in any questions touching on the individuals mode of life, we end by regulating and restricting the latter down to the smallest detail.Liberalism p. 54Freedom
Ludwig von MisesRhetorical bombast, music and song resound, banners wave, flowers and colors serve as symbols, and the leaders seek to attach their followers to their own person. Liberalism has nothing to do with all this. It has no party flower and no party color, no party song and no party idols, no symbols and no slogans. It has the substance and the arguments. These must lead it to victory.Liberalism p. 193Future
Ludwig von MisesHistory provides an abundance of striking examples to show that, in the long run, even the most ruthless policy of repression does not suffice to maintain a government in power.Liberalism p. 45Government
Ludwig von MisesA liberal government is a contradictio in adjecto. Governments must be forced into adopting liberalism by the power of the unanimous opinion of the people; that they could voluntarily become liberal is not to be expected.Liberalism p. 68Government
Ludwig von MisesPolitically there is nothing more advantageous for a government than an attack on property rights, for it is always an easy matter to incite the masses against the owners of land and capital. .Liberalism p. 69Government
Ludwig von MisesIn spite of all persecutions, however, the institution of private property has survived. Neither the animosity of all governments, nor the hostile campaign waged against it by writers and moralists and by churches and religions, nor the resentment of the masses...has availed to abolish it.Liberalism p. 69Government
Ludwig von MisesMen cannot be made happy against their will.Liberalism p. 46Happiness
Ludwig von MisesIn a battle between force and an idea, the latter always prevails.Liberalism p. 50Ideas
Ludwig von MisesThere cannot be the slightest doubt that migration barriers diminish the productivity of human labor.Liberalism p. 139Immigration
Ludwig von MisesModern imperialism is distinguished from the expansionist tendencies of the absolute principalities by the fact that its moving spirits are not the members of the ruling dynasty, nor even of the nobility... but the mass of the people, who look upon it as the most appropriate means for the preservation of national independence.Liberalism p. 122Imperialism