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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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AuthorQuoteSourcePageSubject
Ludwig von MisesNo ruler who lacks the gift of persuasion can stay in office long; it is the indispensable condition of government. It would be an idle illusion to assume that any government, no matter how good, could lastingly do without public consent.Omnipotent Government p. 119Public Opinion
Ludwig von MisesThe flowering of human society depends on two factors: the intellectual power of outstanding men to conceive sound social and economic theories, and the ability of these or other men to make these ideologies palatable to the majority.Human Action p. 860; p. 864Public Opinion
Ludwig von MisesIn the long run no government can maintain itself in power if it does not have public opinion behind it, i.e., if those governed are not convinced that the government is good.Liberalism p. 41Public Opinion
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. 45Public Opinion
Ludwig von MisesOnly a group that can count on the consent of the governed can establish a lasting regime. Whoever wants to see the world governed according to his own ideas must strive for domination over mens minds. It is impossible, in the long run, to subject men against their will to a regime that they reject.Liberalism p. 46Public Opinion
Ludwig von MisesThe minority that desires to see its ideas triumph must strive by intellectual means to become the majority.Liberalism p. 59Public Opinion
Ludwig von MisesThe struggle for freedom is ultimately not resistance to autocrats or oligarchs but resistance to the despotism of public opinion.Theory and History pp. 66-67Public Opinion
Ludwig von MisesThe truth is that most people lack the intellectual ability and courage to resist a popular movement, however pernicious and ill-considered.Planned Chaos p. 88Public Opinion
Ludwig von MisesThe masses favor socialism because they trust the socialist propaganda of the intellectuals. The intellectuals, not the populace, are molding public opinion.Planned Chaos p. 90Public Opinion
Ludwig von MisesGovernments cannot free themselves from the pressure of public opinion. They cannot rebel against the preponderance of generally accepted ideologies, however fallacious. But this does not excuse the officeholders who could resign rather than carry out policies disastrous for the country.Human Action p. 787; p. 793Public Opinion
Ludwig von MisesIn the long run there cannot be any such thing as an unpopular system of government.Human Action p. 859; p. 863Public Opinion
Ludwig von MisesThe supremacy of public opinion determines not only the singular role that economics occupies in the complex of thought and knowledge. It determines the whole process of human history.Human Action p. 859; p. 863Public Opinion
Ludwig von MisesThe masses, the hosts of common men, do not conceive any ideas, sound or unsound. They only choose between the ideologies developed by the intellectual leaders of mankind. But their choice is final and determines the course of events. If they prefer bad doctrines, nothing can prevent disaster.Human Action p. 860; p. 864Public Opinion