Ludwig von MisesLudwig von Mises, (1881-1973) Economist and social philosopher

Ludwig von Mises Quote

“Spiritual movements are revolts of thought against inertia, of the few against the many; of those who because they are strong in spirit are strongest alone against those who can express themselves only in the mass and the mob, and who are significant only because they are numerous.”

Ludwig von MisesLudwig von Mises
~ Ludwig von Mises

Socialism. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund. 1981. p53

Ratings and Comments

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

Knowing your own mind and keeping your own counsel enables you to be confident and relaxed when interacting with others whether it is with another individual or with a large group of people even a mass or so called mob. As Kipling said, "You are a man when you can speak to Kings or Common Folk equally."

Me Again
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    Me Again    9/4/08

    Spiritual movements introduce spiritual awakening.This is the basis for the saying: "When you change the way you look at things-the things you look at change." When one awakens to new understandings,one sees things differently.Amen to that.

    jim k, austin

    i believe he speaks of the tyranny of the majority.

    Bryan Morton, Stuart, FL

    Mises was an excellent, and highly underrated socio-political writer. The book, "Socialism", from which this quote was taken, is a must read.

    Ken, Milford Pa.

    When ever you are ordered what to do, say, what not to say, think, or what ever, by peer pressure, mobs, corporations, religion, government or who ever, you have become by association, part of the machine. Spirituality is liberating. You realize that you are part of something great, and that you are something bigger than your flesh and blood body. You are no longer restricted to its limitations, or its weaknesses. You suddenly are able to love and respect yourself, as well as every being, and everything. Just imagine the Golden Age that we could usher in if this type of thing caught on.

    Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

    Good stuff Ken. Maybe we could even learn to love and respect the majority. Take note Jim K.

    MIke, Norwalk

    Ken, said well. I believe that if the author used political/religious in stead of spiritual it would be more accurate.

    E Archer, NYC

    Careful, Waffler, your initial comment is quite 'individualistic' and contrary to your ongoing proposition that the majority is right and therefore to be obeyed. 'Spiritual movements' are those that are individual in origin and the source of inspiration for the 'masses' -- that is, if they don't wipe out the 'radical' first. The majority opinion is no less opinion because it is believed by more people than those with other opinions. Confusing power with rights and opinions with facts are common traits of collectivism.

    Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

    I guess I am a complex guy Archer. But my post is not intentionally individualistic, just I believe a truism that is available to all. If one believes in the Golden Rule and equality then every individual making up the so called masses or as you prefer collective each have their own counsel and own mind. The fact that their own individual counsels and minds agree to form a majority thus does not make the majority innately wrong. I would suggest that it is more innately "correct". Where I think some of you err is not allowing for the fact that anyone who might be in the majority of an opinion is relying on their own counsel and own mind.

    Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

    Your thinking Archer and others like Jim K appears to go like this: "If I state an opinion and 51% of those present agree with me then I must be wrong and therefore must change my opinion." You not only distrust the majority of people, it is yourself that you do not trust. You are like that Groucho Marx saying "I would never want to initiate an opinon and have every one or the majority agree with me."

    E Archer, NYC

    When I think of Waffler, 'complex' is not what comes to mind -- hypocritical, ignorant, partisan, unconscious, self-righteous, insecure, sycophantic, and perhaps even delusional. Hmm, I guess that does qualify as 'complex.' No sooner does he finish praising "Knowing your own mind and keeping your own counsel enables you to be confident and relaxed," he retreats into the herd mentality. "Majority of an opinion" does not make an opinion fact. People have been burned at the stake for going against popular opinion -- therefore, it is safer to be with the majority, and for most that means embracing popular opinion no matter how unreasonable. Where Waffler errs is granting 'opinion' the status of 'fact' by the virtue that most believe it, and he assumes that those that 'rock the boat' or won't 'get on board' simply do so in order to express their 'individuality' rather than their "own counsel." Waffler comes close to making the argument for individualism but trips over himself by trying to defend his sacred 'majority rule' theory. Complex? Twisted more likely.

    Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

    I repeat Archer if you choke up every time you might agree with 51% of the group or the people you are some kind of sick dude. If 101 persons are asked a yes or no question their will of necessity be a majority and a minority response. If 50 say the answer is YES and 50 say the answer is NO and you have the final vote I would assume that you would shoot yourself or at least run for your life rather than casting a vote that would put you into the majority position. Again I think your demented and sneering view of the majority is sick, sick, sick. I am an individual, I do not have to pose or posture against a majority, minority, or plurality to reinforce my feeling of being an individual. I don't consider my fellow majority view holders as sheep just logical individuals like myself. While I may be complex you are an obvious simpleton.

    Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

    Archer I have no authority to grant anything. It is common knowledge that opinion runs things and that is a fact. Possibly a sad fact but a fact. The Supreme Court renders opinions not facts. As far as the majoirity goes it is the same thing to a Democracy that a King is to a Monarchey. Thus it is said equally in both "the King or Majority is dead long live the King or Majority".

    E Archer, NYC

    You can defend 'majority opinion rule' all you want, it is still opinion, Waffler, and its intent is to 'rule.' No one says you have to hold a certain opinion, not even my opinion, but when the said opinion is the basis for a 'command' obligatory to all, then you have crossed the line. Who cares about opinions any way? They are irrelevant until holding them results in persecution, or when resisting arbitrary rules propped up by the passions of a mob brings down the hammer. The truth is not complex, only the twisting of it to support untruth is complex. Keep it simple, stupid. ;-)

    Bruski, Naples FL

    True genius at work.


    PS. We desperately need his thinking today.

    Mike, Pleasant Hill

    Waffler as you stated : "If one believes in the Golden Rule and equality then every individual making up the so called masses or as you prefer collective each have their own counsel and own mind."

    Since you bring up the principle of the Golden rule from the Bible let's explore in that direction. We have discussed peoples opinions here but where do people derive their opinions from and what is the source? Excepting the fact that man is in a fallen state and prone to a sin nature might man consider whether his opinions are colored and influenced by that fallen nature, the best way to tell if it is so we must see whether that opinion is in line with NATURAL LAW. If it is not then your opinion is not based in "Right Reason" as Cicero so eloquently describes its relation to natural law.

    When socialist speak of equality they speak of EQUAL THINGS, when our founders being in line with natural law speak of equality they speak of EQUAL OPPORTUNITY, a socialist is a forsworn thief THOU SHALL NOT STEAL!" (A direct commandment from God) the socialist or collectivist /statist takes from one group and distributes to another by force to obtain his version of allusive equality of things when in reality the socialist politician is buying votes with stolen money. I find it amazing that these people even attempt to justify doing things like this in biblical terms.

    So what is the measurement used in judging between good and evil and considering opinions or political philosophies, the only true way is whether that opinion or political philosophy is in line with NATURAL LAW that should be the scale of measurement, if it is not then that opinion or philosophy is destructive and like the law of gravity cannot be defied negative consequences for violating natural law will inevitably come to pass and all the good intentions in the world won't prevent that!

    Robert, Somewhere in Europe

    Yes, it's easy to be strong in a crowd! Cameron and Blair are war criminals and yet they sit in Ivory towers - they are the true terrorists.... It's amazing, I see very little criticism against our world leaders for the wars they have brought upon us all and yet people post cake circuses on facebook. What has this world come too! We are cowards and happy to be so! Soon, there will be no return, no going back, but an ever increasing path towards total tyranny.

    Bobble, No. Ferrisburgh, VT

    Had to struggle a bit to keep the antecedents aligned. Good thought, nonetheless.

    Ronw13, Yachats Or

    " So what is the measurement used in judging between good and evil. " Opinion or political philosophy is in line with natural law " ? The fallen state of man. ? Original sin ! For by one man sin entered into the world ? Mike, Pleasant Hill strikes upon a mutual cord of understanding. Yes there is a " Rule " by which we measure, some will say conscience, true, but conscience of the mass/mob being seared with a hot iron, turning away from the Truth, denying the knowledge of the truth are condemned of themselves. But yet again the " Rule " which God supplies, graduated to the fullest of time, line upon line, precept upon precept. Very distinct in appearance, likened unto an eye and a chain. as Solomon describes. The heavens and earth in unison, named and numbered. As Isaiah 40. Like natural law, there are no discords only harmony. One may say I perceive, but then where are the hands, where are the arms that guide and instruct the children of men with sound knowledge and wisdom ? This is not personal opinion or philosophy of empirical doubt till proven. " WHO HATH believed our report ? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed ? " Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, upon the son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself." Isaiah 53, Psalm 80:17. God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods. How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked ? Spiritual movements by a just minority in one accord with our Creators purpose, will always harmonize with Gods Natural Laws. Divine Providence takes hold of the conscience of man, whether to enlighten or harden according to Gods will ! Awake thou that sleepest and God will give thee Light ! The light of understanding in a spiritual outer darkness that has griped the world for two thousands years ! Wake up and get ready, the day of the Lord is at Hand ! God Bless, Semper FI


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