Mises Debunks the Religious Case for the State

I want to add a P. S. to this article (even though technically it is supposed to go at the end) upfront so that you can see a change in the great and seriously brilliant, Ludwig von Mises:

In the biography of Ludwig von Mises, beginning at p. 982, the title of the section is:  “Christianity Reconsidered.” [reconsidered by Mises]–It states at p. 983:  “Moreover, Mises seemed to prefer the kind of religion that was a purely inward affair for each individual.   He referred at length to the work of William James, for whom religion was:

a purely personal and individual relation between man and a holy, mysterious, and awe-inspiring divine Reality. It enjoins upon man a certain mode of individual conductBut is does not assert anything with regard to the problems of social organization.’

Eight years later, Mises had moved still closer to the Christian position.

At page 985:  “One intellectual influence that seems to have contributed to the formation of Mises’s mature judgment on the relationship between economic science, liberalism, and the Christian faith was apparently Karl Barth [THE PRIMARY MENTOR OF DIETRICH BONHOEFFER], whose work he probably started reading in the 1950s.  In Barth’s theology, God is the “wholly other” who could not possibly be grasped in terms of human reasonBarth made a passionate case for revealed theology and against the intellectualist presumptions of natural theology.  This line of argument appealed to the extreme rationalist in Mises, who must have been intrigued to find Barth a brother in spirit when it came to pointing out the contradictions of the notion of an ‘acting God.’  He [Barth] acknowledged: 

‘…The transcendent  is beyond the realm about which physics and physiology convey information.  Logic can neither prove or disprove the core of theological doctrines.  All it can do in this regard is to expose the fallacies of magic and fetishistic superstitions  and practices.’

Government interventionism and socialism clearly fell into the latter category [see last paragraph from Barth’s writings].

Mises: The Last Knight of Liberalism, by Jorg Guido Hulsmann.



From the article (titled in this post).  “Indeed, for someone who was an agnostic, Mises wrote a great deal about religion. The number of references he makes to religion is staggering, actually numbering over twenty-five hundred in his published corpus. He mentions God over two hundred and fifty times in his writings. There are seven references to religion on the opening page of Human Action. His books Omnipotent Government, Theory and History, and Socialism are permeated with references to religion.

So why should we be interested in what Mises had to say about religion? Did not Mises himself say: “I am an economist, not a preacher of morality”?[1] What Mises said about religion is important for two reasons.

Religion cannot be separated from the study of history. The Bible itself is primarily a history book, not a religious book. Mises had a keen sense of history, and was extremely well-read, which, in previous ages, would have included the Bible. He recognized not only the place of the Bible in history, but its authority, even if he didn’t subscribe to its tenets. Mises actually “quotes” Scripture on thirty-two occasions throughout his writings.[2]”