Irrtümer hinsichtlich Fortschritt und Vernunft und Güte der Menschheit

Socialism is not just ruin camouflaged as equality. It is despair wrapped up in the rhetoric of hope.

— Hugo Gurdon

Irrtümer hinsichtlich Fortschritt und Vernunft und Güte der Menschheit

„Eighteenth-century social philosophy was convinced that mankind has now finally entered the age of reason. While in the past theological and metaphysical errors were dominant, henceforth reason will be supreme. People will free themselves more and more from the chains of tradition and superstition and will dedicate all their efforts to the continuous improvement of social institutions. Every new generation will contribute its part to this glorious task. With the progress of time society will more and more become the society of free men, aiming at the greatest happiness of the greatest number. Temporary setbacks are, of course, not impossible. But finally the good cause will triumph because it is the cause of reason…. All these hopes were founded on the firm conviction, proper to the age, that the masses are both morally good and reasonable. The upper strata, the privileged aristocrats living on the fat of the land, were thought depraved. The common people, especially the peasants and the workers, were glorified in a romantic mood as noble and unerring in their judgment. Thus the philosophers were confident that democracy, government by the people, would bring about social perfection.

This prejudice was the fateful error of the humanitarians, the philosophers, and the liberals. Men are not infallible; they err very often. It is not true that the masses are always right and know the means for attaining the ends aimed at. ‘Belief in the common man’ is no better founded than was belief in the supernatural gifts of kings, priests, and noblemen.“

Ludwig von Mises

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