Today the civilised world doesn’t have to think what to do with Russia – liberal European thinkers have precisely and long ago defined both the essence of what Russia is and the strategy of behaviour in its regard, the only thing left is to find the instruments accordant with the present day. The text below was published in 1927, however it reads as one that was written the day before yesterday.
A law-abiding citizen serves both himself and the people around him with his own efforts, and thus integrates peacefully into public order. Meanwhile a thief is accustomed not to honest labor, but to the violent re-appropriation of the fruit of another’s work. For thousands of years the world has been enslaved by military conquerors and feudal masters, which took for granted that the fruit of the efforts of other people existed for their consumption. The evolution of humanity on the way of civilisation and the enforcement of civil communication demanded first and foremost to overcome the intellectual and physical influence of the military and feudal casts, which strived to wile the world, and to replace the ideal of the hereditary master with the ideal of the bourgeoisie. The shift of the militaristic ideal, which only respected the soldier and disregarded honest labor, was never finalised. Every people has individuals, the minds of which are still being held hostage by the ideas and icons of the military epoch. In some nations, short-term atavistic impulses for robbery and violence rip through to the outside and sometimes achieve victory (though it would seem that they have long ago been overcome). However, overall it can be said, that the peoples of the white race, which populate Central and Western Europe and America today, had their mentality, which Herbert Spencer called “militaristic,” replaced with a mentality he called “industrial.” Today there is only one great nation, which firmly adheres to the militaristic ideal, in particular, Russians.
Of course, even among the Russian people there are those who do not share these ideas. It can only be lamented that they were unable to be victorious over their compatriots. Since the moment Russia started influencing European politics, it constantly acts like a robber, who is awaiting the moment when it can attack its victim and steal from them. Never did the Russian Tsars accept any other limitations to the expansion of their empire, besides those dictated by the circumstances. The position of the Bolsheviks regarding territorial expansion of their land does not differ in any way. They also accept only one rule: when conquering new land, they may, or, in reality, they have to, go as far as they can brave, taking their resources into consideration. A lucky circumstance that saved civilisation from being destroyed by the Russians was that the peoples of Europe turned out to be sufficiently strong to successfully rebuke the attacks of the Russian barbaric hoards. The experience the Russians gained in the Napoleonic wars, the Crimean war and the Turkish campaign of 1877-1878 have shown them that, regardless of the huge number of soldiers, their army is incapable of attacking Europe. The world war only served to confirm it.
…Evaluative considerations stand outside of science and are always purely subjective. Therefore we cannot speak about nations as more or less worthy. Consequentially, the issue whether Russians are worthy or not lies outside of our discussion. We do not claim this at all. We are only talking about the fact that they are not willing to be part of the system of human social cooperation. In regard to human society and the society of nations their position is the position of a people which strives to consume that which has been accumulated by others. The people whose life forces are the ideas of Dostoyevsky, Tolstoi and Lenin cannot create a firm social organisation. They have to resort to the conditions of overall barbarity. In comparison to the USA, nature has gifted Russia more generously both with the fertility of land and various extractable goods. If Russians followed the same capitalist policies as the Americans, today they would be the richest people in the world. Despotism, imperialism and Bolshevism have made them the poorest. Today they are looking for capital and loans all over the world.
If we are to agree with this, then this bears the clear conclusion what the leading principle of the policies civilised nations must be regarding Russia. Let the Russians remain Russian. Let them do whatever they want in their own country. But they cannot be allowed to go outside of their territory, so that they cannot ruin European civilisation. Of course, this doesn’t mean that the import and translation of Russian literature has to be banned. Neurotics can enjoy it as much as they want to, healthy people will avoid it in any case. This does not mean that Russians have to be banned from spreading their propaganda and giving bribes around the world like the Tsars have done. If contemporary civilisation is unable to protect itself from the attack of mercenaries, then it will not exist for long in any case. We are not talking about preventing Americans and Europeans from visiting Russia, if it attracts them. Let them see with their own eyes, on their own fear and risk and under their own responsibility, a country of mass murder and mass poverty. This also does not mean that capitalists must be prevented from providing the Soviets with loans or investing capital into Russia in any way. If they are foolish enough to believe that someday they will once again see at least a fraction of their money, let them risk it.
But the governments of Europe and America have to stop supporting Soviet destructionism, by subsidising export to Soviet Russia and thus making financial investments into reinforcing the Soviet system in Russia. Let them stop the propaganda of emigration and export of capital into Soviet Russia.
Ludwig von Mises (today they would say “jew-Banderite” – born in 1881 in Lviv in a well-off Jewish family), Liberalism, 1927.
Translated by Mariya Shcherbinina