I have a suspicion that a few of my readers are going to like this. Let’s just say that Murray Rothbard wasn’t the only austrian economist with a talent for dissecting social phenomenon (as I noted earlier, he had the feminists figured out 40 years ago).
Here is Ludwig von Mises, who a few decades before that correctly noted that socialism is in fact a type of psychological disorder. This is from the book “Liberalism”, written in 1929 (available free from mises.org). My american readers should note that he is talking about “Classical Liberalism” in the tradition of european liberalism that many of the founding fathers of America were steeped (as well as Mises himself). He is not talking about what americans these days call liberalism, which is correctly named “social democracy” or “marxism light”:
(…) At all events, resentment can still be dealt with by rational arguments. It is, after all, not too difficult to make clear to a person who is filled with resentment that the important thing for him cannot be to worsen the position of his better situated fellow men, but to improve his own.
The Fourier complex* is much harder to combat. What is involved in this case is a seriouse disease of the nervous system, a neurosis, which is more properly the concern of the psychologist than of the legislator. Yet it cannot be neglected in investigating the problems of modern society. Unfortunately, medical men have hitherto scarcely concerned themselves with the problems presented by the Fourier complex.
And somewhat later :
Only the theory of neurosis can explain the success enjoyed by Fourierism, the mad product of a seriously deranged brain. This is not the place to adduce evidence of Fourier’s psychisos by quitng passages from his writing. Such descriptions are of interest only to the psychiatrist and, perhaps, also to people who derive a certain pleasure from reading the productions of a lewd phantasy. But the fact is that Marxism, when it is obliged to leave the field of pompous dialectical rhetoric and the derision and defamation of its opponents and to make a few meager remarks pertinent to the issue, never has anything different to advance from what Fourier, the “utopian” had to offer. Marxism is likewise unable to construct a picture of a socialist society without making two assumptions already made by Fourier that contradict all experience and reason.
And then for the killing blow:
In the life of the neurotic the “saving lie” has a double function. It not only consoles him for past failure, but holds out the prospect of future success. In the case of social failure, which alone concerns us here, the consolation consists in the belief that one’s inability to attain the lofty goals to which one has aspired is not to be ascribed to one’s own inadequacy, but to the defectiveness of the social order. The malcontent expects from the overthrow of the latter the success that the existing system has withheld from him. Consequently, it is entirely futile to try to make clear to him that the utopia he dreams of is not feasible and that the only foundation possible for a society organized on the principle of the division of labor is private ownership of the means of the production. The neurotic clings to his “saving lie” and when he must make the choice of rebnouncing either it or logic, he prefers to sacrifice logic. For life would be unbearable for him without the consolation that he finds in the idea of socialism. It tells him that not he himself, but the world, is at fault for having caused his failure; and this conviction raises his depressed self-confidence and liberates him from a tormenting failure of inferiority.
So, socialists are delusional failures projecting their inferiority complex on the rest of us? Yupp, sounds about right. Make sure you let them know it if you if you ever happen to end up in a discussion with one (goes for all welfare-statists)
*Charles Fourier belonged to what is generally referred to as the “Utopian socialists” (Wikipedia) in the history of ideas, a group that believed that heaven on earth would automatically arrive if only the communist ideas were put into action. He may also have been the first to use the word “feminist”. Go figure.