This paper by Randy Barnett has garnered a number of links out there in blogland. The title is “The Moral Foundations of Modern Libertarianism.” My hunch was that this was probably a paper with a predictable subtext condemning Rothbard as too doctrinaire etc.–the subject of innumerable mini-treatises in libertarian newsletters over the years–and this hunch turned out to be true many times over: we are presented with a caricature of Rothbardian rights theory accompanied by a notable lack of citations to the papers Rothbard has actually written on the topic at hand (especially his work criticizing utilitarian economic theory). One gets the impression of Rothbard as little more than a firebrand who said “rights are moral and true” and excommunicated anyone who disagreed (for which Rothbard must thereby be excommunicated by “modern” [i.e. state tolerant] libertarians). Probably the most implausible claim in this paper (by a libertarian who agrees with Victor Davis Hanson that the Iraq war is purely defensive) is the assertion that Rothbardianism as theory is on the decline. But enough commentary from me: here is the paper. May it drive ever more students to read what Rothbard wrote.
Source link: http://archive.mises.org/2283/barnett-on-rothbard/