Wednesday, August 31, 2011
In fairness to Ludwig von Mises (whom Michael Lind uses, cynically and dishonestly, as example of libertarian softness on fascism; see post below), you have to look at the historical moment he was writing about. Mises understood that the choice in Italy was between Mussolini and the Leninists. In real terms, there was no third choice at that point. He did not accept the Fascist program in the least and condemned its inherent violence. But in the short run he thought it was better to keep the Leninists from imposing their monstrous regime. He made a choice between two forms of totalitarianism, and took what he saw as the lesser. (Given what was going on in the Soviet Union, was he wrong? It was an abattoir in which entire classes of people were being exterminated.) Liberalism was not an option.
Postscript: There is a big difference between what Mises wrote and any nice words Hayek and Friedman may have had for Pinochet and his economic program. Mises had nothing good to say about Mussolini's program, nor did he have hopes that autocracy could usher in free markets. Lind shamefully lumped all three together.