Monday, October 15, 2012

Ayn Rand Institute Attack on Murray Rothbard

The American Conservative reports on an interview with Yaron Brook:
 I spoke last week with Yaron Brook, the current president of ARI, about what is changing:
I don’t think there’s been a significant change in terms of our attitude towards libertarians. Two things have happened. We’ve grown, and we’ve gotten to a size where we don’t just do educational programs, we do a lot more outreach and a lot more policy and working with other organizations. I also believe the libertarian movement has changed. It’s become less influenced by Rothbard, less influenced by the anarchist, crazy for lack of a better word, wing of libertarianism. As a consequence, because we’re bigger and doing more things and because libertarianism has become more reasonable, we are doing more work with them than we have in the past. But I don’t think ideologically anything of substance has changed at the Institute.
Well, this is just dandy, Yaron Brook, who holds the insane view that 19 Saudis with box cutters initiated an attack against the West because they hate the West's culture, wealth and love of life, calls out crazy. Note to Brook: U.S. armies are in Islamic countries, not the other way around. Osama bin Laden clearly stated that the attack on the World Trade Center towers was in response to U.S. military presence in the Middle East.

Brook writes on what the response should be to the 19 Saudis with box cutters, who attacked the United States (my bold):
The US has been attacked first thus it has the moral right to fight Islamism. The sole moral duty of the United States is to defend its citizens against its enemies by all means, even with the use of the atom bomb if necessary.
Got that? 19 Saudis with box cutters attack the U.S. and he suggests using the atomic bomb as an option.

As for Iraq, on December 17, 2004, Yaron Brook appeared on O’Reilly Factor and said:
I'm suggesting that we start bringing this war to the civilians, the consequences of this war, to the civilians who are harboring and helping and supporting the insurgents in Fallujah and other places. ... I would like to see the United States turn Fallujah into dust, and tell the Iraqis: If you’re going to continue to support the insurgents you will not have homes, you will not have schools, you will not have mosques ...
Yup, I can see how Brook might have a problem Rothbardian anarcho-capitalists, since, among other things, they are against standing armies and the bombing and killing of innocents. Who would Brook send to fight the Islamists that he wants to kill so badly?

As for Brook's claim that the libertarian movement is currently less influenced by Rothbard, it's Brook delusion. Below is the quantcast measure of ARI site traffic versus the measured traffic of, the preeminent carrier of the Murray Rothbard banner. LRC traffic is the blue line, the ARI traffic is the tiny dots you see at the bottom of the chart. In other words, the Murray Rothbard influence is doing quite well, even compared to the "mighty" ARI.

The only change that appears to have occurred in libertarianism is a new turn by the Koch brothers towards the fanatical ARI. The American Conservative goes on:
Now a former [ARI] board member, John Allison, has left to lead the [Koch-controlled] libertarian Cato Institute–a move which at one time would have provoked an excommunication from ARI–while the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity is holding screenings of the film [Atlas Shrugged, Part II].
Murray Rothbard wrote often that ideas can overcome power. Rothbard's theory is about to be illustrated again in the real world. Koch money allied with the war mongers at ARI have no chance against the ideas of Rothbard. They lack the important ingredients that Rothbard ideas have: logical consistency.


  1. ARI gets to call on the violent nationalism of the American people, which has been cultivated for generations. This is an advantage which may win out over logical consistency -- in the short term.

  2. The millions of college students and formerly non political people becoming supporters of Ron Paul in this nation and around the world really just destroys his entire argument. Ron Paul is the most well known Mises/Rothbard supporter in American political history. No one cares about Rand among the youth compared to Ron Paul and the liberty revolution he has launched.

  3. I'm so glad you posted the LRC site hit information as that's what I was going to comment on anyway:

    "It’s become less influenced by Rothbard, less influenced by the anarchist, crazy for lack of a better word, wing of libertarianism."

    Usually "crazy", for the lack of a better word, if reserved for those denying reality. (See site traffic above)

  4. When the "intellectual heir" (whatever the hell that means) can equate Immanuel Kant with Naziism it is a short leap to ignoring the stated reasons for the 9/11 attacks and making up your own.

    I was at an Institute for Humane Studies summer program back in 1992 and there were a group of "Randroids" there. One of them asked a question about Rand and Leonard Liggio said something to the effect of "At one point I liked Rand - then I grew up." These people are not serious - read Roy Childs Open Letter to Rand for the dismantling of these morons.

  5. I wouldn't have known ARI existed without LRC.

  6. Rothbard? Rand? Here's an obligatory Mozart Was A Red link:

  7. This is what the Ayn Rand Institute produces? Sometimes I get frustrated that LvMI writings get taken out of context. There's no contextual arguementation to be made there. He just says the actions of 19 people justifies the killing of innocent people simply because they may be part of the same religion which doesn't preach terrorism. This is champion of objectivism? What a pathetic joke.


  8. ARI doesn't even represent well the views of Ayn Rand. The only reason they are getting any attention at all is the Koch brothers brought in this ARI flunky Allison to take over CATO so it would be more militant on foreign policy and, therefore, conducive to the neoconservativism of the Republican Party. Aside from this situation, ARI is no more than a blip on the libertarian radar screen, and you simply can't square the ultra-militancy of these so-called objectivists with the non-aggression principal (NAP) of libertarianism.

  9. Devil's advocate, argument for fighting aggressive wars now rather than later:

    Germany displayed aggressive rhetoric for at least 6 years prior to WWII. Their leader wrote a book detailing his plans. German was weaker than Poland in the early 1930's. Even as late as Fall of '39 they would have been virtually helpless against a French/British attack while they were occupied in Poland and units of reserves were just being called up. Yet just 9 months later the Germans tossed them off the continent in about 6 weeks. Things can change fast in terms of military power.

    Some feel fighting this war now, rather than in 75 years, when we're destitute from decades of debt and they're stronger and perhaps allied with a power like China or Russia, will actually result in fewer deaths.

    I don't necessarily buy into that, but I do know one thing. The libertarian theories on global markets/open borders and geopolitical isolationism are unrealistic. Pick one. You can't have both. Globalism draws us into other people's problems. Oh, not in an Ivory tower, but in the real world, the people who control commerce control politics. They will have us fight to protect the trade routes and their interests overseas.

    I'm sure Poland would have fought a preemptive in 1933 if they had known what they were in store for.

    1. Without Wilson's intervention in WWI and the Treaty of Versailles, then there is no Hitler or Nazi Germany. Intervention caused the problem, and further intervention only causes more problems.

    2. Nah, you don't know what you are talking about. Remove ourselves from propping up dictatorships and dropping hellfire bombs on people and there won't be any global backlash against us. That goes along with our future destitution from debt since so much money goes toward our overseas empire. The rest of your post is just 'coulda/shoulda/woulda' hypothetical unprovable trash.

    3. So we--meaning the US government--must fight "aggressive wars" either now or in the future? That is quite an assumption, don't you think? Who is the supposed enemy? The whole Muslim world? That would be a prescription for the annihilation of at least a quarter of the world's population, and much more likely the annihilation of everyone and everything. Your argument is silly and frankly evil, but it is indeed pretty much the thinking of ARI.

      You view of "globalism" and commerce are too narrow also. Who says we necessarily have to "fight to protect the trade routes and their interests overseas"? The crony capitalists and political elites of our society push this sort of idea, but we don't need to embrace it. Actually, this is the cause of most of our foreign policy problems and it is bankrupting us. Most countries, including China, don't try to micromanage the world. They simply try to trade with as much of the rest of the world as possible and mind their own business.

    4. Global trade draws us into wars because our trading partners will make us fight to protect trade routes? Evidence please, since this is "one thing you know."

      However, I would note that a naval blockade in international waters would be an act of war, and if this ever happened to the United States, the libertarian principle of self-defense would certainly apply and would authorize military action.

      But to say that never ending drone wars against Muslims is a natural consequence of global trade is simply insane.

  10. Mr. Brooks comment on nuclear weapons specifically used the words "IF NECESSARY". Your characterizing that as advocating nuclear revenge attacks for 9/11 is a disingenuous cheap shot and something a HS debate team might be expected to use.

    1. How on earth could it ever be necessary to use nukes against terrorists?????

    2. "I would like to see the United States turn Fallujah into dust" doesn't have an if necessary to it. So quit spinning for your bloodthirsty hero and just admit that he's a monster.

    3. Unfortunately, it isn't a cheap shot at all. This is actually the way Yaron Brook thinks and talks, and it is the key reason Brook goes out of his way to attack Murray Rothbard as he clearly opposes such ultra-militancy.

    4. A high school debate team would very much use this. In fact, if I were a debate team captain, I'd take these statements to discredit any and all objectivism critiques. The argument would go something like this: objectivism breads wackos who want to murder innocent people via nuclear weapons because they happen to hold some of the same religious beliefs. And a debate judge would probably accept them. Why? Because string of logic that the guy is using patently insane. Why his name is associated with the ARI says it all.

  11. The biggest change in libertarianism over the last few years is that whereas it used to usually begin with Ayn Rand, now it usually begins with Ron Paul. That's as big an improvement as I can imagine :)

  12. Real libertarians like to pride themselves on consistency of political philosophy, so as long as that is true, they will gravitate towards Rothbardian/Misesian views.

    Anyone else, such as most if not all members of STATO/ARI/Koch Industries/et al., will reveal themselves as statists of another stripe or simply Liberatarian Party hacks.

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