113 Facts About Murray Rothbard


Murray Newton Rothbard was an American economist of the Austrian School, economic historian, political theorist, and activist.


Murray Rothbard wrote over twenty books on political theory, history, economics, and other subjects.


Murray Rothbard argued that all services provided by the "monopoly system of the corporate state" could be provided more efficiently by the private sector and wrote that the state is "the organization of robbery systematized and writ large".


Murray Rothbard called fractional-reserve banking a form of fraud and opposed central banking.


Murray Rothbard categorically opposed all military, political, and economic interventionism in the affairs of other nations.


Hoppe described Murray Rothbard as leading a "fringe existence" in academia.


Murray Rothbard taught economics at a Wall Street division of New York University, later at Brooklyn Polytechnic, and after 1986 in an endowed position at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.


Murray Rothbard rejected mainstream economic methodologies and instead embraced the praxeology of his most important intellectual precursor, Ludwig von Mises.


Murray Rothbard broke with Koch and joined Lew Rockwell and Burton Blumert in 1982 to establish the Mises Institute in Alabama.


Murray Rothbard opposed egalitarianism and the civil rights movement, and blamed women's voting and activism for the growth of the welfare state.


Later in his career Murray Rothbard advocated a libertarian alliance with paleoconservatism, favoring right-wing populism and defending David Duke.


Murray Rothbard's parents were David and Rae Murray Rothbard, Jewish immigrants to the United States from Poland and Russia, respectively.


Murray Rothbard attended Birch Wathen Lenox School, a private school in New York City.


Murray Rothbard later said he much preferred Birch Wathen to the "debasing and egalitarian public school system" he had attended in the Bronx.


Murray Rothbard wrote of having grown up as a "right-winger" among friends and neighbors who were "communists or fellow-travelers".


Murray Rothbard was a member of The New York Young Republican Club in his youth.


Murray Rothbard attended Columbia University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics in 1945 and a PhD in economics in 1956.


Murray Rothbard later said that all his fellow students were extreme leftists and that he was one of only two Republicans at Columbia at the time.


Murray Rothbard wanted to promote libertarian activism; by the mid-1950s he helped form the Circle Bastiat, a libertarian and anarchist social group in New York City.


Murray Rothbard attracted the attention of the William Volker Fund, a group that provided financial backing to promote right-wing ideologies in the 1950s and early 1960s.


The Volker Fund paid Murray Rothbard to write a textbook to explain Human Action in a form that could be used to introduce college undergraduates to Mises's views; a sample chapter he wrote on money and credit won Mises's approval.


In 1953, Murray Rothbard married JoAnn Beatrice Schumacher, whom he called Joey, in New York City.


Murray Rothbard was a historian, Rothbard's personal editor and a close adviser as well as hostess of his Rothbard Salon.


The Volker Fund collapsed in 1962, leading Murray Rothbard to seek employment from various New York academic institutions.


Murray Rothbard was offered a part-time position teaching economics to engineering students at Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute in 1966 at age 40.


The institution had no economics department or economics majors and Murray Rothbard derided its social science department as "Marxist", but his biographer Justin Raimondo writes that Murray Rothbard liked teaching at Brooklyn Polytechnic because working only two days a week gave him freedom to contribute to developments in libertarian politics.


Murray Rothbard kept his position at UNLV from 1986 until his death.


Murray Rothbard contributed many articles to Buckley's National Review, but his relations with Buckley and the magazine soured as he criticized the conservative movement for militarism.


Murray Rothbard soon parted from her, writing among other things that her ideas were not as original as she proclaimed, but similar to those of Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas and Herbert Spencer.


Murray Rothbard wrote: "[Y]ou introduced me to the whole field of natural rights and natural law philosophy", prompting him to learn "the glorious natural rights tradition".


Murray Rothbard rejoined Rand's circle for a few months, but soon broke with Rand again over various differences, including his defense of his interpretation of anarchism.


Murray Rothbard later satirized Rand's acolytes in his unpublished one-act farce Mozart Was a Red and his essay "The Sociology of the Ayn Rand Cult".


Murray Rothbard characterized Rand's circle as a "dogmatic, personality cult".


Murray 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.


Murray Rothbard joined the Peace and Freedom Party and contributed writing to the New Left journal Ramparts.


However, Murray Rothbard later criticized the New Left for supporting a "People's Republic" style draft.


Murray Rothbard rejected the view that Ronald Reagan's 1980 election as president was a victory for libertarian principles and he attacked Reagan's economic program in a series of Libertarian Forum articles.


In 1982, Murray Rothbard called Reagan's claims of spending cuts a "fraud" and a "hoax" and accused Reaganites of doctoring the economic statistics to give the false impression that their policies were successfully reducing inflation and unemployment.


Murray Rothbard further criticized the "myths of Reaganomics" in 1987.


Murray Rothbard criticized the "frenzied nihilism" of left-wing libertarians, but criticized right-wing libertarians who were content to rely only on education to bring down the state; he believed that libertarians should adopt any moral tactic available to them to bring about liberty.


Imbibing Randolph Bourne's idea that "war is the health of the state", Murray Rothbard opposed all wars in his lifetime and engaged in anti-war activism.


Murray Rothbard was frequently involved in the party's internal politics.


Murray Rothbard founded the Center for Libertarian Studies in 1976 and the Journal of Libertarian Studies in 1977.


Murray Rothbard was one of the founders of the Cato Institute in 1977 and "came up with the idea of naming this libertarian think tank after Cato's Letters, a powerful series of British newspaper essays by John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon which played a decisive influence upon America's Founding Fathers in fomenting the Revolution".


Murray Rothbard opposed the "low-tax liberalism" espoused by 1980 Libertarian Party presidential candidate Ed Clark and Cato Institute president Edward H Crane III.


In 1982, following his split with the Cato Institute, Murray Rothbard co-founded the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama, and was vice president of academic affairs until 1995.


Murray Rothbard founded the institute's Review of Austrian Economics, a heterodox economics journal later renamed the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, in 1987.


In 1989, Murray Rothbard left the Libertarian Party and began building bridges to the post-Cold War anti-interventionist right, calling himself a paleolibertarian, a conservative reaction against the cultural liberalism of mainstream libertarianism.


Murray Rothbard blamed this "Underclass" for "looting and oppressing the bulk of the middle and working classes in America".


Murray Rothbard praised the "racialist science" in Charles Murray's controversial book The Bell Curve.


Murray Rothbard co-founded and became a key figure in the John Randolph Club, which was an alliance between the Mises Institute and the paleoconservative Rockford Institute.


Murray Rothbard supported the presidential campaign of Pat Buchanan in 1992, writing that "with Pat Buchanan as our leader, we shall break the clock of social democracy".


When Buchanan dropped out of the Republican primary race, Murray Rothbard then shifted his interest and support to Ross Perot, who Murray Rothbard wrote had "brought an excitement, a verve, a sense of dynamics and of open possibilities to what had threatened to be a dreary race".


Joey Murray Rothbard said in a memoriam that her husband had a happy and bright spirit, and that Murray Rothbard, a night owl, managed to make a living for 40 years without having to get up before noon.


Murray Rothbard was irreligious and agnostic about God, describing himself as a "mixture of an agnostic and a Reform Jew".


Murray Rothbard died of a heart attack on January 7,1995, in St Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center in Manhattan, at the age of 68.


Lew Rockwell, president of the Mises Institute, told The New York Times that Murray Rothbard was "the founder of right-wing anarchism".


Murray Rothbard was an advocate and practitioner of the Austrian School tradition of his teacher Ludwig von Mises.


Murray Rothbard instead embraced praxeology, the strictly a priori methodology of Mises.


Murray Rothbard wrote a series of polemics in which he deprecated a number of leading modern economists.


Murray Rothbard vilified Adam Smith, calling him a "shameless plagiarist" who set economics off track, ultimately leading to the rise of Marxism.


Murray Rothbard praised Smith's contemporaries, including Richard Cantillon, Anne Robert Jacques Turgot and Etienne Bonnot de Condillac, for developing the subjective theory of value.


Murray Rothbard wrote more generally that Keynesian-style governmental regulation of money and credit created a "dismal monetary and banking situation".


Murray Rothbard called John Stuart Mill a "wooly man of mush" and speculated that Mill's "soft" personality led his economic thought astray.


Murray Rothbard said that libertarians should scorn rather than celebrate Friedman's academic prestige and political influence.


Hoppe lamented that, like Mises, Murray Rothbard died without winning the Nobel Prize and, while acknowledging that Murray Rothbard and his work were largely ignored by academia, called him an "intellectual giant" comparable to Aristotle, John Locke, and Immanuel Kant.


In 1956, Murray Rothbard deprecated the views of Austrian economist Fritz Machlup, stating that Machlup was no praxeologist and calling him instead a "positivist" who failed to represent the views of Ludwig von Mises.


Murray Rothbard stated that in fact Machlup shared the opposing positivist view associated with economist Milton Friedman.


In 1988, Boettke noted that Murray Rothbard "vehemently attacked all of the books of the younger Austrians".


Murray Rothbard countered that interventionist policies do in fact benefit some people, including certain government employees and beneficiaries of social programs.


Therefore, unlike Mises, Murray Rothbard argued for an objective, natural-law basis for the free market.


Murray Rothbard called this principle "self-ownership", loosely basing the idea on the writings of John Locke and borrowing concepts from classical liberalism and the anti-imperialism of the Old Right.


However, Murray Rothbard was the first person to use the term as in the mid-20th century he synthesized elements from the Austrian School of economics, classical liberalism and 19th-century American individualist anarchists.


Murray Rothbard visited Baldy Harper, a founder of the Foundation for Economic Education, who doubted the need for any government whatsoever.


Murray Rothbard said that during this period, he was influenced by 19th-century American individualist anarchists like Lysander Spooner and Benjamin Tucker and the Belgian economist Gustave de Molinari who wrote about how such a system could work.


Murray Rothbard began to consider himself a "private property anarchist" in 1950 and later began to use "anarcho-capitalist" to describe his political ideology.


Murray Rothbard later came to terms that anarchists identified mostly with socialism, and in an unpublished article wrote that individualist anarchism is different from anarcho-capitalism and other capitalist theories due to the individualist anarchists retaining the labor theory of value and socialist doctrines, suggesting a new term to identify himself: nonarchist.


Sanford Ikeda wrote that Murray Rothbard's typology "eliminates the gaps and inconsistencies that appear in Mises's original formulation".


Murray Rothbard writes in Power and Market that the role of the economist in a free market is limited, but it is much larger in a government that solicits economic policy recommendations.


Murray Rothbard argues that self-interest therefore prejudices the views of many economists in favor of increased government intervention.


Murray Rothbard criticized women's rights activists, attributing the growth of the welfare state to politically active spinsters "whose busybody inclinations were not fettered by the responsibilities of health and heart".


Murray Rothbard argued that the progressive movement, which he regarded as a noxious influence on the United States, was spearheaded by a coalition of Yankee Protestants, Jewish women and "lesbian spinsters".


Murray Rothbard called for the elimination of "the entire 'civil rights' structure", which he said "tramples on the property rights of every American".


Murray Rothbard consistently favored repeal of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, including Title VII regarding employment discrimination, and called for overturning the Brown v Board of Education decision on the grounds that state-mandated integration of schools violated libertarian principles.


Murray Rothbard held strong opinions about many leaders of the civil rights movement.


Murray Rothbard considered black separatist Malcolm X to be a "great black leader" and integrationist Martin Luther King Jr.


Murray Rothbard befriended the Holocaust deniers Willis Carto and Harry Elmer Barnes.


Murray Rothbard believed that stopping new wars was necessary and that knowledge of how government had led citizens into earlier wars was important.


Murray Rothbard used insights of Vilfredo Pareto, Gaetano Mosca and Robert Michels to build a model of state personnel, goals and ideology.


Murray Rothbard celebrated Jefferson Davis, Robert E Lee and other prominent Confederates as heroes while denouncing Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S Grant and other Union leaders, who he said had "opened the Pandora's Box of genocide and the extermination of civilians" in the American Civil War.


Murray Rothbard warned that the Middle East conflict would draw the United States into a world war.


Murray Rothbard was anti-Zionist and opposed United States involvement in the Middle East.


Murray Rothbard criticized the Camp David Accords for having betrayed Palestinian aspirations and opposed Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon.


Murray Rothbard embraced "historical revisionism" as an antidote to what he perceived to be the dominant influence exerted by corrupt "court intellectuals" over mainstream historical narratives.


Murray Rothbard wrote that these mainstream intellectuals distorted the historical record in favor of "the state" in exchange for "wealth, power, and prestige" from the state.


Murray Rothbard characterized the revisionist task as "penetrating the fog of lies and deception of the State and its Court Intellectuals, and to present to the public the true history".


Murray Rothbard was influenced by and called a champion of the historian and Holocaust denier Harry Elmer Barnes.


Murray Rothbard endorsed Barnes's revisionism on World War II, favorably citing his view that "the murder of Germans and Japanese was the overriding aim of World War II".


Murray Rothbard's endorsing of World War II revisionism and his association with Barnes and other Holocaust deniers have drawn criticism.


Kevin D Williamson wrote an opinion piece published by National Review which condemned Rothbard for "making common cause with the 'revisionist' historians of the Third Reich", a term he used to describe American Holocaust deniers associated with Rothbard, such as James J Martin of the Institute for Historical Review.


Murray Rothbard holds children have the right to run away from parents and seek new guardians as soon as they are able to choose to do so.


Murray Rothbard argued that parents have the right to put a child out for adoption or sell the rights to the child in a voluntary contract in what Rothbard suggests will be a "flourishing free market in children".


Economist Gene Callahan of Cardiff University, formerly a scholar at the Murray Rothbard-affiliated Mises Institute, wrote that Murray Rothbard allowed "the logical elegance of his legal theory" to "trump any arguments based on the moral reprehensibility of a parent idly watching her six-month-old child slowly starve to death in its crib".


Murray Rothbard emphasizes that all punishment must be proportional, stating that "the criminal, or invader, loses his rights to the extent that he deprived another man of his".


Murray Rothbard gives the example of a thief who stole $15,000 and says he not only would have to return the stolen money, but provide the victim an additional $15,000, money to which the thief has forfeited his right.


Murray Rothbard applies his theory to justify beating and torturing violent criminals, although the beatings are required to be proportional to the crimes for which they are being punished.


In chapter twelve of Ethics, Murray Rothbard turns his attention to suspects arrested by the police.


Murray Rothbard argues that police should be able to torture certain types of criminal suspects, including accused murderers, for information related to their alleged crime.


Gene Callahan examines this position and concludes that Murray Rothbard rejects the widely held belief that torture is inherently wrong, no matter who the victim.


Callahan goes on to state that Murray Rothbard's scheme gives the police a strong motive to frame the suspect after having tortured him or her.


Murray Rothbard argued that "determinism as applied to man, is a self-contradictory thesis, since the man who employs it relies implicitly on the existence of free will".


Murray 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".


Murray 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.