Of Mises And Madmen: Is Libertarianism A Mental Illness?


In May of this year, the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders was published by the American Psychiatric Association. This near-comprehensive set of diagnostic criteria is just another example of the progress which government-funded medical research has made in recent years. Many hurdles remain, however, and psychiatric professionals are discovering new personality disorders and previously unknown mental dysfunctions on a near-daily basis. With that in mind, I offer the two following observations:

1: Psychosis is defined by experts as a mental state involving a “loss of contact with reality.” (1)

2: Ludwig von Mises, a cult figure among Right-wing extremists and described by many as the “Paul Krugman of Libertarianism”, once offered the following bizarre statement in defense of his repugnant ideology:

“Its statements and propositions are not derived from experience. They are, like those of logic and mathematics, a priori. They are not subject to verification and falsification on the ground of experience and facts. They are both logically and temporally antecedent to any comprehension of historical facts.” (2)

The consensus amongst professional Economists today is that this statement is merely another glaring example of the shoddy circular logic and solipsistic reasoning for which extreme right-wing “thinkers” are notorious. Could it be, however, that an altogether more tragic story lies behind the creation of Ludwig von Mises’ hate-filled works? Perhaps history may judge the man more kindly if the sociopathic nature of his “philosophy” can one day be ascribed to mental ill health rather than wilful malice.

Whilst it is undeniable  that the “Libertarian” movement exhibits continuous atavistic spasms of illogicality and delusion, the majority of individuals aligned with the “Libertarian” and Conspiracy movements are not, of course, mentally ill. Most are simply malcontents; socially inept individuals who, suffering from boredom as a result of the record amounts of leisure time afforded by recent improvements in the economy, engage in anonymous confrontational thrill-seeking online. Many are only semi-literate and, having perhaps read Ayn Rand, but not von Mises or Rothbard, merely parrot slogans and catchphrases which they have learned by rote from darkly charismatic leaders within the cult-like environs of shady online message boards.

The fact however, that the majority of “Libertarians” and conspiracy theorists are merely useful idiots should not lull ordinary patriotic Americans into a false sense of security. The ugly core of the “Libertarian” movement is comprised of highly dangerous fundamentalists who cling to the unhinged writings of von Mises and his ilk as if they were holy books. Make no mistake – these zealots pose a clear and present danger to the security and prosperity of all Americans.  

It therefore behooves everyone involved in constructive political discourse to challenge “Libertarianism” and Conspiracy Theory wherever it is encountered; but please, do so with compassion, since advances in psychiatric medical science may soon change our view of the “Libertarian movement” entirely.

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychosis

  2. http://mises.org/humanaction/chap2sec1.asp


  1. Many libertarians and conservatives are clearly paranoid in the crazy things they say about the government and our president. I think most of them are not evil, just misguided. This is a job for wise governmentbureacrats. If the government could set up some residential treatment and education centers for thesepeople I believe they could get better and overcome their paranoid delusions. Getting them away from their toxic environments in a healthy camp-like atmosphere with caring treatment providers and educators could cause them to realize the error of their ways and become more supportive of our president.

    • Hey why the downvotes? I think education camps would be a great idea so antigovernment people could be shown the error of their ways. Modern education and psychiatric treatment methods could do a lot of good for these misguided people!

      I don’t think people should be allowed to vote on my replies unless they are accredited!

      • The government already has these education camps in place. It’s called public education. Then when that’s not enough, you can enslave yourself to their banker friends for four more years of education. If you don’t conform, they have another re-education system, called the justice system. Not sure why you have never heard of them.

      • @Oldfordtrk

        I think those are excellent systems to keep people virtuous and obedient to our government, but unfortunately no system is perfect and some people fall thru the cracks and require more intensive education and court ordered medications, especially if their antigovernment delusions don’t respond to anything else.

  2. Comparing Ludwig von Mises to Paul Krugman is an insult to Paul Krugman. Ludwig von Mises is a crackpot pseudo intellectual who simply is not in the same league as highly accredited Paul Krugman.

    I strongly object to this comparison and, frankly, I think an apology is warranted.

    • I understand how you feel Bob.

      The comparison however, is made purely in terms of influence rather than intellect. It made me a little queasy to mention Dr Paul Krugman in the same sentence as that other horrid man but it’s important for progressive Americans to understand that swivel-eyed right wing sociopaths hold Mises in the same regard as we do Krugman.

      Scary thought isn’t it!?!?

      • Most of what Krugman says usually boils down to the same one trick. Hit the print button and call it Keynesianism. Last print fest didn’t work? That’s obviously because we didn’t print enough!

        The logic above which the author called “bizarre” can be learned in a 200 level philosophy class. Von Misis referred to things like natural rights being a priori. Perhaps the author doesn’t believe any rights are inalienable and that the state grants all privileges as if it is god or royalty? We need only look at the Middle Ages compared to now to see that living in a society which stands up for their natural rights is better. Unfortunately libertarians must do this amongst your ilk while you call for all of us to be further and further enslaved to pay for your laziness….watching more and more wagons hitched to fewer and fewer horses. It’s sickening.

  3. I would feel more comfortable actually “knowing” that this was a government shill website because otherwise I’d attribute it to madness.

    The fact that the comments need approval for posting lets you know it’s a gov op or a gov boot licker who wants to trash the constitution.

    So libertarians are mad but Keynesians are quite sane… Losers. When I read sites like this all I can think is that the polarization is so great in this country it’s going to rip itself apart.

    • For posterity’s sake, my post posted right away. Last time it didn’t, and deleted my post. This site still sucks ass.

      • Finn, a certain hostility comes across in your posts. Chauncey is only sharing his thoughts on the best way forward for our nation. Are you feeling OK? Maybe a little down? Depression can lead to a state of chronic discontent, but it is treatable.

        Fortunately, the ACA will take effect soon — no thanks to libertarians! — so our government will be able to make sure that anyone who needs professional help will get it. The new system already has been proven to work in more advanced countries like Russia, Spain and even Albania. It will save a lot of money, too — the first “A” stands for “Affordable”!

        (Chauncey, perhaps you or MDB should do a post about the ACA. I managed to catch President Obama’s explanation of how it would work, but it seems a lot of people missed out. I guess the new healthcare system is now fixed up and all ready to go in a couple months, and you could help get the word out to people who are a little nervous about the transition.)

        Keep smiling, and remember, as George Harrison sang, “It’s Getting Better All The Time.”


    • This is the sort of unsubstantiated paranoia and groundless accusation that conspiracy kooks and right wing nuts are, sadly, now famous for.

      It must me be exhausting being a “Libertarian”!

  4. Libertarians are the new “LibTards.” Saying they can think is really just giving them too much credit. I think they were all dropped on their heads as infants.