Tu ne cede malis … yeah, right

In following up on Matt’s post, I cruised on over to the Ludwig von Mises Institute website to find out a little more about this Austrian import. I was struck by the quote displayed on the home page “Tu Ne Cede Malis” and, my curiosity awoken, had to look it up. It is part of a longer quote from the Aeneid (“Tu ne cede malis sed contra audentior ito“) and translates to “do not give in to evil, but proceed ever more boldly against it.” Apparently it was a favorite of institution’s namesake (thanks, Wikipedia!).

Now, I’m somewhat of a sucker for cool Latin quotes; and I quite like this one. Unfortunately, I dislike its (mis)appropriation by a school of thought which claims to reject all models of economic theories as insuffiently explicative of the actual functioning of an economy (they prefer to analyze economics based on human behavior), but then implicitly use the Rational Man model of human behavior in order to advocate for uninhibited free markets economics. Maybe it’s me, but this just doesn’t square-up in my mind.

There are no inherently evil forces plaguing our world. Evil results when humans become convinced that they are unequivocally right, or that their way is the absolute best, and cease all inquiry to the contrary.

Those at the Mises Institute need to turn their lenses on themselves and ask whether or not some of the evil isn’t emanating from them. Only then can they truly claim to face it boldly.

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    • mattstrong
    • August 30th, 2010

    Ack, pbbbbt. Tim, I think you underestimate how fundamentally anti-human libertarianism is. You want to talk about a economic/political system that fundamentally denies human worth in favor of the movements of a all-knowing, unseeing force? Marxism and Christianity have nothing on the more doctrinaire schools of libertarianism. Anything that negates human subjectivity as much as libertarianism does it pure evil.

    Which is why I spend so much energy thinking against it.

  1. You’re going to have to elaborate further on this point of libertarianism being anti-human. Don’t get me wrong, I hold no special love for it, philosophically, but I want to pick your brain a bit more on the issue.

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