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The Review of Austrian Economics

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 39–57 | Cite as

Egalitarianism and the elites

  • Murray N. Rothbard
Articles
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References

  1. 2.
    Thus, the great late-eleventh-century Arab al-Ghazali denounced the idea of coerced equality and sternly warned that any sharing of wealth must be voluntary. See S. M. Ghazafar and A. A. Islahi, “The Economic Thought of an Arab Scholastic: Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (1058–1111),”History of Political Economy 22 (Summer 1990): 381–403.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Antony Flew,The Politics of Procrustes: Contradictions of Enforced Equality (Buffalo, N. Y.: Prometheus Books, 1981), frontispiece.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    J. R. Lucas, “Against Equality Again,”Philosophy 52 (July 1977): 255.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Henry C. Simons,Personal Income Taxation (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1938), p. 19.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    Richard Nisbet, “The Pursuit of Equality,”The Public Interest 35 (1974): 103, cited in Antony Flew,Politics of Procrustes, p. 20.Google Scholar
  6. 7.
    Cited in ibid., pp. 22, 187.Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    The progressive income tax, a favorite device of egalitarians to help equalize incomes, neglects the wealth differential. As a result it is scarcely outlandish for multi-millionaires with relatively low annual incomes to support a progressive tax that would cripple rising young, high-income but low wealth, competitors. Cf. Ludwig von Mises,Human Action, 3rd rev. ed. (Chicago: Henry Regnery, 1966), p. 809.Google Scholar
  8. 9.
    On the Marxian ideal of abolishing the division of labor, see Murray N. Rothbard,Freedom, Inequality, Primitivism, and the Division of Labor (Menlo Park, Calif.: Institute for Humane Studies, 1971), pp. 10–15 (reprinted 1991 by the Ludwig von Mises Institute); and Paul Craig Roberts,Alienation and the Soviet Economy, 2nd ed (New York: Holmes and Meier, 1990).Google Scholar
  9. 10.
    Flew,Politics of Procrustes, pp. 11–12, 62.Google Scholar
  10. 11.
    Frank Parkin,Class Inequality and Political Order (London: Paladin, 1972), p. 183; quoted in Flew,Politics of Procrustes, pp. 63–64.Google Scholar
  11. 12.
    Murray N. Rothbard,Freedom, Inequality, Primitivism, and the Division of Labor, 2nd ed. (1971; Auburn, Ala.: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 1991); and Rothbard, “Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature,” inEgalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature and Other Essays (Washington, D.C.: Libertarian Review Press, 1974), pp. 1–13.Google Scholar
  12. 13.
    Helmut Schoeck refers to the “absolute equality of opportunity that prevails in a game of chance which, as all the players know from the start, can be won only by a very few.” Schoeck points out that “the winner of a jackpot is very little envied. This is because of the real equality of opportunity and that absolute fortuitousness of the method of selecting the winner. A wife will not nag her husband for not having bought the right lottery ticket ... no one could seriously suffer from an inferiority complex as a result of repeated failure.” Helmut Schoeck,Envy: A Theory of Social Behavior (New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1970), p. 240Google Scholar
  13. 14.
    Ibid., Helmut Schoeck refers to the “absolute equality of opportunity that prevails in a game of chance which, as all the players know from the start, can be won only by a very few.” Schoeck points out that “the winner of a jackpot is very little envied. This is because of the real equality of opportunity and that absolute fortuitousness of the method of selecting the winner. A wife will not nag her husband for not having bought the right lottery ticket ... no one could seriously suffer from an inferiority complex as a result of repeated failure.” p. 151.Google Scholar
  14. 15.
    For penetrating examples of this egalitarian dystopia in fiction, see L. P. Hartley,Facial Justice (London: Humish Hamilton, 1960) and Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., “Harrison Bergeron” (1961), inWelcome to the Monkey House (New York: Dell, 1970), pp. 7–13.Google Scholar
  15. 16.
    Schoeck,Envy, p. 295.Google Scholar
  16. 17.
    Martin Buber,Paths in Utopia (Boston: Beacon Press, 1958), pp. 144ff; Schoeck,Envy, pp. 298–99.Google Scholar
  17. 19.
    On the new group egalitarianism, see Rothbard,Freedom, Inequality, and Primitivism, and the Division of Labor, pp. 8–15.Google Scholar
  18. 20.
    Flew,Politics of Procrustes, pp. 11–12.Google Scholar
  19. 21.
    Joseph A. Schumpeter,Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy (New York: Harper & Bros., 1942), pp. 137, 143–44.Google Scholar
  20. 22.
    For an illuminating discussion of the use of such subsidies and technology by the political and media elites to manipulate mass support, see Benjamin Ginsberg,The Captive Public: How Mass Opinion Promotes State Power (New York: Basic Books, 1986), pp. 86–98.Google Scholar
  21. 23.
    Schumpeter,Capitalism, p. 150.Google Scholar
  22. 24.
    See Christopher Lasch, “The Revolt of the Elites,”Harper's 289 (November 1994): 39–49.Google Scholar
  23. 25.
    Samuel Francis, “Equality as a Political Weapon,”Essays in Political Economy 10 (July 1991): 2. The essay was originally delivered as a lecture at the Ludwig von Mises Institute's conference on “Equality and the Free Society” in April 1991. Also published inBeautiful Losers: Essays on the Failure of American Conservatism (Columbia, Mo.: University of Missouri Press, 1993).Google Scholar
  24. 26.
    Samuel Francis,Beautiful Losers: Essays on the Failure of American Conservatism, pp. 208–9. The Pareto quote comes from Pareto'sThe Mind and Society (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1935), vol. 2, pp. 735–36.Google Scholar
  25. 27.
    Francis,Beautiful Losers, p. 209.Google Scholar

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© The Ludwig von Mises Institute 1995

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  • Murray N. Rothbard

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