Ron Paul, the Gold Standard and Neo Confederates

Ron Paul, the Texas Congressman, is now chair of the House Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Monetary Policy, which means he gets to hold hearings into the Federal Reserve and to push his pet project, the gold standard.

I like the fact that Paul wants to open the Fed to criticism. I’d criticize it too, but from the opposite position: where Paul sees it as a tool to rob the rich, I tend to see it as a tool OF the rich. He wants the gold standard, I think the gold standard is nuts.

What bothers me about Paul isn’t that his advocacy of the gold standard per se, it’s the connection between gold buggery and neo confederate racism.

The libertarian vision of freedom sees govt. intrusion of property rights as the core of tyranny. Since money is both property and a means of getting more, libertarians, especially “austrian school” libertarians like Paul, obsess on government meddling with the money supply.

They like the gold standard because they imagine it as free from government interference; a “natural” money with intrinsic value that will permanently secure the value of all property. Like Social Darwinists in the 1890s, they believe that under a gold standard, social hierarchies become “real” and natural as well.

Paul is closely connected to the Ludwig Von Mises Institute, founded by the libertarian conservative Murray Rothbard and currently run by Lew Rockwell. Rockwell was formerly Paul’s chief of staff.

A tireless proponent of Austrian economics, Rothbard studied with Von Mises himself after receiving his Ph.D. from Columbia University. His books  relentlessly stress the benefits of a gold standard. Calling himself both an “anarcho-capitalist” and an exponent of the “old right,” Rothbard also  co-founded Cato Institute but later split with it.

For Rothbard, freedom was best when it wore pants: he blamed the “origins of the Welfare State” on “the legion of Yankee women, in particular those of middle- or upper-class background, and especially spinsters whose busybody inclinations were not fettered by the responsibilities of home and hearth.” He regretted the Constitutional amendment that had “imposed” women’s suffrage on the nation.1

In 1963, for example, at the height of the Civil Right movement, Rothbard warned about “the negro crisis as a revolution.” “Demonstrating Negroes,” he said, “have taken to a favorite chant: ‘What do we want? Freedom! When do we want it? Now!’” One might expect a libertarian to like such a chant, but Rothbard found the idea of freedom for negroes alarming: they did not understand it properly. Freedom was a “hopelessly ambiguous word as used by the Negro movement,” and “the very fuzziness of the goal permits the Negroes to accelerate and increase their own demands without limit… it is the very sweep and vagueness of the demands that make the movement insatiable.”

An insatiable desire for freedom usually stands in libertarian accounts as the most praise-worthy of human attributes, but Rothbard found the African American freedom struggle alarming. Rothbard worried not just about “insatiable” negroes, but also about King and his non-violent protests against “private citizens as store-keepers or owners of golf courses; their rights are already invaded, in a “non-violent” manner, by the established Negro ‘Center’.” Rothbard explored ways to stop “the negro revolution:” his words are worth quoting in full.

There are two ways by which it might be crippled and defeated. First, the retaliatory creation of a white counter-revolutionary mass movement, equally determined and militant. In short, by the re-creation of the kind of Ku Klux Klan that smashed Reconstruction and the Negro movement in the late 19th century. Since whites are in the majority, they have the capacity to do this if they have the will. But the will, in my opinion, is gone; this is not the 19th century, nor even the 1920’s. White opinion, as we have seen, has drastically shifted from racism to egalitarianism; even the Southern whites, particularly the educated leadership, concede the broad merit of the Negro cause; and, finally, mob action no longer has respectability in our society. There have been attempts, to be sure, at mass counter-revolutionary white action: the Ku Klux leader in Georgia told a rally that “we must fight poison with poison,” armed conflict between white and Negro mobs has broken out in Cambridge, Maryland, and white hoodlums have repeatedly assaulted Negro pickets in the Bronx. But all this is a feeble replica of the kind of white action that would be necessary to defeat the revolution; and it seems almost impossible for action to be generated on the required scale.

This exponent of freedom took some comfort in the idea of a “second, and far more subtle, method by which the Negro Revolution might be tamed and eventually crippled: through a “sellout” by the Negro leadership itself.” 2 Rothbard’s overall tone regarding the Civil Rights movement, like his tone regarding women’s suffrage, was contemptuous and hostile.

Not surprisingly, the Von Mises Institute he founded and ran is allied with the “League of the South,” which views the Civil War as a crisis over state’s rights and calls for an independent southern republic and wants, yes, “to return to a sound currency” based in gold.3 The League of the South laments the fact that “aliens” now govern the former Confederacy. It wants to return rule to the heirs of the “Anglo-Celtic tradition.” Rothbard and the Von Mises Institute similarly describe the Civil War as an unjust intervention, and claim slavery would have vanished on its own. The North, they argue, created racism in what had been a benign natural hierarchy.4

Rothbard’s version of libertarianism favored genetic accounts of racial difference and social rank. Votes for women, and equality for African Americans, upset the natural order. Regarding Charles Murray and Richard Hernsteins’s The Bell Curve (1994), which explored the connection between I.Q. fundamental intelligence, and race, Rothbard praised the book for telling “the home truths which everyone, and I mean everyone, knew in their hearts and in private… the almost self-evident fact that individuals, ethnic groups and races differ among themselves in intelligence and many other traits, and that intelligence, as well as less controversial traits of temperament, are in large part hereditary.” The book, he wrote, “would put a bullet through the heart of the egalitarian-socialist project” by restoring a natural foundation for inequality.5 In this line of libertarian thinking, naturalized, racial inequality is the sign of freedom. “Egalitarianism,” he declared, “is a revolt against nature.”6

There are of course many flavors of libertarianism, and it would be grossly unfair to simply say that libertarianism equals racism. “Classical liberals” frequently imagine a race blind society in which individual merit trumps all other factors, and libertarian thinktanks like the Cato Institute now sometimes admit the necessity of government intervention in Civil Rights in the 1960s, and that unregulated markets will not solve all problems of systemic inequality. Libertarians often genuinely detest what they see as ham-handed attempts by government—Affirmative Action comes up frequently in this context—that they argue only exacerbate the racism they seek to address. They see “race” as a socially constructed tool of domination, a form of collectivism, and pose intrinsic individualism as the alternative.

Paul’s website includes a forty minute movie from the Von Mises Institute giving a capsule history of the gold standard and calling for a return to “sound money.” The film blames “fractional reserve lending” for nearly all economic woes: that is, the practice of banks lending out more money than they have in their vaults.7 In this sense, Paul’s demand for the gold standard is radical enough to amount to a critique of capitalism itself, and hearkens back to Jefferson’s objections to banking. “If our money were backed by gold and silver, people couldn’t just sit in some fancy building and push a button to create new money,” Paul writes: “They would have to engage in honest trade with another party that already has some gold in their possession,” or “get dirty and sweaty and actually dig up the gold. Not something I can imagine our ‘money elves’ at the Fed getting down to whenever they feel like playing God with the economy.”8

In the 1990s, Paul wrote, or allowed to appear under his name, with his endorsement, a series of newsletters which most Americans would find alarmingly racist. Journalist James Kirchik detailed what he found in an article in the New Republic. For example, in 1992 the Ron Paul Political Report commented on the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles by saying that “order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks three days after rioting began.” read one typical passage. According to the newsletter, the looting stemmed from government promotion of “‘civil rights,’ quotas, mandated hiring preferences, set-asides for government contracts, gerrymandered voting districts, black bureaucracies, black mayors, black curricula in schools, black tv shows, black tv anchors, hate crime laws, and public humiliation for anyone who dares question the black agenda.” “Our rotten liberal culture,” the newsletter concluded, “admonishes whites faced by raging blacks to lie back and think of England.”

In 1992 Paul advised his supporters to take refuge from “the coming race war” in rural strongholds, because “the animals are coming.” Of the Martin Luther King Holiday, one Paul newsletter declared: “What an infamy Ronald Reagan approved it!” and concluded “We can thank him for our annual Hate Whitey Day.” The newsletter also demonstrated open sympathy for “patriot” militia groups and, Kirchik concluded, classical examples of ant government political paranoia, frequently involving the Federal Reserve.9

Paul has distanced himself from both the newsletters and “paleolibertarianism,” but he keeps the hard money focus. When Ron Paul called his first hearing on Fed Monetary Policy, he invited Thomas DiLorenzo, a proud member of the League of the South, to testify on behalf of the gold standard.

The connection between gold and neoconfederate ideology and Rothbard’s social darwinist racism isn’t coincidental. It’s rooted in the same fantasy, a fantasy of natural and “real” distinctions and values, social hierarchies that reflect natural law rather than politics and culture. The media will probably choose to treat Ron Paul as a charming eccentric, and thereby legitimate his point of view. The roots of that point of view are worth examining closely.


Update: recently Ron Paul appeared on Hardball with Chris Mathews, and announced that he would vote against the 1964 Civil Rights Act, because the Act, by making it illegal to serve people because of race, violated property rights. Paul’s argument was claimed that racism was caused “by laws” and that laws were the problem, not racism. He suggested that segregation was “ancient history” and since it had itself been “created by laws” it would not happen any more.

I can’t really begin to comment on the absurdity of this position. Maybe later

  1. Murray N. Rothbard, “Origins of the Welfare State in America” Mises Daily, Friday, August 11, 2006; online at Accessed 8/7/2010
  2. This quite extraordinary essay appeared originally in The New Individualist Review 3 (Summer 1963): 32-33; it appears online, with no apparent sense of irony, at “the Online Library of Liberty, a Project of Liberty Fund Inc. (
  4. It’s only fair to note that the “League of the South” website includes a statement formally repudiating racism ( But most people perusing the site, with its endless evocations of heritage and its insistence that southern equals white European, or that racism is simply a charge invented to discredit the South, will be skeptical. Just take a look. The Southern Poverty Law Center offers a detailed account of the League at its website: In this view, slavery was not a manifestation of racism, but a reflection of natural facts: ending slavery introduced racism
  5. Murray Rothbard, “Race! That Murray Book,” in The Irrepressible Rothbard: the Rothbard-Rockwell Essays of Murray N. Rothbard (Burlingame, CA, Center for Libertarian Studies 2000) p. 390-391.
  6. Murray N. Rothbard, Egalitarianism as a Revolt against Nature and other Essays, (1974: reprint ed. Auburn, AL 2000) ch. 1
  7. Ludwig Von Mises Institute, “Money Banking and the Federal Reserve,” accessed at Aug. 4 2010.
  8. Accessed August 8 2010.
  9. James Kirchick, “Angry White Man,” in The New Republic, January 30 2008 p. 21. Paul claimed not to have written these passages, and not to have known who wrote them: suspicion fell on Lew Rockwell, currently head of the Von Mises Institute and formerly Paul’s chief of staff, but he denied it and also claimed not to know. Rockwell and Rothbard seem the most likely suspects. See Julian Sanchez and David Weigel, “Who Wrote Ron Paul’s Newsletters,” in Reason Jan. 16 2008; online at See also CNN’s at this link:


  • Mike Bottoms wrote:

    Also too, let’s not forget this Ron Paul gem from 1992: “I think we can safely assume that 95% of the black males in that city [Washington DC] are semi-criminal or entirely criminal…we are constantly told that it is evil to be afraid of black men, but it is hardly irrational.”

    It’s also worth noting that, given the nature of his district, and unlike other southern politicians like Trent Lott, Haley Barbour, or George Allen, Paul doesn’t actually need to court a neo-Confederate vote. This is simply a personal affinity.

  • Great post, Mike. I think Paul’s anti-imperialism is also connected and deserves a historical exegesis.

  • Oh my GOD. A Congressman who advocates that the U.S Government actually OBEY the U.S. Constitution, even in the area of monetary policy! OH MY GOD! Stone him, castrate him, hang him, shoot him, and then maybe give him a fair trial or something! And after that, drag his body through the streets! WE CANNOT HAVE THIS TREACHERY IN WASHINGTON DC! A WITCH! A WITCH! BURN HIM!

  • This is an odd comment. No one is suggesting any of these hysterical reactions. As I mentioned, I share Paul’s desire to criticize the Fed. You praise Paul’s alleged fidelity to the Constitution (no doubt meaning the clause about no state making anything but gold or silver a tender). But this is a man who associates with secessionists. Which part of the Constitution allows for secession?

  • zoltankemeny wrote:

    You are misguided about the Constitution. The Constitution enumerates powers of the federal government. It does not “allow” for individuals to act in a certain way.

  • Jason Treit wrote:

    As reprehensible as his views on civil rights and heredity were, Rothbard’s stance on fractional reserves is what stuns me most going back through his remarks. It’s both funny and scary to contemplate the zeal with which he and his disciples weed out the causative root of their own philosophy. Other, more careful students of Mises try now and again to bring economic history back into the discussion (read Larry White’s excellent “What’s Twenty Quid to the Bloody Midland Bank?” – White and Selgin would prove worthier foils for your central banking series, I think), but the bullionist faction appears to have only dug its trench deeper.

    This logical relation you’ve identified in at least two blog posts bears repeating until the full weight of it sinks in: to be against fractional reserves is to be against capitalism, full stop. Refusal to count unrealized gains or to allow an exchange medium to absorb the third-party risks implicit its use means no credit enters the economy, period. No credit, no capital investment. No capital investment, no capitalism. Rothbard, Dilorenzo, Solerno, Paul: the new, permanent cast of Hoarders.

  • Your comment is dead on. I think what’s really at play here is hostility to capitalism itself, masquerading as love of free markets. I’m interested in the race piece because like the gold standard, it allows a lot of blather about “freedom” and “market law” while dodging the fundamental ambiguities about value/identity that capitalism entails

  • “I think what’s really at play here is hos­til­ity to cap­i­tal­ism itself, mas­querad­ing as love of free mar­kets.”

    Very interesting. This would also explain why the Tea Party and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are on the opposite sides of so many big issues: TARP, auto company bailouts, stimulus as well as the prospect of raising the debt ceiling.

  • Michael wrote:

    #”No credit, no cap­i­tal invest­ment.”

    Jason Treit, obviously the concept of capital accumulation is foreign to you.

    Also when you use the word ‘hoarders’ as a negative it’s clear you are unware of the manner in which one person choosing to forgoe present consumption (a process you denigrate as hoarding) results in the price level falling to the benefit of all other consumers.

    As Frederic Bastiat made clear 160 years ago problems arise when people cannot see beyond the immediate consequences of their actions and policies. Given you can’t grasp capital accumulation and an adjustment in prices perhaps you ought to take note.

  • Apart from Ruthbard’s connection with racist ideas, I think his most destructive contribution is his alternative truth version of what happened in the Great Depression.

    According to Ruthbard GD would have been over in a year IF not only Hoover had been such a socialist. It has been debunked over and over again, but that story never dies.

  • Michael wrote:

    Nobody has debunked this. Infact the forgotten depression of 1920 reinfirces this truth about what happens when markets are left to self regulate.

    With 12% and rising unemployment and a massive GNP drop of 17% Warren Harding despite the protests of Hoover slashed tax rates across the board and cut spending which resulted in national debt falling.

    Prices fell, cost of production fell and by 1923 unemployment was back down to 2.4%.

    At the same time Japan government and industry undertook protectionist measures to keep price levels high and had a recession through to 1927 which culminated in a huge crash known as the Showa financial crisis.

  • Michael wrote:

    Even in the comment section of the Huff Post I have never seen such a baseless attack on a number of principled libertarians.

    Each of your points is posted after a hash (#) and my response after a star (*):

    #”where Paul sees it as a tool to rob the rich, I tend to see it as a tool OF the rich.”
    *Way to miscategorise Ron Paul’s views. He has spoken on many occasions about how the fed redistributes wealth upwards.

    #”it’s the con­nec­tion between gold bug­gery and neo con­fed­er­ate racism.”
    *Baseless ad hominen I’d expect to see in the like of NYT, Time etc.

    #”Like Social Dar­win­ists in the 1890s, they believe that under a gold stan­dard, social hier­ar­chies become real”
    *Rothbard is an ardant opponent of social darwinism and it’s proponents including Malthus. Mises in Human Action also opposed it. Classical liberal David Ricardo did too, Austrians hold different opinions but they all reject social darwinism. Again nice strawman.

    #”he blamed the ori­gins of the Wel­fare State on women”
    *Again baseless, he has criticised the women’s lib movement but only based on their hypocrisy not on sexist grounds.

    #”Roth­bard found the idea of free­dom for negroes alarm­ing”
    *Again baseless, Rothbard even wrote out in support of the Black Panther movement although he expressed concern over their internal violence and adoption of oppresive marxist theory.

    #”Roth­bard explored ways to stop “the negro rev­o­lu­tion:” his words are worth quot­ing in full.”
    *Again you are dishonestly quoting out of context, in the essay ‘The Negro Revolution’ he did not advocate these methods to cripple the movement but rather presented them as a possible reaction from extremists looking to curtail growing freedoms of blacks. In the same manner he outlined the views of marxist theorists like Nikolai Bukharin but certainly does not support Marxism.

    #”The Von Mises Institute which views the Civil War as a cri­sis over state’s rights”
    *If you disagree with this then clearly you do not realise the USA republic is a voluntary agreement between states to limit federal power and NOT the other way around. Nonetheless this is a strawman and ad hominem with regards to the debate on merits of gold.

    #”Rothbard [believes] Votes for women, and equal­ity for African Amer­i­cans, upset the nat­ural order”
    *Given Rothbard DOESN’T EVEN ACCEPT NATURAL RIGHTS but rather accepts an Aristotlean concept of rights and ethics grounded in human experience your lie is not hard to see through.

    #”the almost self-evident fact that indi­vid­u­als, eth­nic groups and races dif­fer among them­selves in intel­li­gence and many other traits, and that intel­li­gence, as well as less con­tro­ver­sial traits of tem­pera­ment, are in large part hered­i­tary.” *You can’t deny this, the physical differences and abilities between races are clear and yet you think despite hugely different genetic backgrounds there are no other differences? Look at the Japanese who have some of the highest IQ levels vs the Pigmy people of Africa with IQ levels under 50. Denying inherent differences is akin to flat earth belief.

    #”Paul’s demand for the gold stan­dard is rad­i­cal enough to amount to a cri­tique of cap­i­tal­ism itself”
    *Capitalism is private ownership AND control of means of production, nothing more. Critiquing a coervice institute that promotes malinvestment, discourages saving and in effect seizes a level of control over allocation of capital is not a critique of capitalism.

    #”In the 1990s, Paul wrote, or allowed to appear under his name, with his endorse­ment, a series of newslet­ters”
    *Lol, not only has he openly expressed sorrow such things were published but even when Fox, CNN, MSNBC all tried to run with this angle it was evident he did not have any control over the publications.

  • Great comment. I re-read the Rothbard ‘quote in full’ in the context you say it was originally written and it does read completely different. I knew there was some counter-intelligence afoot here. Thanks for clarifying that.

  • see below

  • It’s interesting that the defense of Rothbard here is that somehow he, and Paul, had no control, over the appearance in print of things they had written and which bore Paul’s name. It’s an absurd defense.

    As to Rothbard’s civil rights article, it’s clearly a thin layer of pretense here–it pretends to be an objective analysis in order to deploy the most condescending rhetoric possible. It’s like sayi9ng “I’m sorry I must show you these tings” and then reveling in the details. This is of course the same Rothbard who praised “the Bell Curve” for telling the truth “everybody already knows” about racial inferiority, and who wrote–but apparently had no control over–Ron Paul’s newsletters.

    Libertarians pride themselves on being clear eyed: the evidence here is extremely clear.

  • There is no such thing as equality. There could be equality of opportunity encouraged, and I am not against that (some conservative viewpoints might be against it though), but to say that there is equality when there so obviously isn’t is misleading; although I wouldn’t say you were intentionally trying to mislead anyone.

    NO one is completely right or wrong. People have a right to adjust their views as they learn. If Ron paul wants to distance himself from something I think that is a good thing. He also said there is no such thing as women’s rights, childrens’s rights, or black rights, but only individual rights that everyone has. So he says he is for rights for all people (including in his view, the unborn fetus, which I also disagree with him about).

    Another great example is President jackson. I do not agree with his statements to the Supreme Court that they ought to try to enforce their decision to acknowledge the Cherokee Nation. But I do agree with his views about would-be rebels and the central bank.

    Also Jefferson, who wanted to end slavery with the Declaration but had to take that out because he wasn’t the only one making the decisions in a democratic/republican form of government.

    Irony happens. The problems remain, though, with the central bank, our out of control intelligence and corporate armies slaughtering indigenous people and “turning pristine rivers into flaming cesspools,” as former “economic hitman” John Perkins has pointed out.

    I support Ron Paul on the issues of American imperialism and the dangers of a central bank. He has taken those issues farther than anyone in recent history and I highly doubt he will bring about a new wave of racism in America toward those of African descent that can compare with the current one toward Arabs and Muslims.

  • Also, I am not saying that you have no point, I think you do, I just disagree with how important this issue is compared with the world dog-fight the oligarchs are conducting and betting on and the global racism it fosters.

    Also, I am familiar with the different types of libertarians and see the problems inherent there. I do not call myself a racist, but rather, an anarchist, in that I do not subscribe to any complete philosophy as I find issues with them all. I mostly support the Green Party.

    What ought to be clear is what the money powers in the world are doing. They ‘create’ money to fund the war. The UN says it would only take $40 billion to wipe out world poverty. If their figures are accurate, we could have done that 16 times over by now on what we have spent on the war alone.

    Isn’t it worse than racism to kill people that way, but not to feed people that way? Is it a prejudice against the poor to let them starve while we spend funny money on war?

  • Mike, moan all you want about that civil rights article but fact is it does not demonstrate a racist attitude from Rothbard. Infact in other writings he even expressed support for the black lib movement (up until the point where they adopted anarcho communist/syndacist views).

  • There’s no “moaning” here–Rothbard was a racist, plain and simple, and his racism was a logical outgrowth of his belief in the free market. If it doesn’t bother you, so be it.

  • zoltankemeny wrote:

    How can racism stem from a free-market perspective? That’s quite a leap in logic. A free market can allow racism to exist but it also punishes it to a certain extent. Rothbard certainly didn’t agree with government regulations that punished the Chinese and blacks during the late 1800s and early 190ss. Unions forbade membership of minorities and Catholics for economic reasons. Government intervention is far more racist than a free market because it restricts supply and allows those in power (WASPs) to choose their own and exclude others. This happened time and time again in the late nineteenth/early twentieth century.

  • Well yes, the evidence is clear. That’s why your readers can go and read the Rothbard essay you provided the link for and see for themselves that you’re fooling yourself or that you are trying to fool them.

  • […] is Part II of the three part series on the racism of immigration reform. “…A tire­less pro­po­nent of Aus­trian eco­nom­ics, Roth­bard stud­ied with Von Mises him­self after receiv­ing his […]

  • […] war on women is coming from the libertarian right. “…Rothbard’s ver­sion of lib­er­tar­i­an­ism favored genetic accounts of racial dif­fer­ence and social rank. […]

  • […] The North, they argue, cre­ated racism in what had been a benign nat­ural hier­ar­chy – Ron Paul, the Gold Standard and Neo Confederates, […]

  • […] lots more that could be said about Ron Paul (see here for example). But I’ve seen more than […]

  • Your misquoting of Rothbard is profoundly dishonest. You are completely distorting what he wrote. Shame on you.

    It’s pretty clear when one reads the essay that the passage you quote fully as well as the previous lines are meant to be descriptive of future possible scenarios. The only normative claims he makes are all in the last paragraphs:

    “TO PASS BRIEFLY from the analytical to the evaluative, what should be the libertarian position on the Negro movement? Perhaps the most important point to make here is that the issue is a complex one; the Negro Revolution has some elements that a libertarian must favor, others that he must oppose. Thus, the libertarian opposes compulsory segregation and police brutality, but also opposes compulsory integration and such absurdities as ethnic quota systems in jobs.”

    Plus, if one wants to see what were Rothbard views on these things, one can read the journal he was editing from 65 to 68, as the black revolution developed.

    He supported the black revolution to the extent that it was directed toward the aim of getting rid of white oppressive rule. The ’67 essay on this subject while also containing descriptive elements is filled with his normative stances. He obviously rejoices how the movement developed since his 63 essay, praises Malcom X and denounces in no ambiguous terms white rule over black neighborhoods in perfect conformity with the general libertarian principles:

  • It is impossible to square Rothbard’s alleged enthusiasm for racial equality with his unambiguous enthusiasm for racism, as expressed in his review of the Bell Curve. The man was a racist: he believed that “race” was a real natural category, and he believed that people of the black race were inferior. Thus the tone of patronizing contempt in his civil rights essay. There’s no ambiguity–as you say, look at the context. Rothbard was happy to yap about how libertarianism would produce civil rights because he was convinced it would reveal naturalized racial inequality. This is how he could defend slavery in the old south–it wasn’t “racist,” he claimed, it was a benign natural hierarchy.

  • The only thing that the Bell Curve review could show is that Rothbard in 93 believed that race has some impact on intelligence. You can call that “racism” if you wish. I think it would be more useful to call it “racialism” because “racism” is widely used for a view which Rothbard does not hold, namely that this would justify unequal treatment of individuals under law depending on their racial traits. As anyone can see easily since most Rothbard’s writings are on the web, he was a champion of rights egalitarianism. He did not think that inequalities among humans make a difference as far as their rights are concerned.

    If you were not blinded by political correctness, you would be able to understand how things square. You would not miss what he put explicitly in the 63 essay you quote:

    “As in the case of most revolutions, the Negro Revolution began with a change in the ruling values and ideas of American intellectuals. At the turn of the century, and through the 1920’s, most American intellectuals were fundamentally “racist,” i.e., they upheld two guiding postulates: (1) that the white race in general, and the Anglo-Saxon wing of that race in particular, are inherently superior, intellectually and morally, to other races and ethnic groups, and particularly the brown and black races; and (2) that therefore the superior races had the right and perhaps even the duty to exercise political power over the inferior. Although (2) does not at all follow from (1), few people, whether pro- or anti-racist, have seen that this political conclusion is a non sequitur.”

    Also there is simply no patronizing contempt for anybody in the 63 article. Your PC filter makes you unable to make a difference between descriptive and evaluative assessment, even when I put the evidence under your nose that you should have seen yourself before.

    And we are still waiting for some evidence he defended slavery in the South. You are unable to find some evidence for that because this is simply not true. Slavery in the south or anywhere cannot be a benign natural hierarchy for Rothbard. The truth is the opposite. Slavery is institutionalized crime and parasitism. It tramples on the most fundamental right of man for Rothbard. Go fucking read before writing stupid rantings like this.

  • You’re being a child. This isn’t a rant, and it’s not “political correctness”; it’s a reasoned argument based on carefully cited evidence. Anyone who likes can read all the Rothbard essay at the link I provided. That’s why I provided the link.

    If racism is not the belief that some groups are genetically more intelligent than others, what would you say it is? Rothbard believes in the idea of “race.” Despite all the huffing and puffing against “collectivism,” he is thrilled that the Bell Curve proves that some races are less intelligent than others–what is that but collectivism? The Bell Curve confirms his earlier sense that black people did not “properly understand” freedom. It’s true that Rothbard condemned slavery, but he spent far more time condemning the north for intervening in the property rights of slaveholders

    I’ll thank you to refrain from insults–if you can’t, I’ll ban you from replying here

  • Evan Rogers wrote:

    Wow, every paragraph has a glaring error in it.

    Good “I’m an ignorant idiot” smear job.

  • I read this post some time ago, but upon returning to it I read all the comments. I would just like to contribute a what I believe is an obvious point that was overlooked.

    Amusingly, one commenter offers this quote in defense of Rothbard:

    “At the turn of the cen­tury, and through the 1920’s, most Amer­i­can intel­lec­tu­als were fun­da­men­tally “racist,” i.e., they upheld two guid­ing pos­tu­lates: (1) that the white race in gen­eral, and the Anglo-Saxon wing of that race in par­tic­u­lar, are inher­ently supe­rior, intel­lec­tu­ally and morally, to other races and eth­nic groups, and par­tic­u­larly the brown and black races; and (2) that there­fore the supe­rior races had the right and per­haps even the duty to exer­cise polit­i­cal power over the infe­rior. Although (2) does not at all fol­low from (1), few peo­ple, whether pro– or anti-racist, have seen that this polit­i­cal con­clu­sion is a non sequitur.”

    Actually, to sensible people, point (1) alone is quite sufficient to identify a racist. But point (2) is the one he has a problem with. For people applying some critical intelligence to their reading, this is one of the clearer giveaways as to what Rothbard is really about.

  • So many igrorant comments. Rothbard and Paul repeatedly tell us that the Federal Reserve was started by rich bankers to enrich themselves. You are all arguing against a strawman with no resemblence to the real Rothbard.

  • Giovanni wrote:

    Ha ha, partisan vitriol and dogma, just oozing and overflowing off this page.

    Obama killed 200 innocent brown children with drone strikes, I don’t think Ron Paul is actually racist, especially when he wants to end the drug war.

  • Giovanni wrote:

    The racist card is the lowest form of political discourse. These partisan quacks just can’t let it go.

    Mike wrote:
    “I’ll thank you to refrain from insults–if you can’t, I’ll ban you from replying here.”

    I just got threatened with being banned a couple days ago, b/c I proved that Rand Paul didn’t support the Iraq war. Not just b/c he is against it, but b/c he wasn’t even a senator at the time.

    There are pretentiousness remarks and under the radar insults on both sides. What he’s really saying is ‘if you keep proving me wrong I’m going to ban you’.

    This blog changes nothing, anywhere. It’s hyper partisan ship by and for snobby left wingers that think anything with an ‘R’ after their names is ‘racist’.

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