Roots and Fruits of Anti-Capitalistic Mentality: A Book Review

After digesting the book, you can assess whether Mises really achieved his objective, whether he is really successful in exposing the roots and the destructive results of anti-capitalistic mentality. Personally, though the book is dated, still it helps me understand the basic operation of the free market and the reasons for hostility against it, and it also helps me analyze the erroneous foundation of mainstream ideas.
roots and fruits
Concerning intellectual contribution, Mises described things, which I think are true to biblical presuppositions as far as natural revelation and common grace are concerned. I just don’t have time now to give concrete examples for that would require a separate time for study. However, his concepts of justice, liberty, denial of stability and future utopia, and reason are contrary to biblical revelation. He thinks that “divine justice” does not exist. He also did not go beyond the Greeks and the Romans in his concept of liberty. For Mises, liberty is primarily based on the free market, which of course rooted in the individual. Moreover, Mises also did not accept any idea of permanence or concept of future utopia. As far as the content of the book is concerned, his understanding of human history is a continuous process. I think, his idea of reason as autonomous played a big role for this contradiction.
I am not sure whether Mises is a deist or an atheist. If he is an atheist, his denial of a “divine” idea of justice is beyond his basic presupposition. It is not within his jurisdiction to say anything about it. The same thing is true with his concept of liberty. Furthermore, both Jewish tradition and Christianity have much to say about liberty, and Mises failed to mention about them except of course the section on “three old powers” where he mentioned that churches joined forces with the forerunners of socialism (pp. 43-45). However, Christianity is far broader than the official churches. Moreover, during the time of Reformation, Christianity played a significant role in recovering the right of private judgment, which is the essence of personal liberty. I suspect that the silence in this matter is either due to Mises’ atheistic assumptions or perhaps he subsumed both Jewish and Christian concept of liberty under his consideration of Greeks and Romans along with the Renaissance and Enlightenment.
Focusing on liberty, a Dutch theologian, Herman Bavinck in his book “Philosophy of Revelation,” distinguished between two kinds of liberty, Christian and revolutionary; they are not one and the same. These two kinds of liberty have separate roots. Christian liberty was recovered by new Protestantism led by Luther, whereas revolutionary liberty can be traced back to old Protestantism inspired by Erasmus, which was part of the 16th century Renaissance, and had finally come into maturity in the 18th century during the so-called Age of Reason or the Enlightenment. And then Deism, which originated from England finally declared the complete emancipation of “the world from God, reason from revelation, and will from grace” (p. 7). I think Mises’ concept of liberty though not revolutionary in the sense that he advocates violence, has its root in this movement for his idea of liberty exists apart from the existence of God and the reality of revelation.

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