Murray Rothbard was the student of Ludwig Von Mises and a friend of Ayn Rand. Rothbard was a racist, and believed in the “voluntary” separation of the races. I have argued that his teacher, Mises, was an elitist with fascist tendencies. This part of libertarian history is a part that the libertarians would like to cover up. It slips out at times and has done so with Ron Paul, Rand Paul and others. But we need to take a look at what these guys believed, circa 1990 because that was not so long ago.
We know that Rothbard spoke kindly of David Duke, the KKK office seeker. One disaffected libertarian was dismayed that Rothbard would seek to align himself with a pure racist just because he believed in limited government. The only reason that Rothbard did not back a separate state for blacks was because he was afraid it would cost too much in “foreign aid”.
It should be noted that Ron Paul distanced himself from Rothbard’s racism, in stating that racism is a collectivist view. Still, there is a strong racial tension in libertarian thought. Ron Paul’s newletters had racist thoughts in them, although Dr Paul stated they were put in his publications without his knowledge. I have no reason to doubt that. But these were mistakes that are significant.
But even Rand Paul made a racial gaff right after he won the senate seat, that he regretted, when he said he was for the repeal of the 1964 civil rights act. It would seem that this racial/libertarian theme continues.
So then, we need to look at more history to see if this is a constant pattern or if it is just an aberration. After all, many buy into the financial views of the libertarians. They are used to justify Wall Street excess. But are they more insidious and dangerous than that? Racism is actually quite compatible with libertarian economics.
Libertarian economics stresses individualism, even though these guys know that their mums changed their diapers and they had to get help all along the way growing up. Individualism is great, but I remember going to class reunions and seeing that once you got to the 20th reunion, there was a lot less individualism and a lot more humility. We all need people. We are not islands.
Yet there is a theme historically that comes from Mises. For Mises, as I quoted in Ludwig Von Mises Implies Being a Savage Animal Is Ok!, the newborn child is born a savage. This is why libertarians only accept the legitimacy of voluntary relationships. This plays into the desire to repeal the civil rights act, so that you can kick out ethnic minorities from your restaurant without serving them.
This plays into the desire of Rothbard to voluntarily separate from blacks in a nation and in public activity. You can see how this insidious morality breaks down society and good will.
One can deduce that if the foundation of libertarianism is rotten, so is the elitist financial decay that seeks limited government to the extreme. It is a decay because it is based upon the desire to ignore the needs of the greater society. But that society has been stronger because capitalism is tempered with compassion. Where capitalism becomes anarcho-capitalism, a term coined by Rothbard, it becomes a capitalism of unwholesome greed. The capitalist still has to take the subway, or drive his car into the city. If he gets shot at in a destabilized society how does that benefit him? If there is no money to fix the roads, how can he do his job?
The danger, of course, is that people will become less socialized if there are tech gadgets to allow people to stay at home and work from home. One can hope that these young people who have this wealth and independence will come to see the importance of the common good anyway.
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