Conformism and dissent

“Literature is not conformism, but dissent. Those authors who merely repeat what everybody approves and wants to hear are of no importance. What counts alone is the innovator, the dissenter, the harbinger of things unheard of, the man who rejects the traditional standards and aims at substituting new values and ideas for old ones. He is by necessity anti-authoritarian and anti-governmental, irreconcilably opposed to the immense majority of his contemporaries. He is precisely the author whose books the greater part of the public does not buy.”

Ludwig von Mises, The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality

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  • Cliff Burns  On May 19, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    What a fantastic Mises quote–and one that I absolutely concur with. I set up my own blog because I was tired of the corporate gate-keepers of publishing telling me how good my work was “but we don’t publish that type of thing”. I went it alone and thanks to that approach, I now have tens of thousands of readers around the world that were previously unaware of my work.

    Love that quote, it just got added to my “book of commonplace”.

  • Varuna  On May 20, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    The story goes that when Mises got married, he told his wife that he would write about money but never earn much of it. It seems ironical that the man who did so much to explain how markets work should himself have been rejected by the market.

    • Aristotle The Geek  On May 20, 2009 at 11:28 pm

      I don’t think certain ideas have anything to do with the market. I am not referring to ideas that improve people’s quality of life – technology, art etc, but to philosophy, politics etc.

      In the former case, the benefits are either apparent, or the tastes are subjective in nature. And the “producers” live or die by the market. The latter subjects, however, cannot be left to market forces – they are the very foundation of civilized society. A “market” presupposes such a society. Its a continuous struggle – convincing people about the right philosophy and its implementation.

      Misesian ideas are victims of apathy, not the market.

  • wgreen  On May 20, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    Beautiful. Thanks.

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