Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Never Underestimate Murray Rothbard

Tom Woods has a great post up about Murray Rothbard and  book of Rothbard memos that Tom didn't buy right away. Rothbard wrote the memos for the Volker Fund. As Tom notes, the  memos are not only about economics, but various other topics. I see Tom did the same thing I did and calculate how old young Rothbard was when he wrote the memos. Rothbard's breadth of knowledge, even at a relatively young age, was truly spectacular.

Here's Tom:
At the Mises Institute's Austrian Scholars Conference earlier this month I drew the audience's attention to a 100-page memo by Murray Rothbard, unpublished until very recently, on American history. It's one of numerous memos the William Volker Fund paid Rothbard to write in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Many of these appeared in a recent collection, edited by David Gordon, called Strictly Confidential: The Private Volker Fund Memos of Murray N. Rothbard.
When that book come out, I didn't rush out to buy it. I assumed that what Rothbard had written in those memos must have made its way into his published writing, much of which I have read. That was a mistake. These memos are chock fill of previously unseen Rothbard, and cover a wide range of topics in which readers of this blog have great interest.
It's that essay on U.S. history, though, that really stunned me. It was a review of a now-forgotten text in U.S. history. Rothbard went up one side of it and down the other. He corrected errors, pointed out scores of omissions, denounced its careless repetition of war propaganda, straightened out its economic confusions, and much more. It has to be read to be believed.
Remember that the author of the memo in question is a guy in his 30s whose area of expertise was economics, not American history.

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