Book – Strictly Confidential: The Private Volker Fund Memos of Murray N. Rothbard

Murray Rothbard is widely known for his vast literary output, but a great deal of his work has never been published until now. During the late 1950s and early 60s, he worked for the William Volker Fund, one of the few organizations willing to fund classical liberal scholars at the time. In that capacity, he wrote memos and reviews that offer insights on history, economics, foreign policy, and political theory.

Some of the thinkers evaluated by Rothbard: Willmoore Kendall, Charles Black, Leon Bramson, Charles Percy Snow, Charles Beard, Jackson Turner Main, R.S. Van Alstyne, Robert V. Remini, George B. DeHuszar, Douglass C. North, William Appleman Williams, Edgard Eugen Robinson, Paul W. Schroeder, J.Fred Rippy, Alexander Gray, T.S. Ashton, Ro

Available for download at Mises.org

http://www.readrothbard.com/book-strictly-confidential-the-private-volker-fund-memos-of-murray-n-rothbard

Book – Science, Technology, and Government

When Murray Rothbard wrote “Science, Technology, and Government” in 1959, supporters of the free market needed to confront a challenge that remains relevant today. In 1957, the Soviet Union launched its “Sputnik” satellite, thereby defeating the United States in the race between the two countries to be first into space. Did this victory show, or at least suggest, the superiority of Soviet centrally-planned science to the American market economy? Critics of the free enterprise system like John Kenneth Galbraith (one of Rothbard’s least favorite economists) claimed that scientific research and development required government planning and control. The free market, these critics claimed, could not carry out the vast efforts research now required. Could private enterprise have built the atomic bomb? The Soviets have long since departed, but the fallacies in the arguments for centrally-controlled science live on today. Government spending on science and technology has increased far beyond its level in 1959.

Contrary to common belief, a tax exemption is not simply equivalent to a government subsidy. For a subsidy mulcts taxpayers in order to give a special grant to the favored party. It thereby adds to the ratio of government activity in the economy, distorts productive resources, and multiplies the dangers of government control and repression. A tax exemption, or any other type of tax reduction, on the one hand, reduces the ratio of government to private action; it frees private energies and allows them to develop unhampered; it reduces the danger of government control and distortion of the economy. It is a step toward the free market and the free society, just as a government subsidy is a step away from the free society.

This essay was found among Rothbard’s papers. But the exact circumstances under which it was written have not yet come to light. As readers will soon discover, it contains an astonishing wealth of insights.

Los Angeles, July 2015

Available for download at Mises.org

http://www.readrothbard.com/book-science-technology-and-government

Book – A Genuine Gold Dollar vs. the Federal Reserve

In recent years an increasing number of economists have understandably become disillusioned by the inflationary record of fiat currencies. They have therefore concluded that leaving the government and its central bank power to fine-tune the money supply, but abjuring them to use that power wisely in accordance with various rules, is simply leaving the fox in charge of the proverbial henhouse. They have come to the conclusion that only radical measures can remedy the problem, in essence, the problem of the inherent tendency of government to inflate a money supply that it monopolizes and creates. That remedy is no less than the strict separation of money and its supply from the state.

Available for download at Mises.org

http://amzn.to/2a90AVe

http://www.readrothbard.com/book-a-genuine-gold-dollar-vs-the-federal-reserve

Book – Never a Dull Moment: A Libertarian Look at the Sixties

Over 20 years after his death, a new Murray Rothbard book has been released! Compiled, edited and forwarded by Justin Raimondo, this book takes Muray’s essays from the 60’s regarding the events of the day. Often considered Murray’s “Left” Period for his aligning with certain left-leaning groups based on the common ground of being against the Vietnam war.

This book will help explain his thought at the times.

Here is the official description of the book:

For Murray Rothbard, libertarianism wasn’t an intellectual parlor game, nor was it a personal affectation: for him, it was a banner that was meant to be carried into battle. Ever the happy warrior, he sought to bring the radical libertarian perspective to bear on the events of the day, and it was a task he delighted in. From 1967 thru 1968, Rothbard churned out 58 columns for the Freedom Newspapers, addressing the campus revolt; the massive antiwar demonstrations; the Six-Day War between Israel and the Arab powers; the Newark riots; the Vietnam war; the persecution of H. Rap Brown, the assassination of Martin Luther King, the abdication of Lyndon Baines Johnson, the rise of Richard Nixon - in those two crucial years there was, as they say, never a dull moment.

 Here is an Amazon Link if you would like to purchase the book and support Read Rothbard at the same time:  http://amzn.to/2alsrq0

http://www.readrothbard.com/book-never-a-dull-moment

Book – Rothbard Reader

 

An excellent introduction to the vast trove of Rothbard’s work.  If you have never read any Rothbard, the Rothbard Reader is your one-way ticket to appreciating the deft skill with which he can make the complicated understandable.  Murray’s clear thought translates brilliantly into his clear prose.  There are another 30 books to read if you wish to continue on.

 

Here is the Amazon link if you wish to purchase this book and support Read Rothbard at the same time:  http://amzn.to/2axJn8a 

http://www.readrothbard.com/book-rothbard-reader

The Rothbard Repository is coming soon

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It can be hard to remember.

The Rothbard Repository is a keyword-searchable database of Murray Rothbard lectures. You can quickly find what you are looking for. This tool will help you find the exact time stamp of when Rothbard talks about a specific topic you searched.

Read Rothbard is Under Construction

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Book – Anatomy of the State

This gives a succinct account of Rothbard’s view of the state. Following Franz Oppenheimer and Albert Jay Nock, Rothbard regards the state as a predatory entity. It does not produce anything but rather steals resources from those engaged in production. In applying this view to American history, Rothbard makes use of the work of John C. Calhoun.

How can an organization of this type sustain itself? It must engage in propaganda to induce popular support for its policies. Court intellectuals play a key role here, and Rothbard cites as an example of ideological mystification the work of the influential legal theorist Charles Black, Jr., on the way the Supreme Court has become a revered institution.

Click here to visit Mises.org for download page

http://www.readrothbard.com/post/book-anatomy-of-the-state

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


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