The ideological jargon of hard totalitarianism aims at the subversion of values, while the ideological jargon of soft totalitarianism aims at the reduction of values to self-indulgent mush.
On the monetary front, we have a 12-year-old mega-bubble of fiat credit, stock buybacks, bloated balance sheets, and “infinite liquidity”. On the “real” front, we have a global economy with record forced unemployment, decimated supply chains, and whole industries on the verge of bankruptcy.
When pre-civilizations become too small for their liveliness, they give way to civilizations. When civilizations become too pleased with their greatness, they give way to anti-civilizations.
The greatest ethical problem in today’s so-called civilized world is neither barbarism, nor totalism, nor nihilism, but infantilism.
A civilization treats individual liberty as a gift to be nurtured. An anti-civilization treats it as a nuisance to be eliminated. A pseudo-civilization treats it as a toy to be played with.
Liberty allows for recklessness, but it demands accepting its consequences; it does not repress vices, but it encourages the development of virtues; it tolerates diversity, but it excludes it from ventures based on unanimity; and it does not condemn self-love, but it flourishes in the love of one’s neighbor.
When it turns out that the greatest enemy of truth is not falsehood, but gibberish, it turns out that the greatest intellectual virtue is not deductive brilliance or factual erudition, but common sense.
I attempt to demonstrate that the Mengerian-Misesian tradition offers unique insights into the logic of communicative rationality by emphasizing and exploring its indispensable associations with the logic of action.
Today’s anti-civilization is a mix of economic authoritarianism (“do whatever you are told”) and social infantilism (“be whatever you want”). Civilization requires the very opposite: a mix of economic libertarianism (“do what you want”) and social maturity (“be what you ought”).
Modern civilization is uniquely capable of rebuilding great cathedrals, but it is uniquely incapable of building great cathedrals. It is capable of spectacular recreation, but it is spectacularly incapable of creation.