The Vicious Attack on Murray Rothbard

Recently by Robert Wenzel: A Swamp Monster Disses Ron Paul

You just know that the thought of Murray Rothbard is having an impact when insider wannabes come out swinging at Rothbard to prove their establishment credentials. To become a mafia made-man you have to take someone down, pretty much anyone. But to make it on Establishment Row, you have to take a swing at Murray Rothbard. It doesn’t matter if you miss, because you will, but it appears the swing is now mandatory.

Gary North has a great piece on even Economist magazine writers having a go at Rothbard. Following the North piece, George Selgin took a swing calling Rothbard, get this, a bad to mediocre monetary economist. (Major-Freedom replies to that here) Not to be out done by Selgin, Donald Boudreaux writes on a Facebook page:

Rothbard wasn’t 1/100th the economist that Friedman was.

Not surprisingly, Boudreaux teaches at the rabid anti-Rothbard George Mason University. What gives?

Jaffi Joe in a comment below explains:

I started my interest in economics by reading Smith, Bastiat, Say, Ricardo, Mill, etc. I got through the classics and then started reading Fisher, Keynes, Samuelson, Friedman, etc. All of this time I had never even heard of Austrian economics until about 4 years ago (Ron Paul mentioned it), so I began reading Mises, Menger, Hayek, you know, the regulars. But, it was not until I started reading Rothbard that it really sank in.

Of course the establishment economists and media will attempt to make Rothbard fall into a memory hole. Not only did he write in an extremely straight-forward and easy to understand language, but he also covered a wide range of sciences and topics (economics, political theory, history…). And, as it just so happens, a lot of people are beginning to read his work these days.

The establishment is merely trying to nip this one in the bud. They see Rothbard (and, Austrian econ in general) getting a resurgence, so the only way for them to combat this trend is to talk trash about it. They know, just as most Austrians do, that it is extremely hard to go back to being a statist after having read a few of Rothbard’s books. Trust me, the last thing that they want is to have a bunch of ancaps running around; we might end their gravy train.

The attacks on Rothbard are downright vicious and the promotion of the establishment’s token supposed free market economist, Milton Freidman, in his place is absurd. Rothbard never made any of the serious demonstrable errors that Friedman made in monetary theory and methodology. About the best that could be said about Friedman is that he sure knew how to pick his errors. They managed to get him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1988. It was awarded to him by that other free market poser, Ronald Reagan.

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2011 Economic Policy Journal