Rand and Mises

Titan's picture
Submitted by Titan on Mon, 2005-12-12 09:14

Did Ayn Rand ever meet Ludwig Von Mises?

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And let's not forget that

Ross Elliot's picture

And let's not forget that Mises was just as passionate as Rand. You can sense it even in his most carefully written work, bubbling under. But he was too much the studious academic & analyst to allow it to colour his utilitarian critiques of central planning & advocacy of the free market.

I guess *that* synthesis would have to wait for Rand & Mises' [ahem] love-child, Murray Rothbard, and his half-brother, George Reisman...

Another good one

Jason Quintana's picture

Just to add, for those who are interested in this sort of thing and who didn't get a chance to listen to it when it was mentioned on the old SOLOHQ here is a great talk that George Reisman gave earlier this year at the Mises institute titled "Memories of Mises, Rothbard and Rand".


- Jason

Rand and Mises

Jason Quintana's picture

I got the story from an interview with Bettina Bien Greaves -- a long time student and follower of Mises. You can listen to the gossip about it here along with an excellent discussion about Mises though I am not very impressed with Prodos's interview skills. :


She discusses this in the second part of the interview if I'm not mistaken.

I think that both George Reisman and Nathaniel Branden have mentioned that they had heard a similar story which I think comes from Hazlitt.

- Jason


Peter Cresswell's picture

Jason's story relates, as I understand it, to an account given by William Buckley, hardly a friend of either Mises or Rand, and is possibly apocryphal. Here's a couple of stories and an excerpt from PAR which aren't apocryphal, and which talk about meetings of the two -- "she attended some of his seminars at New York University" for example -- and also of the esteeem in which Rand and Mises held each other:

- Henry Hazlitt relates that he was walking with Rand one day, and told her that Mises had told him, "Ayn Rand is one of the greatest men in history." "Did he say men?" asked Rand. "Yes," Hazlitt responded. At which point Rand clapped her hands in glee.

- Roy Childs recounts that when a friend of Rand's asked 'why she didn't go after Mises, given his utilitarianism and subjectivism in ethics,' Rand responded,'Oh, leave him alone. He's done enough.'

Childs says: 'She acknowledged him as one of the greatest minds of our time, even while disagreeing with his philosophic base, and as having made a tremendous contribution to liberty.'

- From PAR: "As late as the fifties, Von Mises was relatively unknown in the United States - his books not published here before 1944 - until, beginning in the late fifties and continuing for more than ten years, Ayn began a concerted campaign to have his work read and appreciated: she published reviews, she cited him in articles and in public speeches, she attended some of his seminars at New York University, she recommended him to admirers of her philosophy. A number of economists have said that it was largely as a result of Ayn's efforts that the work of Von Mises began to reach its potential audience."

Read them, but...

Peter Cresswell's picture

Read them, but do bear in mind that the marginalia give her own thoughts on one aspect of Mises, and are hardly her final word. Note for example that her marginalia criticisms are largely of the earlier chapters of 'Human Action,' NOT of the economics. Rand thought extremely highly of Mises's work on economics, elements of which you can see in her own work.

And when one of her circle proposed taking Mises to task publicly for such things as she criticised in the marginalia, she reportedly advised, "Oh, leave him alone. He's done enough." And so he had. Smiling


Lindsay Perigo's picture

Read her Marginalia comments on Human Action. Priceless!


Jason Quintana's picture

And they got into a squabble. Two greats in the same room. I would love to have been there to see it.

- Jason

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