The Irrepressible Rothbard
by Murray Rothbard

Four hundred plus pages from the Rothbard-Rockwell Report by my hero Murray Rothbard. The scope of his knowledge of world, national, and local events and politics, the current situation on the ground, and the background history is amazing, and so is his ability to categorize the political philosophies of the players and to apply libertarian theory and moral philosophy to each situation.

It seems he must have digested several books worth of information to prepare to write each of the hundred or so little essays in this book. He was truly a genius. Here are some of the points that I want to remember:

On the problem of outlawing government discrimination:

“if there should be so much as a smidgen of government involved, whether it be use of the public streets or a bit of taxpayer funding, then the so-called ‘right’ of ‘equal access’ must override either private property or indeed any sort of good sense. ... libertarians join the ACLU in protecting the alleged ‘right of free expression’ of bums and beggars on the streets of our big cities, no matter how annoying or intimidating, because these streets are, after all, public, and therefore, so long as they remain public, they must continue to be cesspools, although precisely how this is implied by high libertarian theory is a bit difficult to grasp.” (103)
Anti-gay-rights initiatives:
“these initiatives denounced by the libertarian think-tanker were actually measures it protect the rights of private property owners against assault by laws conferring special privileges upon gays.” (105)
Nafta:
“Article 756 of Nafta requires these three-country commissions to ‘harmonize’ their labor, health, and environmental laws, which means, as in Europe, harmonizing all of these measures in a statist and collectivist direction.” (145)
Secession:
“So far, Gorbachev’s stance contrasts admirably with the policy of the sainted Abraham Lincoln, who used massive force and mass murder to force the seceding Southern states to remain in the Union.” (167)
Hawk theory:
“In World War I, no one ‘appeased’ anyone else, everyone was ultra-hawkish, mobilized, and hanged tough, and the result was a momentous, totally disastrous, and useless four-year war that devastated Europe beyond repair, and ineluctably set the stage for the victories of Communism and Nazism, neither of which would have gotten anywhere if peace had prevailed. War-hawk theory is not only grievously and evidently incorrect, it has the blood of countless millions on its hands.” (170)
Minarchism:
“The minarchist argument against anarcho-capitalism is that there must be a single, overriding government against with a monopoly force to settle disputes by coercion. OK, but in that case and by the very same logic shouldn’t nation-states be replaced by a one-world monopoly government? Shouldn’t unitary world government replace what has been properly termed our existing ‘international anarchy?’” (229)
International aggression:
“The deep flaw in all this is that when A robs or murders B, there is a general agreement that A is in the wrong, and that he has indeed aggressed against the person and just property rights of B. But when State A aggresses against the border of State B, often claiming that the border is unjust and the result of a previous aggression against country A decades before, how can we say a priori that State A is the aggressor and that we must dismiss its defense out of hand? Who says, and on what principle, that State B has the same moral right to all of its existing territory as individual B has to his life and property? And how can the two aggressions be equated when our global democrats refuse to come up with any principles or criteria whatsoever: except the unsatisfactory and absurd call for a world State or blind reliance upon the boundary status quo at any given moment?” (230)
Root causes of crime:
“liberals are concentrating on the wrong ‘root causes.’ That is, on ‘poverty’ or ‘child abuse’ instead of rotten immoral character and the factors that may give rise to such a character. e.g., lack of respect for private property, unwillingness to work, and emphasis on short-run ‘kicks’ instead of forethought about the future.” (251)
Funding abortions:
“But this argument from the poor has nothing to do with abortion; it is a way for leftists and egalitarians to sneak in a plea for total socialization of all consumption. After all, how can poor men or women afford anything, whether it be food, clothing, or TV sets? The left-liberal plea for free abortion on demand is tantamount to a plea for the free supply of everything on demand--all to be supplied by the hapless and exploited taxpayer.” (306)
Social Democrats versus Communists:
Brave New World instead of 1984. (339)
1964 Civil Rights Act:
“specifically Title VII, prohibited discrimination in employment on the basis of race, religion, sex, and other possible characteristics. This horrendous invasion of the property rights of the employer is the source of all the rest of the ills, neocons, and sellout Libertarian to the contrary notwithstanding.” (361)

Year Read: 2001


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