Publishing & perishing

Ludwig von Mises was not, to my mind, strictly an economist. He was a moralist, and a practical philosopher, his chief object being the destruction of bureaucracy. It is not a “necessary evil,” but necessarily an evil, done like the others under cover of good. Mises is understandably hated by all socialists and progressives. In addition to its rhetorical attack, his book Bureaucracy (1944, revised 1962) documented the rise of bureaucratic agencies controlling public life throughout Europe and America. It showed that the “profit motive” paradoxically advances the public interest, in almost every case; that the “non-profit motive” is not only counter-productive, but apparently, politically ineradicable. Over time, bureaucracy stifles not only individual freedom, but the adaptability of society itself, leading to its decline and ruin.

This, and Mises’ chef-d’oeuvre, Human Action: A Treatise on Economics, fell into my hands as a teenager, and made me an exponent of the “Austrian School.” Friedrich Hayek’s Road to Serfdom (1944) was another guide along the road not taken, or rather taken only briefly, by the allies after World War II. Such books helped to make me continuously unpopular, among budding Leftoids, from the age of fifteen. Since, I have done some supplementary reading, to make my attitudes more ghastly to them. My preference for liberty, beauty, goodness, truth, have cost me many popularity contests: for the “progressives” invariably prefer plausibility, subterfuge, and lies.

But there are rewards for resisting them: for instance, the satisfaction one feels that Javier Milei is eradicating the bureaucracy of Argentina (where it had been laid on especially thick), and others in their stations (Nayib Bukele, Giorgia Meloni, Geert Wilders) dispatching bureaucracies elsewhere. This is encouraging, as is the rightwing sweep in trans-European elections yesterday. Note: the method of “cutting back bureaucracy” consists not of a few minor trims, but of the permanent, outright closure of entire government departments.

Even more I enjoy subtle developments in “science,” where bureaucratic takeover has made most public scientific enterprises dishonest and innately alarmist. The international “global warming” climate fraud continues to be Exhibit A; the Wuhan Batflu event, Exhibit B. Both monstrosities are the product of self-interested government strategy and funding.

More generally, the “non-profit” pursuit of academic science produces crooked, fund-grubbing results in the overwhelming majority of cases. I am delighted to see that the big American publisher, Wiley, has had to shut down nineteen of its scientific journals, and withdraw 11,500 scientific papers, to cut its losses from lawsuits. For it is, sometimes, still possible to expose falsity in the courts.

We look forward to an age that follows “follow the science.”