Front Page Titles (by Subject) 1: The Policy of Violence and the Policy of Contract - Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis
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1: The Policy of Violence and the Policy of Contract - Ludwig von Mises, Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis 
Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis, trans. J. Kahane, Foreword by F.A. Hayek (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1981).
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The Policy of Violence and the Policy of Contract
The domination of the principle of violence was naturally not restricted to the sphere of property. The spirit which put its trust in might alone, which sought the fundamentals of welfare, not in agreement, but in ceaseless conflict, permeated the whole of life. All human relations were settled according to the “Law of the Stronger,” which is really the negation of Law. There was no peace; at best there was a truce.
Society grows out of the smallest associations. The circle of those who combined to keep the peace among themselves was at first very limited. The circle widened step by step through millennia, until the community of international law and the union of peace extended over the greatest part of humanity, excluding the half savage peoples who lived on the lowest plane of culture. Within this community the principle of contract was not everywhere equally powerful. It was most completely recognized in all that was concerned with property. It remained weakest in fields where it touched the question of political domination. Into the sphere of foreign policy it has so far penetrated no further than to limit the principle of violence by setting up rules of combat. Apart from the process of arbitration, which is a recent development, disputes between states are still, in essentials, derided by arms, the most usual of ancient judicial processes; but the deriding combat, like the judicial duels of the most ancient laws, must conform to certain rules. All the same, it would be false to maintain that in the intercourse of states, fear of foreign violence is the one factor that keeps the sword in its sheath.39 Forces which have been active in the foreign policy of states through millennia have set the value of peace above the profit of victorious war. In our time even the mightiest war lord cannot isolate himself completely from the influence of the legal maxim that wars must have valid reasons. Those who wage war invariably endeavour to prove that theirs is the just cause and that they fight in defence or at least in preventive-defence; this is a solemn recognition of the principle of Law and Peace. Every policy which has openly confessed to the principle of violence has brought upon itself a world-coalition, to which it has finally succumbed.
In the Liberal Social Philosophy the human mind becomes aware of the overcoming of the principle of violence by the principle of peace. In this philosophy for the first time humanity gives itself an account of its actions. It tears away the romantic nimbus with which the exercise of power had been surrounded. War, it teaches, is harmful, not only to the conquered but to the conqueror. Society has arisen out of the works of peace; the essence of society is peacemaking. Peace and not war is the father of all things. Only economic action has created the wealth around us; labour, not the profession of arms, brings happiness. Peace builds, war destroys. Nations are fundamentally peaceful because they recognize the predominant utility of peace. They accept war only in self-defence; wars of aggression they do not desire. It is the princes who want war, because thus they hope to get money, goods, and power. It is the business of the nations to prevent them from achieving their desire by denying them the means necessary for making war.
The love of peace of the liberal does not spring from philanthropic considerations, as does the pacifism of Bertha Suttner40 and of others of that category. It has none of the woebegone spirit which attempts to combat the romanticism of blood lust with the sobriety of international congresses. Its predilection for peace is not a pastime which is otherwise compatible with all possible convictions. It is the social theory of Liberalism. Whoever maintains the solidarity of the economic interests of all nations, and remains indifferent to the extent of national territories and national frontiers, whoever has so far overcome collectivist notions that such an expression as “Honour of the State” sounds incomprehensible to him, that man will nowhere find a valid cause for wars of aggression. Liberal pacificism is the offspring of the Liberal Social Philosophy. That Liberalism aims at the protection of property and that it rejects war are two expressions of one and the same principle.41
[39. ]As, for instance, Lasson maintains (Prinzip und Zukunft des Völkerrechts, Berlin, 1871), p. 35.
[40. ]Bertha Suttner (1843-1914) was an Austrian author, pacifist, and 1905 Nobel Peace Prize recipient (Pub.).
[41. ]In their efforts to debit capitalism with all evil, the socialists have tried to describe even modern imperialism and thus world war as products of capitalism. It is probably unnecessary to deal more fully with this theory, put forward for the unthinking masses. But it is not inappropriate to recall that Kant represented the facts correctly when he expected the growing influence of “money power” would gradually diminish warlike tendencies. “It is the spirit of commerce,” he says, “which cannot exist side by side with war” (Kant, “Zum ewigen Frieden,” vol. 5, Sämtliche Werke, p. 688); see also Sulzbach, Nationales Gemeinschaftsgefühl und wirtschaftliches Interesse (Leipzig, 1929), pp. 80 ff. Publisher’s Note: In English, “Perpetual Peace.” In On History. Immanuel Kant, ed. Lewis White Beck (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1963), p. 114.