I was struck by this question and answer:
AEN: Last night, Ralph Raico argued that achieving the goal of a free society will require more than education and political action. There are also certain cultural preconditions. Did that provoke any thought in you?
SALIN: It was a very challenging paper. When I discovered the Austrian stream of thought, I was overwhelmed and persuaded immediately. But that’s not true for other people. How is it that some people are inclined toward clarity and truth in the social sciences but others are not? I don t know. Hayek and Mises thought that people are wrong about liberty because they have not been exposed to the truth. The problem is even worse because the intellectual game is rigged against us. Our ideas are dangerous to the elites.
So, I thus searched for more and stumbled on this prodigious speech by Ralph Raico upon accepting the 2000 Gary G. Schlarbaum Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Cause of Liberty.
It is an eloquent exposition on the achievements of those giants whose shoulders we stand upon (pigmaei gigantum humeris impositi plusquam ipsi gigantes vident) and the importance of the work the Mises Institute is involved in.
Here are a few lacunae among many:
“To my mind, Murray’s greatest contribution–beyond his innumerable insights–is his creation of the powerful synthesis, combining natural law theory, Austrian economics, and the tradition of individualist anarchism, and all based on the principle of private property and individual rights.
As a corollary of his system, Murray delved deeply into issues of foreign policy and revisionist history. In analyzing current political events, his watchword was always Peace–avoidance of the state’s wars and the war-fostering myths the state invents and tries to entrench in our minds.
Today, if the libertarian movement stresses peace and a non-interventionist foreign policy, that is the work of Murray Rothbard. If others had had their way, the libertarians would have gone in a very different direction.
Mises was not limited to the field of economics, and here also Murray followed in his footsteps. He was the opposite of the numbers-crunchers in today’s economics departments. His aim was to understand–to understand the workings of society, to understand the nature of freedom, to trace its roots, to ascertain how it could be brought to as much perfection as fallible human beings are capable of.
Yet who else carries on the work of Mises and Rothbard today? Other free market organizations, which do some good, I will not deny it, but still, they find it safer to advertise their connection with Hayek and Milton Friedman. Mises and Murray were never salonfÃ¤hig, as the Germans say – they weren’t “clubbable,” in the English sense.”
At the Mises Institute there is no political correctness, there is no subject that is off-limits because it might offend the liberal media or liberal academics. The Mises Institute does not play that political game. Its scholars are truth-seekers, in the tradition of Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard.
I suggest you read the speech in its entirety and feel free to provide your own opinion. If anyone has information or ideas on these “certain cultural preconditions” I would also like to hear those thoughts as well. Unfortunately, I don’t think the paper of Dr. Raico’s mentioned above is available online.