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Friday, January 6, 2012

Bureaucracy by Ludwig von Mises

The conflict between capitalism and totalitarianism, on the outcome of which the fate of civilization depends, will not be decided by civil wars and revolutions. It is a war of ideas. Public opinion will determine victory and defeat.
Wherever and whenever men meet for discussing any affairs of their municipality, state, or nation, public opinion is in the process of evolving and changing, however trifling the immediate topic concerned may be. Public opinion is influenced by anything that is spoken or done in transactions between buyers and sellers, between employers and employees, between creditors and debtors. Public opinion is shaped in the debates of countless representative bodies, committees and commissions, associations and clubs, by editorials and letters to the editor, by the pleading of lawyers and by the opinions of judges.
In all these discussions the professionals have an advantage over the laymen. The odds are always in favor of those who devote all their effort exclusively to one thing only. Although not necessarily experts and often certainly not more clever than the amateurs, they enjoy the benefit of being specialists. Their eristic technique as well as their training are superior. They come to the encounter with rested mind and body, not tired after a long day’s work like the amateurs.
Now, almost all these professionals are zealous advocates of bureaucratism and socialism. There are, first of all, the hosts of employees of the governments’ and the various parties’ propaganda offices. There are furthermore the teachers of various educational institutions which curiously enough consider the avowal of bureaucratic, socialist, or Marxian radicalism the mark of scientific perfection. There are the editors and contributors of “progressive” newspapers and magazines, labor-union leaders and organizers, and finally leisured ambitious men anxious to get into the headlines by the expression of radical views. The ordinary businessman, lawyer, or wage earner is no match for them.

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