Murray Rothbard


Murray Rothbard : biography

March 2, 1926 – January 7, 1995

During the early 1950s, Rothbard attended the seminar of Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises at New York University and was greatly influenced by Mises’ book Human Action. Rothbard attracted the attention of the William Volker Fund, a group that provided financial backing to promote various "right-wing" ideologies in the 1950s and early 1960s.David Gordon, (editor), Strictly Confidential: The Private Volker Fund Memos of Murray N. Rothbard, 2010; Quote from Rothbard: "The Volker Fund concept was to find and grant research funds to hosts of libertarian and right-wing scholars and to draw these scholars together via seminars, conferences, etc."McVicar, Michael J. (July 2011). "Aggressive Philanthropy: Progressivism, Conservatism, and the William Volker Charities Fund". Missouri Historical Review 105 (4): 191–212. The Volker Fund paid Rothbard to write a textbook to explain Human Action in a fashion suitable for college students; a sample chapter he wrote on money and credit won Mises’s approval. As Rothbard continued his work, he enlarged the project. The result was Rothbard’s book Man, Economy, and State, published in 1962. Upon its publication, Mises praised Rothbard’s work effusively and, for Mises, uncharacteristically.

From 1963 to 1985, Rothbard taught at Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, in Brooklyn, New York. From 1986 until his death he was the S. J. Hall Distinguished Professor of Economics at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Rothbard founded the Center for Libertarian Studies in 1976 and the Journal of Libertarian Studies in 1977. He was associated with the 1982 creation of the Ludwig von Mises Institute at Auburn University in Alabama, and was vice president of academic affairs until 1995.

In 1953, in New York City, he married JoAnn Schumacher (1928–1999), whom he called the "indispensable framework" for his life and work. He died in 1995 in Manhattan of a heart attack. The New York Times obituary called Rothbard "an economist and social philosopher who fiercely defended individual freedom against government intervention."David Stout, , The New York Times, January 11, 1995. JoAnn Rothbard died four years later.

Political activism

As a young man, Rothbard considered himself part of the Old Right, an anti-statist and anti-interventionist branch of the Republican Party. In the 1948 presidential election, Rothbard, "as a Jewish student at Columbia, horrified his peers by organizing a Students for Strom Thurmond chapter, so staunchly did he believe in states’ rights."McCarthy, Daniel (2007-03-12) , The American Conservative Years later, he would look back on his support for Thurmond as "naïve":

When interventionist cold warriors of the National Review, such as William F. Buckley, Jr., gained influence in the Republican Party in the 1950s, Rothbard quit the party, walking out for good when moderate Dwight Eisenhower defeated Old Right stalwart Robert A. Taft for the 1952 Republican presidential nomination.Rothbard, Murray. , He would go on to support Democrat Adlai Stevenson in that year’s election, "largely as the only way to get the Wall Street incubus off the back of the Republican Party."

By the late 1960s, Rothbard’s "long and winding yet somehow consistent road had taken him from anti-New Deal and anti-interventionist Robert Taft supporter into friendship with the quasi-pacifist Nebraska Republican Congressman Howard Buffett (father of Warren Buffett) then over to the League of (Adlai) Stevensonian Democrats and, by 1968, into tentative comradeship with the anarchist factions of the New Left."Kauffman, Bill (2008-05-19) , The American Conservative Rothbard advocated an alliance with the New Left anti-war movement, on the grounds that the conservative movement had been completely subsumed by the statist establishment. However, Rothbard later criticized the New Left for supporting a "People’s Republic" style draft. It was during this phase that he associated with Karl Hess and founded Left and Right: A Journal of Libertarian Thought with Leonard Liggio and George Resch, which existed from 1965 to 1968. From 1969 to 1984 he edited The Libertarian Forum, also initially with Hess (although Hess’s involvement ended in 1971).[ "Karl Hess and the Death of Politics."] Jeff Riggenbach. Accessed February 5, 2013.