My Open Letter to Professor Gaus, Part II

From: m
Sent: Monday, April 23, 2018 8:39 AM
To: Walter Block
Subject: Gaus piece on Lewrockwell (,

Dear Walter, Good piece written with your usual verve.


1) Rand cult? Indubitably. No Rothbard cult? Well…Of course, MR encouraged no “cult,” but I’m not so sure about what has happened posthumously. Some seem at least a little cultish with respect to Rothbard (e.g. taking him for a shrewd political guru when I can scarcely think of a winning candidate he backed) — but that may be the case for any such strong intellect and strong personality combined. He was a shrewd political guru even if he never backed a winning candidate? For example, he backed Ron Paul to the hilt for pres. Ron never became pres. Yet, Murray promoted liberty in this way. I regard that as shrewd.

<< A cultist is someone who encourages a cult. Murray, never, ever, not once, did anything of the sort (I’m evidence for this; he and I were always on good terms, despite the fact that I publicly criticized his views on more than one occasion; see below). Murray can’t help it if, during his life, and certainly not afterward, other people treated him as a cult figure. 2) Hayek, I think, is less of a pinko compromiser in The Road to Serfdom than a salesman, trying to "sell" as much of classical liberalism and free market economics as he could at the time and to his audience (cf. St. Paul, "all things to all men," 1 Cor 9:22). Likewise, I think Hayek may be less a great economist than a great philosopher--one who explored lots of various ideas in daring and unexpected ways. Like his cousin, Wittgenstein, I think Hayek floated ideas that will be paying dividends for centuries to come. << Hayek tried to “sell” libertarianism by giving away the store. That’s pinkoism. Yes, he was daring and imaginative in philosophy, but that doesn’t undermine my claim that he was also a pinko. Nor was this uber compromising needed in order to “sell” liberty. There were plenty of very successful libertarian scholars writing at that time who did not compromise at all. Watering down the message of liberty in order to sell it is almost to commit fraud.

Block, 1998, 2003, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014; Barnett and Block, 2005, 2005-2006, 2006A, 2006B, 2007; Block, Barnett and Salerno, 2006; Block and Callahan, 2003; Block, Klein and Hansen, 2007; Block, Futerman and Farber, 2016; Futerman, Farber and Block, 2016.

Block, Walter E. 1998. “A Libertarian Case for Free Immigration,” Journal of Libertarian Studies: An Interdisciplinary Review, Vol. 13, No. 2, summer, pp. 167-186;

Block, Walter E. 2003. “Toward a Libertarian Theory of Inalienability: A Critique of Rothbard, Barnett, Gordon, Smith, Kinsella and Epstein,” Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol.17, No. 2, Spring, pp. 39-85;

Block, Walter E. 2007. “A Libertarian War in Afghanistan?” July 30;

Block, Walter E. 2009. “Libertarian punishment theory: working for, and donating to, the state” Libertarian Papers, Vol. 1;;

Block, Walter E. 2011. “Hoppe, Kinsella and Rothbard II on Immigration: A Critique.” Journal of Libertarian Studies; Vol. 22, pp. 593–623;

Block, Walter E. 2011. “The Human Body Shield” Journal of Libertarian Studies; Vol. 22 , pp. 625-630;

Block, Walter E. 2014. August 5. Interview with Daniel Rothschild: a critique of fractional reserve banking and of Murray N. Rothbard’s analysis of Israeli land claims;

Barnett, William II and Walter E. Block. 2005. “Money: Capital Good, Consumers’ Good, or (Media of) Exchange Good?” Review of Austrian Economics. 18 (2): 179-194;;

Barnett, William II, and Walter E. Block. 2005-2006. “Mises, Rothbard and Salerno on Costs.” Corporate Ownership & Control, Winter, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 204-206

Barnett, William II, and Walter E. Block. 2006A “Rothbard on V shaped average and
total cost curves.” Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, Vol. 9, No. 3, Fall, pp. 61-66;

Barnett, William II and Walter E. Block. 2006B. “On Hayekian Triangles.” Procesos De Mercado: Revista Europea De Economia Politica; Vol. III, No. 2, Fall, pp. 39-141;;;

Barnett, William II and Walter E. Block. 2007. “Saving and Investment: A Praxeological Approach.” New Perspectives on Political Economy, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 129 – 138;;;
no future goods (fn 16)

Block, Walter E., William Barnett II and Joseph Salerno. 2006. “Relationship between wealth or income and time preference is empirical, not apodictic: critique of Rothbard and Hoppe,” Review of Austrian Economics, Vol. 19, No. 2, pp. 69-80;;

Block, Walter E. and Gene Callahan. 2003. “Is There A Right to Immigration? A Libertarian Perspective,” Human Rights Review, Vol. 5, No. 1, October-December, pp. 46-71;

Block, Walter E., Peter Klein and Per Henrik Hansen. 2007. “The Division of Labor under Homogeneity: A Critique of Mises and Rothbard” The American Journal of Economics and Sociology, April Vol. 66 Issue 2, pp. 457-464;;

Block, Walter E., Alan G. Futerman and Rafi Farber. 2016A. “A Libertarian Approach to the Legal Status of the State of Israel.” Indonesian Journal of International and Comparative Law. Vol. 3, Issue, 2, June, pp. 435-553; (a critique of Murray Rothbard)

Futerman, Alan, Rafi Farber and Walter E. Block. 2016B. “The Libertarian Case for Israel.” October 13; The Forward;;


6:54 pm on April 23, 2018