In Western civilization, the reign of mysticism reached its height in the stagnation and brutality of the Dark and Middle Ages – with its worship of the supernatural, its hostility toward the mind, its prohibition of scientific inquiry, its restrictions on production and trade, its rigid society of status.

As the official voice and dominant power of the culture, mysticism died with the Renaissance, though the echoes of its death lasted for centuries. With the rebirth of reason and science, men began the slow, faltering, upward climb toward a society in which the self-assertive, creative power of man’s mind could find expression. For man […]

In all the ethical systems that achieved any degree of world influence, man has always been the victim, twisted against himself and commanded to be “unselfish” in sacrificial service to some allegedly higher value called God or Pharaoh or Emperor or King or Society or the State or the Race or the Proletariat.

Altruism – as an ethical principle – holds that man must make the welfare of others his primary moral concern and must place their interests above his own; it holds that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that service to others is the moral justification of his existence, that self-sacrifice is […]

The higher part of that portion of the higher incomes which is taxed away would have been used for the accumulation of additional capital. If the Treasury employs the proceeds for current expenditures, the result is a drop in the amount of capital accumulation. The same is true for death taxes.

The realization of technological improvement is therefore impaired; the quota of capital invested per worked employed is reduced; a check is placed upon the rise in the productivity of labor and upon the concommitant rise in real wages. It is obvious that the popular belief that this mode of taxation harms only the immediate victims, […]

The fact that the standard of living of the average American worker is incomparably more satisfactory than that of the average Chinese worker, that in the U.S. hours of work are shorter and that the children are sent to school and not factories, is not an achievement of the government and of the laws of the country.

It is the outcome of the fact that the capital invested per head of the employees is much greater than in China and that consequently the marginal productivity of labor is much higher. Ludwig von Mises, Human Action