Front Page Titles (by Subject) 1: Socialism and the Sexual Problem - Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis
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1: Socialism and the Sexual Problem - 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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Socialism and the Sexual Problem
Proposals to transform the relations between the sexes have long gone hand in hand with plans for the socialization of the means of production. Marriage is to disappear along with private property, giving place to an arrangement more in harmony with the fundamental facts of sex. When man is liberated from the yoke of economic labour, love is to be liberated from all the economic trammels which have profaned it. Socialism promises not only welfare—wealth for all—but universal happiness in love as well. This part of its programme has been the source of much of its popularity. It is significant that no other German socialist book was more widely read or more effective as propaganda than Bebel’s Woman and Socialism, which is dedicated above all to the message of free love.
It is not strange that many should feel the system of regulating sexual relations under which we live to be unsatisfactory. This system exerts a far reaching influence in diverting those sexual energies, which are at the bottom of so much human activity, from their purely sexual aspect to new purposes which cultural development has evolved. Great sacrifices have been made to build up this system and new sacrifices are always being made. There is a process which every individual must pass through in his own life if his sexual energies are to cast off the diffuse form they have in childhood and take their final mature shape. He must develop the inner psychic strength which impedes the flow of undifferentiated sexual energy and like a dam alters its direction.
A part of the energy with which nature has endowed the sexual instinct is in this way turned from sexual to other purposes. Not everyone escapes unscathed from the stress and struggle of this change. Many succumb, many become neurotic or insane. Even the man who remains healthy and becomes a useful member of society is left with scars which an unfortunate accident may re-open.64 And even though sex should become the source of his greatest happiness, it will also be the source of his deepest pain; its passing will tell him that age has come, and that he is doomed to go the way of all transient, earthly things. Thus sex, which seems ever and again to fool man by giving and denying, first making him happy and then plunging him back into misery, never lets him sink into inertia. Waking and dreaming man’s wishes turn upon sex. Those who sought to reform society could not have overlooked it.
This was the more to be expected since many of them were themselves neurotics suffering from an unhappy development of the sexual instinct. Fourier, for example, suffered from a grave psychosis. The sickness of a man whose sexual life is in the greatest disorder is evident in every line of his writings; it is a pity that nobody has undertaken to examine his life history by the psycho-analytic method. That the crazy absurdities of his books should have circulated so widely and won the highest commendation is due entirely to the fact that they describe with morbid fantasy the erotic pleasures awaiting humanity in the paradise of the “phalanstère.”
Utopianism presents all its ideals for the future as the reconstruction of a Golden Age which humanity has lost through its own fault. In the same way it pretends that it is demanding for sexual life only a return to an original felicity. The poets of antiquity are no less eloquent in their praises of marvellous, bygone times of free love than when they speak of the saturnian ages when property did not exist.65 Marxism echoes the older Utopians.
Marxism indeed seeks to combat marriage just as it seeks to justify the abolition of private property, by attempting to demonstrate its origin in history; just as it looked for reasons for abolishing the State in the fact that the State had not existed “from eternity,” that societies had lived without a vestige of “State and State power.”66 For the Marxist, historical research is merely a means of political agitation. Its use is to furnish him with weapons against the hateful bourgeois order of society. The main objection to this method is not that it puts forward frivolous, untenable theories without thoroughly examining the historical material, but that he smuggles an evaluation of this material into an exposition which pretends to be scientific. Once upon a time, he says, there was a golden age. Then came one which was worse, but supportable. Finally, Capitalism arrived, and with it every imaginable evil. Thus Capitalism is damned in advance. It can be granted only a single merit, that thanks to the excess of its abominations, the world is ripe for salvation by Socialism.
[64. ]Freud, Drei Abhandlungen zur Sexualtheorie, 2nd ed. (Leipzig and Vienna, 1910), pp. 38 ff. Publisher’s Note: In English, see Freud, “Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality,” in The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud (New York: Avon Books, 1965). This citation is found on pp. 53 ff.
[65. ]Poehlmann, Geschichte der sozialen Frage und des Sozialismus in der antiken Welt, vol. 2, p. 576.
[66. ]Engels, Der Ursprung der Familie, des Privateigentums und des Staates, p. 182. Publisher’s Note: In English, see Engels, The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State (New York: International Publishers, 1972), p. 232.