by Bill Sardi: A
Chilling Scenario of the End of America Foretold
to read the words of Murray Rothbard at LewRockwell.com, most which
were originally penned over two decades ago, as if they were freshly
written to address modern challenges in economics, finance, healthcare,
government and freedom. If a man’s words have enduring utility,
they will and should be re-aired, and the internet has presented
a new stage where they can be re-published.
Causes An Economic Depression?" or "The
State Waxes Fat Off War," or "Inside
The Power Elite." Rothbard was writing for the 21st
Century using a typewriter keyboard, not a computer keyboard. Rothbard
knew where the reprehensible machinations of money-printing Keynsianism
were going to take the world… to socialism, to poverty, to war.
I’m sure many
casual readers initially may not recognize that Murray Rothbard’s
words are literally being resurrected as he died in 1995. In fact,
due to the many crises facing governments today, Murray Rothbard’s
words may be gaining more attention than when he was alive.
So allow me
to channel Mr. Rothbard and put him through a gauntlet of questions.
I won’t make it easy on Rothbard. I will launch some tough questions
at him. Methinks any man writing two decades ago, when the volume
of knowledge in the world was exponentially limited in comparison
to the contemporary explosion of information, would find his own
words are out of touch with today’s challenges.
Rothbard, as a quick overview, briefly what do you have to say about
the current state of affairs in American government today? And can
you refrain from replying with the words of Thomas Jefferson, as
you often do? Jefferson couldn’t have possibly foreseen the events
was disillusioned by the public debt, high taxation, government
spending, flood of paper money, and burgeoning of privileged bank
monopolies that accompanied the war. He had concluded that his beloved
Party had actually adopted the economic
policies of the despised Hamiltonian federalists."
Mr. Rothbard, you surely couldn’t have foreseen the huge gap
in personal wealth in our modern world, known as the 1% versus the
99% in current discussions. Briefly, what have you to say about
(writing about the political theories first penned by James Mill
in the 1820 and 1830s, wrote:)
government, Mill pointed out, was run by the ruling class, the
few who dominated and exploited the ruled, the many. Since all groups
tend to act for their selfish interests, he noted, it is absurd
to expect the ruling clique to act altruistically for the "public
good." Like everyone else, they will use their opportunities for
their own gain, which means to loot the many, and to favor their
own or allied special interests as against those of the public."
surely Mr. Rothbard, there must be some collective, some way of
pooling public money for the common good, let’s say to deliver health
care. Such an effort cannot be characterized as selfish, can it?
in its wisdom, perceives a problem (and Lord knows, there are
always problems!). The government then intervenes to "solve" that
problem. But lo and behold! instead of solving the initial problem,
the intervention creates two or three further problems, which the
government feels it must intervene to heal, and so on toward socialism….
We stand at the seemingly inexorable brink of fully socialized medicine,
or what is euphemistically called "national health insurance."….
But won’t you concede that health insurance made it possible for
many to afford modern advances in healthcare?
are (health insurance) rates high and increasing rapidly?...
The state was supposed to, and did, put out of business all medical
schools that were proprietary and profit-making, that admitted blacks
and women, and that did not specialize in orthodox, "allopathic"
medicine: particularly homeopaths, who were then a substantial part
of the medical profession, and a respectable alternative to orthodox
allopathy…. the AMA was able to use government to cartelize the
medical profession: to push the supply curve drastically to the
left (literally half the medical schools in the country were put
out of business by post-Flexner state governments), and thereby
to raise medical and hospital prices and doctors' incomes.
what of the threat of rationed delivery of medical care, Mr. Rothbard?
Is your grandmother going to be denied care because she is too old?
to stanch the flow of taxes or subsidies, in recent years the
government and other third-party insurers have felt obliged to restrict
somewhat the flow of goodies: by increasing deductibles, or by putting
caps on Medicare payments. All this has been met by howls of anguish
from medical customers who have come to think of unlimited third-party
payments as some sort of divine right, and from physicians and hospitals
that charge the government with "socialistic price controls – for
trying to stem its own largesse to the healthcare industry!"
The very idea of gold-backed currency seems far-fetched in today’s
modern world of finance. Libertarians continue to espouse a gold
standard. But wouldn’t such a standard handcuff the growth of the
world economies? Wouldn’t a return to a gold standard be archaic?
Rothbard: To advocate
the complete, uninhibited gold standard runs the risk, in this day
and age, of being classified with the dodo bird… Now gold is
considered an absurd anachronism, a relic of a tribal fetish…
I decided to abandon the slow, difficult process of producing services
for money, or of mining money, and instead decided to print my own?
What would I print? I might manufacture a paper ticket, and print
upon it "10 Rothbards." I could then proclaim the ticket
as "money," and enter a store to purchase groceries with
my embossed Rothbards… And what would be the inevitable consequence?
Obviously, that no one would pay attention to the Rothbards, which
would be properly treated as an arrogant joke… Names, therefore,
whatever they may be, "Rothbard," "Jones," or
even "dollar," could not have arisen as money on the free
market. How, then did such names as "dollar" and "peso"
originate and emerge in their own right as independent moneys? The
answer is that these names invariably originated as names for
units of weight of a money commodity, either gold or silver.
In short, they began not as pure names, but as names of units of
weight of particular money commodities… For example, the British
pound was originally just that: a pound of silver money…
of course, admit that our modern national moneys emerged originally
from gold and silver, but they are inclined to dismiss this process
as a historical accident from which we have now been happily emancipated.
advocate as the soundest monetary system and the only one fully
compatible with the free market and with the absence of force or
fraud from any source a 100 percent gold standard. This is the only
system compatible with the fullest preservation of the rights of
property. It is the only system that assures the end of inflation
and, with it, of the business cycle
libertarian position you take is often characterized as opposed
to war. Surely you are not so naïve as to think the U.S. should
allow potential terrorists to make bombs and all manner of deadly
weapons that can be targeted against the U.S. population. Mustn’t
we roust them out before they launch their weapons?
war against another State, therefore, involves the increase and
extension of taxation-aggression over its own people. Conflicts
between private individuals can be, and usually are, voluntarily
waged and financed by the parties concerned. Revolutions can be,
and often are, financed and fought by voluntary contributions of
the public. But State wars can only be waged through aggression
against the taxpayer.
… All State
wars, therefore, involve increased aggression against the State's
own taxpayers, and almost all State wars (all, in modern
warfare) involve the maximum aggression (murder) against the innocent
civilians ruled by the enemy State. On the other hand, revolutions
are generally financed voluntarily and may pinpoint their violence
to the State rulers, and private conflicts may confine their violence
to the actual criminals. The libertarian must, therefore, conclude
that, while some revolutions and some private conflicts may be
legitimate, State wars are always to be condemned.
… Each State
has a monopoly of violence and, therefore, of defense only over
its territorial area. It has no such monopoly; in fact, it has no
power at all, over any other geographical area… the overriding consideration
for the libertarian is the condemnation of any State participation
Randolph Bourne realized that "war is the health of the State."
It is in war that the State really comes into its own: swelling
in power, in number, in pride, in absolute dominion over the economy
and the society. Society becomes a herd, seeking to kill its alleged
enemies, rooting out and suppressing all dissent from the official
war effort, happily betraying truth for the supposed public interest.
Society becomes an armed camp, with the values and the morale –
as Albert Jay Nock once phrased it – of an "army on the march."
All this evidence
demonstrates that the State is far more interested in preserving
its own power than in defending the rights of private citizens.
you think libertarianism will ever become more than a sidebar in
political and economic thought? What of the most visible and popular
libertarian of our times, Congressman Ron Paul? The public has rallied
to his side over time and young people have begun to learn about
libertarian thought. But the votes have not followed.
libertarian movement has… indeed, been too often prone to "pursue
our busy little seminars on whether or not to demunicipalize
the garbage collectors," while ignoring and failing to apply libertarian
theory to the most vital problem of our time: war and peace. There
is a sense in which libertarians have been utopian rather
than strategic in their thinking, with a tendency to divorce the
ideal system that we envisage from the realities of the world in
which we live. In short, too many of us have divorced theory from
practice, and have then been content to hold the pure libertarian
society as an abstract ideal for some remotely future time, while
in the concrete world of today we follow unthinkingly the orthodox
"conservative" line. To live liberty, to begin the hard but essential
strategic struggle of changing the unsatisfactory world of today
in the direction of our ideals, we must realize and demonstrate
to the world that libertarian theory can be brought sharply to bear
upon all of the world's crucial problems. By coming to grips with
these problems, we can demonstrate that libertarianism is not just
a beautiful ideal somewhere on Cloud Nine, but a tough-minded body
of truths that enables us to take our stand and to cope with the
whole host of issues of our day.
you Mr. Rothbard. I hope we can come back again soon for another
him mail] is a frequent writer on health and political
topics. His health writings can be found at www.naturalhealthlibrarian.com.
latest book is Downsizing
© 2012 Bill Sardi Word of Knowledge Agency, San Dimas, California.
This article has been written exclusively for www.LewRockwell.com
and other parties who wish to refer to it should link rather than
post at other URLs.
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