Racial Determinism and Immigration in the Works of Ludwig von Mises

35 Pages Posted: 8 Dec 2019 Last revised: 6 Sep 2022

Date Written: November 20, 2019


A recent argument put forth by historian Quinn Slobodian contends that the modern Alt-Right movement’s genealogy originates, in part, from a posited ambiguity in the writings of Ludwig von Mises about immigration. This article shows that Slobodian’s interpretation misrepresents—and intentionally misquotes—Mises’s works in an effort to link him to the anti-immigration arguments of the Trump wing of American conservatism. I conclude by presenting an alternative genealogy that traces anti-immigration argumentation in some libertarian circles to a little-noticed contest between left and right-leaning Austrians during the “hermeneutic turn” of the 1980s over competing attempts to synthesize Habermasian discourse ethics into Austrian economic thought.

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 (November 20, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3490778 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3490778

Phillip Magness (Contact Author)

Independent Institute ( email )

100 Swan Way
Oakland, CA 94621
United States

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