Friday, August 30, 2013

Murray Rothbard on Libertarian Strategy

I have been seeing a lot of negative commentary recently, advanced by the usual suspects, on the strategy that Murray Rothbard called for in advancing the libertarian cause. Some of these commentators have, clearly, not even read Rothbard on strategy.  They certainly have no understanding of how Rothbard viewed alliances. I urge anyone interested in the topic to read the Rothbard memo What Is To Be Done?, which can be found in the collection of Rothbard written private Volker Fund memos, compiled by David Gordon and published as Strictly Confidential.

The popularity of the end the Fed movement and growing interest in libertarianism can be traced to the advancements made by Ron Paul in getting a principled libertarian message out. Dr. Paul's success, if studied carefully, can be seen to be the result of  his closely following the Rothbard outlined strategy. It is followed in an even more disciplined manner by the top libertarian web site,

Those bitching about Rothbard strategy can't come close to the influence that Dr. Paul and LRC have had.

What we need is more following the strategic guidelines outlined by Rothbard, that is always focusing on principle first and never caving on principle. The one way to think about anti-Rothbardians, on the other hand, is their philosophy is: "well let's cave a little on principle here, and a little there." This, lol, is somehow supposed to get us all the way to liberty. They also tend to focus on politics first, where as I think Rothbard viewed it as a game, not to be taken too seriously. When one is attacking Rothbard's political alliances, one is not getting the essence of Rothbard and is taking politics much too seriously.

I have little doubt that Rothbard fully agreed with  H.L. Mencken:
A national political campaign is better than the best circus ever heard of, with a mass baptism and a couple of hangings thrown in.


  1. And don't forget Rothbard's 'Strategies For A Libertarian Victory', to be found at .

  2. Read 'What Is To Be Done?' (July, 1961) here:

  3. So Rothbard supporting Pat Buchanan is good but supporting Rand Paul is bad???

    1. Once again,no one is mistaking Buchanan for a libertarian, while that is being done in relation to Rand every day. Supporting alliances are very different from supporting sellouts.

    2. What about your dear neocon friend Rubin? Would you vote for her?

  4. Robert,
    Murray Rothbard wrote an absolutely fantastic article on political strategy called “The Case for Radical Idealism”. I wrote an article about it here:

    I think it's one of the most important short articles we all need to read (Rothbard's, not mine lol).

  5. I agree with Rothbard's strategy. Isn't Rockwell an advocate of not voting?

    1. I'm of the opinion that a diversity of methods used against the state fits well within the voluntaryism in general.

      For instance, I love agorism and counter economics...there was even a disagreement between Rothbard and Konkin over that strategy, yet I can appreciate both men despite their differences in viewpoints.

      In some respects, I suppose Rockwell leans toward Konkin in that area...although based on Konkin's response to Rothbard I get the sense Konkin didn't really care too much if people voted or not but was instead focused on what you could do individually to erode the power of the state on an economic basis...and said as much to Rothbard in claiming they were "fighting" over what was a misunderstanding on Rothbard's part.

      There's always gains to be had in cooperation...but who says you can't have multiple prongs of attack moving towards the same goal? Dilution is an obvious concern in strategic effectiveness....but we really aren't there yet in terms of voting anyway so I don't worry about it so much.

      From what I've read of Rockwell's thoughts on voting, I think he sees it as useless for the most part(which I agree with), although I seem to remember him at one time writing about the implicit endorsement of the system by participating(which I agree with).

      Anyway, I don't think anyone would accuse Rockwell of not appreciating Rothbard in any way, shape or form....the goal is the same as outlined by Rothbard, certainly the methods by which it can obtained can(and should) vary as long as they are philosophically consistent with the goal, the NAP, etc.


  6. Found a free copy of "Strictly Confidential":


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