Murray Rothbard

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A leading Austrian economist, student of Ludwig von Mises. A very scholarly and prolific crank author who takes Austrianism to its logically absurd ends.


Debunking Austrian Economics 101 [More...]
More than 370 posts with meticulous references arranged in 46 categories from the blog "Social Democracy For The 21st Century: A Post Keynesian Perspective". An enormous scholarly resource for refuting numerous Austrian Economics claims. Highly recommended.
Praxeology (11 links)
Ludwig von Mises' anti-scientific, axiomatic, a priori methodology for supporting his preferred conservative political economy. Also used by Murray Rothbard, Hans-Hermann Hoppe and some other libertarians. Ignored by academia, promoted by the crank vanity press Ludwig von Mises Institute.
A Day in Rothbardian Anarcho-Capitalist Paradise [More...]
Rampant inequality, poverty, disease, crime and violence. "Libertarians have a major problem: there are very few people indeed who would want such a society or think that it would be a good place to live in."
A Tale of Two Libertarianisms [More...]
A review of Murray Rothbard's posthumous "Rothbard vs. the Philosophers", where Rothbard shits on everybody else who is not as pure as his style of libertarian.
An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought (Endres review) [More...]
Tony Endres' scathing review of Rothbard's magnum opus. "Rothbard has produced two volumes which are highly jaundiced and purblind." From History of Economics Review.
Anarcho-Depravity [More...]
Libertarians (including the Libertarian Party have a long, sordid and extensive history of claiming children ought to be treated as free adults when it comes to sex, employment, legal prostitution, legal addictions, etc.
Existential Comics 234: Desert Island Economics [More...]
Karl Marx and Rosa Luxemburg are shipwrecked on Liberty Island, owned by Ayn Rand and Murray Rothbard. "Save the brandy!" Does a good job of explaining the distinction between private property and personal property.
Fractional Reserve Banking (3 links)
A huge bugaboo of Austrian economists such as Murray Rothbard. They claim it is essentially fraud and embezzlement, and that a 100 percent reserve gold standard is the necessary alternative.
Greedy Reductionism (3 links)
A philosophical crime of trying to explain too much with a single principle. Typical of almost all libertarianism.
Homesteading (John Quiggin) [More...]
"Nozick’s use of a term that specifically describes rights created by the US state simply emphasizes the point that property rights are always and everywhere social constructs. Your property rights are those that are accepted and enforced by the society to which you belong."
How Did We Get Here? Or, Why Do 20 Year Old Newsletters Matter So Damn Much? [More...]
Steve Horwitz denounces the paleolibertarian strategy of Ron Paul, Lew Rockwell and Murray Rothbard. "What the media has in their hands is only the tip of the iceberg of the really unsavory garbage that the paleo turn produced back then."
How Ideology Blocks Reality [More...]
"Upon encountering an objection to one's ideology, divert the discussion into something that is related to the objection but actually does not respond to it at all. Make a valid point about that side-topic. From then on, whenever someone raises that objection, note the valid point made on the side-topic, and then say, "So that is handled in the literature: I can't believe you don't know that!""
Libertarianism and Pollution [More...]
Libertarian Matt Zwolinski points out that the libertarian theories of rights of Nozick, Rothbard, and Mack don't work for pollution problems. He also says "[Free-Market Environmentalism] can serve as a supplement to a theory of rights, and never as a substitute for one." He concludes that there is currently no good libertarian solution, using the euphemism "a fruitful subject for future research." It never occurs to him that essentially government holds rights and powers which solve these problems. But with his libertarian blinders on, he never observes that the environment consists of commons that are resistant to privatization.
Libertarians are very confused about capitalism [More...]
Elites didn't get rich off of some “free market.” Here's why libertarians should back radical wealth redistribution. Socks Rand Paul and Murray Rothbard for ignoring the coercive origins of capitalist wealth.
Libertarians for slavery [More...]
Mike Travers (mtraven) points out that Murray Rothbard is happy to support the collective rights of slavers over the individual rights of slaves.
Libertarians have more in common with the alt-right than they want you to think [More...]
"Historically, prominent libertarian thinkers have made the decision to cultivate ties with the nationalist far right, and have viewed racial demagoguery both as an efficacious political tool and an intellectually defensible position. The libertarian-to-fascist pipeline may have been forged partially by coincidence, but it was also crafted and maintained."
Murray Rothbards many errors about Keynes and probability [More...]
An examination of Murray Rothbard's comments on Keynes's logical approach to probability reveals that Rothbard was either a master of deceit and deception or an ignorant fool.Either case is good grounds for eliminating M Rothbard from serious consideration as an economist or philospher.
Paleolibertarianism (13 links)
A strategy of old-time racist conservatism combined with libertarian mummery and Historical Revisionism. Adherents include(d) Murray Rothbard, Lew Rockwell, Ron Paul, Charles Murray, the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and now perhaps Donald Trump.
Pre-Modern Ireland (2 links)
Some libertarians (Murray Rothbard) claim Irish anarchy was basically anarcho-capitalist and lasted more than a thousand years. This is a cherry-picked claim that ignores the history of kings, slaves, constant warfare and violence and much more. Family, not the individual was the basic unit.
RationalWiki: Murray Rothbard [More...]
The RationalWiki article on Murray Rothbard. Includes a number of Rothbard's most extreme positions.
Rothbard as a philosopher [More...]
Conservative philosopher Edward Feser says: "he seems incapable of producing even a minimally respectable philosophical argument, by which I mean an argument that doesn't commit any obvious fallacies or fail to address certain obvious objections." Ouch! Rothbard's argument for self-ownership is dissected.
Rothbard revisited [More...]
Conservative philosopher Edward Feser rebuts Gerald Casey's defense of Murray Rothbard.
Say What, Murray? [More...]
Murray Rothbard claims Say crushed opponents of Say's Law, but didn't mention that Say recanted later on.
A long-supplanted philosophical methodology that is preoccupied with "true" definitions of words, a priori knowledge, logic, deduction, system, and its literary form of syllogistic argumentation. Apriorism and avoidance of empiricism are characteristic.
The Austrian Disease -- Poor Scholarship, a Priori Bias [More...]
Philip Pilkington says "Praxeology is to the libertarians as diamat was to the Marxist-Leninists; an a priori pseudo-philosophy that allows them to ignore unwelcome evidence and insulate themselves from criticism"
The Betrayal of the American Right [More...]
Murray Rothbard confesses to the theft of the word libertarian on page 83. Propaganda to be taken with a big grain of salt.
The Case Against Egoistic, Libertarian Baby-Starving [More...]
"According to some Libertarians and Objectivists, it is permissible to abandon or refuse to feed one's children [...]"
The Chapo Guide to Revolution ridicules libertarianism.
Starting with a comparison to the recruiting methods of Scientology. Then they justly slam the ridiculous excesses of Murray Rothbard and Hans-Hermann Hoppe
The Ethics of Liberty (book, online) (3 links)
A book that conveniently ignores actual history to declare homesteading is the one true justification for property.
The Forgotten Man [More...]
Rothbard's influence on the far right.
The Horror of Rothbardian Natural Rights [More...]
Murry Rothbard argues for legal rights of parents to kill their children by starvation.
The Libertarian Reader: Classic & Contemporary Writings from Lao-Tzu to Milton Friedman (book)
(1998) David Boaz cherry picks passages from historical figures as if they wouldn't object strongly to modern libertarianism. Plus selections from the usual ideologues.
The Moral Depravity of Rothbardianism [More...]
Allowing children to die, markets in children, child labor, torture and private weapons of mass destruction.
The Noble Task of Revisionism [More...]
Murray Rothbard proclaims the necessity of libertarian revisionist history, because all other history is the "lies and deception of the State and its Court Intellectuals". He wants us to switch to HIS propaganda.
The Sociology of the Ayn Rand Cult [More...]
Murray Rothbard's scathing description of 1972 Objectivism as a cult. "Thus, power not liberty or reason, was the central thrust of the Randian movement." Excellent reporting.
Those Dishonest Goldsmiths [More...]
A Cato Institute paper that savages Murray Rothbard for the false claim that fractional reserve banking was born of criminal beginnings resembling embezzlement.
Tyler Cowen: Statist, anti-Rothbardian agent of the Kochtopus [More...]
Tyler Cowen is a strong critic of Austrian and Rothbardian views, and he is hated for that.
What if Rothbard had been against Newton's politics? [More...]
Gene Callahan explains one of Murray Rothbard's sillier anti-Keynsian arguments.
Where did Donald Trump get his racialized rhetoric? From libertarians. [More...]
A brief overview of the history of nakedly racist Rothbardian paleolibertarianism and and his fellow travellers. These ideas have been adopted wholesale by Donald Trump.
Why Do Government Enterprises Work So Well? [More...]
Bryan Caplan points out that Murray Rothbard's (and other economists) criticisms of government prove too much: they predict total government failure and cannot explain why government works as well as it does.
William Buckley on Murray Rothbard
William Buckley puts Murray Rothbard in his place. Pages xxiii to xxv from the introduction to American Conservative Thought in the Twentieth Century by William Buckley.


Not for nothing have fellow libertarians described the LP as the Molestitarian Party.
Garden Mole (pseudonym), "Anarcho-Depravity"
I have long entertained a suspicion, with regard to the decisions of philosophers upon all subjects, and found in myself a greater inclination to dispute, than assent to their conclusions. There is one mistake, to which they seem liable, almost without exception; they confine too much their principles, and make no account of that vast variety, which nature has so much affected in all her operations. When a philosopher has once laid hold of a favourite principle, which perhaps accounts for many natural effects, he extends the same principle over the whole creation, and reduces to it every phænomenon, though by the most violent and absurd reasoning. Our own mind being narrow and contracted, we cannot extend our conception to the variety and extent of nature; but imagine, that she is as much bounded in her operations, as we are in our speculation.
David Hume, "Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding", "The Sceptic" pg. 163.
Hoppe has done us the great favour of demonstrating that the logical upshot of Rothbard's system is not "a new liberty," but a totalitarian plutocracy that tolerates no dissent whatsoever.
Gene Callahan, "Do You Know About..."
Doherty also shows us that the libertarian movement has had a dark side from its very beginnings. It is hard not to cringe at libertarian flirtations with neo- Confederate versions of states’ rights, or at their morally equivalent flirtations with the New Left. Milton Friedman’s apparent co-optation by the Pinochet regime still seems problematic, as does the embarrassing weakness of Ronald Reagan’s dealings with such right-wing regimes as Zia-ul-Haq’s Pakistan and apartheid South Africa (unmentioned by Doherty in the generally admiring pages he devotes to Reagan). Murray Rothbard provides decades’ worth of moral insanity on his own, with his praise for Joseph McCarthy and Strom Thurmond in one decade and for Black Power in the next (pp. 245, 254-56, 341); his apologetics for the Soviet Union (p. 383); his rejection of the rights of children (p. 560); his radical re-definition of the concept of assault (p. 559); and his insouciant avowal of the thesis that in the absence of plaintiffs against them, violent criminals ought to be allowed to go unprosecuted for their crimes (pp. 559-60). Over and above this one can’t help noticing the general decadence and eccentricity of the libertarian movement as a whole.
Irfan Khawaja, "Review Essay: Brian Doherty’s Radicals for Capitalism..."
"But who ever thought Rothbard was a serious philosopher in the first place?" you ask. Well, Rothbardians think he was; indeed, they regard him as a kind of "renaissance man," and their absurd overestimation of his significance in the history of thought is comparable to Objectivists' overestimation of Ayn Rand's significance.
Edward Feser, "Rothbard revisited"
...every discipline, as long as it used the Aristotelian method of definition, has remained arrested in a state of empty verbiage and barren scholasticism....
Karl Popper, "The Open Society and Its Enemies", 1950, p. 206.
One gratifying aspect of our rise to some prominence is that, for the first time in my memory, we, “our side,” had captured a crucial word from the enemy. Other words, such as “liberal,” had been originally identified with laissez-faire libertarians, but had been captured by left-wing statists, forcing us in the 1940s to call ourselves rather feebly "true" or "classical" liberals. “Libertarians,” in contrast, had long been simply a polite word for left-wing anarchists, that is for anti-private property anarchists, either of the communist or syndicalist variety. But now we had taken it over, and more properly from the view of etymology; since we were pro- ponents of individual liberty and therefore of the individual’s right to his property.
Murray Rothbard, "The Betrayal of the American Right p.83."
So long as the State permits its subjects to leave its territory, then, it can be said to act as does any other owner who sets down rules for people living on his property.
Murray Rothbard, "The Ethics of Liberty" p. 172.
If the State may be said to properly own its territory, then it is proper for it to make rules for anyone who presumes to live in that area. It can legitimately seize or control private property because there is no private property in its area, because it really owns the entire land surface. So long as the State permits its subjects to leave its territory, then, it can be said to act as does any other owner who sets down rules for people living on his property.
Murray Rothbard, "The Ethics of Liberty" p. 172.
To solve the problem that few Americans are interested in small government, Rothbard argued that libertarians needed to align themselves with people they might not like much in order to expand their numbers. “Outreach to the Rednecks” was needed to make common cause with far-right Christian conservatives who hated the federal government, disliked drugs and wanted to crack down on crime.
Matthew Sheffield, "Where did Donald Trump get his racialized rhetoric? From libertarians."