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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/5468/rothbard-as-intellectual-inspiration/

Rothbard as Intellectual Inspiration

August 15, 2006 by

Doug French discusses what it was like to be a student of Murray Rothbard. The first night of class, Murray came through the door already talking, like he had started his lecture out in the hallway. He didn’t take roll, or hand out a syllabus. Murray didn’t have time for that; he had centuries of history to cover. FULL ARTICLE

{ 12 comments }

Nancy Boone August 15, 2006 at 8:20 am

How interesting that you mentioned Carrier. It is because of this company that I am an Austrian economist: Carrier Corp, in order to have the most educated workforce on the planet, covers all of the tuition & book fees for their employees and gives a stock award when they complete their degree. And, it is because of this that I have two wonderful professors who introduced me to the names Mises, Hayek, and Rothbard.

Tim Kern August 15, 2006 at 10:00 am

Doug French notes, “But [John] Mackey thinks: ‘The Left has the young audience captured, because Leftists are idealists who want to change the world.’”

Let’s redefine the sides here. It’s not ‘left’ and ‘right,’ but ‘controllers’ vs ‘freedom-lovers.’ These “idealists” want to impose their ideas on everyone else, presumably because these “idealists” think the rest of us are incapable of “proper” self-determination.

I am not so much concerned with the direction my rulers plan to take me, as I am with the core idea: that these rulers somehow have the ability or authority to take me anywhere.

Additionally, why would ‘leftists’ (in the definition previously implied by Mr. French) want to change the world? It’s heading straight their way, already. Is it possible that individualism’s vestiges are not being rubbed out fast enough? Have a little patience, people…

Mark Brabson August 15, 2006 at 10:25 am

I have known of the Mises Institute, Rothbard and Austrian economics for a fairly short period of time. While I have been libertarian and a free market thinker for most of my life, I must say that I really suffered from flawed and incomplete knowledge of economics. Until I read several of Rothbard’s, and other Austrian writers, works. I have gained wonderful new insights and knowledge. It has completely changed my way of thinking about the monetary system in particular.

I have yet to read “Man, Economy and State”, but that will definately be making my list in the near future. I envy those who had the opportunity to meet and study under Rothbard in person. It must have been a unique experience.

Ulrich Hobelmann August 15, 2006 at 10:40 am

Tim: if I may make a remark to the Leftist issue (having been one myself not too long ago). To me the reason for being left-wing was the impression that the world is wrong (i.e. power in the wrong hands etc.) and the simplistic world-view many young people have, that what we need is a complete top-down change. Yes, that involves the idea that your idea is great, and that everybody else should follow that idea (and if they don’t “get it”, they’re stupid or evil).

Of course I simply didn’t understand many things, including economy. With age (even though I’m still way sub-30) comes wisdom and respect for others (even if you don’t agree with their choices), and the understanding that force and coercion should be abolished, while people can still make their own choices.

This concept is called freedom. It seems like it’s way harder to understand than the change-the-world idea, maybe because it’s not as easy (it doesn’t change all people in their ways, so the world isn’t a great utopia by tomorrow morning).

And while the world in general (the exception maybe being South America) isn’t heading left, statism is getting stronger and more evil. Too bad many people don’t get the clue and think going left is the answer (and only alternative to rightism).

Ohhh Henry August 15, 2006 at 10:47 am

But Mackey thinks: “The Left has the young audience captured, because Leftists are idealists who want to change the world.”

The left has captured the young because it tells them sweet lies. It tells them that economic shortcuts exist and that there is no need to work hard, no need to study a “hard” discipline or serve a “hard” apprenticeship, no need to save, to invest, or to take care of one’s self or one’s family. All you have to do is take easy courses at college, hang out with your friends, and go on the occasional roadie to protest against “Bushitler” and toss bricks through store windows – all in the name of “changing the world”.

Roger M August 15, 2006 at 11:36 am

I think the attraction that the left hold for young people is simple and emotional. When young people first discover the disparities in wealth in the world, they’re shocked first, and then become angry. The left gives them a simple answer to the problem: The rich stole poor people’s money and we must give it back to them using the power of government.

The call for freedom does not appeal to young people. They’ve never lacked freedom and take it for granted. But disparities in wealth offend their sense of justice and fairness (which all young people seemed obsessed with) and ignite their concern for the poor.

If libertarians want to reach young people, they need to package their ideas as ways to reduce poverty and convince young people that they are really concerned about the state of poor people.

Dennis Sperduto August 15, 2006 at 1:13 pm

Is there any possibility that the Mises Institute will make this color photograph of Rothbard available for purchase? It is not included in the Institute’s (outstanding) photo package of Austrian School economists.

Paul Edwards August 15, 2006 at 1:55 pm

“The call for freedom does not appeal to young people. They’ve never lacked freedom and take it for granted. But disparities in wealth offend their sense of justice and fairness (which all young people seemed obsessed with) and ignite their concern for the poor.”

I think that youth would be obsessed with both liberty and true justice if they were only given a proper childhood education in what constitutes these things. They have been misled by their left leaning teachers that the egalitarianism implemented by democratic socialism via the aggressive state is the solution to conservative socialism, also implemented by the aggressive state, which serves the interests of established wealthy classes at the expense of the consumer in general, and also the productive but oppressed less established and poor.

I frankly believe that by the time a child is 13 he or she should be well enough educated in economics and ethics to be able to process and comprehend the information contained in Hoppe’s “A Theory of Capitalism and Socialism” which explains the goals of the various forms of socialism, how these goals are implemented, and how they all serve to reduce and destroy capital and general living standards. If this education were in place, you’d have thousands of vocal radical young people in communities across the nation clamoring to demolish the state and with sound justification.

Jeremy Snyder August 15, 2006 at 2:40 pm

“I think the attraction that the left hold for young people is simple and emotional. When young people first discover the disparities in wealth in the world, they’re shocked first, and then become angry. The left gives them a simple answer to the problem: The rich stole poor people’s money and we must give it back to them using the power of government.
The call for freedom does not appeal to young people. They’ve never lacked freedom and take it for granted. But disparities in wealth offend their sense of justice and fairness (which all young people seemed obsessed with) and ignite their concern for the poor.
If libertarians want to reach young people, they need to package their ideas as ways to reduce poverty and convince young people that they are really concerned about the state of poor people.”

I can think of no greater book for this than Dr. Mary J. Ruwart’s “Healing Our World in an Age of Aggression”. One of the best libertarian books, I’m surprised that the Mises store doesn’t carry it.

“I frankly believe that by the time a child is 13 he or she should be well enough educated in economics and ethics to be able to process and comprehend the information contained in Hoppe’s “A Theory of Capitalism and Socialism” which explains the goals of the various forms of socialism, how these goals are implemented, and how they all serve to reduce and destroy capital and general living standards.”

When is this book coming back into print. Much like “For a New Liberty” I’ve heard tremendous praise for this book, yet unlike “For a New Liberty” this book is long out of print and hasn’t been resurrected yet. I think this would be a great book to bring back.

Paul Edwards August 15, 2006 at 3:47 pm

Jeremy,

“I think this would be a great book to bring back.”

I agree. But in the meantime, it’s here online:

http://mises.org/etexts/Soc&Cap.pdf

I printed it out and i’m reading it to the kids right now. It’s great food for thought.

A Liberal in Lakeview December 7, 2010 at 9:44 am

Hoppe’s book, A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism, can be found at http://mises.org/etexts/SocCap.pdf.

In the introduction he wrote,

Specifically, a theory of property and property rights will be developed. It will be demonstrated that socialism, by no means an invention of nineteenth century Marxism but much older, must be conceptualized as an institutionalized interference with or aggression against private property and private property claims. Capitalism, on the other hand, is a social system based on the explicit recognition of private property and of nonaggressive, contractual exchanges between private property owners.

Paul Stephens November 11, 2009 at 2:46 am

Mr. French was indeed fortunate to have Murray Rothbard as a teacher and thesis adviser. His account of Rothbard’s later career at UNLV rings a lot of bells in my mind.
Why, I wonder, was Rothbard never recruited by some famous “pro-capitalism” school like the University of Chicago, Stanford, or even UCLA (my alma mater)? Why did he have to toil along at obscure non-tier schools like Brooklyn College and UNLV?
Maybe it’s because Murray wasn’t really “pro-capitalism,” but pro-freedom, pro-individual, and against “the establishment” whatever it might be. He was just as much (or more) a Leftist than a Rightist, and he will probably be remembered mostly for his seminal journal, “Left and Right” in the 1960′s. That’s where I first became acquainted with him (and it’s archived on the Mises Website, thank you!).
One would have thought that UNLV, which is certainly known for its libertarian and “casino capitalism” tendencies, would have been the ideal home for him, IF (and only if) Las Vegas is actually a libertarian and individualist society.
After the appearance of Naomi Klein’s “Disaster Capitalism” (in which she blames Friedman and his followers at the University of Chicago for promoting a system of looting and destruction, and then taking advantage of those destroyed), I came up with a different label for this “school” or “syndrome” – “Gangster Capitalism.”
And that, presumably, is what prevails in Las Vegas, even though it’s now corporate gangsters running everything, instead of the old-fashioned Bugsy Segal and Meyer Lansky mob who created the place.
There aren’t any Carriers or other “social entrepreneurs” who created thousands of jobs producing useful goods and services, there. It’s the same old “entertainment” complex” which includes Hollywood moguls, the “music business”, and others who thrive on marketing inferior and culturally worthless “entertainment” and “leisure” products and services – all based on the attractions of class identification and the chance to mingle with “the beautiful people” who have led us into political and economic slavery.
No wonder Murray didn’t fit in, and wasn’t appreciated there!
I would differ with Mr. French on some of his other interpretations of the merits of “laissez faire capitalism” and “taxing dead people” (what could be more socially useful than that? Surely not taxing live workers’ hard-earned wages!), but that’s for another time.

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