Front Page Titles (by Subject) 5: The Political Constitution of Socialist Communities - Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis
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5: The Political Constitution of Socialist Communities - 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 Political Constitution of Socialist Communities
Beyond the dictatorship of the proletariat lies the paradise, the “higher phase of the communist society,” in which, “with the all round development of individuals, the productive forces will also have increased, and all the springs of social wealth will flow more freely.”56 In this land of promise “there will remain nothing to repress, nothing which would necessitate a special repressive power, a state ... In place of the government over persons comes the administration of things and the direction of productive processes.”57 An epoch will have begun in which “a generation, grown up in new, free social conditions, will be able to discard the whole lumber of State.”58 The working class will have gone, thanks to “long struggles, a whole series of historical processes,” by which “the men, like the conditions, were completely transformed.”59 Thus society is able to exist without coercion, as once it did in the Golden Age. Of this Engels has much to relate, much that is beautiful and good.60 Only we have read it all before, all better and more beautifully expressed in Virgil, Ovid, and Tacitus!
(The first golden age flourished, which begat truth and justice spontaneously; No laws of formal guarantees were needed. Punishment and fear were unheard of; no savage, restrictive decrees were carved on bronze tablets.)
It follows from all this that the Marxists have no occasion to occupy themselves with problems concerned with the political constitution of the socialist community. In this connection they perceive no problems at all which cannot be dismissed by saying nothing about them. Yet even in the socialist community the necessity of acting in common must raise the question of how to act in common. It will be necessary to decide how to form that which is usually called, metaphorically, the will of the community or the will of the people. Even if we overlooked the fact that there can be no administration of goods which is not administration of men—i.e. the bending one human will to another—and no direction of productive processes which is not the government over persons—i.e. domination of one human will by another62 —even if we overlooked this we should still have to ask who is to administer the goods and direct the productive processes, and on what principles. Thus, once again we are beset by all the political problems of the legally regulated social community.
All historical attempts to realize the socialist ideal of society have a most pronounced authoritarian character. Nothing in the Empire of the Pharaohs or of the Incas, and nothing in the Jesuit State of Paraguay was suggestive of democracy, of self-determination by the majority of the people. The Utopias of all the older kinds of socialists were equally undemocratic. Neither Plato nor Saint-Simon were democrats. One finds nothing in history or in the literary history of socialist theory which shows an internal connection between the socialist order of society and political democracy.
If we look closer we find that the ideal of the higher phase of communist society, ripening only in remote distances of the future, is, as the Marxists view it, thoroughly undemocratic.63 Here, too, the socialist intends that eternal peace shall reign—the goal of all democratic institutions. But the means by which this peace is to be gained are very different from those employed by the democrats. It will not rest on the power to change peacefully rulers and ruling policy, but on the fact that the regime is made permanent, and that rulers and policy are unchangeable. This, too, is peace; not the peace of progress which Liberalism strives to attain but the peace of the graveyard. It is not the peace of pacifists but of pacifiers, of men of violence who seek to create peace by subjection. Every absolutist makes such peace by setting up an absolute domination, and it lasts just as long as his domination can be maintained. Liberalism sees the vanity of all this. It sets itself, therefore, to make a peace which will be proof against the perils which threaten it on account of man’s inextinguishable yearning for change.
The Social Order and the Family
[56. ]Marx, op. cit., p. 17. Publisher’s Note: In English, see Critique of the Gotha Programme, rev. trans. (New York: International Publishers, 1938), p. 10, or Marx, Capital, the Communist Manifesto and Other Writings, ed. and introd. Max Eastman (New York: Random House, Modern Library, 1932), p. 7.
[57. ]Engels, op. cit., p. 302. Publisher’s Note: In the English, op. cit., p. 389.
[58. ]“Engels, Preface to Marx, Der Bürgerkrieg in Frankreich, Politische Aktions-Bibliothek (Berlin, 1919), p. 16. Publisher’s Note: In English, see Engels, “Introduction to the German Edition” of Marx’s “The Civil War in France” (1871), in Marx, Capital, the Communist Manifesto and Other Writings, ed. and introd. Max Eastman (New York: Random House, Modern Library, 1932), p. 381.
[59. ]Marx, Der Bürgerkrieg, p. 54. Publisher’s Note: In English, see p. 408 of Eastman anthology cited in fn. 19.
[60. ]Engels, Der Ursprung der Familie, des Privateigentums und des Staates, 20th ed. (Stuttgart, 1921), pp. 163 ff. Publisher’s Note: In English, see Engels, The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State (New York: International Publishers, 1972), pp. 162 ff.
[61. ]Ovid, Metamorphoses, I, pp. 89 ff.; also Virgil, Aeneid, VII, pp. 203 ff.; Tacitus, Annal, III, p. 26; Poehlmann, Geschichte der sozialen Frage und des Sozialismus in der antiken Welt, vol. 2, pp. 583 ff.
[62. ]Bourguin, Die sozialistischen Systeme und die wirtschaftliche Entwicklung, trans. Katenstein (Tübingen, 1906), pp. 70 ff.; Kelsen, Sozialismus und Staat, 2nd ed. (Leipzig, 1923), p. 105.
[63. ]Also Bryce, Moderne Demokratien, trans. Loewenstein and Mendelssohn Bartholdy (Munich, 1926), vol. 3, pp. 289 ff. Publisher’s Note: In English, see James Bryce, Modern Democracies (New York: Macmillan, 1921), 2 vols.