Read Rothbard is Under Construction

Hello good reader, and thank you for visiting.

Read Rothbard was on a platform that is no longer supported, so now we are actively moving content over to this WordPress platform that should provide a much better user experience and be far more stable.

As a platform, WordPress has been satisfying consumer wants better than competitors and is winning out in the marketplace.  It is only appropriate that we follow suit to improve the site.

Please have patience with us through this process as there is plenty of content to work through.

And yes, the Repository will be making it’s way to the new platform as well – and will be free – not just for the monthly charge or for our Patreon supporters.

However, you are still welcome to support us on Patreon at:

https://www.patreon.com/ReadRothbard

We appreciate any and all support, be it monetary, comments, interactions, retweets, etc…

In the meantime, please do consider checking out our sister-sites: Continue reading “Read Rothbard is Under Construction”

Murray Rothbard’s Star Wars Review

Arts and Movies

By Mr. First Nighter


Star Wars, dir. by George Lucas. With Alec Guinness and Carrie Fisher.

First came the hype. That Star Wars is going to be the biggest popular film success since Jaws means very little. So every season is going to have its oversold smash hit, so what? But the difference, the new hype, with Star Wars was its overwhelming acclaim among the critics. Usually the masses whoop it up for a Jaws while the critics go ape over Bertolucii or Fassbinder. Yet here they were in joint huzzahs, with the critic from Time flipping his wig to such an extent as to call it the best movie of the year and making Star Wars the feature of that week’s issue.

But the oddest, the most peculiar part of it was what my fellow-critics were saying: “Hurrah, a fun movie-movie”; “good escape entertainment”; “a return to good guys vs. a happy ending again”; “movie fare for the entire family”; “like Flash Gordon” etc. Here were men and women who have spent the greater, part of their lives deriding these very virtues, attacking them as mindless, moralistic, unaesthetic, fodder for the Tired Businessman instead of the Sensitive Intellectual. And yet here were these same acidulous critics praising these mindless, reactionary verities. What in blazes was going on? Had all colleagues experienced a blinding miraculous conversion to Old Culture truths? While I do not deny the logical possibility of such a mass, instantaneous conversion from error, my experience of this wicked world has convinced me that it is empirically highly unlikely. So what gives?

The best thing about seeing Star Wars is that my curiosity was satisfied. The mystery explained! For it was indeed true that Star Wars returns to the good guy-bad guy, happy ending, and all the rest. But there is an important catch, and it is that catch that enables our critical intelligentsia to praise the movie and yet suffer no breach in their irrational and amoral critical perspective. The catch is embodied in the reference to Flash Gordon: namely, that this is such a silly, cartoony, comic-strip “movie that no one can possibly take it seriously, even within its own context. No one, that is, over the age of 8. Hence, in contrast to Death Wish or Dirty Harry, where the viewer is necessarily caught up in the picture and must take the viewer is seriously, Star Wars is such kiddie hokum that the adult critics can let their hair down and enjoy it without having their aesthetic values threatened.

To put it another way, our critics, who are bitterly opposed to a moralistic and exciting plot, are scarcely challenged by the plot of “Star Wars, which is so designedly imbecilic that the intelligentsia can relax, forget about the plot and enjoy the special effects, which the avant-garde always approves.

Even on the kiddie level, Star Wars doesn’t really work. It is peculiarly off-base. The hero, for example, is so young, wooden and callow that he doesn’t really come off as an authentic comic-strip hero. As a result, his older mercenary aide becomes a kind of co-hero, which throws off the balance of the story. The hero presumably doesn’t get the Fairy Princess in the end, either, although far worse is the casting of the Princess. For, Carrie Fisher is ugly and abrasive, and if one could care very much about the hero one would hope that nothing came of their proto-romance: Miss Fisher is the quintessence of the Anti-Princess, and this ruins whatever may have remained of interest of value in Star Wars. There are more problems; not only does wise Alec Guinness lose his mighty duel with his evil ex-disciple, but the whole duel is pointless and leads nowhere, even within the context of the plot.

“Not only is this oversold turkey not the best movie of the year, it is not very good even within the sci-fi movie genre. Some of the critics have proclaimed Star Wars as even better than “2001”, but that would be no great feat, since there have been few movies of any genre that have been worse than that pretentious, mystical, boring, plotless piece of claptrap. But Star Wars doesn’t begin to compare with the science fiction greats of the past, e.g.: “The Thing”—the first post World War it sci-fi movie; “It Came from Outer Space”; “The Night of the Living Dead”, and, best of all, the incomparable “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”; None of these movies needed the razzle-dazzle of “special effects”; they did it on plot, theme, and characters. Back to them!


First appeared in The Libertarian Forum, Vol. 10.6, June 1977


For the history you didn’t learn in school, check out Liberty Classroom:

Get the equivalent of a Ph.D. in libertarian thought and free-market economics online for just 24 cents a day….

American Economy and the End of Laissez-Faire – 1 of 13 – The Civil War and Its Legacy

The American Economy and the End of Laissez-Faire: 1870 to World War II

1. The Civil War and Its Legacy
Lecture by Murray N. Rothbard

How does government intervene in the economy? What are the consequences? What are the motivations behind passing these interventions? The lives of the people involved explain why they do these things. Rothbard delves into the religious views of the leaders in American history to understand motivations. Schools, drink, and Sabbath laws were the focus of Yankees in Northern states for ninety years.

Lecture 1 of 13 presented in Fall of 1986 at the New York Polytechnic University.

This lecture as a Podcast: http://enemyofthestate.podomatic.com/

Sourced from: https://mises.org/library/american-economy-and-end-laissez-faire-1870-world-war-ii

Source: American Economy and the End of Laissez-Faire – 1 of 13 – The Civil War and Its Legacy – YouTube

http://www.readrothbard.com/american-economy-and-the-end-of-laissez-faire-1-of-13-the-civil-war-and-its-legacy

TRANSCRIPT Continue reading “American Economy and the End of Laissez-Faire – 1 of 13 – The Civil War and Its Legacy”

American Economy and the End of Laissez-Faire – 2 of 13 – The Railroading of the American People

The American Economy and the End of Laissez-Faire: 1870 to World War II

2. The Railroading of the American People
Lecture by Murray N. Rothbard

The railroads experienced both enormous growth and enormous government intervention. Land was closed off from settlement, causing farmers to oppose the privileged railroads. Markets were skewed. Waste and inefficiencies were high. Graft and corruption were rampant. Only the Great Northern by James Hill was built with private monies. It became the of the few transcontinental railroads not to go bankrupt.

Lecture 2 of 13 presented in Fall of 1986 at the New York Polytechnic University.

This lecture as a Podcast: http://enemyofthestate.podomatic.com/

Sourced from: https://mises.org/library/american-economy-and-end-laissez-faire-1870-world-war-ii

Source: American Economy and the End of Laissez-Faire – 2 of 13 – The Railroading of the American People – YouTube

http://www.readrothbard.com/american-economy-and-the-end-of-laissez-faire-2-of-13-the-railroading-of-the-american-people

TRANSCRIPT Continue reading “American Economy and the End of Laissez-Faire – 2 of 13 – The Railroading of the American People”

American Economy and the End of Laissez-Faire – 3 of 13 – The Decline of Laissez-Faire

The American Economy and the End of Laissez-Faire: 1870 to World War II

3. The Decline of Laissez-Faire
Lecture by Murray N. Rothbard

Economics is a constant fight between the market and the government. The railroad cartel did not work against the free market even with ideal conditions. Airlines were tightly regulated until the small airlines began to compete in quality. Deregulation followed. Cleveland deviated from laissez-faire because of Morgan interests.

After the Civil War, manufacturing thrived – our own Industrial Revolution was underway. Prices fell. Savings rose. Capitalists owned the machinery so the workers no longer had to. The factory system enormously increased productivity.

Corporations are legitimate as libertarian entities. Industry made petroleum a natural resource.

Lecture 3 of 13 presented in Fall of 1986 at the New York Polytechnic University.

This lecture as a Podcast: http://enemyofthestate.podomatic.com/

Sourced from: https://mises.org/library/american-economy-and-end-laissez-faire-1870-world-war-ii

Source: American Economy and the End of Laissez-Faire – 3 of 13 – The Decline of Laissez-Faire – YouTube

http://www.readrothbard.com/american-economy-and-the-end-of-laissez-faire-3-of-13-the-decline-of-laissez-faire

TRANSCRIPT Continue reading “American Economy and the End of Laissez-Faire – 3 of 13 – The Decline of Laissez-Faire”

American Economy and the End of Laissez-Faire – 4 of 13 – The Rise and Fall of Monopolies

The American Economy and the End of Laissez-Faire: 1870 to World War II

4. The Rise and Fall of Monopolies
Lecture by Murray N. Rothbard

Petroleum entered the industrial scene in 1859 with John D. Rockefeller’s hard work. As the first manufacturing corporation, Standard Oil created a monopoly in kerosene refining by buying others out. A huge drop in the price of fuel followed, benefiting consumers, due to production efficiencies. Rothbard, then, discusses pietists, prohibitionists and the big political shift of 1896.

Pietists, prohibitionists, anti-immigrationists, and women suffragettes had made a big Republican drive before 1890. But then a big, sudden shift in politics occurred, with Democrats capturing the big Midwest states, due to demographics of Germans, higher birth rates, anti-prohibitionists, and hard money standards. After this, the Republican party got more moderate and the Democratic party got captured by extreme pietists in 1896. The South became a fully Democratic region. The Panic of 1893 resulted in the loss of Democratic seats due to the depression. By 1896 Bryanites were taking over the party. German Lutherans, and Catholics became majority-party Republicans, leaving the Irish to become minority-party Democratic civil servants. This situation lasts until 1932. The parties become non-ideological. Statists prevailed.

Lecture 4 of 13 presented in Fall of 1986 at the New York Polytechnic University.

This lecture as a Podcast: http://enemyofthestate.podomatic.com/

Sourced from: https://mises.org/library/american-economy-and-end-laissez-faire-1870-world-war-ii

Source: American Economy and the End of Laissez-Faire – 4 of 13 – The Rise and Fall of Monopolies – YouTube

http://www.readrothbard.com/american-economy-and-the-end-of-laissez-faire-4-of-13-the-rise-and-fall-of-monopolie

TRANSCRIPT Continue reading “American Economy and the End of Laissez-Faire – 4 of 13 – The Rise and Fall of Monopolies”

American Economy and the End of Laissez-Faire – 5 of 13 – Pietism and the Power Brokers

The American Economy and the End of Laissez-Faire: 1870 to World War II

5. Pietism and the Power Brokers
Lecture by Murray N. Rothbard

When pietists shift to the Republican party, they form the progressive movement of 1900-1920. Rockefeller- McKinley forms alliances with power brokers like Kuhn, Loeb & Co., and Harriman (versus the Morgans).

Teddy Roosevelt (Oyster Bay wing of the family) was financially in with the Morgans. The Panama Canal caper included a fake revolution in Panama in order to give more U.S. money to the French canal company, whose shares were owned by a Morgan group.

In industry, iron and steel found double protection through tariffs and greenback inflation. Morgan tried to establish cartels, but failed. The iron and steel companies then turned to government to do it for them- a progressive move.

Lecture 5 of 13 presented in Fall of 1986 at the New York Polytechnic University.

This lecture as a Podcast: http://enemyofthestate.podomatic.com/

Sourced from: https://mises.org/library/american-economy-and-end-laissez-faire-1870-world-war-ii

Source: American Economy and the End of Laissez-Faire – 5 of 13 – Pietism and the Power Brokers – YouTube

http://www.readrothbard.com/american-economy-and-the-end-of-laissez-faire-5-of-13-pietism-and-the-power-brokers

TRANSCRIPT NOT AVAILABLE AT THIS TIME Continue reading “American Economy and the End of Laissez-Faire – 5 of 13 – Pietism and the Power Brokers”

American Economy and the End of Laissez-Faire – 6 of 13 – Tariffs, Inflation, Anti Trust and Cartels

The American Economy and the End of Laissez-Faire: 1870 to World War II

6. Tariffs, Inflation, Anti-Trust and Cartels
Lecture by Murray N. Rothbard

The Sherman Act outlawed restraint of trade. The Clayton Act added to that. Anti-Trust hysteria came in the 1940-50s. Whatever you did would be considered monopolistic. The charges didn’t come from consumers, they came from whining competitors. It was government-enforced blackmail. The US leather industry was put out of business. The corn starch industry was put out of business. Retail cartels, enforced by the government, imposed artificially higher prices on products. It was the welfare state in action. Claims of economic privilege were whipped up by racial and ethnic claims.

Teddy Roosevelt is my least favorite person. He liked killing.

Lecture 6 of 13 presented in Fall of 1986 at the New York Polytechnic University.

This lecture as a Podcast: http://enemyofthestate.podomatic.com/

Sourced from: https://mises.org/library/american-economy-and-end-laissez-faire-1870-world-war-ii

Source: American Economy and the End of Laissez-Faire – 6 of 13 – Tariffs, Inflation, Anti Trust and Cartels – YouTube

http://www.readrothbard.com/american-economy-and-the-end-of-laissez-faire-6-of-13-tariffs-inflation-anti-trust-and-cartels

TRANSCRIPT Continue reading “American Economy and the End of Laissez-Faire – 6 of 13 – Tariffs, Inflation, Anti Trust and Cartels”

American Economy and the End of Laissez-Faire – 7 of 13 – Theodore Roosevelt Master Reformer

The American Economy and the End of Laissez-Faire: 1870 to World War II

7. Theodore Roosevelt: Master Reformer
Lecture by Murray N. Rothbard

Assassinations in American are only by lone nuts. No one who benefits is ever suspected, like Lyndon Johnson. The progressive period saw a re-alliance of church and state – secularized extreme Pietism (Protestant sects) with government as savior by intervening in markets. Meat packing regulations and the Sugar Trust under Teddy Roosevelt, passed in June 1906. The myth was that the meat was diseased and people were dying of it. That was false. The big meat packers were asking for regulations because they wanted to sue their small competitors. The Pure Food and Drug Act was a prototype for the whole progressive movement toward purity of body, mind and soul. Adulteration only meant any change in the name of the sugar chemistry.

Lecture 7 of 13 presented in Fall of 1986 at the New York Polytechnic University.

This lecture as a Podcast: http://enemyofthestate.podomatic.com/

Sourced from: https://mises.org/library/american-economy-and-end-laissez-faire-1870-world-war-ii

Source: American Economy and the End of Laissez-Faire – 7 of 13 – Theodore Roosevelt Master Reformer – YouTube

http://www.readrothbard.com/american-economy-and-the-end-of-laissez-faire-7-of-13-theodore-roosevelt-master-reformer

TRANSCRIPT Continue reading “American Economy and the End of Laissez-Faire – 7 of 13 – Theodore Roosevelt Master Reformer”

American Economy and the End of Laissez-Faire – 8 of 13 – Regulation and Public Utilities

The American Economy and the End of Laissez-Faire: 1870 to World War II

8. Regulation and Public Utilities
Lecture by Murray N. Rothbard

State dominated cartels used intellectuals as apologists for the government. Big unionism was to transmit orders to the working class. Public utilities were government monopolies for fifty-year terms, run without any checks by the public. It is the function of government to run everything. Regulation was rampant, e.g. prohibition. Social workers wanted to abolish the saloons. German brewers were suspect of weakening soldiers. Constitutional amendment outlawed liquor.

Lecture 8 of 13 presented in Fall of 1986 at the New York Polytechnic University.

This lecture as a Podcast: http://enemyofthestate.podomatic.com/

Sourced from: https://mises.org/library/american-economy-and-end-laissez-faire-1870-world-war-ii

Source: American Economy and the End of Laissez-Faire – 8 of 13 – Regulation and Public Utilities – YouTube

http://www.readrothbard.com/american-economy-and-the-end-of-laissez-faire-8-of-13-regulation-and-public-utilities

TRANSCRIPT Continue reading “American Economy and the End of Laissez-Faire – 8 of 13 – Regulation and Public Utilities”

American Economy and the End of Laissez-Faire – 9 of 13 – The Progressive Era

The American Economy and the End of Laissez-Faire: 1870 to World War II

9. The Progressive Era?
Lecture by Murray N. Rothbard

Progressive movement came in in 1900 to eliminate political parties. Technocrats and bureaucrats take over political power. Rural versus urban. Eliminate mayors, eliminate voting altogether, have appointed bureaucrats only. Nationalize public school system so costs could be socialized, like getting the public schools to teach Spanish. Children can all be part of a collective, without parental influence. Control shifted from ethnic working class small communities to upper-class WASPS.

Only synthetic drugs remained legal in medicine. Rockefeller Institute backed it. Homeopathy was outlawed. Hospitals overused fancy equipment and cared about just the doctors, not the patients.

The Progressive party was created by JP Morgan interests.

Lecture 9 of 13 presented in Fall of 1986 at the New York Polytechnic University.

This lecture as a Podcast: http://enemyofthestate.podomatic.com/

Sourced from: https://mises.org/library/american-economy-and-end-laissez-faire-1870-world-war-ii

Source: American Economy and the End of Laissez-Faire – 9 of 13 – The Progressive Era – YouTube

http://www.readrothbard.com/american-economy-and-the-end-of-laissez-faire-9-of-13-the-progressive-era

TRANSCRIPT Continue reading “American Economy and the End of Laissez-Faire – 9 of 13 – The Progressive Era”

American Economy and the End of Laissez-Faire – 10 of 13 – Cartelization of Banking: The Fed

The American Economy and the End of Laissez-Faire: 1870 to World War II

10. Cartelization of Banking: The Fed
Lecture by Murray N. Rothbard

Bernard Baruch ran WWI as an absolute collectivist controller. The Federal Reserve was created in 1913 by Morgan men to cartelize the banking system and limit competition. Production and prices were regulated via the corporate state. Morgan men wrote the FTC- Federal Trade Commission Act. Progressive means statist and corporatist. The New Republic, a proto-fascist magazine- appeared.

Banks create fake warehouse on-demand receipts. One was a note, but the more sophisticated way was by having open-book accounts by which you have a demand deposit, not a bank note. The check is a transfer order and the temptation for counterfeiting fake warehouse receipts was great. This is fractional reserve banking. Rothbard thinks it is fraud. It increases the money supply in an inflationary manner by creating money out of thin air. All banks are technically insolvent. The Central bank system is a partnership between government and private banks. It is a coercive monopoly cartel.

Lecture 10 of 13 presented in Fall of 1986 at the New York Polytechnic University.

This lecture as a Podcast: http://enemyofthestate.podomatic.com/

Sourced from: https://mises.org/library/american-economy-and-end-laissez-faire-1870-world-war-ii

Source: American Economy and the End of Laissez-Faire – 10 of 13 – Cartelization of Banking: The Fed – YouTube

http://www.readrothbard.com/american-economy-and-the-end-of-laissez-faire-10-of-13-cartelization-of-banking-the-fed

TRANSCRIPT Continue reading “American Economy and the End of Laissez-Faire – 10 of 13 – Cartelization of Banking: The Fed”