—“Curt Doolittle and Chris Cathcart — I am not sure I get your point that [Mises] will never get credit … he already does!”—Peter Boettke
[W]ell, we all agree that he gets credit for stating that socialism was impossible. The question is whether he did so using justification from axiom, or by analysis of available information, available operations, and rational incentives.
I don’t think anyone argues that his insight was correct. What I argue is that he, like Freud, Boaz, Cantor, Marx, (Mises), the Frankfurt School and Rothbard, demonstrated the pervasive Cosmopolitan error of creating an authoritarian pseudoscience in justification of his priors, rather than engaging in science for the specific purpose of eliminating error, bias and priors, wishful thinking and deceit from one’s theories.
All knowledge is theoretical because outside of trivialities and tautologies, no premises are certain. Einstein demonstrated that if we cannot count on a concept such as length or time, that no premise is informationally complete enough to deduce necessary consequences. An axiom is a declarative construction – an analogy to reality, and is informationally complete. But no non trivial statement about reality is informationally complete. It cannot be. (hence critical rationalism and critical preference). Science is not justificationary, it is critical: we do not prove something is true, we see if it survives criticism. And the only test of existentially of any hypothesis is operational construction. As such praxeological analysis tests whether a statement CAN be true. So we cannot deduce all of economics from first premises (particularly the incomplete sentence “man acts”). We can observe (empirically) the unobservable, and then construct the observation out of rational actions to test if it is a truth candidate. But we cannot deduce all candidate operations from first principles – demonstrably so.
As such correctly positioning Mises in intellectual history as the another failure of the 20th century thinkers to complete the evolution of the scientific method from moral and justificationary to objective and critical.
This demonstrates that mises was, like Brouwer and Bridgman and Popper, attempting to eliminate the evolution of 19th and 20th century pseudoscience that Hayek warned us was the advent of a new form of mysticism.
Unfortunately, Bridgman and Brouwer did not understand Popper, Hayek could’t put the fields together because he started with psychology rather than ‘calculability’ and ‘computability’. Mises correctly understood calculation but not computability, nor the relation between computably and subjective human incentives. Mises missed the boat by trying to create an pseudoscience or authoritarian logic to suppress pseudoscientific innumeracy in economics.
What none of them realized – Popper included – is that the scientific method is a MORAL WARRANTY of due diligence in the elimination of error, bias, wishful thinking and deceit. And that what each of them had done was attempt to prevent the emergent pseudoscience of the Cosmopolitans and Postmodernists that for all intents and purposes functions as the second ‘christianization’ of Europe, this time, by pseudoscientific rather than mystical means.
And that mises had incorrectly conflated logical necessity with adherence to the necessary morality of voluntary cooperation.
This is a very profound insight into intellectual history.
If I wanted to reform Mises I could. But that isn’t necessary. The world has moved on. Instead, the problem we face in our generation is not socialism, but postmodernism and lingering Cosmopolitan pseudoscience and innumeracy in the social sciences. We face pervasive mysticism, pseudoscience, innumeracy, propagandizing, and outright lying in politics and daily life after more than a century of diluting our education in grammar, rhetoric, logic, history and morality.
Undermining Rothbardian fallacies is just as important as undermining socialist, postmodern, democratic secular humanist, and neo-conservatism.
And unfortunately to undermine Rothbardian fallacies requires we undermine the fallacies that Rothbard depends upon in his arguments. And to some degree that means doing greater criticism of Mises than we might like.
A philosopher’s followers can ruin his legacy. His did. There is Precious little Austrian in Mises to start with. He is from Lviv Ukraine, and a Cosmopolitan author in genetics, culture, and method of argument. He is not a scientist. He is attempting to write scriptural law. And he makes consistent errors of conflating law, hermeneutic interpretation in the construction of his insight: it’s not moral or true if it’s not constructible out of rational human actions, and it’s not calculable, moral, and true for human beings to attempt rational planning in the face of state-manufactured deceit.
There is very little difference between postmodern propagandism and monetary manipulation. They are both disinformation campaigns designed to alter public behavior to state rather than individual, family, group and tribal ends. So it is not that state interference in the economy cannot be studied in the discipline of economics. It is that doing so studies disinformation, whereas the study of fully informed voluntary cooperation free of error, bias, wishful thinking and deception is the study of moral economics.
In retrospect it’s not complicated.
So while I partly agree with you, the damage done by his fallacies to the progress of liberty, and their amplification by rothbard/HHH/MI, have been far more harmful than good. LR at MI tried to use Alinsky’s model of creating propaganda and community. But this battle was above the heads of these people. Whether well intentioned or not.
The Propertarian Institute