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Topic: Praxeology, Matches 5 quotes.



Three generations—grandfather to grandson—have created these wonders which surpass the utmost imaginings of all previous time. How did it come about? How can it be explained? Just what has been responsible for this unprecedented burst of progress, which has so quickly transformed a hostile wilderness into the most prosperous and advanced country that the world has ever known?

Perhaps the best way to find the answer is first to rule out some of the factors that were not responsible.

To say that it is because of our natural resources is hardly enough. The same rich resources were here when the mound builders held forth. Americans have had no monopoly on iron, coal, copper, aluminum, zinc, lead, or other materials. Such things have always been available to human beings. China, India, Russia, Africa—all have great natural resources. Crude oil oozed from the earth in Baku 4,000 years ago; and when Julius Caesar marched west into Gaul, Europe was a rich and virgin wilderness inhabited by a few roving savages, much as America was when the Pilgrim Fathers landed at Plymouth.*

Is it because we work harder? Again the answer is “No” because in most countries the people work much harder, on the average, than we do.

Can it be that we are a people of inherent superiority? That sounds fine in after-dinner oratory and goes over big at election time, but the argument is difficult to support. Our own ancestors, including the Anglo-Saxons, have starved right along with everyone else.

Can it be that we have more energy than other peoples of the world? That’s not the answer either, but it’s getting pretty close. We are not endowed with any superior energy—mental or physical—but it is a fact that we, in the United States of America, have made more effective use of our human energies than have any other people on the face of the globe—anywhere or at any time.

Source: Henry Grady Weaver
The Mainspring of Human Progress, pp. 5-7.

Topics: America, Heritage; Praxeology



Insects and animals follow certain patterns of action. Honeybees, for example, all make the same hexagonal cells of wax. Beavers all build the same form of dam, and the same kinds of birds make the same kinds of nests. Generation after generation, they continue to follow their changeless routines—always doing the same things in the same ways.

But a man is different because he is a human being; and as a human being, he has the power of reason, the power of imagination, the ability to capitalize on the experiences of the past and the present as bearing on the problems of the future. He has the ability to change himself as well as his environment. He has the ability to progress and to keep on progressing.

Plants occupy space and contend with each other for it. Animals defend their possession of places and things. But man has enormous powers, of unknown extent, to make new things and to change old things into new forms. He not only owns property, but he also actually creates property.

In the last analysis, a thing is not property unless it is owned; and without ownership, there is little incentive to improve it.

Source: Henry Grady Weaver
The Mainspring of Human Progress, p. 11-12

Topics: Praxeology; Private Property



Through foresight, imagination, and individual initiative, man develops tools and facilities which expand his efforts and enable him to produce things which would not otherwise be possible. This is an outstanding difference between man and animal, just as it is an outstanding difference between civilization and barbarism.

Progress toward better living would never have been possible, except through the development of tools to extend the uses of human energy—tools that harness the forces of nature as a substitute for muscular effort.

Source: Henry Grady Weaver
The Mainspring of Human Progress, p. 13

Topics: Praxeology



Man combines conscious curiosity with the lessons of experience and, when permitted to do so, makes the combination pay continuous dividends. In contrast to the lower animals, he includes himself and his social affairs within the scope of his curiosity.

Source: Henry Grady Weaver
The Mainspring of Human Progress, p. 28

Topics: Praxeology



Every human act is preceded by a decision to act, and that decision is based on faith. One cannot even think without a deep-seated faith that he exists and that there is a supreme standard of good in the universe. This is true of every living personwhether his god is the God of Abraham and Christ, Zeus or Isis, reason or fate, history or astrology, or any other god, whether it be true or false.

When the belief is false, the result will be different from what was expected. But the fact remains that every action of every human being springs from the desire to attain something which he considers to be good or from the desire to avoid something which he thinks is evil or undesirable.

Since the actions of any individual are determined by his beliefs, it follows that the underlying control of the energies of any group of persons is the religious faith prevailing among them.

Source: Henry Grady Weaver
The Mainspring of Human Progress, p. 21

Topics: Praxeology

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