published in The New Banner: A Fortnightly Libertarian Journal
on 25 February 1972. Thanks to J. Michael Oliver for sending it
to the Mises Institute. Thanks also to W. Robert Black III, of
the New Banner Institute.
Murray Rothbard, libertarianism's foremost theorist and advocate
today, is a scholar, teacher and author of considerable reputation.
Without question he is one of the thinkers most responsible for
the formulation of the doctrine of anarcho-capitalism. While his
efforts have been primarily in the field of economics, his writings
and activities demonstrate a much wider range of thought
has studied under Professor Joseph Dorfman at Columbia University
and Dr. Ludwig von Mises at New York University. He took his undergraduate
and graduate work in economics at Columbia University. He has
taught at the City College of New York and currently teaches at
the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn.
an author he has numerous works to his credit, including, his
monumental economic treatise, Man,
Economy and State; its sequel, Power
and Market, an analysis of government intervention in
the market; America's
Great Depression; The
Panic of 1819; and What
Has Government Done to Our Money? Articles by Dr. Rothbard
have appeared in numerous books and periodicals including American
Economic Review; American Political Science Review; Journal
of History and Ideas; Quarterly
Journal of Economics; New
Individualist Review; Intellectual Digest; and
the New York Times.
most outstanding accomplishments in the study of human action
are; his revolutionary theory of monopoly in which he shows that
there can be no monopoly in a free market; his original analysis
of patents and copyrights; and his refutation of numerous interventionist
fallacies. Primarily in his classic Man, Economy and State,
he shows that "the workings of the voluntary principle and
of the free market lead inexorably to freedom, prosperity, harmony,
efficiency, and order; while coercion and government intervention
lead inexorably to hegemony, conflict, exploitation of man by
man, inefficiency, poverty, and chaos."
from his obvious scholarly efforts, Murray Rothbard has deeply
involved himself in the daily struggles of the libertarian movement
such as his spearheading of the assault on the current state
price freeze. He is also the editor of the Libertarian
Forum, a monthly libertarian newsletter.
was interviewed in his home in New York City on January 13, by
J. Michael Oliver and Donald C. Stone of The New Banner.
Editor's Note: Having never met Murray Rothbard prior to this
interview I was only aware of his scholarly side through his
writings; I had no conception of the type of personality which
I was to encounter. Donald Stone, editor of the libertarian newsletter
Pegasus and friend of The New Banner, who accompanied
me and assisted in the interview, had only briefly met Murray
Rothbard on one occasion a year before. We were both quite pleased,
therefore, to discover that his esteemed reputation as a scholar
was matched by his joviality and candor as a host and conversationalist.
The New Banner is confident that with this interview, it
has made available to its readers an up-to-date view of the libertarian
struggle by the man who stands today as perhaps the foremost libertarian.
In the No. 7 issue of the Ayn Rand Letter, Miss Rand admonishes
her readers, "Do not join... libertarian hippies who subordinate
reason to whims and substitute anarchism for capitalism."
Do you think that this remark was directed at you and other advocates
of free market alternatives to government institutions, and do
you think this remark is in keeping with Miss Rand's oft-stated
principle of "defining your terms?"
Well, it's hard to say, because you notice there are very few
specific facts in her discussion. There is one sentence covering
"libertarian hippies." Who are they? Where are they?
that I'm in favor of is a movement of libertarians who do not
substitute whim for reason. Now some of them do, obviously, and
I'm against that. I'm in favor of reason over whim. As far as
I'm concerned, and I think the rest of the movement, too, we are
anarcho-capitalists. In other words, we believe that capitalism
is the fullest expression of anarchism, and anarchism is the fullest
expression of capitalism. Not only are they compatible, but you
can't really have one without the other. True anarchism will be
capitalism, and true capitalism will be anarchism.
As for her
remark being in keeping with the principle of defining one's terms
well, obviously not. I don't think she has ever defined the
term "anarchism," as a matter of fact.
Do you see a possible future for libertarian retreatism or do
you see it as a blow against an effective political development
of the movement?
I don't think it's a blow, because there are not going to be many
retreatists. How many people are going to retreat to their own
island or their own atoll! Obviously, half a dozen people go out
there, if they do, and it might be fine for them. I wish them
well, but personally I wouldn't do it. I'm not going to go off
to some damn island or some damn atoll! Ha. I think that most
libertarians or most Americans won't do it either.
be a personal out for these individual people, but it is hardly
a solution for the country. It's not a solution for me or for
anybody else that I know of. And so I just think that they are
interesting to read about, but they're irrelevant to use a much
clichιd term to the current concerns of myself or the rest of
Even if it
were feasible even if the government didn't crack down on it
as a "hazard to navigation" or whatever, which it undoubtedly
would, even if they could get it off the ground, who is going
to go there?
Some of the
retreatists, by the way, are philosophically very bad. You might
know of this fellow Marshall who is the big retreatist and nomad
leader. He has this view that in order to be free you have to
be a nomad. In other words, any ties to a place or a career injures
your freedom. I think this is an evil philosophical error which
all too many people have.
The American people seem on the whole to be passively if not actively
supporting Phase II. Conservatives are more concerned with law
and order than with economic freedom; liberals are calling for
more after this recent taste of controls. The rest the country
apparently will resign itself to any situation after so many years
of Orwellian double-talk. Where does this leave the libertarian?
Alone for the next generation?
Well, not necessarily, because I think what's happened is that
a vacuum of leadership has developed in the country about Phase
I and Phase II. In other words, libertarians have been the only
people who have been against Phase I and II from the beginning
and on principle. Some of the labor union leaders are against
it because they didn't get enough share of the pie. They obviously
were not against it on principle. Libertarians were the only ones
from the very beginning to establish this record and to go out
to the public and attack it. I know that I've spent an enormous
amount of time attacking it, debating Herb Stein and so forth.
But I think its useful also strategically, because Phase II is
going to fall apart. It's already beginning to crack-up. As it
cracks-up libertarians will be the only ones who have established
a record of opposition to it. I think in a sense we can fill the
vacuum. This might be a very good thing for the libertarian movement.
As the thing falls apart people will begin to turn to us for leadership.
"Well, here are these guys who've been prophetic. When everybody
else was going along with it they realized it wasn't going to
Some libertarians have recommended anti-voting activities during
the 1972 election. Do you agree with this tactic?
I'm interested to talk about that. This is the classical anarchist
position, there is no doubt about that. The classical anarchist
position is that nobody should vote, because if you vote you are
participating in a state apparatus. Or if you do vote you should
write in your own name, I don't think that there is anything wrong
with this tactic in the sense that if there really were a nationwide
movement if five million people, let's say, pledged not to vote.
I think it would be very useful. On the other hand, I don't think
voting is a real problem. I don't think it's immoral to vote,
in contrast to the anti-voting people.
Spooner, the patron saint of individualist anarchism, had a very
effective attack on this idea. The thing is, if you really believe
that by voting you are giving your sanction to the state, then
you see you are really adopting the democratic theorist's position.
You would be adopting the position of the democratic enemy, so
to speak, who says that the state is really voluntary because
the masses are supporting it by participating in elections. In
other words, you're really the other side of the coin of supporting
the policy of democracy that the public is really behind it
and that it is all voluntary. And so the anti-voting people are
really saying the same thing.
I don't think
this is true, because as Spooner said, people are being placed
in a coercive position. They are surrounded by a coercive system;
they are surrounded by the state. The state, however, allows you
a limited choice there's no question about the fact that the
choice is limited. Since you are in this coercive situation, there
is no reason why you shouldn't try to make use of it if you think
it will make a difference to your liberty or possessions. So by
voting you can't say that this is a moral choice, a fully voluntary
choice, on the part of the public. It's not a fully voluntary
situation. It's a situation where you are surrounded by the whole
state which you can't vote out of existence. For example, we can't
vote the Presidency out of existence unfortunately, it would
be great if we could but since we can't why not make use of
the vote if there is a difference at all between the two people.
And it is almost inevitable that there will be a difference, incidentally,
because just praxeologically or in a natural law sense, every
two persons or every two groups of people will be slightly different,
at least. So in that case why not make use of it. I don't see
that it's immoral to participate in the election provided that
you go into it with your eyes open provided that you don't think
that either Nixon or Muskie is the greatest libertarian since
Richard Cobden! which many people, of course, talk themselves
into before they go out and vote,
part of my answer is that I don't think that voting is really
the question. I really don't care about whether people vote or
not. To me the important thing is, who do you support. Who do
you hope will win the election? You can be a non-voter and say
"I don't want to sanction the state" and not vote, but
on election night who do you hope the rest of the voters, the
rest of the suckers out there who are voting, who do you hope
they'll elect. And it's important, because I think that there
is a difference. The Presidency, unfortunately, is of extreme
importance. It will be running or directing our lives greatly
for four years. So, I see no reason why we shouldn't endorse,
or support, or attack one candidate more than the other candidate.
I really don't agree at all with the non-voting position in that
sense, because the non-voter is not only saying we shouldn't vote:
he is also saying that we shouldn't endorse anybody. Will Robert
LeFevre, one of the spokesmen of the non-voting approach, will
he deep in his heart on election night have any kind of preference
at all as the votes come in. Will he cheer slightly or groan more
as whoever wins? I don't see how anybody could fail to have a
preference, because it will affect all of us.
What other activities would you consider appropriate for libertarians
during the election?
Well, as I tried to indicate supporting candidates. I think
there will be two main groups of libertarians this year. One group
will be the non-voting group. The other group will be the Dump
Nixon group of which I am an enthusiastic member. I almost take
the position anybody but Nixon. Dump him! Punish him! Smash
him! Retire him to the private life which he so richly deserves.
Get him out! I think there are all sorts of reasons why, if you
want to pursue it, why Nixon should be dumped.
I do not
support Ashbrook, but I think it is a very interesting development,
because there is a possibility that the extremists in the conservative
camp are hoping that Ashbrook will run on a 5th party ticket in
the general election, which is the important thing. Because, if
he runs in Ohio, California, etc., he can break Nixon by just
getting 10 per cent of the conservative vote. That is, if he has
the guts to run in a general election.
At the outset, your newsletter, Libertarian Forum, was
co-edited by Karl Hess. He has since departed. What ideological
differences led to this split?
First of all, he wasn't the editor, he was the Washington editor,
which meant that he wrote a column. He did not have anything to
do with the editorial policy of the paper. The concrete split
came when 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
deep than that is the fact that Karl after having been an anarcho-capitalist
for some time shifted over to become an anarcho-communist or anarcho-syndicalist.
I don't really see any basis for collaboration between the two
groups, because even if we are both against the existing state,
they would very quickly come up with another state. I don't think
you can be an anarcho-communist or an anarcho-syndicalist. You
know if the commune runs everything, and decides for everything,
whether it is a neighborhood commune or a mass country commune
it really does not matter in this case, somebody's got to make
the communal decision. You can't tell me that you'll have participatory
democracy and that everybody is going to equally participate.
There is obviously going to be a small group, the officiating
board or the statistical administrative board or whatever they
want to call it, whatever it's going to be, it's going to be the
same damn group making decisions for everybody. In other words,
it's going to be a coercive decision for the collective property.
It will be another state again, as far as I can see. So I really
can't see any basis for collaboration. That is really part of
a broader analysis of the communist versus the individualist position.
I was one of the people who originated the idea of an alliance
with the New Left. But I didn't think of it in these terms. I
didn't think of an alliance with the New Left as living in communes
with the Black Panthers. I thought of it as participating with
the New Left in anti-draft actions or in opposition to the war.
I conceived of a political rather than an ideological alliance.
While we are both against the draft, let's have joint rallies
to attack it, or something like that. This is a completely different
sort of thing.
has been a problem with libertarians for a long time. Both in
the old days when they were always allied with the right-wing
and now when they tend to be allied with the left. You start allying
yourself with a group and pretty soon you find yourself as one
of the group. In other words, the alliance slips away. Start with
the idea that we are going to work with either conservatives or
radicals for specific goals and somehow they start spending all
their time with these people and they wind up as either conservatives
or radicals. The libertarian goal drops away and the means become
the ends. This is a very difficult problem because you don't want
to be sectarian and have nothing to do with anybody. Then you're
never going to succeed at all. I think that one of the answers
to it is to have a libertarian group which is strong enough to
keep reinforcing the libertarianism of our members.
David Nolan is forming a Libertarian Party. Its membership has
indicated an interest in nominating you for its Presidential candidate
in 1972. What is your response to this overture?
Ha, ha, ha (prolonged laughter). I really don't think, as lovable
as third parties are, that a libertarian party at this stage of
our development is anything but foolhardy. There are just not
that many libertarians yet. There's no finances, there's no people,
there's nothing. Maybe eventually we will have a libertarian political
What would be the purpose of a libertarian party?
I think if there were a libertarian party and I don't want to
make it seem as if this is a realistic thing at this time if
there ever were a strong libertarian party it could do several
things. Tactically, we could have a balance of power. Even better
as an educational weapon. If we had ten guys in Congress, let's
say, each of whom are constantly agitating for libertarian purposes
voting against the budget, etc., I think it would be very useful.
have a long-range problem which none of us has ever really grappled
with to any extent. That is, how do we finally establish a libertarian
society? Obviously ideas are a key thing. First off you have to
persuade a lot of people to be anarchists anarcho-capitalists.
But then what? What is the next step? You certainly don't have
to convince the majority of the public, because most of the public
will follow anything that happens. You obviously have to have
a large minority. How do we then implement this? This is the power
problem. As I've expressed this in other places, the government
is not going to resign. We are not going to have a situation where
Nixon reads Human Action, Atlas Shrugged, or Man,
Economy and State and says "By God, they're right. I'm
quitting!" I'm not denying the philosophical possibility
that this might happen, but strategically it's very low on the
probability scale. As the Marxists put it, no ruling class has
ever voluntarily surrendered its power. There has to be an effort
to deal with the problem of how to get these guys off our backs.
So, if you really have a dedicated group in Congress or the Senate,
you can start voting measures down or whatever. But I don't think
this is the only way. I think maybe there will be civil disobedience
where the public will start not paying taxes or something like
that. If you look at it, there are several possible alternatives
in dismantling the state. There is violent revolution, there is
non-violent civil disobedience and there is the political action
method. I don't know which of these will be successful. It's really
a tactical question which you can't really predict in advance,
it seems to me that it would be foolhardy to give up any particular
arm of this.
upon people to come up with some sort of strategic perspective
to dismantle the state. For example, Bob LeFevre somehow works
it out that it's almost impossible to get rid of the state from
his own point of view. He is against violent revolution okay,
now that is a very respectable position; he's also against voting;
he's against political parties it becomes very difficult to
really see how one can get to the state at all with this kind
of procedure. I don't see why we should give up something like
political parties. It might be a route eventually to dismantling
the state or helping to dismantle it.
In the February, 1971, Libertarian Forum you stated that
the movement was "taking off." In the perspective of
the last year would you change your opinion?
No, I think it's taking off. It's growing very rapidly, and it's
getting a lot of publicity which is important. The recent New
York Conference was very successful in many ways. We are still
in pretty good shape. I don't know where to go from here, particularly.
I'd like to see more strategic thinking on the part of the movement
as to what to do next. For instance, should there be any organizational
effort, if so, what? This sort of thing.
Do you see any wisdom in anarcho-capitalists allying with today's
There is no New Left now. The New Left is really finished
there isn't any such animal anymore. One of the reasons that I
liked the New Left in the old days, in the middle-60's, was that
there were a lot of libertarian elements in the New Left. Not
only was there opposition to the war and the draft, but also opposition
to bureaucracy, central government and so forth. But all that
seems to have dropped out. There is really nothing going on in
the New Left now at all.
Why do you think the New Left has never strongly supported the
anti-draft movement? They seemed to have been more anti-war, but
not concerned with anti-draft.
They were against the draft, but as you say, they didn't really
have their heart in it. They really weren't against the draft.
They are in favor of the People's Republic draft, when the People's Republic
gets established. I remember when Castro first got in power in
1959. A lot of the more sincere Castro followers said that one
of the great things about Castro was that he had abolished the
draft. Of course, he had, but a couple years later it was back.
So you see, they're against a draft by a reactionary government,
but not by a people's government. Ha, ha.
Do you agree with the proposal that libertarians overlook their
philosophical differences in order to provide a unified front?
I don't think that question can really be answered flatly. I don't
agree with the sectarian idea that you have to agree on everything
before you can act on anything. In other words, that you have
to agree on A is A, free will, modern art, or whatever. I don't
buy that, I think it's unrealistic. On the other hand, simply
saying that you will unite on anything if you agree on "Smash
the State," on a couple of slogans, is very dangerous, too.
It depends upon the goal of your action or activity. If you are
engaging in an ad hoc sort of thing like an anti-draft rally,
then I don't see anything wrong with having speakers or common
activity with all anti-draft people regardless of their original
premises. If you are going to have a libertarian organization
carrying on all sorts of activities, conferences, journals and
things like that, you will want to have much more full agreement.
in the libertarian movement you have a pretty wide spectrum, which
I think however, fortunately is narrowing. I think we are getting
a situation in which the extreme left and the extreme right, so-called,
are sort of mellowing into a central position, which gives us
more basis for cooperation. The "rip off Amerika" group
is beginning to calm down, and the Randians are beginning to get
more wary about the Constitution, the Founding Fathers and American
foreign policy. So, I think that there is more agreement now than
there was a year ago.
In regard to the ongoing debate between you and the Friedmanites.
David Friedman has made an accusation. He has accused you of having
not read what his father Milton Friedman has written, misquoting
or quoting out of context what you have read, and further has
accused you of being a mediocre economist who is jealous of all
the attention accorded Milton. Any comments?
Ha, ha, ha.
As for misquoting,
of course, you can always say that nobody has fully read the works
of other people.
I don't think
Milton, for example, knows anything about the Austrian School.
Obviously, Milton is more of an expert on his own writings than
anyone else. As for being jealous of attention, that's like saying
that I am jealous of Keynes or Galbraith. Let me put it this way,
I think that they are getting over-deserved attention. It seems
to me that Galbraith is getting a lot more attention than he deserves,
and I think the same is true of Milton.
But I think
it is also very clear that you don't have to be an expert on Friedman's
writings to realize that Milton is in favor of the absolute control
of the money supply by the state, that he is in favor of a 3 or
4 per cent increase in the money supply (the numbers keep changing
all the time) by the state every year, that he favors a negative
income tax which is essentially a guaranteed annual income by
the state, and that he favors a voucher plan which would leave
the state solidly in control of the educational system. 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 that can 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.
This is one
of the problems with Friedmanites they have no political theory
of the nature of the state. They think of the state, and this
is true of Milton and the whole gang as far as I can see, as another
social instrument. In other words, there is the market out here
and then there is the state, which is another friendly neighborhood
organization. You decide on which thing, which activity, should
be private and which should be state on the basis of an ad hoc,
utilitarian kind of approach. "Well, let's see, we'll feed
the thing through the computer. We find that the market usually
wins out, that the market is usually better." So, most of
the time they come out in favor of the market on things like price
control or government regulations, but they really think of the
state as just another social instrument. And so when they come
out in favor of the state, they go all out. In other words, there
is no limitation. Well, they say, the state will do this. The
state will run the educational system or whatever the cop-out
happens to be. So, they feed the thing in we'll have controls
for a while and then they will die out it's not very important
anyway. You see, they really think they can put through Friedmanism,
let's say, just by educating Nixon. The sort of thing I said before
jocularly, about Nixon reading Atlas Shrugged and being
converted. That is really the sort of theory of social change
the Friedmanites have. You see the President once in a while,
you talk to him and you convince him that there shouldn't be price
controls, the ICC should be eliminated, or whatever and then
he goes ahead and does it. But it just doesn't work that way.
They have no realization that the state is essentially a gang
of thieves and looters. 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. In other words, there
is the whole problem of power involved which the Friedmanites
refuse to face. They don't realize that the state is not a social
instrument. It's an inimical organization which is hostile to
society, plundering it, which has to be confined, whittled away,
reduced and hopefully ultimately abolished. They have no conception
of that at all. They just think of it as another friendly, corner
grocer kind of thing which you either use or don't use.
Federal Reserve Chairman Arthur Burns said recently that he would
expand the money supply at a rate that would insure a "vigorous"
expansion of the U.S. economy. At the same lime, the Price Commission
will be permitting only limited price increases. What do you think
the net result of these policies will be?
The net result will be further inflation, with black markets and
with people losing out. Those people who haven't got the political
muscle at the Price Commission or Pay Board won't get their increases,
while those who do have that muscle will get it.
of monstrous situations will occur. Decline in quality, for example.
We will find that there will be more air in the Baby Ruth you
can't find the Baby Ruth anymore anyway. There will be less chocolate
in the chocolate. There is no way the state can police this, of
course. And it's very harmful to the public.
And the real
root of inflation, which is the money supply, well, the tap is
being turned on. It's unfortunate, but a lot of people including
conservatives and libertarians even, have been great fans of A.F.
Burns. I've never been able to see that. He's always been an inflationist,
a statist and a pragmatist.
Nixon is supposed to push for a value-added tax (VAT), a move
which he will probably reveal soon. What might be the results
of such a tax?
Well, it's a national sales tax. It is one thing that has not
been tapped yet. I think Chodorov said that the principle of taxation
that the government always uses is the same principle as the highwayman:
Grab them where they are if it moves, tax it! If you can find
something that hasn't been taxed yet, well, tax it. VAT is a new
gimmick which hasn't been imposed yet in the United States.
is obviously reaching a critical limit. It would be difficult
for them to increase that. The property tax is fortunately going
by the board. And with the whole education question well, they
need a new tax to finance it. It's a sales tax, so it will tax
the poor more than the wealthy. Also, it's a hidden tax, so the
public wouldn't realize it. It's a value added tax which is paid
by each manufacturer as they go down the list.
It also injures
turnovers. If a product is made 8 times, if it turns over 8 times
before it gets to the consumer, it is going to be taxed twice
as much as if it turns over 4 times. This will restrict what the
Austrians call "the longer process of production" which
will injure capital investment a great deal. Incidentally,
only the Austrians have dealt with this whole question of the
period of production. It will also bring about vertical integration
mergers which the government claims are monopolistic. If the
thing turns over it means that you pay an extra tax, but if the
two firms merge they won't have to pay any tax on that phase of
it. So, it will encourage mergers.
In the light of your past record of accurate predictions, what
will be the nature of Phase III?
I don't claim to be a great predictor or forecaster. It is in
the nature, incidentally, of Austrian economic theory that the
economist can't really forecast perfectly at all. I'm not sure
about Phase III. A lot depends upon whether Nixon gets reelected
or not. As in all cases of government intervention you are presented
with two alternatives as the sun sinks in the west as Phase
II begins to crack up as it already is.
Pay Board has granted increases to some groups and shut off increases
to other groups. So, as this thing becomes increasingly unworkable,
then the government will be faced with the question either we
scrap the thing altogether and go back to the free market or we
tighten the controls, get people who really believe in it, get
Galbraith instead of Stein, and we have a rigorous program. It
could go either way. Who knows how Nixon is going to go? You can't
tell from one day to the next what Nixon is going to do anyway.
The summer of last year, Nixon would have been equally likely
a priori to either drop a bomb on China or else form an
agreement with it. There is no way of predicting which path
he is going to take.
the curious situation now where the economists in charge of the
Phase II program almost exclusively are against it. They all say,
"Well of course we're against control and are in favor of
the free market, but we have to do this anyway." In this
kind of self-contradictory situation, who knows what they're going
In February, 1971, Senator Mark Hatfield made some interesting
but vague comments in praise of your book Power and Market.
Have you had any contact with the senator concerning his ostensible
sympathy with libertarianism?
I've only met the senator personally once in the summer of 1969.
At that time he was very friendly toward libertarianism and said
he had committed himself to the cause of libertarianism. Now,
I've had a couple of contacts with him since then by mail. But,
obviously his voting record is not particularly libertarian. It's
very good on foreign policy and the draft, but it's not too great
on other things.
reason for this is I really don't know. However, he has been very
good in introducing legislation for tax credits and for the right
to own gold. I really don't have that much contact with the Hatfield
staff. In the abstract, at least, he is very favorable to libertarianism
to understand it. I also understand that one member of the Hatfield
staff is an anarchist who was converted by the Tannehill book
this is the rumor I get.
BANNER: I understand that you have written two other major
manuscripts that have yet to be published; the Ethics
of Liberty and The Betrayal of the American Right.
The Betrayal of the American Right is not really a major
manuscript. It is a pleasant enough thing. It's fairly short.
It's sort of a combination personal and general history of the
right-wing from Mencken and Nock in the Twenties and going into
the World War II period and then up to the present. That's not
going to be published so far, because Ramparts Press, which was
originally supposed to publish it, didn't like it, and it has
now been turned into a reader. Right now the idea is that they
are going to come out with a reader of Old Right stuff like Mencken
and Nock, and I'll be picking the readings and doing the introduction.
So, as for that manuscript, after the reader comes out, I guess
I'll look around for a publisher for the original Betrayal
of the American Right.
book has only been partially finished, so that's the problem with
now I'm working on a libertarianism book for MacMillan. The tentative
title is For a New Liberty. It will be sort of a general
book. It is a rather difficult book to write, because I can't
be as scholarly as I'd like to be, and yet on the other hand I
can't be too mass oriented. So, I have to pick my spots. I've
started off with a description of the movement discussing who
is in it, the spectrum in it, and then I go into the philosophy
of the movement the central core of libertarian philosophy.
Then I go on to the applications of that philosophy. I just finished
the chapter on education and next I'll go on to welfare. After
I finish that I'll start working on the ethics book, which is
really my favorite. So far I have written in Power and Market,
etc., on the "value free," praxeological aspects of
liberty and I have not really tackled the ethical position in
print. One thing which I find exciting in it is that I'm going
to try to deduce the ethics like I do the economics from a Robinson
Crusoe and Friday situation a Crusoe political philosophy. I'll
show what happens when Crusoe and Friday engage in voluntary trade
and exchange as opposed to coercion and then bring in the whole
coercion versus liberty issue. Then work from there on up.
I also have
another manuscript which is a very long-term thing that being
a history of the United States. In that I have written up to the
Constitution. It will be a history of the United States from a
libertarian point of view. It is very difficult to write that,
because the thing is we don't know what has happened a
lot of the facts have been buried. Orthodox histories don't give
many facts; a lot of facts are just left out.
BANNER: Is it intended to be a textbook?
No, not really. It's just a libertarian history of the United
States. It could be used as a textbook, I hope. You know, Man,
Economy and State was originally supposed to be a textbook
and wound up as a giant treatise. I think this might be the same
BANNER: Dr. Rothbard, on behalf of our readers and our staff,
I would like to thank you for this most informative interview.
You are quite welcome
N. Rothbard (19261995) was the author of Man,
Economy, and State, Conceived
in Liberty, What
Has Government Done to Our Money, For
a New Liberty, The
Case Against the Fed, and many
other books and articles. He
was also the editor with Lew Rockwell of The