[Reading] ➽ For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto By Murray N. Rothbard – Saudionline.co.uk

For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto chapter 1 For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto, meaning For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto, genre For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto, book cover For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto, flies For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto, For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto 73bcaa51c8c40 A Classic That For Over Two Decades Has Been Hailed As The Best General Work On Libertarianism Available Rothbard Begins With A Quick Overview Of Its Historical Roots, And Then Goes On To Define Libertarianism As Resting Upon One Single Axiom That No Man Or Group Of Men Shall Aggress Upon The Person Or Property Of Anyone Else He Writes A Withering Critique Of The Chief Violator Of Liberty The State Rothbard Then Provides Penetrating Libertarian Solutions For Many Of Today S Most Pressing Problems, Including Poverty, War, Threats To Civil Liberties, The Education Crisis, And

10 thoughts on “For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto

  1. says:

    The level of radical thought in this book is so exciting, I literally read all 419 pages in a personal record of 5 days In the book, Rothbard hones in all the pieces connecting the modern Libertarian movement as of 1972 when the book was first published at least and the most striking thing was the consistency of the logic It s solid That s not to say that it shouldn t open to scrutiny, but that s precisely what Rothbard expects, and it gets me eager to catch up on the 35 years of scholarship that s followed his manifesto, as well as specific predecessors that he used as examples.The most important and most amazing parts of his book are how he explains most of the aggression and economic woes that we re experiencing today It s not that he s a magician with a window into the future It s that he understands the ultimate unattainable utopianism of supporters of stateism From government bailouts to war quagmires like Iraq and Afghanistan, Rothbard not only predicts them, but explains why they are occurring, and the inevitable failure that can come from them, because it s the only logical conclusion.The concepts espoused in For a New Liberty are gathered and encapsulated in virtual perfection by Rothbard, to expose a new generation of the world that could be It is so fierce, unapologetic and unrelenting in its logic, that this book, than any I ve ever read, makes me want to hold it as tight to my breast as possible, while raising my other arm and proclaiming Vive La Liberte

  2. says:

    A facile argument that attempts to borrow authority from Locke and the natural rights tradition.Interestingly, what is wrong about this book is fairly easily summarized On p.38, he quotes from one of Locke s treatises on government every man has a property in his own person This nobody has any right to but himself The labour of his body and the work of his hands, we may say, are properly his Whatsoever, then, he removes out of the state that nature hath provided and left it in, he hath mixed his labour with it, and joined it to something that is his own, and thereby makes it his property It being by him removed from the common state nature placed it in, it hath by this labour something annexed to it that excludes the common right of other men For this labour being the unquestionable property of the labourer, no man but he can have a right to what that is once joined to.Now, what is interesting is not that he is quoting Locke or the natural rights tradition, flawed as it is, generally , or what he is quoting from Locke, but rather what Rothbard is omitting Consider the full paragraph, which runs as follows Though the earth, and all inferior creatures, be common to all men, yet every man has a property in his own person This nobody has any right to but himself The labour of his body and the work of his hands, we may say, are properly his Whatsoever, then, he removes out of the state that nature hath provided and left it in, he hath mixed his labour with it, and joined it to something that is his own, and thereby makes it his property It being by him removed from the common state nature placed it in, it hath by this labour something annexed to it that excludes the common right of other men For this labour being the unquestionable property of the labourer, no man but he can have a right to what that is once joined to, at least where there is enough, and as good, left in common for others.See what is left out It is basically because of this omission that Rothbard can make his case at all ignoring the fact that the rest of the book is filled to the brim with false dichotomies and other kinds of sloppy argumentation Because most if not all of the rest of his argument rests on the twin assumptions that a a society is just only if there exist private property rights, and b these rights are necessarily absolute, which these omissions concerning the absolute nature of this status, and property rights as an organizing principle generally are explicitly meant as checks against.

  3. says:

    Words like liberal, conservative, left and right were twisted, distorted and deformed in such a manner that their meaning is kind of lost Rothbard explains the values of libertarianism so in this book you will find not only Rothbard s views on money, banking, FED and gold standard which are leading topics of the majority of his work but also on many other fields of the organization of a human society Rothbard defends liberty, property rights and gives a thorough description of functioning of a society built upon few simple principles This kind of an axiomatic way is innovative and refreshing compared to that of main stream politicians, whose claims and policies contradict the common sense and sometimes even themselves The book can be downloaded for free at Ludvig von Mises Institute s website www.mises.org in PDF and also as audiobook in MP3 I strongly recommend reading it to everyone.

  4. says:

    For A New Liberty systematically exemplifies the philosophical theory of libertarianism while categorically denouncing the destructive violent and coercive nature of government The existence of government is preposterous given it is the only entity that enjoys the monopolistic legal use of violence and coercion and obtain revenue without voluntary exchange by some arbitrary decree Rothbard brilliantly chronicles the nascent of libertarianism while in addition to explaining the philosophy of the libertarian creed in establishing free markets, personal liberty and property rights, yet government intervention continually disrupts voluntary action and exchange thus acting as a combative to individualism All societal problems originate from government intervention, so Rothbard applies the libertarian creed as a remedy.The American Revolution sparked the greatest event to libertarianism but commenced by the French and English Revolutionaries before it The fundamental axiom to the libertarian creed is that no man or group of men may aggress against the person or property of anyone else The non aggression axiom is naturally amended to property rights for individual ownership The most important aspect of the market economy is voluntary exchange for mutual benefit thus, any exchange not agreed upon by means of violence or coercion violates the libertarian creed, so the state is the eternally superior and most organized aggressor of all persons and property It s rulers and operators are held above moral law where criminal activity is cloaked by rhetoric For centuries murder has been called war, and slavery has been called conscription, and theft has been called taxation.Every problem of society inscribes the failure of government, for every application of the libertarian creed would bring increased social and economic cooperation, and each solution is as important as the next, but there were some standouts The chapter on inflation and the business cycle is the crowning jewel of the book, for without the power to inflate the money supply, government is powerless if expenditures are not expanding particularly by war Honorable mention goes to the chapters on war and foreign policy along with police protection, the law and courts For A New Liberty naturally stimulates discussion for the prospect of absolute freedom and the abolition of government Rothbard unequivocally postulates logical and rational arguments supplemented by an plethora of examples For A New Liberty describes an alternative means how individuals could interact in an completely non aggression society Lastly, Rothbard was known as the State s Greatest Living Enemy, for this manifesto leaves no doubt as to why.

  5. says:

    Had been debating a foray into this book for a while, as I have saturated myself thoroughly with Libertarian reading the past few years and really wondered if I wasn t going to just rehash ideas I am well familiar with That being said I was floored by this book While I was certainly part of the choir being preached to, Rothbard has an incredible ability to make you reanalyze seemingly mundane standards and precedents and recognize now glaring inconsistencies in logic philosophy His rhetoric is among the best I have read in recent times, and his arguments all come packed with preemptive counterarguments and relevant history Rothbard is extremely unique, and indeed prophetic in many elements highlighting the issues in this country One could read through this book and disagree with his entire philosophy the whole way, but if you didn t learn anything that made you question the value of the status quo, you didn t actually read it particularly when you note the further decline since the writing of this book and his key criticisms of the US s direction While this book is often recommended as a first step in exploring Libertarian philosophy, I would recommend reading some of the previous thought leaders economists and then reaching this book as I did You will appreciate just how unique it shines from others, while admiring how it synthesizes the key elements that bind a highly diverse political philosophy

  6. says:

    Though I was familiar with some of the libertarian views before starting the book, I had doubts about the feasibility of others doubts which this book managed to address, and much than that The author describes in a rigorous and logical way a world which is even amazing than I could imagine I was very very impressed by this book I also liked that the focus was not on complaining on how twisted our present state is, but on presenting the solution and a fantastic one at that One of individual freedom, social peace and prosperity I must admit I m often tempted to the utilitarian side of the argument, but I can t help but wholly admire and be drawn to the authors principled view, who puts freedom and right of personal ownership way above any other social principles and yet manages to prove that a world like that would be beneficial to us all and not the anarchic dangerous wild west that many imagine We need people like this For myself I must admit I often am amazed at how blessed we are to be living in a world in which the utilitarian and principled moral views lead to the same optimal solution It didn t have to be like that and indeed many tragedies in history have been caused by reasonable hypothesizing that it isn t and yet it is What an amazing world we live in

  7. says:

    This is a MUST READ This book explains the only way to have a TRULY free society without the contradictions and hypocrisy of both the right and the left I ve said for years that the only real difference between the Republicans and Democrats is WHICH big corporations they are in bed with and WHICH of our liberties they want to strip from us This book details the reasons for this The book was written in the late 70 s, so some of the examples area dated, but the concepts still hold true The only real problem was his prediction that T.V would become better once we had choices in channels.

  8. says:

    Interesting Quotes The libertarian insists that whether or not such practices are supported by the majority of the population is not germane to their nature that, regardless of popular sanction, War is Mass Murder, Conscription is Slavery, and Taxation is Robbery The libertarian, in short, is almost completely the child in the fable, pointing out insistently that the emperor has no clothes The libertarian therefore considers one of his prime educational tasks is to spread the demystification and desanctification of the State among its hapless subjects His task is to demonstrate repeatedly and in depth that not only the emperor but even the democratic State has no clothes that all governments subsist by exploitive rule over the public and that such rule is the reverse of objective necessity Murray Rothbard, For a New Liberty Take, for example, the liberal socialist who advocates government ownership of all the means of production while upholding the human right of freedom of speech or press How is this human right to be exercised if the individuals constituting the public are denied their right to ownership of property If, for example, the government owns all the newsprint and all the printing shops, how is the right to a free press to be exercised If the government owns all the newsprint, it then necessarily has the right and the power to allocate that newsprint, and someone s right to a free press becomes a mockery if the government decides not to allocate newsprint in his direction And since the government must allocate scarce newsprint in some way, the right to a free press of, say, minorities or subversive antisocialists will get short shrift indeed The same is true for the right to free speech if the government owns all the assembly halls, and therefore allocates those halls as it sees fit Or, for example, if the government of Soviet Russia, being atheistic, decides not to allocate many scarce resources to the production of matzohs, for Orthodox Jews the freedom of religion becomes a mockery but again, the Soviet government can always rebut that Orthodox Jews are a small minority and that capital equipment should not be diverted to matzoh production Property rights are human rights, and are essential to the human rights which liberals attempt to maintain The human right of a free press depends upon the human right of private property in newsprint Murray Rothbard, For a New Liberty It is true that, in the United States, at least, we have a constitution that imposes strict limits on some powers of government But, as we have discovered in the past century, no constitution can interpret or enforce itself it must be interpreted by men And if the ultimate power to interpret a constitution is given to the government s own Supreme Court, then the inevitable tendency is for the Court to continue to place its imprimatur on ever broader powers for its own government Murray Rothbard, For a New Liberty The law of libel, of course, discriminates in this way against the poor, since a person with few financial resources is scarcely as ready to carry on a costly libel suit as a person of affluent means Further, wealthy people can now use the libel laws as a club against poorer persons, restricting perfectly legitimate charges and utterances under the threat of sueing their poorer enemies for libel Paradoxically, then, a person of limited resources is apt to suffer from libel and to have his own speech restricted in the present system than he would in a world without any laws against libel or defamation Murray Rothbard, For a New Liberty Every station is grievously restricted, and forced to fashion its programming to the dictates of the Federal Communications Commission So every station must have balanced programming, broadcast a certain amount of public service announcements, grant equal time to every political candidate for the same office and to expressions of political opinion, censor controversial lyrics in the records it plays, etc For many years, no station was allowed to broadcast any editorial opinion at all now, every opinion must be balanced by responsible editorial rebuttals The public has only put up with this situation because it has existed since the beginning of large scale commercial radio But what would we think, for example, if all newspapers were licensed, the licenses to be renewable by a Federal Press Commission, and with newspapers losing their licenses if they dare express an unfair editorial opinion, or if they don t give full weight to public service announcements Would not this be an intolerable, not to say unconstitutional, destruction of the right to a free press Or consider if all book publishers had to be licensed, and their licenses were not renewable if their book lists failed to suit a Federal Book Commission Yet what we would all consider intolerable and totalitarian for the press and the book publishers is taken for granted in a medium which is now the most popular vehicle for expression and education radio and television Yet the principles in both cases are exactly the same Murray Rothbard, For a New Liberty Note The Supreme Court upheld the fairness doctrine in 1969, but it was administratively repealed in 1987 and is no longer in effect The irony, of course, is that by forcing men to be moral i.e., to act morally the conservative or liberal jailkeepers would in reality deprive men of the very possibility of being moral The concept of morality makes no sense unless the moral act is freely chosen Suppose, for example, that someone is a devout Muslim who is anxious to have as many people as possible bow to Mecca three times a day to him let us suppose this is the highest moral act But if he wields coercion to force everyone to bow to Mecca, he is thereby depriving everyone of the opportunity to be moral to choose freely to bow to Mecca Coercion deprives a man of the freedom to choose and, therefore, of the possibility of choosing morally The libertarian, in contrast to so many conservatives and liberals, does not want to place man in any cage What he wants for everyone is freedom, the freedom to act morally or immorally, as each man shall decide Murray Rothbard, For a New Liberty Violent acts such as rape, of course, are to be classed as crimes in the same way as any other act of violence against persons Oddly enough, while voluntary sexual activities have often been rendered illegal and prosecuted by the State, accused rapists have been treated far gently by the authorities than accused perpetrators of other forms of bodily assault In many instances, in fact, the rape victim has been virtually treated as the guilty party by the law enforcement agencies an attitude which is almost never taken toward victims of other crimes Clearly, an impermissible sexual double standard has been at work The double standard imposed by government can be remedied by removing rape as a special category of legal and judicial treatment, and of subsuming it under the general law of bodily assault Whatever standards are used for judges instructions to the jury, or for the admissibility of evidence, should be applied similarly in all these cases Murray Rothbard, For a New Liberty There is no right personal, no freedom precious, than for any woman to decide to have, or not to have, a baby, and it is totalitarian in the extreme for any government to presume to deny her that right Murray Rothbard, For a New Liberty There are few laws absurd and iniquitous than the laws against gambling In the first place, the law, in its broadest sense, is clearly unenforceable If every time Jim and Jack made a quiet bet on a football game, or on an election, or on virtually anything else, this were illegal, an enormous multimillion man gestapo would be required to enforce such a law and to spy on everyone and ferret out every bet Another large super espionage force would then be needed to spy on the spies to make sure that they have not been bought off Conservatives like to retort to such arguments used against laws outlawing sexual practices, pornography, drugs, etc that the prohibition against murder is not fully enforceable either, but this is no argument for repeal of that law This argument, however, ignores a crucial point the mass of the public, making an instinctive libertarian distinction, abhors and condemns murder and does not engage in it hence, the prohibition becomes broadly enforceable But the mass of the public is not as convinced of the criminality of gambling, hence continues to engage in it, and the law properly becomes unenforceable Murray Rothbard, For a New Liberty The most ambitious attempt by the public school partisans to maximize their control over the nation s children came in Oregon during the early 1920s The state of Oregon, unhappy even with allowing private schools certified by the state, passed a law on November 7,1922, outlawing private schools and compelling all children to attend public school Here was the culmination of the educationists dream At last, all children were to be forced into the democratizing mould of uniform education by the state authorities The law, happily, was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1925 Pierce v Society of Sisters, June 1, 1925 The Supreme Court declared that the child is not the mere creature of the State, and asserted that the Oregon law clashed with the fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose The public school fanatics never tried to go that far again But it is instructive to realize what the forces were that attempted to outlaw all competing private education in the state of Oregon For the spearheads of the law were not, as we might expect, liberal or progressive educators or intellectuals the spearhead was the Ku Klux Klan, then strong in the northern states, which was eager to crush the Catholic parochial school system, and to force all Catholic and immigrant children into the neo Protestantizing and Americanizing force of the public school The Klan, it is interesting to note, opined that such a law was necessary for the preservation of free institutions It is well to ponder that the much vaunted progressive and democratic public school system had its most ardent supporters in the most bigoted byways of American life, among people anxious to stamp out diversity and variety in America Murray Rothbard, For a New Liberty There is, in short, a break even point of the price of a house beyond which a new family in a new house will than pay for its children s education in its property taxes Families in homes below that cost level will not pay enough in property taxes to finance their children s education and hence will throw a greater tax burden on the existing population of the suburb Realizing this, suburbs have generally adopted rigorous zoning laws which prohibit the erection of housing below a minimum cost level and thereby freeze out any inflow of poorer citizens Since the proportion of Negro poor is far greater than white poor, this effectively also bars Negroes from joining the move to the suburbs And since in recent years there has been an increasing shift of jobs and industry from the central city to the suburbs as well, the result is an increasing pressure of unemployment on the Negroes a pressure which is bound to intensify as the job shift accelerates The abolition of the public schools, and therefore of the school burden property tax linkage, would go a long way toward removing zoning restrictions and ending the suburb as an upper middle class white preserve Murray Rothbard, For a New Liberty New York City, for example, has suffered periodically from a water shortage Here is a situation where, for many years, the city government has had a compulsory monopoly of the supply of water to its citizens Failing to supply enough water, and failing to price that water in such a way as to clear the market, to equate supply and demand which private enterprise does automatically , New York s response to water shortages has always been to blame not itself, but the consumer, whose sin has been to use too much water The city administration could only react by outlawing the sprinkling of lawns, restricting use of water, and demanding that people drink less water In this way, government transfers its own failings to the scapegoat user, who is threatened and bludgeoned instead of being served well and efficiently In short, while the long held motto of private enterprise is that the customer is always right, the implicit maxim of government operation is that the customer is always to be blamed Murray Rothbard, For a New Liberty In England before the eighteenth century, for example, roads, invariably owned and operated by local governments, were badly constructed and even badly maintained These public roads could never have supported the mighty Industrial Revolution that England experienced in the eighteenth century, the revolution that ushered in the modern age The vital task of improving the almost impassable English roads was performed by private turnpike companies, which, beginning in 1706, organized and established the great network of roads which made England the envy of the world The owners of these private turnpike companies were generally landowners, merchants, and industrialists in the area being served by the road, and they recouped their costs by charging tolls at selected tollgates Often the collection of tolls was leased out for a year or to individuals selected by competitive bids at auction It was these private roads that developed an internal market in England, and that greatly lowered the costs of transport of coal and other bulky material And since it was mutually beneficial for them to do so, the turnpike companies linked up with each other to form an interconnected road network throughout the land all a result of private enterprise in action As in England, so in the United States a little later in time Faced again with virtually impassable roads built by local governmental units, private companies built and financed a great turnpike network throughout the northeastern states, from approximately 1800 to 1830 Once again, private enterprise proved superior in road building and ownership to the backward operations of government The roads were built and operated by private turnpike corporations, and tolls were charged to the users Again, the turnpike companies were largely financed by merchants and property owners along the routes, and they voluntarily linked themselves into an interconnected network of roads And these turnpikes constituted the first really good roads in the United States Murray Rothbard, For a New Liberty T he entire law merchant was developed, not by the State or in State courts, but by private merchant courts It was only much later that government took over mercantile law from its development in merchants courts The same occurred with admiralty law, the entire structure of the law of the sea, shipping, salvages, etc Here again, the State was not interested, and its jurisdiction did not apply to the high seas so the shippers themselves took on the task of not only applying, but working out the whole structure of admiralty law in their own private courts Again, it was only later that the government appropriated admiralty law into its own courts Murray Rothbard, For a New Liberty It is particularly ironic that conservatives, at least in rhetoric supporters of a free market economy, should be so complacent and even admiring of our vast military industrial complex There is no greater single distortion of the free market in present day America The bulk of our scientists and engineers has been diverted from basic research for civilian ends, from increasing productivity and the standard of living of consumers, into wasteful, inefficient, and nonproductive military and space boondoggles These boondoggles are every bit as wasteful but infinitely destructive than the vast pyramid building of the Pharaoh Murray Rothbard, For a New Liberty The idea of a strictly limited constitutional State was a noble experiment that failed, even under the most favorable and propitious circumstances If it failed then, why should a similar experiment fare any better now No, it is the conservative laissez fairist, the man who puts all the guns and all the decision making power into the hands of the central government and then says, Limit yourself it is he who is truly the impractical utopian Murray Rothbard, For a New Liberty I am convinced that the dark night of tyranny is ending, and that a new dawn of liberty is now at hand Murray Rothbard, For a New Liberty Perhaps the best sign of all, the most favorable indication of the break down down of the mystique of the American State, of its moral groundwork, was the Watergate exposures of 1973 1974 It is Watergate that gives us the greatest single hope for the short run victory of liberty in America For Watergate, as politicians have been warning us ever since, destroyed the public s faith in government and it was high time, too Watergate engendered a radical shift in the deep seated attitudes of everyone regardless of their explicit ideology toward government itself For in the first place, Watergate awakened everyone to the invasions of personal liberty and private property by government to its bugging, drugging, wiretapping, mail covering, agents provocateurs even assassinations Watergate at last desanctified our previously sacrosanct FBI and CIA and caused them to be looked at clearly and coolly But important, by bringing about the impeachment of the President, Watergate permanently desanctified an office that had come to be virtually considered as sovereign by the American public No longer will the President be considered above the law no longer will the President be able to do no wrong Murray Rothbard, For a New Liberty

  9. says:

    For a New Liberty, Murray Rothbard s classic anarcho capitalist manifesto, is an undeniable classic of libertarian literature The broad vision Rothbard offers of a society built on voluntary association and exchange, free from the coercion and violence of the state doesn t need to be recapitulated here, since it can be found in the hundreds of online reviews this book has received, and in the thousands of posts in the libertarian blogosphere that reference it I would, therefore, like to simply point out a few areas of agreement and disagreement that I had with Rothbard as I read the book.To me, the strongest part of the book is Rothbard s discussion of the basis of individual rights and the extent to which states violate such rights Rothbard s explanation that the libertarian concern with the individual and his rights is not, as some have claimed, a call for the atomization of the individual, is a welcome clarification Also excellent is Rothbard s treatment of how the free market or, simply, people voluntarily interacting with each other could handle the issues relating to education, the environment and public works like roads While Rothbard takes a definitely libertarian perspective on these issues, the net effect of the procedures he would prefer such as using property rights to protect the environment would be considerably favorable to the preservation of traditional society than what has actually taken place under state control In fact, reading Rothbard s recommendations on how to deal with environmental issues brought to my mind similar arguments made by Roger Scruton, who Gerard Casey has called the philosopher of conservatism Rothbard s explanation of how courts, military defense and police services could exist within a purely free market and without the state , while interesting, is less convincing to me, not because his ideas could obviously not work, but because the questions regarding them aren t as easily answered as Rothbard seems to think, and would likely need to be modified by trial and error Rothbard references traditional Irish society based on clans that could accede to or secede from a multiplicity of federations, and in which property rights, common law, and voluntary associations provided police and court services as a case study for how all of these services could exist on a purely free market And while this is an interesting topic, it seems obvious that this system of government was based on cultural norms and traditions, not on pure rationality, and that there are therefore essential cultural aspects to any society that prioritizes liberty and systematizes its protection This is an angle that Rothbard doesn t explore, but that I think would be critical to the actual attainment of the political system he desires.Rothbard is at his weakest, in my opinion, when invoking history to support his theories The problem is not that the historical examples Rothbard uses don t support his positions at all, it s that they don t support them as clearly and conclusively as he lets on For instance, Rothbard bases his case for the possibility of developing a radically libertarian society in America on the claim that the American Revolution was itself radically libertarian, nearly to the point of anarcho capitalism, as was American government in the antebellum period Again, the problem here is not that Rothbard is entirely wrong certainly there were classical liberal, or libertarian, influences on the American Revolution and, as Jeffrey Rogers Hummel showed in Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men A History of the American Civil War, there was political freedom for most but, obviously, not all American citizens before the Civil War than there has been after it But there were also obviously conservative aspects to the American Revolution, as M Stanton Evans showed in The Theme is Freedom Religion, Politics, and the American Tradition, that relied on traditional freedoms under the English common law than on Enlightenment rationality The idea of an anarcho capitalist society was simply not under consideration by either the American Revolutionaries or their descendants A similar problem appears in Rothbard s attempts to show why non interventionism is the proper basis for American foreign policy While I agree with Rothbard on this point, his argumentation in support of it is sometimes suspect, if not specious For instance, in attempting to show that American foreign policy has been essentially imperialistic since the turn of the 20th century which it generally has , Rothbard attempts to show that the United States has been the single most warlike, most interventionist, most imperialist government in the world , a claim that, in order to be accepted, would need considerably evidence than Rothbard provides To prove this point, Rothbard claims that the Soviet Union had been, over that same time, comparatively peaceful and conservative in its foreign policy To reach this conclusion, he glosses over Soviet aggression in Poland and Finland at the start of World War II when Stalin was allied with Hitler as simply the Russians attempting to regain territory that they had previously lost after World War I This, beyond being a considerable oversimplification of that history, is not obviously peaceful, non imperialistic, or consonant with libertarian theory, and therefore not definitively supportive of Rothbard s claim Similarly, Rothbard claims that the Soviets were content to let the communist revolution happen organically in capitalist countries, but this ignores the extent to which communist parties, often directed by Soviet agents, trained their members to infiltrate the intelligentsia and governments of Western countries including the U.S with the explicit goal of fomenting insurrection and influencing policies Some of this is understandable in the context of the 1970s, when Rothbard was writing the book To make the case for non interventionism at that time required dealing with the claimed threat of Russian aggression in the then ongoing Cold War That Rothbard attempted to deal with this issue is not the problem Rather, it s that his argumentation resorts to oversimplifying history and the realities of the period Rothbard finds great significance in the Soviet Union s failure to extend its empire after World War II, though he does not mention that the Soviets showed little reluctance to extend the empire during the war, and in fact demanded territorial concessions from the Allies during wartime conferences at Tehran and Yalta Nor does Rothbard cosider that its failure to continue on the same path after the war could have been the result of the United States and Western Europe posing enough of a military threat to curtail further advances Rothbard even excuses the Soviet Union s violent suppression of Hungarian and Czechoslovakian independence movements as essentially defensive, which will seem odd to anyone familiar with his opinion of Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War I have seen another reviewer of this book cite Frederic Bastiat s statement that the worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but ineptly defended I wouldn t go so far as to charge Rothbard with ineptitude, but his arguments along these lines seem much too forceful for the evidence he offers in their support This is not to say that the non interventionist case is invalidated by the facts quite the opposite, I believe , and Rothbard brings forward many good arguments against an interventionist foreign policy But, overall, I didn t find Rothbard s analysis as convincing as it could have been In some cases, resorting to dogmatic lines of argumentation serves an argument less well than dealing carefully with the nuances involved.Ultimately, a person s opinion of this book is likely to be determined not only by how much he agrees with Rothbard s opinions How much he accepts Rothbard s historical analysis and the extent to which he thinks that society, even political society, can be rationally planned, irrespective of culture, are also likely to play a role Even though I have great sympathy for Rothbard s perspective on a great many issues, his method of argumentation detracts from the book, in my opinion For a New Liberty is, in many ways, a very good book, but its mingling of theory with highly selective history without acknowledgment of such reduces its usefulness outside of the libertarian movement.

  10. says:

    Typical Libertarian manifesto Though in the solutions sections he never really did tell us how libertarians will take over the government and make it into what he thinks government should be A couple of problems with some of his interesting proposals The police officers and the streets would be a disaster if people were allowed to each own their own street and their own police and their own courts and their own bridgesI m a republican and happy that we have government to handle things like that I don t think it s plausible Another problem I have with libertarian doctrine is that he says the poor are poor because they are forced by the gov t to be poor While many of the social programs do do this, that s not the ONLY reason that they are poor In a libertarian society, the poor wouldn t be able to own their own houses either That s why they are poor They don t have any money for a reason God forbid Gov t tries to help them out.The society proposed in this book would be highly unpredictable and unsustainable He says that communism is way different than libertarians and that only communism is impossible Yet, he doesn t see that a libertarian society, a different utopian society, is as impossible as communism That being the case, I gave him two stars for effort, because most libertarians couldn t even imagine their own ideal society and do in fact often confuse it with communism.

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