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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/4388/interview-with-rothbard-1972/

Interview with Rothbard: 1972

November 30, 2005 by

Q: Your newsletter, LIBERTARIAN FORUM, was co-edited by Karl Hess. He has since departed. What ideological differences led to this Split?

A: I made a very tangential attack on the Black Panthers. He got very upset about this. He thought, one, it was a terrible thing to attack the Panthers, and two, since his name was on the masthead, the Panthers might think he was a part of the party which was attacking them. He felt at that time that it was very important to work with the Panthers.

I consider the Panthers a bunch of hooligans and I don’t see any reason for supporting them – either in regard to whatever criminal activities they participate in or their free breakfast program. You know the Salvation Army has been giving away breakfast for many years, and I don’t see anything particularly revolutionary in that. At any rate, at that time he was very committed to the Panthers and that was really the split.

Read the full interview in this previously rare copy in pdf and also in HTML.


Bobby Fever November 30, 2005 at 7:43 pm

Interesting response to the non-voting question. I always thought he was against granting consent to our overlords. Then again, as a serial campaigner, I guess he could do nothing but allow for voting in elections.

Dain November 30, 2005 at 7:45 pm

Ah, the Black Panthers weren’t so bad. Bobby Seale and others marched on the steps of California’s capital in Sacramento – my home town – to defend the right to carry concealed weapons (or was it revealed weapons?), as well as fought with licensing boards over their illegal medical services. Although this all may have been in the service of a kind of Black Communism, certainly their anti-state tactics and even militancy can be appreciated by the radical libertarian.

N.T. Nolan November 30, 2005 at 8:58 pm

I think Rothbard had the right idea about the construction of a Libertarian Party and not putting forth a candidate for President so early. The worst thing that happened to the LP was coming out of the gate weak, marginalizing the entire movement, and characterizing its membership as nothing but a bunch of drug-addled hippies. The party is still fighting that image today. Very few people see the substance and style behind classical liberalism/libertarianism thirty years later.

Kenneth R. Gregg December 1, 2005 at 12:33 am

Wow! It’s been ages since I read the New Banner people’s stuff! They were amazingly good on a number of topics and one of the most hard-core of the early anarchocapitalists. They were, like many of us back then, a Rand/Rothbardian hybrid. I’d forgotten that Rothbard had anything to do with them.

If any of the Banneristi are still around, they should get the New Banner back issues online. There was some great stuff in there.

I was in the Los Angeles area at the time of their publication and the comparable publication here was Invictus. Many of these student radical periodicals built up grass roots organizations which had a lot of impact.

The New Banner people were involved in educational work based on a Montessori/Rand synthesis and had a lot of good ideas.

Just a thought.
Just Ken

Justin December 1, 2005 at 12:41 am

Here is a choice quote:

“These things are quite blatant; there is no secret about it. I think it is pretty clear that Friedman is a statist. I mean, if you are in favor of the state having control of the money supply, control of the education system, and a guaranteed annual income, that’s it. There is not much more to be said. The fact that the Friedmanites are against price control is all very well, and I hail that, but the fundamental aspects of the state remain. The state still commands the highposts of the economy.”

[They have no realization] “that they are exploiting the public, that they have a whole bureaucratic apparatus of exploitation, and that they are not just going to give it up.

They don’t realize that the state is not a social instrument. It is an inimical organization which is hostile to society, plundering it, which has to be confined, whittled away, reduced and hopefully ultimately abolished.”

N. Joseph Potts December 1, 2005 at 10:47 am

I’m STILL looking for the most-hilarious bit of Rothbardism I ever saw (and can no longer find): his description of the Modal Libertarian.

It rather resembled (the socialist) George Orwell’s description of the people he ran into in the socialist movement he supported and at least tried to view himself as a member of. He found the people as notably disagreeable and unadmirable as he found their ideology attractive.

Same goes for Rothbard, although at the time he made his remarks, Rothbard may have been describing the sort of person who USED to typify the movement. If anybody knows where I can find these passages to enjoy again, I’d certainly appreciate being told how to find them. I’ve been looking for them for years.

Lew Rockwell December 1, 2005 at 1:20 pm

From the ad in the Murray interview, we see that
MES was selling in hardback for $30 in 1972. That is
$140 in current dollars. So the scholar’s edition,
which includes P&M, a great index, etc., is about 36% of the cost of the original, for a far better product.

jeffrey December 1, 2005 at 3:55 pm

This interview also available in html.

CRW December 2, 2005 at 4:06 pm

The description of the Modal Libertarian can be found under footnote 22 on page 206 of Hans-Herman Hoppe’s “Democracy: The God That Failed”.

John Christopher December 2, 2005 at 6:51 pm

He seemed obsessed with Nixon: Dump Nixon! Dump Nixon! Dump Bush! Dump Bush! Though I can only share the goal, I’d like to challenge the “almost” strategy “anybody-but-Nixon/Bush” in favor of an “everybody-is-as-bad” one. By charging so much one man, I am afraid we are establishing further the idea that the problem with government is not the concept but the personality of its leader. We may also lead some to believe that just because they strongly and sincerely oppose Bush, they are on the side of freedom. By joining those Bush-bashing crowds, are we reallying making our distinct voice heard? Or are we only helping those people, who oppose the war for all the bad reasons, speak their message louder? In the end, I am more comfortable with stating a profound disgust for anybody who is a statist. The assault against freedom is so strong from every spot on the political spectrum that I am in no mood to give a break to democrats (for instance) just because Bush or Nixon is around. As if Hitler or Mussolini was the result of one man and not the logical consequence of tens of years of growing statism, including the policies of their so-called opponents.

Pete Canning December 4, 2005 at 2:26 pm

I must say, great interview. Thanks to those involved in getting it up on the web.

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