Racial Determinism and Immigration in the Works of Ludwig von Mises: A Critique of Slobodian’s Alt-Right Thesis

22 Pages Posted: 8 Dec 2019 Last revised: 27 Jan 2020

See all articles by Phillip Magness

Phillip Magness

American Institute for Economic Research

Date Written: November 20, 2019

Abstract

A recent argument by historian Quinn Slobodian contends that the modern Alt-Right movement’s genealogy derives, in part, from a posited ambiguity in the early 20th century writings of Ludwig von Mises about race and immigration. This article argues that while Slobodian has correctly identified an Alt-Right precursor in the work of Hans-Hermann Hoppe, he errs in attributing its derivation to earlier works by Mises or to the Austrian school of economics more generally. Mises’s arguments on immigration and race are shown to be in direct tension with the Hoppean position, and Slobodian’s treatments of the same rely upon misconstructions of Mises’s written works. The article concludes with an alternative genealogy of Hoppe’s anti-immigration arguments, showing that they emerged from a far-right adaptation of Habermasian discursive analysis and critical theory. As a result, Hoppe's epistemic framework may be better understood as what Murray Rothbard called a "libertarian extension" of Juergen Habermas and Karl-Otto Apel.

Keywords: Immigration, Ludwig von Mises, Neoliberalism

JEL Classification: B20, B53

Suggested Citation

Magness, Phillip, Racial Determinism and Immigration in the Works of Ludwig von Mises: A Critique of Slobodian’s Alt-Right Thesis (November 20, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3490778 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3490778

Phillip Magness (Contact Author)

American Institute for Economic Research ( email )

PO Box 1000
Great Barrington, MA 01230
United States

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