Murray Rothbard


Murray Rothbard : biography

March 2, 1926 – January 7, 1995

Rothbard opposed what he considered the overspecialization of the academy and sought to fuse the disciplines of economics, history, ethics, and political science to create a "science of liberty." Rothbard described the moral basis for his anarcho-capitalist position in two of his books: For a New Liberty, published in 1973, and The Ethics of Liberty, published in 1982. In his Power and Market (1970), Rothbard describes how a stateless economy might function.


In The Ethics of Liberty, Rothbard asserts the right of absolute self-ownership, as the only principle compatible with a moral code that applies to every person—a "universal ethic"—and that it is a natural law by being what is naturally best for man.Rothbard, Murray N. The Ethics of Liberty. NYU Press. 2003. pp. 45–45 He argued that, as a result, individuals owned the fruits of their labor. Accordingly, each person had the right to exchange his property with others. He also advocated for Lockean homesteading, arguing that if an individual mixes his labor with unowned land then he is the proper owner, and from that point on it is private property that may only exchange hands by trade or gift. Rothbard later accepted and endorsed Hans Hermann Hoppe’s argumentation ethics, calling it a "dazzling breakthrough" in libertarianism.


Rothbard began to consider himself a private property anarchist in the 1950s and later began to use "anarcho-capitalist".Roberta Modugno Crocetta, , Ludwig Von Mises Institute. In his anarcho-capitalist model, a system of protection agencies compete in a free market and are voluntarily supported by consumers who choose to use their protective and judicial services. Anarcho-capitalism would mean the end of the state monopoly on force.

Rothbard was equally condemning of relationships he perceived between big business and big government. He cited many instances where business elites co-opted government’s monopoly power so as to influence laws and regulatory policy in a manner benefiting them at the expense of their competitive rivals. According to Rothbard, one example of such cronyism included grants of monopolistic privilege the railroads derived from sponsoring conservation laws.


Believing like Randolph Bourne that "war is the health of the state," Rothbard opposed aggressive foreign policy. In 1964 he wrote that "deplorable American imperialism" is the "main issue of our time."Murray N. Rothbard, , first published in Continuum, Summer 1964, pp. 220–231; reprinted at Rothbard believed that stopping new wars was necessary and knowledge of how government had seduced citizens into earlier wars was important. Two essays expanded on these views "War, Peace, and the State" and "The Anatomy of the State." Rothbard used insights of the elitism theorists Vilfredo Pareto, Gaetano Mosca, and Robert Michels to build a model of state personnel, goals, and ideology.Joseph R. Stromberg, (also see ),, originally published June 2000.See both essays, Murray N. Rothbard, , first published 1963; , first published 1974. In an obituary for his friend historical revisionist Harry Elmer Barnes, Rothbard explained why historical knowledge is important:

Rothbard also made a distinction between "narrow" and "broad" historical revisionist. He wrote that Barnes was a "broad Revisionist" who "understood that the main problem has been war and peace, and that his main concern was not to weep over Germany, but to oppose a world-wide escalation of war."Murray N. Rothbard, ", essay originally from Arthur Goddard, ed., Harry Elmer Barnes: Learned Crusader, Ralph Myles, Publisher, Inc., 1968.

Rothbard discussed his views on the principles of a libertarian foreign policy in a 1973 interview: "The libertarian position, generally, is minimize State power as much as possible, down to zero, and isolationism is the full expression in foreign affairs of the domestic objective of whittling down State power." He further called for "abstinence from any kind of American military intervention and political and economic intervention." In For a New Liberty he writes: "In a purely libertarian world, therefore, there would be no ‘foreign policy’ because there would be no States, no governments with a monopoly of coercion over particular territorial areas."