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Sunday, March 6, 2005 - 6:41amSanction this postReply
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Chris says:
I had and have profound differences with Rothbard. But there comes a point at which it is important to express one’s own appreciation: Murray Rothbard was one of my mentors and made a crucial impact on my own intellectual development.

Ironic, I have the same relationship with an academic writer named Sciabarra!

Solid article Chris.

'Doubting Thomas'




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Sunday, March 6, 2005 - 8:48amSanction this postReply
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Oh, by the way, I read that entry you have on your blog about 'In a Sentimental Mood'.

Trust me, if you haven't heard the Ellington-Coltrane collaboration of that one, you have missed that tune at its absolute finest! It can be found on an album/dvd called, 'The Gentle Side of John Coltrane' available at Amazon.com.

Making mention of that tune definetly puts your blog well above Bidinotto's in quality.

George

Cordero is a diehard Coltrane fan.





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Sunday, March 6, 2005 - 9:40amSanction this postReply
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Chris,

Thanks for this article. As I think I've told you before, I actually read some of Rothbard's work before I read Rand, and have found much of value in his work since my "conversion" to Objectivism (notably the economic stuff you mentioned); but on several other occasions found myself left utterly aghast at certain of his other pronouncements, mostly concerning foreign affairs (as per your request, I'll not dwell on these here ;-)). I have to admit though that until reading this article I'm not sure I'd realised just how diverse his writings are. I'll certainly be checking out some of the other works that you mention in future, especially Conceived in Liberty. Do you have any idea whether the fifth volume likely to see the light of day?

Total Freedom is a great book btw, and not just because of the section on Rothbard!

MH





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Sunday, March 6, 2005 - 11:25amSanction this postReply
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Yes - have those four volumes since they first came out - always wondered what was in that fifth one which precluded it ever being published......



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Sunday, March 6, 2005 - 11:41amSanction this postReply
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Dr. Diabolical Dialectical writes:

"Murray Rothbard was one of my mentors and made a crucial impact on my own intellectual development."

I knew Rothbard had a lot to answer for, but had no idea it was this bad.

Linz

:-)



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Post 5

Sunday, March 6, 2005 - 12:51pmSanction this postReply
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From the post immediately above, on TOP of me (a position the poster, no doubt, would relish):

Lindsay Perigo
Member Number 7
666 posts

NOTE THE NUMBER OF POSTS AT THE WRITING OF HIS REPLY TO ME:  6 6 6

Just exactly WHO is the diabolical one???  And a double triad at that!

LOL  [... and still convulsed over Linz's comments]

Meanwhile, a couple of other quick comments:

Doubting Thomas... I never thought I'd have a moment of synchronicity with you (especially since I now wonder if you'll have me shot at dawn too given JR's citing me here), but you'll see what I mean when you check tomorrow's "Song of the Day" at Notablog.  It was PLANNED before your comments today.   I now fear you may be seeking to go steady with me.  In any event, I have ordered the Coltraine album, and will let you know my reaction when I get it.  Looking forward to it. 

Finally, as to the fifth volume of Conceived in Liberty, here's what I report in Total Freedom, and I have no other information at this time:

p. 283, n. 25:  A fifth volume of Conceived in Liberty, defending the anti-federalists against the federalists, remains unpublished. Rothbard ... tells us the manuscript is in illegible long-hand.  North ... however, reports that the manuscript is actually "entombed in a now-defunct technology: a voice recorder system for which no playback machine exists."

If North is correct:  They just need to contact a really good tech person. :)




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Sunday, March 6, 2005 - 1:12pmSanction this postReply
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George,

It's no wonder that you never take small steps or hesitate to announce your favorite things.

Tell me: during the vernal equinox, do you turn into a pit-bull named Paul?

Alec




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Sunday, March 6, 2005 - 1:16pmSanction this postReply
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Chris says: Doubting Thomas ... I never thought I'd have a moment of synchronicity with you (especially since I now wonder if you'll have me shot at dawn too given JR's citing me here),

LOL - no way CM Hegel - it has long been a tactic of traitors and lunatics to quote legitimate thinkers.

Chris says: In any event, I have ordered the Coltraine album, and will let you know my reaction when I get it.  Looking forward to it. 

Now you may after all have to be shot at dawn! Don't you ever let me catch you misspelling the name John Coltrane again!


yours, 'Doubting Thomas'




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Sunday, March 6, 2005 - 1:25pmSanction this postReply
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Alec, yes indeed a Pit Bull named Paul, that has a supreme love best displayed during a sunburst - while riding a blue train.

George

PS: are you a trane fan?




Post 9

Sunday, March 6, 2005 - 1:41pmSanction this postReply
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George,

"Are you a Coltrane fan?"

That must also be your mating call. The answer is: yes, of course I am. He is truly the real McCoy.

Alec




Post 10

Sunday, March 6, 2005 - 1:41pmSanction this postReply
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I am an anarchist.  Like Rothbard, I learned much from Ayn Rand.  For instance, I learned that contradictions do not exist.

I have read two books by Rothbard: What Has Government Done to Our Money and A History of Money and Banking in the United States.

An ideological libertarian will enjoy the moral condemnations.  I did when I read WHGDM 30 years ago.  I tried reading HMBUS last week.   I bought it in preparation for a lecture I would like to deliver at the American Numismatic Association convention in San Francisco this summer.  I researched his research and found where that he short-cutted the story of the Suffolk Bank to meet his own ends. 

In fact, over the years, researching topics in medieval numismatics and the history of money generally, I see now that WHGDM is also riddled with ideology in place of facts.

(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 3/06, 1:44pm)

(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 3/06, 1:45pm)




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Post 11

Sunday, March 6, 2005 - 4:08pmSanction this postReply
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heh

I can assure you, DT, that 'Trane isn't misspelled on tomorrow's blog entry.

Obviously a momentary lapse from contemplating our synchronicity.  :)




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Post 12

Sunday, March 6, 2005 - 4:40pmSanction this postReply
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Chris,

I'm afraid your piece disappointed me.

It claimed but did not actually provide clear-cut evidence for the value and importance of Murray Rothbard.

Many writers have been very prolific. But, what *specifically* is the value of Murray Rothbard's books, (at least among the ones you have read the most carefully)? Is it his writing style? His identifying points no one prior to him had or connecting all the dots for the first time in some specific area of history or economics?

What is it? Concretely.

1. Economics: You point out he wrote thick and multi-volume books ("hefty", "monumental"). But you didn't say what were his specific intellectual contributions in those books. Did he say anything Mises (or Bastiat or Ricardo or Adam Smith or others) didn't already identify -- albeit more clearly or without Kantianism? Is he a popularizer (which would be okay)? An original thinker? Did he give new examples, make new identifications? If so, could you list one or two?

2. History and social theory: Did he have any new ideas? (Or powerful formulations. Or illuminating syntheses. History is not always about new ideas but about greater detail, more comprehensive research, etc.) What exactly is the value for -you- of his big books on American history or the Great Depression or the 1819 recession? Or his work on the welfare-warfare state?

You mention "the sheer depth and breadth, quantity and quality, of his remarkable output as a writer and thinker." That counts for nothing if the quality is not there. Being prolific in itself is no virtue.

As a "sales piece" or even a precis on MR (especially given his bizarro/Martian/extragalactic views on foreign policy and errors in some other philosophical areas), one desperately needs a good, very brief list of solid concrete - not exclusively abstract or general - examples or explanations. You haven't included what I, and other Rothbard virgins, would objectively need to be sold on eagerly dropping everything and rushing out to pick up and read him. Or to defend him.

Hope you don't mind this constructive criticism: "His work deserves critical and respectful engagement." Maybe. Make it more clear why, please.

You *told* me that Rothbard was important in your piece, but you didn't *show* me.

--Phil





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Sunday, March 6, 2005 - 5:37pmSanction this postReply
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Phil,

That was an brilliant post and query.

Michael




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Sunday, March 6, 2005 - 8:58pmSanction this postReply
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Chris,

The Boston Museum of Science and Technology has the world's most complete collection of recording and playback devices. Their curator should be able to help you.



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Monday, March 7, 2005 - 12:19amSanction this postReply
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Good tip Adam :-) I was just thinking that even if the format is now defunct it would be very unusual if there were no playback devices at all somewhere, even if just as collector's pieces.

Chris, is it possible to contact Mr North and find out precisely which format was used? If the problem is surmountable it seems a shame for the material not to be published.

Btw, the pdf files on the Mises Institute website are a real gold mine!

MH




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Post 16

Monday, March 7, 2005 - 1:52amSanction this postReply
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Chris,

I, for one, found your article to be a very good outline for when I get around to reading Rothbard's books, which I intend to do.

I am well aware of his reputation and influence from the countless references made to him in other places. From these, I was able to get a pretty good gist of his ideas, so I don't feel the need for more information like Philip did above.

For what I need - a sort of reading plan - your article fit like a glove. Thank you.

The only work, other than an article or two that I did read by Murray Rothbard, was his thespian Mozart Was A Red.

(God, I said it.! The dirt's out.)

Michael




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Monday, March 7, 2005 - 2:00amSanction this postReply
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All joking aside, I think Rothbard is a waste of space. The cause of liberty owes him absolutely nothing. Diabolical is too easily influenced by the proposition that size matters. The real issue is the content of the output, not its amount, nor the length of its sentences. Rothbard was a treasonous, commie-hugging bastard. Small wonder that all Saddamites pay homage to him. If I were God, he'd be burning in hell & I'd be forever turning up the heat. The low-life prick.

Linz



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Post 18

Monday, March 7, 2005 - 4:39amSanction this postReply
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Phil, so sorry to have disappointed you (though I am surprised by Michael N's sharing of your concern; perhaps this article was short on specifics, but I was under the impression, Michael, that you had read and quite enjoyed Total Freedom, no?)

Understand this was simply a brief bibliographic essay designed to point readers in the direction of specific works worthy of study.  It was not a critical engagement with those works; it was merely a map.

Prolificity and size are not proof of Rothbard's value.  My piece does, however, provide some specifics about the areas of study to which Rothbard contributed---even if it does not provide explanation.  Let's take it one at a time:

1. Economics: As I suggested in my article, Rothbard replaces Mises's Kantian foundation in praxeology with a surer Aristotelian one.  This, in my view, makes the whole "logic" of the Misesian project far more acceptable to my Randian eyes; it also erases any suggestion of a logical-ontological dichotomy.  He was a popularizer, yes, and a colorful, powerful stylist, but he also made new identifications in the areas outlined in my article:  welfare and utility theory---see especially "Toward a Reconstruction of Utility and Welfare Economics" here, where he effectively attacks and critiques the very foundation of neoclassical-welfare theory; monopoly theory, where he provides a better and less ambiguous definition of monopoly than his Austrian predecessors and explores such things as the problems with "One Big Cartel"---that, surprisingly, become an indictment of socialism, and, consequently, a contribution to the debate over economic calculation (I should add that Rothbard's own extension and classification of the binary and triangular methods of government intervention in Power and Market is the best systematization of the role of government in affecting the economy that I've ever read).

2. History and social theory:  Rothbard's applications of Austrian business cycle theory are among the most important case studies interpreted through an Austrian lens that have ever been published.  This is comprehensive research at the crossroads of theory and practice.  His work on the history of economic thought---recapturing the lost proto-Austrian contributions of the pre-Classical economists---is remarkably illuminating.  Moreover, he was among the most important libertarian critics of the welfare-warfare state, who took the insights of Austrian theory and libertarian rights theory and applied it to an understanding of the genesis of the interventionist state, across the wide sweep of American history, and its implications for domestic and foreign policy. 

On this score, I would say that Rothbard's value as a synthesizer is crucial.   He synthesizes the contributions of the Austrian school, the individualist-anarchist, the Old Right, the New Left, and the neo-Aristotelian; whatever problems I have with that synthesis in its various aspects, the truth remains that it is a powerfully illuminating analytical engine worthy of study.  And its implications are most assuredly non-Marxist, in contrast to other "radical" critiques in social theory.

I recommended to you, once before, my own Total Freedom, which I will do, again.  Sales pitch unashamedly noted.  :)  I do provide what I believe is the only comprehensive scholarly presentation of Rothbard's system of thought.  And you'll be able to follow tons of footnotes for follow-up.  Of that you can be assured.

Adam, thanks for that note:  I will forward it to those who are in control of the Rothbard estate.

Thanks, Michael S.K., for your kind words.

Now, Linz, I have one question for you, and I do ask with all due respect:  You've pretty much consigned Hayek, Rothbard, and other non-Randian writers to the scrap heap of intellectual history, or the ninth circle of hell (take your pick).

Are there any non-Randian writers that you find of value?  I suspect you might say Mises... but even Rand had some very negative things to say about his writing in her marginalia---not quite on a par with what she said about Hayek, but negative enough.




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Post 19

Monday, March 7, 2005 - 5:01amSanction this postReply
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Oh, for George:  Song of the Day.  And the spelling is right too.



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