On this day in 1995, the world lost Murray N. Rothbard. Rothbard was a historian, economist, philosopher, and friend of liberty and all freedom fighters. A student of Ludwig Von Mises and an adherent to the tradition of the Austrian School of Economics. The life of Murray Rothbard can be seen as nothing short of a lifelong fight for freedom. Though I never knew Rothbard personally, I feel as though I have learned more from him than any other intellectual in my lifetime.
How could I not? His 62-page bibliography includes 30 books, more than 1000 articles, and even a play. Even though he passed away in 1995, Rothbard still hasn’t stopped “writing.” Just last year, the Mises Institute published a new book by Rothbard. In the book, Murray Rothbard outlines the origin and history of the progressive era. Among his other works include Man, Economy, and State (later published with Power and Market). This book is a 1000+ page treatise on economics. The end of the book, Power and Market, outlines the case for a pure free market. Rothbard didn’t stop with economics, nevertheless. His books For A New Liberty and The Ethics of Liberty outlined the libertarian critique against the State, the libertarian ethic, and strategy for achieving a free world.
The list continues, but it is impossible to read everything Murray Rothbard has written. This is partially due to the fact that Rothbard’s writings are still being published despite the fact that he died 23 years ago. He had a lot to say, and he never stopped speaking until the very end. This doesn’t mean he just ran his mouth all his life. He was also a fighter. While at Columbia, the university effortlessly attempted to censor him and stop him from attaining his Ph.D. Of course, we all can safely call him Dr. Rothbard now, but that’s because he never stopped fighting.
This vigor continued throughout his life. Murray Rothbard was a friend of anyone that would help to secure liberty. He stood with the Vietnam protestors. He congregated with the Black Panthers. Later in life, Rothbard worked with the paleoconservatives in order to restore a non-interventionist foreign policy. Ron Paul, whom Rothbard inspired, now calls him his “honest money friend.” Murray Rothbard never compromised on his principles, nevertheless. He refused to declare libertarianism to be “low tax liberalism.” He kept his ideology strong, but he was a friend to all who were ready to fight for freedom somewhere somehow. In addition to political action and writing, Murray Rothbard was a close friend of the Ludwig Von Mises Institute.
The Anti-Rothbard Cult
Although Murray Rothbard was a lifetime fighter, the fight is not over. Today, you have these self-professed libertarians who love to discourage followers of Murray Rothbard. Among their criticisms rests the fact that he would write for the layman and rejected intellectual elitism. In addition, the Anti-Rothbard Cult has partaken and continues to partake in character assassination. I won’t name names or list insults. They don’t deserve the attention they seek. But the fact that they take the humility of Murray Rothbard and use it as an insult should say all you need to know about these people. The fact Murray Rothbard didn’t indulge himself in Ivory Tower elitism should come across as a good thing. We remember Rothbard today, 23 years after his death. I struggle to remember the name of members of the Anti-Rothbard Cult.
But our remembrance of Murray Rothbard ought not to be for the wrong reasons. Don’t spite these guys, just continue fighting for freedom the way Murray did. Never compromise your principles, but be a friend to those who will make the world a freer place. Always pursue the truth, no matter how uncomfortable that truth may be. Be courageous in your pursuit of the cause of liberty. Never give up, even if the entire world wants to shut you up. Do this without paying mind to the detractors. It’s what Murray would have wanted.