Front Page Titles (by Subject) 9: Marxism and Destructionism - Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis
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9: Marxism and Destructionism - 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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Marxism and Destructionism
Socialism has not consciously willed the destruction of society. It believed it was creating a higher form of society. But since a socialist society is not a possibility every step towards it must harm society.
It is the history of Marxian Socialism which shows most clearly that every socialist policy must turn into destructionism. Marxism described Capitalism as the inevitable preliminary to Socialism, and looked forward to the new society only as the result of Capitalism’s fruition. If we take our stand on this part of Marx’s theory—it is true that he has put forward other theories with which this is completely incompatible—then the policy of all the parties that claim Marx’s authority is quite non-Marxian. The Marxians ought to have combated everything that could in any way hinder the development of Capitalism. They should have protested against the trade unions and their methods, against laws protecting labour, against compulsory social insurance, against the taxation of property; they should have fought laws hindering the full working of the stock and produce exchanges, the fixation of prices, the policy which proceeds against cartels and trusts; they should have resisted inflationism. But they have done the reverse of all this, have been content to repeat Marx’s condemnation of the “petty bourgeois” policy, without however drawing the inevitable conclusions. The Marxians who, in the beginning, wished to dissociate themselves definitely from the policy of all parties looking to the pre-capitalist economic idea, arrived in the end at exactly the same point of view.
The fight between Marxists and the parties calling themselves emphatically anti-Marxists is carried on by both sides with such a violence of expression that one might easily be led into supposing them irreconcilable. But this is by no means the case. Both parties, Marxism and National Socialism, agree in opposing Liberalism and rejecting the capitalist social order. Both desire a socialist order of society. The only difference in their programme lies in slight variations in their respective pictures of the future socialist State; nonessential variations, as we could easily show. The foremost demands of the National Socialist agitation are different from those of the Marxists. While the Marxists speak of abolishing the commodity character of labour, the National Socialists speak of breaking the slavery of interest (Brechung der Zinsknechtschaft). While the Marxists hold the “capitalists” responsible for every evil, the National Socialists think to express themselves more concretely by shouting “Death to the Jews” (Juda verrecke).29
Marxism, National Socialism, and other anti-capitalist parties are indeed separated, not only by clique enmities, and personal resentments, but also by problems of metaphysics and the conduct of life. But they all agree on the decisive problem of reshaping the social order: they reject private ownership in the means of production and desire a socialist order of society. It is true that the paths by which they hope to reach the common goal run parallel only for short stretches, but even where they diverge they remain on adjacent territories.
It is not surprising that in spite of this close relationship they fight out their feud with consuming bitterness. In a socialist community the fate of the political minorities would necessarily become unbearable. How would National Socialists fare under a Bolshevist rule or Bolshevists under National Socialism?
[29. ]For a criticism of National Socialist doctrine see my Kritik des Interventionismus (Jena, 1929), pp. 91 ff.; also Karl Wagner, “Brechung der Zinsknechtschaft?” in Jahrbücher für Nationalökonomie und Statistik, Third Series, Vol. LXXIX, pp. 790 ff. Publisher’s Note: In the English edition of Kritik des Interventionismus, p. 107.