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Om likhet og ulikhet

Ludwig von MisesI en artikkel opprinnelig publisert i Modern Age i 1961 reflekterer Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) over menneskenes likhet og ulikhet.

Artikkelen innleder med:

The doctrine of natural law that inspired the eighteenth century declarations of the rights of man did not imply the obviously fallacious proposition that all men are biologically equal. It proclaimed that all men are born equal in rights and that this equality cannot be abrogated by any man-made law, that it is inalienable or, more precisely, imprescriptible. Only the deadly foes of individual liberty and self-determination, the champions of totalitarianism, interpreted the principle of equality before the law as derived from an alleged psychical and physiological equality of all men.

I artikkelen går von Mises til verks mot konseptet om ”utdanning for alle,” og det han sier om det amerikanske skolesystem kunne like gjerne vært sagt om det norske. Han sier blant annet:

But the success of this plan is merely apparent. It was made possible only by a policy that, while retaining the name "high school," has entirely destroyed its scholarly and scientific value. The old high school conferred its diplomas only on students who had at least acquired a definite minimum knowledge in some disciplines considered as basic. It eliminated in the lower grades those who lacked the abilities and the disposition to comply with these requirements. But in the new regime of the high school, the opportunity to choose the subjects he wished to study was badly misused by stupid or lazy pupils.

Videre reflekterer von Mises over flertallsstyre med blant annet:

Government by the people, i.e., by elected representatives, makes peaceful change possible. It warrants the agreement of public opinion and the principles according to which the affairs of state are conducted. Majority rule is for those who believe in liberty not as a metaphysical principle, derived from an untenable distortion of biological facts, but as a means of securing the uninterrupted peaceful development of mankind's civilizing effort.

Og han fortsetter:

The doctrine of the inborn biological equality of all men begot in the nineteenth century a quasi-religious mysticism of the "people" that finally converted it into the dogma of the "common man's" superiority. All men are born equal. But the members of the upper classes have unfortunately been corrupted by the temptation of power and by indulgence in the luxuries they secured for themselves. The evils plaguing mankind are caused by the misdeeds of this foul minority. Once these mischief makers are dispossessed, the inbred nobility of the common man will control human affairs. It will be a delight to live in a world in which the infinite goodness and the cogenital genius of the people will be supreme. Never-dreamt-of happiness for everyone is in store for mankind.

Von Mises reflekterer videre over overoptimismen for flertallsstyre:

The classical liberals of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries based their optimistic appreciation of mankind's future upon the assumption that the minority of eminent and honest men would always be able to guide by persuasion the majority of inferior people along the way leading to peace and prosperity. They were confident that the elite would always be in a position to prevent the masses from following the pied pipers and demagogues and adopting policies that must end in disaster. We may leave it undecided whether the error of these optimists consisted in overrating the elite or the masses or both.

Artikkelen kan leses i sin helhet hos mises.org eller i en utvidet utgave i boken Money, Method, and the Market Process (Richard M. Ebeling, red.).

Artikkelen kan også diskuteres i Mises Economics Blog.

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