My New Year's Wish for the Movement

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The Old
Curmudgeon was a regular feature of Murray Rothbard’s Libertarian
. Here are his New Year’s wishes for the libertarian
movement in the December 1975 issue, available in PDF.

From The
Old Curmudgeon
My New Year’s Wish For The Movement

I know it’s
a hopeless fantasy, but I can dream, can’t I? My devout wish for
the libertarian movement, and for the state of my own blood pressure,
is for a whole year’s moratorium on the following:

On Survival

I am sick
and tired of reading about how we should all stock up on a year’s
supply of dried beans, and backpack it to the hills. Fellas. I’ve
got news for you: I ain’t eating any dried beans, and I ain’t
backpacking it to the hills. I will stick to the market, crippled
though it may be, and continue to dine in plush urban comfort
on Pepsis, vodka martinis, and veal parmigiana. I have often wondered
why our bean-eating backpackers don’t really head for the hills
and leave the rest of us alone and blissfully outside of their
consciousness. The horrible thing is that I have a dark suspicion
that our tub-thumping survivalists are themselves spending their
time in urban comfort guzzling martinis and wolfing down the aforesaid

On the
New Libertarian Country

For over
a decade now I have heard the drums beat for the new Eden, an
island, natural or man-made, that would live in either anarchistic
or Randian bliss. One would think that if man can really learn
from experience, then the total and abject failure of each and
every one of these cockamamie stunts should have sent all of their
supporters a "message"; namely, to come back to the
real world and fight for liberty at home. Come to think of it,
I don’t see very many of the New Countryites schlepping out to
Minerva, Abaco, Atlantis, an ocean platform, or a moon of Jupiter.
Once again, I would love at least a year of these brethren removing
themselves from the consciousness of the rest of us: either by
remaining silent and returning to concerns nearer home, or, preferably,
really hieing themselves posthaste to the New Atlantis and Randspeed
to them.

On Psychobabble

it be great? A whole year of nothing, not a word, not a peep,
about "open relationships", "growing as a person",
"getting in touch with your feelings", "opening
up a space", "non-authoritarian relations", "living
free", and all the rest of the malarkey. But, then, what
in the world would all our psycholibertarians have to talk about?
Well yes, that would be an interesting experiment indeed. Either
they would have to painfully make their way to developing an interest
in history, current affairs, economics, political philosophy –
in short, the real world, or else they would have to descend into
a blissful silence (blissful that is, for the rest of us.)

On Griping
from the Sidelines

It is easier,
I suppose, to sit around and pick holes in the 85th word of the
eighteenth paragraph of the fourth press release by Roger MacBride
or of someone else who actually writes or does something to advance
the cause of liberty, than actually to work for liberty yourself.
That way, you have the luxury of hugging the mantle of "purity"
tightly around your shoulders without having to do anything to
move toward a libertarian society. But how about a year of concentrating
on one’s own constructive action? Again, it would be interesting
to see whether a year of abstinence from griping would really
clear the decks for constructive work. (And, come to think of
it, the gripers and the psychobabblers are often one and the same.)

Reading Science Fiction

There is
nothing wrong with science fiction per se, but is has become all
too clear that for many libertarians science fiction has taken
on a cultic status. A year’s abstinence from scifi would clear
the decks, and clear a lot of minds as well. But for what? What
in the world is there to read if you are deprived of science fiction?
Well, look around, and maybe a new world of other things to read
will be revealed.

An impossible
dream, this magnificent moratorium? Perhaps. But maybe if we wait
till next year….


N. Rothbard
(1926–1995) was dean of the Austrian
School, founder of modern libertarianism, and chief academic
officer of the Mises Institute.
He was also editor — with Lew Rockwell — of The
Rothbard-Rockwell Report
, and appointed Lew as his
literary executor. See
his books.

Best of Murray Rothbard

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