Murray Rothbard, an economist and political theorist who was a founding father of modern rightwing libertarianism, was born in the Bronx on this date in 1926. (Rothbard was a first cousin to JEWDAYO editor Lawrence Bush, though 25 years older.) Rothbard described himself as an anarcho-libertarian and a “paleoconservative” who found “all socialism” to be “monstrously coercive and abhorrent,” he said. He was the author of some fifteen books and many other writings in which he advocated for the free market, against egalitarianism, against civil rights legislation (Rothbard was widely perceived as an overt racist), against the women’s movement, for coercive police tactics, against Zionism, for states’ rights, for a stateless economy, for untrammeled individual rights, and for the kind of outreach to dissatisfied white working-class people represented by Pat Buchanan (and Donald Trump today). Rothbard was also opposed to every war of his lifetime (and beyond, including “the Northern war against slavery”). “Although Rothbard was an early contributor to William Buckley’s National Review,” writes David Gordon of the Mises Institute, “he rejected the aggressive pursuit of the Cold War advocated by Buckley…. He broke with these self-styled conservatives and thereafter became one of their strongest opponents.” Rothbard founded two libertarian publications, the Journal of Libertarian Studies and The Review of Austrian Economics, before his death at 68. To hear him speaking about his political evolution, look below.
“Taxation is theft, purely and simply even though it is theft on a grand and colossal scale which no acknowledged criminals could hope to match. It is a compulsory seizure of the property of the State’s inhabitants, or subjects.” —Murray Rothbard