Front Page Titles (by Subject) 5: Racial War - Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis
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5: Racial War - 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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Scientific knowledge of the innate qualities of man is still in its infancy. We cannot really say any more about the inherited characteristics of the individual than that some men are more gifted from birth than others. Where the difference between good and bad is to be sought we cannot say. We know that men differ in their physical and psychic qualities. We know that certain families, breeds, and groups of breeds reveal similar traits. We know that we are justified in differentiating between races and in speaking of the different racial qualities of individuals. But so far, attempts to find somatic characteristics of racial relationships have had no result. At one time it was thought that a racial characteristic had been discovered in the cranial index, but now it is clear that those relations between the cranial index and the psychic and mental qualities of the individual on which Lapouge’s anthroposociological school based its system do not exist. More recent measurements have shown that long-headed men are not always blond, good, noble, and cultured, and that the short-headed are not always black, evil, common and uncultured. Amongst the most long-headed races are the Australian aborigines, the Eskimos, and the Kaffirs. Many of the greatest geniuses were round-heads. Kant’s cranial index was 88.56 We have learnt that changes in the cranial index very probably can take place without racial mixture—as the result of the mode of life and geographical environment.57
It is impossible to condemn too emphatically the procedure of the “race experts.” They set up criteria of race in an entirely uncritical spirit. More anxious to coin catchwords than to advance knowledge, they scoff at all the standards demanded by scientific thought. But the critics of such dilettantism take their job too lightly in directing their attention solely to the concrete form which individual writers give their theories and to the content of their statements about particular races, their physical characteristics and psychic qualities. Though Gobineau and Chamberlain’s arbitrary and contradictory hypotheses are utterly without foundation and have been pooh-poohed as empty chimeras, there still remains a germ of the race theory which is independent of the specific differentiation between noble and ignoble races.
In Gobineau’s theory the race is a beginning; originating in a special act of creation, it is fitted out with special qualities.58 The influence of environment is estimated to be low: mixture of races creates bastards, in whom the good hereditary qualities of the nobler races deteriorate or are lost. To contest the sociological importance of the race theories, however, it will not suffice to prove that this view is untenable, or to show that race is the outcome of an evolution that has proceeded under the most varied influences. This objection might be overruled by asserting that certain influences, operating over a long period, have bred one race or several, with specially favourable qualities, and that the members of these races had by means of these advantages obtained so long a lead that members of other races could not overtake them within a limited time. In its most modern variations the race theory does, in fact, put forward arguments of this kind. It is necessary to study this form of the race theory and to ask how it stands in relation to the theory of social co-operation which has here been developed.
We see at once that it contains nothing directly inimical to the doctrine of the division of labour. The two are quite compatible. It may be assumed that races do differ in intelligence and will power, and that, this being so, they are very unequal in their ability to form society, and further that the better races distinguish themselves precisely by their special aptitude for strengthening social co-operation. This hypothesis throws light on various aspects of social evolution not otherwise easily comprehensible. It enables us to explain the development and regression of the social division of labour and the flowering and decline of civilizations. We leave it open whether the hypothesis itself and the hypothesis erected on it are tenable. At the moment this does not concern us. We are solely concerned to show that the race theory is easily compatible with our theory of social co-operation.
When the race theory combats the natural law postulate of the equality and equal rights of all men, it does not affect the free trade argument of the liberal school. For Liberalism does not advocate the liberty of the workers for reasons of natural law but because it regards unfree labour—the failure to reward the labourer with the whole produce economically imputed to his labour, and the divorce of his income from the productivity of his labour—as being less productive than free labour. In the race theory there are no arguments to refute free trade theory as to the effects of the expanding social division of labour. It may be admitted that the races differ in talent and character and that there is no hope of ever seeing those differences resolved. Still, free trade theory shows that even the more capable races derive an advantage from associating with the less capable and that social co-operation brings them the advantage of higher productivity in the total labour process.59
The race theory begins to conflict with the liberal social theory at the point where it begins to preach the struggle between races. But it has no better arguments to advance in this connection than those of other militaristic social theories. The saying of Heraclitus “that war is the father of all things” remains unproven dogma. It, too, fails to demonstrate how the social structure could have grown out of destruction and annihilation. Nay, the race theorists too—in so far as they try to judge unbiased and not simply to follow their sympathy for the ideology of militarism and conflict—have to admit that war has to be condemned precisely from the point of view of selection. Lapouge has pointed out that only in the case of primitive peoples does war lead to the selection of the stronger and more gifted, and that among civilized peoples it leads to a deterioration of the race by unfavourable selection.60 The fit are more likely to be killed than the unfit, who are kept longer, if not altogether, away from the front. Those who survive the war find their power to produce healthy children impaired by the various injuries they have received in the fight.
The results of the scientific study of races cannot in any way refute the liberal theory of social development. Rather they confirm it. The race theories of Gobineau and many others originated in the resentment of a defeated military and noble caste against bourgeois democracy and capitalist economy. For use in the daily politics of modern Imperialism they have taken a form which re-embodies old theories of violence and war. But their critical strictures are applicable only to the catchwords of the old natural law philosophy. They are irrelevant so far as Liberalism is concerned. Even the race theory cannot shake the assertion that civilization is a work of peaceful co-operation.
The Clash of Class Interests and the Class War
[56. ]Oppenheimer, “Die rassentheoretische Geschichtsphilosophie” in Verhandlungen des Zweiten deutschen Soziologentages (Tübingen, 1913), p. 106; also Hertz, Rasse und Kultur, 3rd ed. (Leipzig, 1925), p. 37; Weidenreich, Rasse und Körperbau (Berlin, 1927), pp. 133 ff.
[57. ]Nystrom, “Über die Formenveränderungen des menschlichen Schädels und deren Ursachen” (Archiv für Anthropologie, Vol. XXVII, pp. 321 ff., 630 ff., 642).
[58. ]Oppenheimer, “Die rassentheoretische Geschichtsphilosophie,” pp. 110 ff.
[59. ]See p. 260.
[60. ]“Chez les peuples modernes, la guerre et le militarisme sont de véritables fléaux dont le résultat définitif est de déprimer la race.” (“For modern people, war and militarism are true calamities, of which the ultimate result is to debase the human race.”) Lapouge, Les sélections sociales (Paris, 1896), p. 230.