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Where Mises Went Wrong - Antal Fekete

Where Mises Went Wrong was written as a rejoinder to Sean Corrigan’s series of papers criticizing me [Antal Fekete] by name, posted on the website LewRockwell.com.  I sent it to Lew, whom I have known for over twenty years, and with whom I thought I have had a cordial relation.  I asked him to post my rejoinder so that his readership could see both sides of the argument.  Lew refused.

The late Percy Greaves, the author of the pamphlet “Mises Made Easier,” used to be upset whenever economic research was mentioned in his presence:  “Research?  What research?  All the research has already been done by Mises.  All that is left is to explain Mises to the public.”

I am also an admirer of Mises.  I have acknowledged my intellectual indebtedness to him many times.  I have made a conscious effort to use his terminology in preference to others.  I have approached the criticism of Mises carefully and modestly.  I have not rushed into print with it.  I even withheld the publication of my own theory of interest for several years because it was in conflict with that of Mises on several points.

Bettina Bien, the widow of Percy Greaves, is a good friend of mine.  She used to invite me to her home in Irvington-on-Hudson for dinner.  We discussed Mises and economics a great deal.  She had attended the Mises seminar at New York University for 18 years.  She is a serious, devoted, and honorable student of Mises.  She painstakingly put together the most complete bibliography of Mises.  Years ago I asked her if she could explain some inconsistencies that I thought I have discovered in Mises’ work.  While she agreed that they appeared to be inconsistencies, she could not offer an explanation.

I welcomed Lew’s founding of the Mises Institute because I believed that it was dedicated to the search for and the dissemination of scientific truth, as was Mises himself.  I am sadly disappointed to see that Lew is outdoing Percy.  Not only does he think that all the research has been done and all we need to do is to regurgitate it again and again; he also thinks that Mises needs an “intellectual bodyguard.”

Science has nothing to fear from an open debate.  Feeling of insecurity is characteristic of a cult.  Mises would have abhorred the idea that his scientific heritage has fallen to the care of a self-appointed “thought police” that would censor and suppress all dissent.

The style and approach of Corrigan and Blumen fall short of the high ideals of Mises.  These gentlemen cannot for a moment assume that their selected targets may write and act in good faith.  They do not want to dispute.  They want to discredit.  In refusing to publish my rejoinder Rockwell has stooped to their level.  I am sorry for him.  He prefers sycophants to thinkers.

9 September 2005
Antal E. Fekete, Professor
Memorial University of Newfoundland



Commentary by Victor Aguilar

In my Review of Fuerle's Pure Logic of Choice, I write:

In 1986 Richard Fuerle published a book, The Pure Logic of Choice, which “was welcomed by the Austrian establishment (Rothbard, Kirzner, etc.) like a scorpion in a sleeping bag.”  Ironically, 1986 was when I was working on the early chapters of my own book, Axiomatic Theory of Economics, including Chapter Two, “Epistemology.”  If Rothbard had not been such a coward and had just reviewed Fuerle’s work instead of blacklisting him (as he would blacklist me a decade later), I would have read the review and bought the book.  Instead, it waited until now, 2006, for a philosophy student to contact me and ask for my opinion on Fuerle’s book.

The Pure Logic of Choice is twenty years old now and Fuerle has, in the meantime, retired, it is never too late for a review.  Hopefully, we will not have to wait until the year 2019 for someone to defy Rothbard’s blacklisting of me and review Axiomatic Theory of Economics.  But, even if I am retired by then, I will still welcome a review, as Fuerle welcomed hearing from me.

Now, at this late date, I learn of another man who was blacklisted by Rothbard and Rockwell.  There are probably more. 

Prof. Fekete writes, “I am an admirer of Mises.  I have acknowledged my intellectual indebtedness to him many times.  I have made a conscious effort to use his terminology in preference to others.”  I too am an admirer of Mises, openly recognizing him and Menger as the giants upon whose shoulders I stand.

But it is possible to admire someone and yet feel that one has gone beyond them.  I have said here and elsewhere that I went beyond Mises by recognizing that his Regression Theorem is not a theorem but an axiom and that it applies to all phenomena, not just money.  When I wrote a letter of introduction to Murray Rothbard in 1993, I fully expected the Austrians to recognize that I was extending Mises’ rudimentary work and applaud me for doing so.  How naïve!  The Austrians have enough hatred in them to feed seven hells.

This business of blacklisting people has got to stop.  Every physicist admires Einstein, but are there any who do not believe that we have gone, and should go, beyond him?  Physicists do not blacklist people – even that idiot Velikovsky got a hearing – and I do not feel that economics is well-served by this practice either.

I do not agree with everything that Fuerle has to say – nor do I agree with everything that Fekete has to say – but I support their right to be heard.  By reviewing Fuerle’s 20-year-old out-of-print book, I did what I could to lift it out of obscurity.  I will do what I can as well to lift Fekete out of obscurity.

If you have been blacklisted by the Austrians, or if you know of anybody who has been blacklisted by the Austrians, please contact me.  I will do what I can to help.