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John Ruskin – a deeply confused (but influential) enemy of liberty (and he went stark mad in 1878)

Now to Ruskin.

MISES’S VIEW OF CARLYLE

“The fundamental dogma of all brands of socialism and communism is that the market economy or capitalism is a system that hurts the vital interests of the immense majority of people for the sole benefit of a small minority of rugged individualists. It condemns the masses to progressing impoverishment. It brings about misery, slavery, oppression, degradation and exploitation of the working men, while it enriches a class of idle and useless parasites.

“This doctrine was not the work of Karl Marx. It had been developed long before Marx entered the scene. Its most successful propagators were not the Marxian authors, but such men as Carlyle and Ruskin, the British Fabians, the German professors and the American Institutionalists.” – Mises

RUSKIN VICIOUSLY ATTACKED ADAM SMITH

“Adam Smith was ‘that half-bred and half-witted Scotchman’ who had taught the ‘deliberate blasphemy’ that ‘thou shalt hate the Lord thy God, damn his laws, and covet thy neighbour’s goods”. (The Complete Works of John Ruskin, 1903-1912. vol. XXVII; 764, and XXIX: 134; 212; 282; London: George Allen & Unwin). [Source]

HE ARGUED THAT ECONOMIC FREEDOM IS HARMFUL

John Ruskin who insisted that economic freedom would promote, not the wealth, but rather its opposite, the ‘illth’ of nations [From Fritz Machlup’s The Dismal Science and the Illth of Nations, Eastern Economic Journal, Vol. 3, No. 2 (Apr., 1976), pp. 59-63]

RUSKIN BELIEVED IN AUTHORITARIAN CONTROL AND HATED FREEDOM

John Ruskin (1819–1900) vies with Carlyle as the pre-eminent antieconomist
of the Right, and (like Carlyle) is remembered almost as well for
his crazed anti-economics as he is for anything else. Adam Smith, in
Ruskin’s mind, was a ‘half-bred and half witted Scotchman’ (quoted in Fain
1956, p. 108) with ‘an entirely damned state of soul’ (quoted in Anthony
1983, p. 75).

Ruskin’s mind was too personal in its contents to conjure with the
sociological generalities of Right anti-economics, but he shared Carlyle’s
preoccupation with hierarchy and command, and expressed them
pungently in his anti-economics. Ruskin described himself as a ‘violent
Tory of the old school’ with a ‘most sincere love of kings, and a dislike of
everybody who attempted to disobey them’. [Source: Economics and Its Enemies: Two Centuries of Anti-Economics by William Oliver Coleman]

RUSKIN, A FANATICAL ENEMY OF ECONOMICS

John Ruskin, perhaps the most fanatical of all enemies of economics.
I know no previous instance in history of a nation’s establishing
a systematic disobedience to the first principles of its professed religion.
The writings which we (verbally) esteem as divine, not only denounce
the love of money as the source of all evil, and as an idolatry abhorred of
the Deity, but declare mammon service to be the accurate and irreconcilable
opposite of God’s service. ([1862] 1967, p. 61)

To Ruskin the error of political economy lay in it ‘considering the human
being merely as a covetous machine’. No precepts of any worth could be
derived from such an assumption, for Ruskin professed an extreme altruistic
code. To Ruskin it is the moral duty of any superior to treat their subordinates
as their children, quite literally  [Source: Economics and Its Enemies: Two Centuries of Anti-Economics by William Oliver Coleman]

RUSKIN WAS A VIGOROUS PROPONENT OF WAR

The influential Victorian art critic and anti-Enlightenment Tory socialist John Ruskin waxed rhapsodic about the virtues of war and insisted that “no great art ever yet arose on earth, but among a nation of soldiers. There is no art among a shepherd people, if it remains at peace. There is no art among an agricultural people, if it remains at peace. Commerce is barely consistent with fine art; but cannot produce it. Manufacture not only is unable to produce it, but invariably destroys whatever seeds of it exist. There is no great art possible to a nation but that which is based on battle.” [Source: Peace, Love, & Liberty – Students for Liberty]

ANTI-MACHINE, ANTI-ECONOMICS

“Modern science,” he writes, “economic and of other kinds, has reached its climax at last. For it seems to be the appointed func­tion of the nineteenth century to exhibit in all things the elect pat­tern of perfect Folly, for a warning to the farthest future.” He insisted that men and women “will neither be so good nor so happy as without the machines.” Of what value the electric telegraph, he asks, if you have no message of any importance or significance to send over it? Of what value your railroad trains, if they only serve the purpose of enabling a fool in one town to be transported to another at break¬neck speed? [THE UTOPIA OF JOHN RUSKIN – BY J. V. NASH ]

DREAM OF AUTOCRATIC PLATONIAN UTOPIA

Ruskin denounced and repudiated nineteenth cen­tury industrial society and all its works. He would have none of it. What he proposed as a substitute was the return to a kind of medieval Arcadia, in which virtuous and trustful common people should work with their own hands on little farms, raising all their own food, and making, by simple handicrafts, everything that was needful for their welfare. The government was to be in the hands of a wise and good aristocracy, to which the common people should give unquestioning obedience. He would thus realize Plato’s dream of long ago. [THE UTOPIA OF JOHN RUSKIN – BY J. V. NASH ]

TOTAL ENEMY OF LIBERTY

“We will have no steam-engines upon it, and no railroads ; we will have no untended or unthought-of creatures on it ; none wretched but the sick ; none idle but the dead. We will have no liberty upon it, but instant obedience to known law and appointed persons ; no equality upon it, but recognition of every betterness that we can find, and reprobation of every worseness. When we want to go anywhere, we will go there quietly and safely, not at forty miles an hour in the risk of our lives ; when we want to carry anything anywhere we will carry it either on the backs of beasts, or on our own, or in carts or boats. We will have plenty of flowers and vegetables in our gardens, plenty of corn and grass in our fields,—and few bricks. We will have some music and poetry; the children shall learn to dance to it and sing it ; perhaps some of the old people, in time, may also.”[THE UTOPIA OF JOHN RUSKIN – BY J. V. NASH ]

GREAT PROPONENT OF IMPERLAISM

Griffin says, “He taught that those who had inherited the rich culture and traditions of the British Empire had an obligation to rule the world and make sure that all the less fortunate and stupid people had proper direction.” [Source]

RUSKIN WENT MAD IN 1878

John Ruskin was a grossly disturbed human being who fell conclusively
into madness in 1878. [Source: Economics and Its Enemies: Two Centuries of Anti-Economics by William Oliver Coleman]

RUSKIN AS A DANGEROUS INFLUENCER OF URBAN PLANNING

His ideas on beauty have caused enormous harm – elitist ideas that looked down upon the live of the common man. It opened the path for the socialism of cities – excessive urban planning.

Sanjeev Sabhlok

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