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It's usually best to not pay attention to these trivialists. As Raimondo points out, "he was a giant among pygmies, too large to be consumed by the struggle with his errant followers. And yet, a main virtue of this book is precisely that it debunks a room-full of myths about the man, and it does so not with conjecture, but with primary documentation. Let's consider a few. Raimondo produces letters and articles from his earliest writings showing that he had mapped out most of his life's work.

That goes for his attachment to Austro-free-market theory, his anarcho-capitalism, his devotion to natural rights, his love of the Old Right political paradigm, his optimistic outlook for liberty, his hatred of war, his essential Americanism, and even his reactionary cultural outlook. The ideas were all developed throughout the course of his life, but the seeds seemed to be there from the beginning. The attacks were too. Ralph Lord Roy's book Apostles of Discord blasted some early Rothbard articles as dangerously supporting "unregulated laissez-faire capitalism.

He learned, he developed, he elaborated, but he never made a fundamental shift. Rothbard never claimed complete originality, as his attackers imply. His economic theories came from the work of Ludwig von Mises, his political ethical views from the Jeffersonian-Thomist tradition, his foreign policy from the American Old Right, his anarchism from the Tucker-Nock American tradition of political radicalism.

What Rothbard did was draw them together into a complete and coherent apparatus, and anchor them, as had never been done before, to a complete theory of private property. This is his unique contribution, and Raimondo demonstrates it. Austrian economics and libertarian theory might not have survived into the 21st century but for Rothbard's work. And that doesn't count his hundreds of micro-discoveries along the way.

Yes, he was original, and he always underestimated the originality and power of his ideas. He was just an ideologue. Rothbard wrote volumes and volumes of economic history and economic theory having nothing expressly to do with libertarian theory, or political advocacy, except to the extent that they dovetailed with the rest of his research program. Raimondo also skewers the claim that Rothbard turned to non-mathematical Austrian economics because he didn't know math. His Columbia undergraduate degree was in mathematics, with highest honors.

He rejected the use of math in building economic theory on strict methodological grounds. In any case, even as he was engaged in political polemics in the s and early s against the Buckley takeover of the Right, he was writing Man, Economy, and State , as well as long scholarly pieces for the economic journals. He was accused of pamphleteering early on, but his scholarship kept pace with his journalism, as if there were two or three Rothbards working continuously.

He had no lasting influence. As you read Raimondo, you are struck by how far and wide this man's influence extended and extends in the world-wide classical liberal movement. He was the founder of the Center for Libertarian Studies, the founding editor of the Journal of Libertarian Studies , the founder of the first Austrian School economics journal, the inspiration behind the Mises Institute, the muse at the New Individualist Review , the leader of the split in YAF, the motivator behind the whole libertarian movement, the recruiter for Mises's seminar, the person who named the Cato Institute, the organizer of the main architects of the old and principled LP platform, and much more.

His speeches appeared in amazing places, from Joe McCarthy rallies to the floor of Congress. His "Circle Bastiat" provided the intellectual infrastructure for decades of growth in the movement. The world today is populated by Rothbardians, and they are wielding surprising influence. He should have stuck to high theory. The implication here is that Rothbard would have had greater influence had he not reached out to popular audiences.

Like Mises, Rothbard believed in waging a multi-front battle. But Rothbard himself granted that his course was not wise, if what he sought was professional advancement. As he explained in a letter to Robert Kephart:. When I was a young libertarian starting out, I was advised by Leonard Read: One big trouble with that is that then people remain ignorant of the ruling class, and the fact that Business often pushes regulatory measures to cartelize the system, so I went ahead and named names…. It will injure your career, and ruin your scholarly image as a laissez-faire Austrian. Then, come the late s, I was advised by friends: Stick to economics, that's your scholarly area anyway.

Everybody is against this peace stuff, and it will kill your scholarly image, and ruin you with the conservative movement. I'm sure that if, in Ralph [Raico]'s phrase, I had been 'careful,' and followed wise advice, I would now be basking in lots of money, prestige, and ambiance…. Why did I take the wrong course? So then it was up to me. He quit doing serious economics after the early s. This accusation seems to credit the greatness of Man, Economy, and State and America's Great Depression from the early s, but suggests that he peaked in these years and went downhill from there.

This charge can only be sustained by failing to carefully examine his page bibliography. Paradigm for our Age" appeared in , and, in , he had chapters in several scholarly books on World War I, Herbert Hoover, and economic method. So it goes in , the year he wrote a long piece on method for a volume devoted to phenomenology oh, yes, he also came out with For a New Liberty that year , and several more articles for economic journals. And in , the first and second volumes of Conceived in Liberty came out — a detailed narrative history of the Colonial period.

A year later, fully eight long scholarly pieces appeared, as well as another volume of Conceived. On and on it goes throughout his career including his studies of Fetter's interest rate theory in , his three seminal pieces on Austrian theory for the first post-Mises books on Austrian theory, his introduction to Mises's Theory of Money and Credit in , his eight large scholarly pieces on economic theory in including his many entries in the Palgrave , etc.

He abandoned radical libertarianism after the early s. This is the opposite charge from the one made above, made by people who were irritated that he did not keep writing For A New Liberty again and again.

Anatomy of the State

But in fact, Rothbard kept plugging away on extending the libertarian framework, with pieces throughout the s one on punishment is cited and extended in Randy Barnett's new book on libertarian legal theory. He didn't do any serious scholarly work after the late s. This is another related charge, and it is equally as absurd. Take a look at Edward Elgar's Logic of Action , a two-volume collection of his scientific writing appearing in that publisher's Economists of the Century series. Most of the pieces come from the s and s, when he was, if possible, more productive than he had been during any other period.

He allowed Libertarian activities to distract him from scholarship. This line is repeated by those who were actively involved with his struggles over the leadership of the Libertarian Party. Certainly those battles consumed his enemies. There are even times when these activities threaten to consume Raimondo! But, as he points out, during the worst of the battles — , Rothbard wrote and published The Mystery of Banking and The Ethics of Liberty "in addition to several major scholarly articles, and was simultaneously researching a book on the Progressive era in American history" manuscript in the archives of the Mises Institute.

This is a fallacy. For Rothbard, activism of this sort was a habit, a means of relaxation, a source for diverting his energies in order to replenish them for the heavy lifting he had to do. It is as silly to imagine "what might have been" as it is to think what the average person could accomplish at work if he never had to sleep. By the way, Rothbard also spent countless hours reading about chess, attending classes on music and architecture, watching his beloved soap operas, and keeping up with sports.

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Murray Rothbard - Wikipedia

Are we to say that these "distracted" him, or should we say that they made him a well-rounded person? He left libertarianism to become a leftist in the s. Raimondo's book puts all this in perspective, at long last. Murray never became a leftist in the way we understand that term. Again, his views never changed. His "New Left Period" had nothing to do with hippies; it was an attempt to seek soldiers for the libertarian cause within the ranks of the Left because it was here you found the anti-statism of the day: Murray worked to find the best parts of the New Left and steer its leadership to a pure position.

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Please try again later. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. The story of the iconoclastic libertarian anarchist and Austrian economist Murray Rothbard is told by another character, Justin Raimondo of Antiwar. Rothbard died just a few years too early for me to know him as a contemporary commentator, but I knew him through his successors Raimondo, Lew Rockwell and of course Ron Paul. He had a very pithy way of putting things-for instance when Bill Buckley asked him to comment on the accusations of Buchanan's anti-Semitism, he said "nobody cares except the good old New York Times" and went on to rant about repealing the 20th century, the Fed, the income tax, various amendmentts and going all the way back to the good old Articles of Confederation.

This is a very detailed biography, beginning with Rothbard's youth as a prodigy and the many influences over the years. A recurring theme is that he took controversial stances because "nobody else is doing it", from Joe McCarthy to the radical black separatists in the 60s. The key influence, of course, was Ludwig von Mises, and the Austrian school, and Rothbard went out in a direction that was a little out there even for them.

They always refer to Hayek as if he got some things but was way too mainstream. Then there was the encounter with Ayn Rand-the things she got right went way back to Aristotle anyway. She was brilliant in some ways but naive in thinking that she had invented everything. Rothbard had a much broader reading of history, philosophy, theology and all the humanities, as does the Austrian school in general, so he was able to situate himself in the tradition.

Raimondo explains how the Austrian school is more humanistic than the "scientific" approach of most economics, an analysis of human interactions and interests, and traces itself back to Thomas Aquinas and scholasticism. Rothbard had a profound respect for theology and opposed the anti-religious bent of left-libertarianism in the Libertarian Party, even though he was personally an atheist.

In the case of Joe McCarthy, Rothbard approved not the ends but the means, a total assault on the establishment of both parties, what today we would call the deep state. While Hayek wanted to educate a new elite, McCarthy made a populist appeal directly over the heads of the media and the establishment to the people. This occurred again with Buchanan and now Trump, as Raimondo observes at Antiwar. One person found this helpful. Rothbard was as I'm sure you already know an anarcho-capitalist, a foremost American exponent of Austrian economics, as well as "Mr.

Libertarian" in the Libertarian movement. The author states in the Introduction to this book that "I hope, in what is little more than an extended biographical sketch, to capture the essential Rothbard, not only his ideas but also his personality and some sense of his historical significance. To those readers unfamiliar with the man and his works, this book is meant as a doorway to discovering the most important and interesting development in the modern history of ideas: A mixture of agnosticism and Reform Judaism pg.

He actually endorsed Adlai Stevenson for President, and worked for his campaign pg. He was briefly associated with Buckley's National Review pg. He admitted that "Almost all of the young people drawn to libertarianism in the s and early s came through the Randian movement. The book details at some length the Libertarian Party Presidential candidate squabbles during the Roger MacBride-Ed Clark-David Bergland-Ron Paul era, which "reduced the membership of the Libertarian Party by at least half and destroyed it as an effective political force.

One person found this helpful 2 people found this helpful. After reading a few of Rothbards books and viewing a few youtube videos I came away respecting his views,intellect and wit. You know in a nutshell where Rothbard stood in his views of the state but with Justin Raimondo's book I think I got a sense of the man Murray Rothbard. Written in a very easy,casual pace you go through life with Murray and in the end that is what one looks for in a biography. With this book I think further readings of Murray's works will become a little more personal as well as educational. Rothbard stated that in fact Machlup shared the opposing positivist view associated with economist Milton Friedman.

According to libertarian economists Tyler Cowen and Richard Fink, [60] Rothbard wrote that the term evenly rotating economy ERE can be used to analyze complexity in a world of change. The words ERE had been introduced by Mises as an alternative nomenclature for the mainstream economic method of static equilibrium and general equilibrium analysis. Cowen and Fink found "serious inconsistencies in both the nature of the ERE and its suggested uses". With the sole exception of Rothbard, no other economist adopted Mises' term and the concept continued to be called "equilibrium analysis".

In a article critical of Rothbard's "reflexive opposition" to inflation, The Economist noted that his views are increasingly gaining influence among politicians and laypeople on the right. The article contrasted Rothbard's categorical rejection of inflationary policies with the monetary views of "sophisticated Austrian-school monetary economists such as George Selgin and Larry White, [who] follow Hayek in treating stability of nominal spending as a monetary ideal—a position not all that different from Mr Sumner 's".

According to economist Peter Boettke, Rothbard is better described as a property rights economist than as an Austrian economist. In , Boettke noted that Rothbard "vehemently attacked all of the books of the younger Austrians". Although Rothbard adopted Ludwig von Mises' deductive methodology for his social theory and economics, [64] he parted with Mises on the question of ethics. Specifically, he rejected Mises conviction that ethical values remain subjective and opposed utilitarianism in favor of principle-based, natural law reasoning.

In defense of his free market views, Mises employed utilitarian economic arguments aimed at demonstrating that interventionist policies made all of society worse off. On the other hand, Rothbard concluded that interventionist policies do in fact benefit some people, including certain government employees and beneficiaries of social programs.

Therefore, unlike Mises, Rothbard attempted to assert an objective, natural law basis for the free market.

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Rothbard accepted the labor theory of property , but rejected the Lockean proviso , arguing that if an individual mixes his labor with unowned land then he becomes the proper owner eternally and that after that time it is private property which may change hands only by trade or gift. Rothbard was a strong critic of egalitarianism. Various theorists have espoused legal philosophies similar to " anarcho-capitalism ". However, Rothbard was the first person to use the term as in the midth century he synthesized elements from the Austrian School of economics, classical liberalism and 19th-century American individualist anarchists.

During his years at graduate school in the late s, Rothbard considered whether a strict laissez-faire policy would require that private police agencies replace government protective services. He visited Baldy Harper , a founder of the Foundation for Economic Education , [71] who doubted the need for any government whatsoever. During this period, Rothbard was influenced by 19th-century American individualist anarchists like Lysander Spooner and Benjamin Tucker and the Belgian economist Gustave de Molinari who wrote about how such a system could work.

Rothbard began to consider himself a private property anarchist in and later began to use "anarcho-capitalist" to describe his political ideology. Anarcho-capitalism would mean the end of the state monopoly on force. In Man, Economy, and State , Rothbard divides the various kinds of state intervention in three categories: According to Sanford Ikeda, Rothbard's typology "eliminates the gaps and inconsistencies that appear in Mises's original formulation".

Rothbard argues that self-interest therefore prejudices the views of many economists in favor of increased government intervention. Michael O'Malley, Associate Professor of History at George Mason University , characterizes Rothbard's "overall tone regard[ing]" the civil rights movement and the women's suffrage movement to be "contemptuous and hostile".


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Rothbard had pointed out in his Origins of the Welfare State that progressives had evolved from elitist Gilded Age pietist Protestants that wanted to bring a secularized version of millennialism under a welfare state, which was spearheaded by a "shock troop of Yankee protestant and Jewish women and lesbian spinsters".

Rothbard called for the elimination of "the entire 'civil rights' structure" stating that it "tramples on the property rights of every American". He consistently favored repeal of the Civil Rights Act , including Title VII regarded employment discrimination [80] and called for overturning the Brown v. Board of Education decision on the grounds that forced integration of schools was aggressive.

He also advocated that the police "clear the streets of bums and vagrants" and quipped "who cares? Rothbard held strong opinions about many leaders of the civil rights movement. However, while he compared Malcolm X's black nationalism favorably to King's integrationism and for a time praised black nationalism, [83] in he rejected the vision of a "separate black nation", asking "does anyone really believe that [ Political scientist Jean Hardisty commented on Rothbard's "praise" of the argument, made in Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray 's book The Bell Curve , that blacks tend to score on average lower than whites on IQ tests.

Like Randolph Bourne , Rothbard believed that "war is the health of the state". According to David Gordon, this was the reason for Rothbard's opposition to aggressive foreign policy. Rothbard used insights of Vilfredo Pareto , Gaetano Mosca and Robert Michels to build a model of state personnel, goals and ideology. Our entry into World War II was the crucial act in foisting a permanent militarization upon the economy and society, in bringing to the country a permanent garrison state, an overweening military-industrial complex , a permanent system of conscription.

It was the crucial act in creating a mixed economy run by Big Government, a system of state monopoly capitalism run by the central government in collaboration with Big Business and Big Unionism. Rothbard's colleague Joseph Stromberg notes that Rothbard made two exceptions to his general condemnation of war: Grant and other Union leaders for "open[ing] the Pandora's Box of genocide and the extermination of civilians" in their war against the South.

Rothbard warned that the Middle East conflict would draw the United States into a world war. Rothbard criticized the Camp David Accords for having betrayed Palestinian aspirations and opposed Israel's invasion of Lebanon. On the one hand there are the Palestinian Arabs, who have tilled the soil or otherwise used the land of Palestine for centuries; and on the other, there are a group of external fanatics, who come from all over the world, and who claim the entire land area as "given" to them as a collective religion or tribe at some remote or legendary time in the past.

There is no way the two claims can be resolved to the satisfaction of both parties. There can be no genuine settlement, no "peace" in the face of this irrepressible conflict; there can only be either a war to the death, or an uneasy practical compromise which can satisfy no one. That is the harsh reality of the Middle East. Rothbard embraced "historical revisionism" as an antidote to what he perceived to be the dominant influence exerted by corrupt "court intellectuals" over mainstream historical narratives. In addition to broadly supporting his historical views, Rothbard promoted Barnes as an influence for future revisionists.

Rothbard's endorsing of World War II revisionism and his association with Barnes and other Holocaust deniers have drawn criticism from within the political right. Williamson wrote an opinion piece published by National Review which condemned Rothbard for "making common cause with the 'revisionist' historians of the Third Reich", a term he used to describe American Holocaust deniers associated with Rothbard, such as James J.

Martin of the Institute for Historical Review. The piece also characterized "Rothbard and his faction" as being "culpably indulgent" of Holocaust denial, the view which "specifically denies that the Holocaust actually happened or holds that it was in some way exaggerated". In an article for Rothbard's 50th birthday, Rothbard's friend and Buffalo State College historian Ralph Raico stated that Rothbard "is the main reason that revisionism has become a crucial part of the whole libertarian position". In the Ethics of Liberty , Rothbard explores issues regarding children's rights in terms of self-ownership and contract.

He also holds children have the right to run away from parents and seek new guardians as soon as they are able to choose to do so. He asserted that parents have the right to put a child out for adoption or sell the rights to the child in a voluntary contract in what Rothbard suggests will be a "flourishing free market in children". He believes that selling children as consumer goods in accord with market forces—while "superficially monstrous"—will benefit "everyone" involved in the market: In Rothbard's view of parenthood, "the parent should not have a legal obligation to feed, clothe, or educate his children, since such obligations would entail positive acts coerced upon the parent and depriving the parent of his rights".

However, according to Rothbard, "the purely free society will have a flourishing free market in children". In a fully libertarian society, he wrote, "the existence of a free baby market will bring such 'neglect' down to a minimum". Economist Gene Callahan of Cardiff University , formerly a scholar at the Rothbard-affiliated Mises Institute, observes that Rothbard allows "the logical elegance of his legal theory" to "trump any arguments based on the moral reprehensibility of a parent idly watching her six-month-old child slowly starve to death in its crib".

Rothbard consistently advocated for abolition of the subpoena power, court attendance, contempt of court powers, coerced testimony of witnesses, compulsory jury duty and the bail system, arguing that all these functions of the judiciary were violations of natural rights and American common law. He instead advocated that until a defendant is convicted, he or she should not be held in prison or jails, writing that "except in those cases where the criminal has been caught red-handed and where a certain presumption of guilt therefore exists, it is impossible to justify any imprisonment before conviction, let alone before trial.

And even when someone is caught red-handed, there is an important reform that needs to be instituted to keep the system honest: If everyone is supposed to be subject to the same criminal law, then exempting the authorities from that law gives them a legal license to commit continual aggression. The policeman who apprehends a criminal and arrests him, and the judicial and penal authorities who incarcerate him before trial and conviction—all should be subject to the universal law".

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Rothbard argued that police who make wrongful arrests or indictments should be charged with kidnapping. In The Ethics of Liberty , Rothbard advocates for a "frankly retributive theory of punishment" or a system of "a tooth or two teeth for a tooth". The thief would be "put in a [temporary] state of enslavement to his victim" if he is unable to pay him immediately. Rothbard also applies his theory to justify beating and torturing violent criminals, although the beatings are required to be proportional to the crimes for which they are being punished.

In chapter twelve of Ethics , [] Rothbard turns his attention to suspects arrested by the police. If the suspect turns out to be guilty, then the police should be exonerated, for then they have only ladled out to the murderer a parcel of what he deserves in return; his rights had already been forfeited by more than that extent.

An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard

But if the suspect is not convicted, then that means that the police have beaten and tortured an innocent man, and that they in turn must be put into the dock for criminal assault". Callahan goes on to state that Rothbard's scheme gives the police a strong motive to frame the suspect after having tortured him or her. In an essay condemning " scientism in the study of man", Rothbard rejected the application of causal determinism to human beings, arguing that the actions of human beings—as opposed to those of everything else in nature—are not determined by prior causes, but by " free will ".

Rothbard opposed what he considered the overspecialization of the academy and sought to fuse the disciplines of economics, history, ethics and political science to create a "science of liberty". Rothbard described the moral basis for his anarcho-capitalist position in two of his books: In his Power and Market , Rothbard describes how a stateless economy might function. As a young man, Rothbard considered himself part of the Old Right , an anti-statist and anti- interventionist branch of the Republican Party.

In the presidential election , Rothbard, "as a Jewish student at Columbia, horrified his peers by organizing a Students for Strom Thurmond chapter, so staunchly did he believe in states' rights ". By the late s, Rothbard's "long and winding yet somehow consistent road had taken him from anti- New Deal and anti-interventionist Robert Taft supporter into friendship with the quasi-pacifist Nebraska Republican Congressman Howard Buffett father of Warren Buffett then over to the League of Adlai Stevensonian Democrats and, by , into tentative comradeship with the anarchist factions of the New Left".