Murray Newton Rothbard was born on March 2, 1926. He is considered by many the most influential libertarians of the past century and influenced many libertarians to fight for the preservation of liberty, free markets, sovereign individuals and cultural values.
Many writings Rothbard contributed were on economics, but he also had a diverse knowledge in topics such as Philosophy, Political Philosophy, History, and much more. He reminds us the importance of being individuals and to appreciate the ideals of free markets and reject collectivism. Rothbard also appreciated the contribution Christianity did in western culture. He is remembered for saying, “everything good in Western civilization, from individual liberty to the arts, is due to Christianity.” In fact, many of his friends thought he would convert to Catholicism but he never did.
One of the things I found interesting when I read Rothbard was how correct he was on various topics of our time such as feminism. He wrote Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature and Other Essays, and in one chapter titled “The Great Women’s Liberation Issue: Setting It Straight” Murray Rothbard talked about feminism. He reminded his readers the false narrative feminists said about their liberation as many supposedly fought for their rights. “The female militants claim that marriage is a diabolical institution by which husbands enslave their wives and force them to rear children and do housework” wrote Rothbard.
He was aware of the argument’s feminists from the 1970s, and he believed they did not care about women’s rights nor their freedom. Rothbard cited Rita Mae Brown, a prominent feminist leader from the 1970s, and she believed women were brainwashed by heterosexuality and that they should practice lesbianism. Essentially, Rothbard noted that at the “hard inner core of the Women’s Liberation Movement lies a bitter, extremely neurotic if not psychotic, man-hating lesbianism.”
When modern readers read Rothbard’s views on feminism, they can easily see how he foresaw today’s feminists’ destructive agenda on women and men. One should look at many Latin American nations, where now it is clear they are hating men, destroying statues, demanding special rights, and abolishing their own femininity.
Murray Rothbard with the help of Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr., elaborated a new political movement called Paleolibertarianism which is a combination of Cultural Conservatism and Anarcho-capitalism. Rothbard wrote an article titled “Why Paleo?” and in that article he mentioned his dissatisfaction with the Libertarian Party. He said, “I am willing to concede that you can indeed be a good, hard-core libertarian and still be a hippie, an aggressive anti-bourgeois and anti-Christian, a drug addict, a moocher, a rude and intolerable fellow, and even an outright thief… But the point is that we paleos are no longer willing to be movement colleagues with these sorts of people.”
Rothbard was a critic of “modal libertarians” because of their hostility to authority. According to Rothbard, “The ML is an adolescent rebel against everyone around him: first, against his parents, second against his family, third against his neighbors, and finally against society itself. He is especially opposed to institutions of social and cultural authority: in particular bourgeois norms and conventions, and against such institutions of social authority as churches.”
Now, Murray Rothbard did not advocate for an extreme obedience to authority, but he did acknowledge that in order to have a Libertarian society some institutions are necessary so individuals can flourish and be happy in a free market society with private property rights.
Sadly, today, Rothbard is no longer alive but his legacy continues to influence many young minds to fight for the preservation of liberty, free markets, sovereign individuals and cultural values.
Osvaldo de León is a History student with a Political Science diploma.