Tag: Murray Rothbard

I Almost Became an Anarchist

A mini-review of The Essential Rothbard by David Gordon.

Murray Rothbard almost made me an anarchist.

I had read some of Rothbard’s stuff and had delved into various areas of anarchist thought (mostly through this this somewhat difficult, very thick, often fascinating volume). I’ve abandoned such notions, but my six-month foray was worth it. The anarchists make you ask questions that every person concerned about things public (the republic) should ask: What is the origin of government? How exactly do wars happen? How can a country surrender in a war if it has no government? If the State exists by violence–actual or the threat of–does that tend to make society more violent?

I’ve come to view Rothbard as a great economist, a good historian, and an amateur but unique philosopher. He has his flaws (he tends to indulge in false dichotomies), but he raises questions that the American people ought to ask a lot more frequently.

Gordon’s volume is a great place to start.

Oh, and why didn’t I become an anarchist? Simply because of natural law. We desire to live among others, either for self-preservation or because we are social animals. Once we come together, a hierarchy will naturally develop and from there, government will form.

Anarchism, simply put, isn’t natural.

Read the rest

This Might Be the Best Book of the 21st Century

Look Homeward, America. Bill Kauffman. ISI Books, 2006.

Strong,  deep, readable, desperate, fun. All those adjectives—even those that trip over one another—fit this book. It’s such a good book, it made me want to quit writing. “If someone like Kauffman, with his erudition and talent, isn’t a household name, what makes me think I can scratch together enough publishable words to cover my underwear budget?”

I’m not saying it’s the best book ever, not even the best book of the past 15 years. Indeed, when I went back through it for this piece, I almost put it back on the shelf: it simply doesn’t have the drunken chimp-like markings of other books I love. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because it’s such a pretty book, with good binding, that I felt bad marking it up.

Regardless, Kauffman’s is a real message. Partially Quixotic, partially crucial . . . and there’s considerable overlap between those. I don’t know if the passages reproduced here will convey the deep current under Kauffman’s light-skipping prose, but I hope they do. If not, buy the book. You won’t be disappointed. Kauffman’s display of his prodigious vocabulary alone is worth the price.


I’m pretty sure Kauffman has the biggest vocabulary since Samuel Johnson.

Unique words found in Look Homeward, America:

  • mottle
  • pavid
  • bumptious
  • martinet
  • scarify
  • nonce
  • terrene
  • descant
  • manque
  • phiz
  • clochard

Select Passages

Here are choice passages from the books, with my commentary where I think it might be entertaining and/or useful.

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such a pithy and fun biography. It’s packed with entertaining facts that paint a vivid picture: “The guru of the libertarian paleos, the combative economist and joyful iconoclast Murray Rothbard, was a gnomic 5’3” nonbelieving Jew who adored cathedrals; championed the Black Panthers while also Read the rest

California was a Hot Bed of Libertarianism

Given the ideological condition of the Golden State today, it must’ve been the most-failed ideological movement in history

low angle photography of brown building with los angeles led sign
Photo by Giovanni Calia on Pexels.com

My opinion of Gavin Newsom, Eric Garcetti, and other imbecilic politicians in California is strongly colored by Joe Rogan, who has an extremely low opinion of them. So whereas I view those politicians as megalomaniac frauds with low IQs, a person without the Rogan skew might just view them as megalomaniacs with low IQs.

I respect that.

Nowadays, when I hear “California,” I think, “beautiful land of sun and chains.”

It didn’t use to be that way. In fact, I just learned that LA and southern California in general used to be a hot-bed of libertarian activity, so much so that New Yorker Murray Rothbard moved to California in the late 1970s.

The following is lifted from Jeff Riggenbach’s Libertarian Tradition.

When I arrived in LA in 1972 . . . there was a restaurant on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills called — believe it or not — the Eater’s Digest, which reputedly belonged to a Galambosian, who made it available for libertarian meetings once or twice a month during evening hours when the restaurant was closed (the Eater’s Digest didn’t serve dinner, just breakfast and lunch). Harry Browne was on the New York Times bestseller list, Andrew J. Galambos was still giving his mysterious lectures under the auspices of his mysterious company, the Free Enterprise Institute.

There was Objectivist activity in LA in the early seventies as well. Ayn Rand was still in New York, but Barbara Branden was in LA, running Academic Associates out of an office on Melrose Avenue in Hollywood. Up the hill, on Sunset Boulevard, Nathaniel Branden and Roger Callahan were practicing psychotherapy with Objectivist overtones.

Robert LeFevre was … Read the rest