The Lone Nut

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In a post on the History News Network, Wendy McElroy says that “Murray Rothbard’s theoretical approach to history included the idea and importance of what he called ‘the lone crazy’. The lone crazy is a wild card—the individual (or small group) who seems to appear out of nowhere that dramatically and forever alters the world as we know it.” I think that she has misunderstood Rothbard. He wrote ironically of the “lone nut” to whom political assassinations are generally ascribed, and viewed conspiracy theories with favor. He did not, as she does, stress the importance of these persons. Regardless of Rothbard’s views, she may be right about lone crazies; but her example of Gavrilo Princip hardly helps her case. He did not act alone; though the matter is controversial, high officials of the Serbian government appear to have been complicit in the assassination plot against Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

10:41 am on August 17, 2008