"The essential characteristic of Western civilization
that distinguishes it from the arrested and petrified
civilizations of the East was and is its concern
for freedom from the state."
by:
Ludwig Von Mises
(1881-1973) Economist and social philosopher
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"freedom FROM the state" not "freedom BY the state". Good quote.
 -- Logan, Memphis, Tn     
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     -- Joe, Rochester, MI      
    This is the philosophical reason why we as westerners don't understand diversity and practical equity. Until we drop this ignorant idea that the west is the way we will fall just like every ruling ideology
     -- John donich, Brooklyn     
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    John? Freedom from the state equates to the lack of understanding of diversity and practical equality? That's laughable. By that reasoning, I guess we should become a communist state to understand how to love one another a little better.
     -- Howard, Bangkok     
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    In the beginning of our nation we gave our federal government rules it had to go by. Now that same government gives "us" the rules it wants us to live by!
     -- cal, lewisville, tx     
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    I don't think it is the essential difference and I don't think eastern civilizations are arrested or petrified. Real freedom is more than freedom from the "state" what ever that is or was. The west for years was under the control or dictatorship of the "church". Western society was arrested and petrified during the Dark Ages. Why do you think they are called that. At the same time civiliztion and culture was flourishing in the east and in the Aztec and Mayan civilizations of the unfound world. I suggest that the Mayan and Aztec worlds were pretty statist with a strong monarchical and religious center. So while the quote may be provocative it gets a one, I withhold four stars because I don't think it is true and think it is misleading and fraught with Western jingoism.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    We hold this truth to be self evident!!! The rest of the world banked on that remaining the same;but now that Obamanation and the rest of the destruction derby is pedal to the metal, it seems the John donich and Wafflers of the world are going to get their wildest imaginations fulfilled.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Freedom from the State is what made America the greatest nation in the world and why so many flocked to its shores from the Eastern nations. Sadly it is becoming indistinguishable from the nations those people fled. So, is it time yet?
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    Our Constitution was designed to protect citizens from government. Nancy, Obama, Reid, and the rest of the mis-fits have it backwards and that's exactly why they fear and despise the Tea Parties. How dare citizens oppose the Messiah and the gang.
     -- jim k, austin     
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     -- Costas Mavroidis, Thessaloniki      
    von Mises here supports the argument that our essential characteristic is our ethnocentrism.
     -- A.WOODS, Gloucester     
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    The Mikes, Js and Jims only think in terms of events of the last 10 months while Mises is talking about western civilization. Go figure. A. Woods is more into the real understanding of Mises import.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    John Donich, You said "This is the philosophical reason why we as westerners don't understand diversity and practical equity. Until we drop this ignorant idea that the west is the way we will fall just like every ruling ideology."----------What diversity is the most recognized when the right to choose of any individual is respected and what practical equity is shared so evenly when every citizen of the world is equal to all others under natural laws. It is only men's laws that change that equality with such selfishness that could only create the idea of the divine right of kings when in truth there is only one king. It is wise to remember that present day westernization is not the way the west was to go 230 years ago and America's present day methods of empire building were far from the desires of what our founders hoped for. The selfish and greedy have altered (corrupted) constitutional methods for their benefit and the greedy of society, thinking the economy constitutional and born in a very materialistic society, think this way of life is just and deserved one has a right to and that rights have something to do with access to the money and things money buy and then they are free. True westernized freedom is not what you seem to think it is as judged by your condemnation of it.
     -- Anon     
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    The Jewish aristocrat von Mises is so over the top over rated, he's like Chance the gardener being made into Chauncy Gardiner by the perceptions of people who are desperate to be seen as understanding his "deep thoughts" and "timeless wisdom." Read a bit of von Mises's supposed opus, Human Action (or try to) and then some of Chauncy, and you'll know what I mean.
     -- Jimi Bigbear, Libertyville, IA     
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    Waffler, now that Mr. Obamunist Goodwrench the assassin has a second term to arrest and petrify a civilization by Stalin and Hitler's play book, how is the once land of the free and home of the brave any different than its eastern counterparts?
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    What may not have been recognizable decades or centuries ago was the long term agenda of the banking elite to eventually run the planet and control every aspect of our existence. It is now more than obvious to anyone who wants to do a day's worth of research that it is the same banking elite who now "own" our governments. The only things that will negate this long term and very subtle agenda are documents like the British North America Act and the Constitution of the United States and people's determination to hold those "enshrining documents" above this controlling agenda.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    The problem is simple, namely that the state(government) has always sought to enslave the people. Every government since Washington has gotten bigger and more centralized. "Honest Abe" had a war to centralize power in D.C. This H.L.Mencken quote sums it up nicely." The most dangerous man to any government is the man able to think things out. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, intolerable".
     -- jim k, Austin, Tx     
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    Yes, Liberty for the common man is a relatively new development in the world's cultures. The overwhelming majority of history shows that humankind has been held under the thumb of emperors and kings of all stripes and colors -- and all have justified their power over the masses with similar excuses backed up by church and 'schools'. It is obvious to me that the human can be conditioned to believe just about anything, and has in fact been the tool of tyrants for thousands upon thousands of years. Every newborn babe will have to struggle against those that have laid claim to its labors, its body, and, most importantly, its MIND.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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