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Author Topic: What are the must-read Rothbard's books ?  (Read 5477 times)
Nicolas Dorier
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November 09, 2014, 01:18:35 PM
 #1

In a relatively short period of time, I taught myself what libertarianism is. (A word I did not know 6 month ago)
I started with Milton Friedman, Ayn Rand, then Mises and now Murray Rothbard.

I think that, as many of you that actually read one of them entirely, they definitively shifted my mind.

The first of Rothbard I've read "Anatomy of State" was not particularly practical... entertaining but not mind shifting.

However "For a new liberty" of Rothbard is impressively practical.
He still has not converted me to anarcho capitalism but I've not been able to contradict any arguments of Rothbard.
Also, there is no argument against libertarianism that Rothbard does not respond to. He leaves to gray area, no untold story, no attack unresponded.
This was, among all the books I read, one of the most mind boggling one.

My question is : Given the limited time I get, what other book of Rothbard would you recommend, covering different grounds than "For a new liberty" ?
I'm not fan at reading several time the same author, because they have the tendency to repeat themselves, thus wasting my time. But Rothbard is a special beast, I'm willing to take the risk.

What are the must-read Rothbard's books ?

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November 09, 2014, 04:09:52 PM
 #2

I have read only "Man, Economy, and State". It covers a lot, and is brilliantly written.

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November 09, 2014, 07:00:59 PM
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I've only read Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature.
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November 09, 2014, 07:21:19 PM
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To be honest, I think Rothbard is overated. I have never been impressed by one of his book.

On the other hand I would strongly recommend Hayek. Either The Constitution of Liberty or The Fatal conceit, both are outstanding.
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November 09, 2014, 08:54:34 PM
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What Has Government Done to Our Money and/or The Mystery of Banking. Both are great, I think MOB goes into a little more detail. Very relevant for people wanting to understand the basis for Bitcoin also.
Nicolas Dorier
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November 09, 2014, 09:16:58 PM
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To be honest, I think Rothbard is overated. I have never been impressed by one of his book.

I agreed with what you think of Rothbard until I read "A new liberty".
On one book (Anatomy of the state) I read from him he was just spitting on government without really adding much. But that was not the case for "a new liberty".

Though, I realize I might be easily impressed by him, since my basic culture on libertarianism was zero.

Quote
On the other hand I would strongly recommend Hayek. Either The Constitution of Liberty or The Fatal conceit, both are outstanding.

Noted, I have "road to serfdom" from Hayek, but not start reading a single word of him. Definitively motivated me to start today. Smiley
I added the one you cite in my reading list.

Quote
What Has Government Done to Our Money and/or The Mystery of Banking. Both are great, I think MOB goes into a little more detail. Very relevant for people wanting to understand the basis for Bitcoin also.
Well, since the last 8 months what lead me here today are the natural flow of question that arise when one discover Bitcoin :
  • 1. What is Bitcoin (technical level)
  • 2. What is money and banking
  • 3. What is libertarianism
I don't understand the money and banking matter as much as the technical level of bitcoin, but that's good enough for me for now, I'm concentrating on the libertarian part. Smiley


Anyway, writting down all the references. I have to profit from amazon premium subscription while I can ! :-o

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November 09, 2014, 09:26:11 PM
 #7

To be honest, I think Rothbard is overated. I have never been impressed by one of his book.

I agreed with what you think of Rothbard until I read "A new liberty".
On one book (Anatomy of the state) I read from him he was just spitting on government without really adding much. But that was not the case for "a new liberty".

Though, I realize I might be easily impressed by him, since my basic culture on libertarianism was zero.

Quote
On the other hand I would strongly recommend Hayek. Either The Constitution of Liberty or The Fatal conceit, both are outstanding.

Noted, I have "road to serfdom" from Hayek, but not start reading a single word of him. Definitively motivated me to start today. Smiley
I added the one you cite in my reading list.

Quote
What Has Government Done to Our Money and/or The Mystery of Banking. Both are great, I think MOB goes into a little more detail. Very relevant for people wanting to understand the basis for Bitcoin also.
Well, since the last 8 months what lead me here today are the natural flow of question that arise when one discover Bitcoin :
  • 1. What is Bitcoin (technical level)
  • 2. What is money and banking
  • 3. What is libertarianism
I don't understand the money and banking matter as much as the technical level of bitcoin, but that's good enough for me for now, I'm concentrating on the libertarian part. Smiley


Anyway, writting down all the references. I have to profit from amazon premium subscription while I can ! :-o

Well if you're looking for stuff besides Rothbard, then I recall Stefan Molyneux's books to be extremely good too. His three books that are most related to Austrian Economics are Everyday Anarchy, Practical Anarchy, and How NOT to acheive Freedom.

Currently I am reading Machinery of Freedom by David Friedman and it's pretty good from a real world perspective too.
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November 09, 2014, 09:30:04 PM
 #8

I have read only "Man, Economy, and State". It covers a lot, and is brilliantly written.


I support this suggestion if you want a excellent book about economics.
So good, in fact, to be praised by Mises itself.
Nicolas Dorier
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November 10, 2014, 08:49:25 PM
 #9

I have read only "Man, Economy, and State". It covers a lot, and is brilliantly written.


I support this suggestion if you want a excellent book about economics.
So good, in fact, to be praised by Mises itself.


On the way to my house ! Cheesy

Quote
His three books that are most related to Austrian Economics are Everyday Anarchy, Practical Anarchy, and How NOT to acheive Freedom

I strongly differentiate between anarchism and anarcho-capitalism. Anarchism does not recognize property right, am I mistaken ?

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November 11, 2014, 12:21:37 AM
 #10

I have read only "Man, Economy, and State". It covers a lot, and is brilliantly written.


I support this suggestion if you want a excellent book about economics.
So good, in fact, to be praised by Mises itself.


On the way to my house ! Cheesy

Quote
His three books that are most related to Austrian Economics are Everyday Anarchy, Practical Anarchy, and How NOT to acheive Freedom

I strongly differentiate between anarchism and anarcho-capitalism. Anarchism does not recognize property right, am I mistaken ?

Yes you are mistaken Smiley

Of course people always have their own definitions of things. Just like if I refer to Capitalism I'm talking about a free market, but it seems the more mainstream definition of Capitalism is more like what I would call Fascism or Corporatism. My definition for Anarchy and Anarcho-capitalism is essentially the same and what I've found is that Rothbard, Molyneux, Friedman, Doug Casey, etc. are all basically in line. Call it whatever you want, but it's based on the non-aggression principle.
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November 11, 2014, 12:35:51 AM
 #11

I have read only "Man, Economy, and State". It covers a lot, and is brilliantly written.


I support this suggestion if you want a excellent book about economics.
So good, in fact, to be praised by Mises itself.


On the way to my house ! Cheesy

Quote
His three books that are most related to Austrian Economics are Everyday Anarchy, Practical Anarchy, and How NOT to acheive Freedom

I strongly differentiate between anarchism and anarcho-capitalism. Anarchism does not recognize property right, am I mistaken ?

Yes you are mistaken Smiley

Of course people always have their own definitions of things. Just like if I refer to Capitalism I'm talking about a free market, but it seems the more mainstream definition of Capitalism is more like what I would call Fascism or Corporatism. My definition for Anarchy and Anarcho-capitalism is essentially the same and what I've found is that Rothbard, Molyneux, Friedman, Doug Casey, etc. are all basically in line. Call it whatever you want, but it's based on the non-aggression principle.

I agree, but 2 things. Some folks are walking around arguing for the abolishment of private property. Quite absurd if you ask me, because that allows someone to take your food, your shirt, even the air around your head.

The other thing, even if private property is necessary for anarchism and capitalism, it is possible to discuss how far it goes with ownership to land, the standard in historic times being occupation of unused land, and if you give it up, it is returned to the pool of unused land. Nowadays if you have land, you have it forever, even if you don't use it. We also have the financial system including rent, and the degree to which a state is used to extend the notion of ownership. Outside land, we have the government created assets like patents and copyrights. Interesting questions with several solutions within the boundaries of anarcho-capitalism.

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November 11, 2014, 02:10:29 AM
 #12


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His three books that are most related to Austrian Economics are Everyday Anarchy, Practical Anarchy, and How NOT to acheive Freedom

I strongly differentiate between anarchism and anarcho-capitalism. Anarchism does not recognize property right, am I mistaken ?

I believe Molyneux would consider himself an anarcho-capitalist.  He is an advocate of both anarchism and free market capitalism.  He also regularly produces podcasts and YouTube videos in addition to his free books that may interest you.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUVVh2O56_0

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November 12, 2014, 12:33:35 AM
 #13

Anarchism has nothing to do w AnCap except the word Anarchism

Its like Nazism has nothing to do w Socialism


     
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November 12, 2014, 12:36:09 AM
 #14

Anarchism has nothing to do w AnCap except the word Anarchism

Its like Nazism has nothing to do w Socialism

Anarcho-capitalism is a combination of anarchy and capitalism.

"It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning."   - Henry Ford
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November 12, 2014, 02:12:30 AM
 #15

Anarchism has nothing to do w AnCap except the word Anarchism

Its like Nazism has nothing to do w Socialism

Anarcho-capitalism is a combination of anarchy and capitalism.

And nazism and socialism is the same thing.

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November 12, 2014, 04:40:15 AM
 #16

Anarchism has nothing to do w AnCap except the word Anarchism

Its like Nazism has nothing to do w Socialism

Anarcho-capitalism is a combination of anarchy and capitalism.

AnCaps don't understand Anarchism. 

Anarchism has its roots in Marxist thinking so the economic system for classical Anarchists would be Socialist.  Anarchism & Capitalism are incompatible ideology.

AnCaps are followers of Rothbard and the libertarian ones are followers of Ayn Rand.  But its all just dumb neckbeard kids.  Nobody serious takes them seriously.  The same dumb kids who think Nazis are Socialists when everyone knows Nazis practice Fascism AND Capitalism

----------------

Chomsky interview about the subject:

Man: What's the difference between "libertarian" and "anarchist," exactly?

Chomsky: There's no difference, really. I think they're the same thing. But you see, "libertarian" has a special meaning in the United States. The United States is off the spectrum of the main tradition in this respect: what's called "libertarianism" here is unbridled capitalism. Now, that's always been opposed in the European libertarian tradition, where every anarchist has been a socialist—because the point is, if you have unbridled capitalism, you have all kinds of authority: you have extreme authority.

If capital is privately controlled, then people are going to have to rent themselves in order to survive. Now, you can say, "they rent themselves freely, it's a free contract"—but that's a joke. If your choice is, "do what I tell you or starve," that's not a choice—it's in fact what was commonly referred to as wage slavery in more civilized times, like the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, for example.

The American version of "libertarianism" is an aberration, though—nobody really takes it seriously. I mean, everybody knows that a society that worked by American libertarian principles would self-destruct in three seconds. The only reason people pretend to take it seriously is because you can use it as a weapon. Like, when somebody comes out in favor of a tax, you can say: "No, I'm a libertarian, I'm against that tax"—but of course, I'm still in favor of the government building roads, and having schools, and killing Libyans, and all that sort of stuff.

Now, there are consistent libertarians, people like Murray Rothbard—and if you just read the world that they describe, it's a world so full of hate that no human being would want to live in it. This is a world where you don't have roads because you don't see any reason why you should cooperate in building a road that you're not going to use: if you want a road, you get together with a bunch of other people who are going to use that road and you build it, then you charge people to ride on it. If you don't like the pollution from somebody's automobile, you take them to court and you litigate it. Who would want to live in a world like that? It's a world built on hatred.19

The whole thing's not even worth talking about, though. First of all, it couldn't function for a second—and if it could, all you'd want to do is get out, or commit suicide or something. But this is a special American aberration, it's not really serious.


     
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November 12, 2014, 08:39:30 AM
 #17

You could. I mean, you could get out. That should be worth something.

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November 12, 2014, 12:51:01 PM
 #18

Quote
This is a world where you don't have roads because you don't see any reason why you should cooperate in building a road that you're not going to use: if you want a road, you get together with a bunch of other people who are going to use that road and you build it, then you charge people to ride on it. If you don't like the pollution from somebody's automobile, you take them to court and you litigate it. Who would want to live in a world like that? It's a world built on hatred.19

Yes, I want to live in a world where there is no traffic congestion and no rush hour.
Where even me, or a collective action, can attack a big company for its abuses on my property,
where court decision is not based on whims, but on principle,
where judges are decided peacefully by their reputation, not by authority granted by the state,
where judgment takes weeks and not year,
where I don't have to fear the police and the border even if completely innocent,
where I don't have to ask for permission to what I want on my property,
where I can pay someone for what he is worth on the market,
where solidarity is not synonym of forced taxation,

I would live in such world.
Whether it is possible, I don't know yet, but "a new liberty" gave me compelling reasons it can exist, and that's why I want to read more arguments from Rothbard.


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November 12, 2014, 04:55:32 PM
 #19

My favorite book that I have read from Rothbard was Conceived in Liberty.  It is three volumes, so not an easy read.
What I got out of it, was the importance of using economics and the struggle between statism and liberty to explain history.

Other essentials are:
Man, Economy, and State
What has Government Done to Our Money
The Case Against the Fed

I've started America's Great Depression...not far enough into it to decide if it is essential, but I suspect it should be on the list.

He has written a lot of essays on various topics.  Those are quite interesting, shorter (sometimes), and specific to a topic you might be interested in.


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November 12, 2014, 06:06:44 PM
 #20

Anarchism has nothing to do w AnCap except the word Anarchism

Its like Nazism has nothing to do w Socialism

Anarcho-capitalism is a combination of anarchy and capitalism.

AnCaps don't understand Anarchism. 

Anarchism has its roots in Marxist thinking so the economic system for classical Anarchists would be Socialist.  Anarchism & Capitalism are incompatible ideology.

AnCaps are followers of Rothbard and the libertarian ones are followers of Ayn Rand.  But its all just dumb neckbeard kids.  Nobody serious takes them seriously.  The same dumb kids who think Nazis are Socialists when everyone knows Nazis practice Fascism AND Capitalism

Actually there are some people that refer to themselves as anarchists that don't seem to understand that the word "anarchy" simply means "no rulers".  I'm not convinced that a truly anarchist society is possible, but I'm not opposed to letting them try it out.  It might work, but I would be happy if we just moved towards a more libertarian, or minarchist, political system that let people participate in an economic system of their choice.

Anarchists can be capitalists or socialists.  As long as they don't condone the imposition of an economic system (or a monetary system) on someone against their will through the initiation of force by rulers.  Just let people choose the monetary and economic system that they want to participate in, voluntarily.

Ayn Rand was an ojectivist, but I don't believe she was a libertarian, I've even read that she despised libertarians.  I've been a libertarian since the late 90's, but I don't think I qualify as an objectivist.  I don't really know all of the details about Ayn Rand or objectivism.  I believe there is a lot of overlap, and I agree with a great deal of her philosophy.  However, I also think she supported the concept of "intellectual property" and state/military intervention in the affairs of other nations.

"It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning."   - Henry Ford
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