In what may retrospectively be viewed as rather characteristically ‘German,’ Schmoller - a man of great influence - went as far as to publicly declare that members of the Austrian school were unfit to teach in German universities, effecting a complete exclusion of Menger’s followers from academic positions in the country. According to Mises, economics disappeared entirely from German universities. As Friedrich Hayek, a pupil of Menger’s later recounted, the result was that even thirty years after the controversy ceased, Germany remained insulated from the influence of the liberal Austrian School that had been welcomed in most of the First-World. Thus, while the rest of the world embraced the rationale of limited government, Germany’s insulation made it a safe haven for the flourishing of the ethic of authoritarianism and ‘government omnipotence.’ And before we proceed with a brief recap of what that led to, let me squeeze in an interesting bit of commentary by earlier mentioned French philosopher Raymond Aron.

Sidenote: If you’re someone who’s not sufficiently familiar with political terminologies, please understand that the term ‘Left’ is essentially predicated on ‘the role of government in the economic sphere.’

First, an interesting paragraph that quite neatly addresses the tone of the Methodenstreit itself and should also come in handy later:

“In stressing the significance of the two terms, Right and

Left, people do not restrict themselves to the mere statement

that the machinery of political forces tends to divide itself

into two blocs.. Rather do they infer the existence of

two types of men whose attitudes are fundamentally opposed,

or two sets of conceptions between which the interminable

and unchanging dialogue continues through every vicissitude

of institution or terminology, or else two camps engaged in a

never-ending struggle.” (Aron, The Opium of the Intellectuals.)

He might as well have taken the names of Menger and Schmoller!

Now, back to Germany.

“The different groups which consider themselves left-wing

have never in any profound sense been united. From one generation

to the next, the slogans and programmes change.” (ibid, pg. 3-4)

So, the key terms for us are: ideas, Germany, the government/Left and ambivalence.

Now, let me confirm what you may already have begun to suspect: yes, as identified by Mises in the aforementioned citation, it was the very sentiment (of Schmoller’s Historical School) that underlay the series of interventionist-inspired political developments in the early 20th century in Germany which eventually culminated in the rise of the Nazi regime therein.

Now, let me shock you altogether: it was one of Schmoller’s own faithful pupils (the former himself had died by 1917) - a man by the name of Werner Sombart - who, through his book A New Social Philosophy, rose to become one of the crucially instrumental figures to legitimize the National-Socialist agenda of the Nazis as well as the role of Adolf Hitler as someone who ‘directly received’ his orders from God.

Werner Sombart later changed his mind and became anti-Nazi.

Germany, as we know, went on to become a country that would shed the National-Socialist costume and be divided by a wall that left one half in the West which subscribed to a social democrat’s ideal of government intervention, and then a half in the East that was a totalitarian state.

Today, Germany has no such problems. There are no concentration camps, nor are there night patrols looking to shoot anyone thinking of crossing over the Berlin Wall to a life of freedom. Not at all. Today it is a heavenly welfare state where the government recently legalized (in Munich), six zones in the city-center where families can visit the park and spend quality time together, naked.

“From one generation to the next the slogans and programmes change.”

I hardly ever say something this inflammatory, but the German nation is a joke. And the people who are going there to avail free education are doing so, I can only think, not merely to benefit from the policies of the former’s government, but out of an ‘elective affinity’ for what lies beneath – the ideas that have engendered a history and society that epitomize a failed civilization. Or maybe I’m being too harsh. Okay, if you want to treat yourself to a free education, go ahead, may God be with you. I’d rather be found in my humble third-world abode in Lahore, reading from my beat-up laptop and struggling to pay my bills. Fully clothed still.

Just please, after spending many years in heavenly Germany – the land of the government, the playground of history’s Schmollers – once you return with your German education, if it ever comes to the point that you find yourself in an environment where you have to compete with me or my kind, don’t tell me I didn’t adequately warn you beforehand of the only likely outcome.


The author runs Scholars by Profession, a local research-initiative. Facebook:

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