[an error occurred while processing this directive]
About
Content
Store
Forum

Rebirth of Reason
War
People
Archives
Objectivism

Post to this threadMark all messages in this thread as readMark all messages in this thread as unreadBack one pagePage 0Page 1Page 2


Post 40

Tuesday, March 8, 2005 - 3:02pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Ahh, perfect Chris, I knew that I had read about Ayn Rand being critical about the WW II intervention and the way it was conducted!

Now, I have to do some copy and paste to get the details. Just wanted to thank you!


Post 41

Tuesday, March 8, 2005 - 5:55pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Thanks to Dr. Sciabarra for his insightful and fascinating commentary on Ayn Rand's views on foreign policy, and on Murray Rothbard. His books are going on my reading list.

Briefly, I question Bob Biddinotto's claim that Rothbard's axiomatic starting point for the deduction of economics, "Man acts.", is rationalism. As I vaguely understand this, rationalism is the belief that understanding is somehow restricted to ideas that are supposed to be void of the "corrupting" influence of sensory experience, which rationalists believe is unreliable. So rationalism leads to the building of intellectual sandcastles.

However, Rothbard's "axiom" is provable as to the fact of man's nature: man is a rational animal. As such, man is a being of volitional consciousness. Such a being makes choices and then acts; that is, he chooses means to achieve his ends. Rothbard's "axiom" makes no allowance for volitional consciousness, of course; nor did Mises. But in Rothbard's case, this ommission is not serious, because nothing implied by "Man acts" contradicts anything implied by "volitional consciousness".

Moreover, Rothbard's starting point is appropriate for deducing the laws of economics, which as you know, does not concern itself with the content of men's values, only with the fact that man uses means to achieve ends. Economics, of course, is the logical spinning out of the implications of this "axiom". But what is axiomatic about the observable, provable fact that man has a nature that enables him "to act"?
  
Finally, unlike the Kantian von Mises, Rothbard thought that some values can be proven to be objective, as opposed to Mises' view that all values are necessarily subjective. This difference is significant, because Mises' subjectivism suggests that volition is either non-existent or unimportant: if values (ends) are subjectively interchangeable, for what does man require volition? Further, Mises' positivism sees all of reality as reducible to matter-in-motion. Economic "science" can only investigate and understand man as another facet of physical nature void of the "spiritual" (pertaining to consciousness), including moral values and volitional consciousness. Perhaps my characterization of Mises is not fair, but it seems congruent with what I recall of his writing.

The point I am trying to make is that Rothbard's neo-Aristotlelian outlook, which included objective values and human volition, made his starting point of human action realistic, rather than rationalistic. It seems to me that Rothbard shares more with Objectivists, in terms of philosophical fundamentals, than does von Mises.

And yet, Rothbard is the Austrian that some Objectivists love to hate, just as Rand is the social critic and philosopher that some latter day Rothbardians depise. With respect, I think both camps are a little crazy in their heated, unreasoning denunciations of the other. I've posed similar arguments to Anthony Gregory, who declined to even respond to my unsolicited e-mail lecture on this subject. (But perhaps he has grown weary of my zealousness.)

By the way, Robert, I have not forgotten your comments about anarchism versus limited government. I am reading, and I have come across interesting historical accounts of governments that acceded to succession by its citizens. I'll try to summarize everything I learn about this subject in an article format. While I'm on the subject, you might be interested in knowing, if you don't already, that even von Mises, at the end of Human Action, states that every individual should be recognized the right of succession from government. It seems that Rothbard took Mises' ideas in this area one step further. I mention this, not to put Mises on your "enemies list", but to suggest that perhaps (from my perspective) your demonization of Rothbard is somewhat off base. Please recall that I'm not arguing for anarchism, although you think I am. I will argue that government can be shown to be consistent with the principle of voluntary association, which importantly includes the right of succession, in ways benevolent.


Post 42

Tuesday, March 8, 2005 - 10:42pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Chris,

Whatever the disagreements we now have about the Iraq war, I agree with your sober analysis of the term "anti-American." It is much overused. It equates the concept of Americanism as a body of principles with the particularities of the US government at any given point in history. That's not to say that there isn't such a thing as "anti-Americanism" or "anti-Americans"--I believe there are such. But opposition to US military intervention in various instances is not enough to establish one as an anti-American. 

I have to say I enjoyed a lot of Rothbard's For A New Liberty. His arguments grounding the concept of individual rights are excellent and much more thorough than some of Rand's. That said, he descends into crack-pot stuff often and it's quite apparent that he does not give Rand credit where credit is due. I think he's sometimes very ahistorical and rationalistic (but few thinkers can claim never to be so), as Chris and others have noted in published works and on this thread. Is he completely useless? Of course not. I've used his book on numerous occasions to strengthen my understanding or improve my arguments.

I wonder if someone can elaborate on the definition of "paleolibertarian" and "paleoconservative" ideologies that Rothbard is said to have turned towards?


Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Post 43

Wednesday, March 9, 2005 - 4:07amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Thanks for the additional comments, gents.

Cam, I'm not sure I'd say that Rothbard descends into "crack-pot stuff often" in For a New Liberty, unless one focuses on some of the later chapters, where limited government advocates, or advocates of a robust US foreign policy might take issue.

As for the meaning of paleoconservative or paleolibertarian, there's lots of stuff on the web.  See here for example.  As I recall, "paleo" as a prefix, usually means "old" or "ancient"... and the "paleoconservatives" claim that they hark back to the Old Right (in contrast to the "New Right" or "neoconservative" whose "conservatism" emerged from a very different ideological lineage of "social democracy").  The Old Right is more "traditional" in its values, anti-New Deal, and predominantly "isolationist" in its foreign policy stances.


Sanction: 2, No Sanction: 0
Post 44

Thursday, March 10, 2005 - 2:00pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
And yet, Rothbard is the Austrian that some Objectivists love to hate, just as Rand is the social critic and philosopher that some latter day Rothbardians depise. With respect, I think both camps are a little crazy in their heated, unreasoning denunciations of the other. I've posed similar arguments to Anthony Gregory, who declined to even respond to my unsolicited e-mail lecture on this subject. (But perhaps he has grown weary of my zealousness.)


Mark, you sent me more than just one e-mail lecture on the subject. ; )

I don't denounce Rand and all Randians. I just think the worst Objectivists have a conception of liberty that is as collectivist as anything as you'll see on the left. I know one Objectivist who, when I asked him what he would tolerate from the government to wage its "war on terrorism," he said he would tolerate "anything as long as they keep me alive." Seems like a slavish attitude to me. I know other Objectivists said it would be moral to kill tens or even hundreds of millions of Middle Easterners in a nuclear blast after 9/11. This is just genocidal collectivism.

One speaker from ARI gave a lecture at Berkeley and told me afterwards that he would rather live under Castro than a libertarian government. He also said that the belief that Saddam was less a threat to American liberty than Bush was the same as preferring to live in Iraq under Saddam than under Bush in the US. That's just ridiculous.


Sanction: 3, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 3, No Sanction: 0
Post 45

Sunday, March 13, 2005 - 12:08amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Chris,

I'm miles away from my bookshelf, so don't have my copy of For A New Liberty at hand. But you're right--to be fair to Rothbard most of the book is very good. I here noted his name alongside that of Rand's as an excellent exponent of the derivation of natural rights. I guess by crack-pot stuff I mean things like calling for unilateral nuclear disarmament. And was it Rothbard who advocated a constitutional restriction on the precise amount of miles the US military could venture offshore? To this I'd add the ahistorical view that any advocate of liberty worth his or her salt would have to advocate the complete and immediate creation of a libertarian society or else be a party to tyranny. 

Rothbard does occasionally get bogged down in the precise detail of how a libertarian society might work in this or that respect, and I recall some of his suggestions were rather odd. But to be fair, libertarians are often criticised for not being able to come up with free market solutions to every single one of the world's problems. At least Rothbard had the creativity of mind to make an attempt (with some of his suggestions excellent). You're right, it's probably not fair to use the word "often" in reference to his descent into the odd. I make allowances for Rand's ideas on a woman president or homosexuality and I think Rothbard is useful enough to make allowances for him too. I enjoyed FANL and hope to read some more of his stuff in the future.

(Edited by Cameron Pritchard on 3/13, 12:12am)


Post 46

Monday, March 14, 2005 - 1:44amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Thanks for the link on paleoconservatism, Chris. I've just had the chance to check it out. I note the paleoconservative fondness for immigration controls and the glorification of the agrarian lifestyle. I just must say this: the neoconservatives have been criticised for the way they have bought into big government ("the new fascism"). Fine--fair criticism. But it sounds as if the paleos have a penchant for a certain fascism (proto-fascism?) of their own. I'm not sure I'm comfortable extolling the virtues of the American "Old Right" if a belief in immigration restrictions and favouritism of the "way of life" of the confederacy are part of their intellectual heritage. Perhaps the neocons aren't the only ones with intellectual dirty linen, so to speak? 
(Edited by Cameron Pritchard on 3/14, 1:47am)


Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Post 47

Monday, March 14, 2005 - 4:39amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Hey, Cam; I agree completely.  I have very deep differences with the paleos (in fact, I devote a whole section to criticizing them in Total Freedom). 

Leave it to me to propose a dialectical transcendence of paleo- and neo-.  :)


Post 48

Wednesday, December 25, 2013 - 8:47amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
"I fell for Rothbard in 1971 and ’72. I believed everything he wrote and cheered with those who praised him. Then, in 2005, I had an opportunity to present a “Littleton Lecture” paper of my choosing at a convention of the American Numismatic Association. I never completed the paper, but I learned to regard Murray N. Rothbard as a faker who substituted radical political rants for the data from history."

See "Murray Rothbard: Fraud or Faker?" on my blog here.

From the actual histories of private money, private gold, competing currencies, and free market bank clearinghouses, to the actual history of federal laws about banking, Rothbard failed as a historian.


Post 49

Sunday, September 7 - 7:27amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit

This is yet another of the very many excellent articles and discussions from the archive that popped up on the home page.  Does anyone routinely read the archives?  If so, how do you browse them?  I often find these pleasantly surprising because they are unexpected.  I am not sure that I would have found this if I just went searching for topics that I already know would interest me.  My opinion of Rothbard has not changed.  I was far more impressed with Chris Sciabarra's topical essay.  Obviously, I failed to read it closely the last time.

 

(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 9/07, 7:29am)



Post to this threadBack one pagePage 0Page 1Page 2
[an error occurred while processing this directive]


User ID Password or create a free account.