Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Joyful Introduction to Murray Rothbard

Our economic and political education is so woeful in America, that aside from a few talk radio entertainers, anyone with anything to say on economics is largely unknown.  There is even more ignorance when it comes to the modern liberty movement - whose detractors only seem to be able to conjure up Ayn Rand and point out that she was an Atheist and not a very nice person to boot.  Rand seems to be appearing recently in political cartoons and even in popular culture references - usually treated as an evil and vile person whose ideas are worthless.  The shrillness of it ought to give any reasonable and fair-minded person pause.

But the panoply of contemporary thinkers and scholars devoted to human freedom is so much more broad and wide and deep than any one individual.  There are many who moved in Rand's circles who agreed with some of her premises and disagreed with others.

In fact, there are a plethora of brilliant minds among those who advocate for a radical increase in personal liberty - men who have accomplished great things even in mainstream academia - and yet, who are ignored (or even attacked) by the Establishment.

Interestingly, in the aftermath of the 2008 meltdown and collapse of the housing bubble (predicted by a handful of economic thinkers), and owing to the inability of the Establishment to control the  Internet, thinking people all around the world are becoming acquainted with great minds like Murray Rothbard.  I found the following podcast - a talk by one of his proteges, Dr. Tom Woods - to be a warm and delightful introduction to Rothbard's life, work, and legacy.

By all accounts, Dr. Rothbard was one of those rare men of greatness who was genuinely humble, who truly loved learning, who made everyone comfortable, who had an ebullient sense of humor, who made friends all across the political spectrum, exuded a genuine joie-de-vivre, and who was unbelievably prolific.

I enjoyed reading his fast-paced memoir The Betrayal of the American Right - which is available in pdf as a free download.

I believe the writings of Rothbard may well enthrall and influence younger generations of Americans (perhaps some of whom yet to be born) who will have to pick up the pieces of failed Democrat-Republican policies of Socialism, Fascism, crony Capitalism, and the Welfare/Warfare state.  It may well be that Rothbard was one of those prophetic individuals who was born a century before his time.

1 comment:

Josh Hanson said...

As I'm sure you're aware--but your readers may not be--practically everything Rothbard ever wrote is available for free download from the same site. I'm a big fan of his Anatomy of the State, and his magnum opus Man, Economy, & State is incredible (if you can find the time to read all 1300 pages).