Mises Wire

Murray Rothbard RIP

Today is the 24th anniversary of Murray’s Rothbard’s death. What did he stand for? In an outstanding recent article, Lew Rockwell, one of Murray’s closest friends and the founder of the Mises Institute and LewRockwell.com, offers the best answer.

Lew says: “If you want to understand Murray Rothbard, you need to keep one principle in mind. If you remember this, you will have the key to grasping his thought. And you should want to understand Murray Rothbard, because he was the greatest American defender of liberty in the twentieth century.

The principle in question is that Murray Rothbard had a consistent vision of the good society that he upheld throughout his long career. He described this vision in a vast number of books and articles, including Man, Economy, and StatePower and MarketThe Ethics of Liberty, and Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature. That vision was always the same.

What was this vision? As everybody knows, Murray believed in a complete free market. The State, which Nietzsche called ‘that coldest of all cold monsters’ was the enemy.

In order to maintain a free society, people needed to hold certain values. Murray was a traditionalist who believed in natural law and the family. He deplored assaults on tradition such as the modern feminist movement. In cultural matters, Murray started out on the Right, and he always remained there.

If you want to know what Rothbard’s vision applied to contemporary America would be like in practice, you should look to Ron Paul. Dr. Paul’s career in Congress, marked by his opposition to war and the Fed, is the best example of the anti-elitist free market values that Murray supported.”

I am grateful to Murray Rothbard for everything that I have learned from him. If only Murray and his wife JoAnn, his “indispensable framework” were still here to guide usI

Note: The views expressed on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.
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