Ghosts of Libertarianism's Past

A few months ago Richard Spencer noted that for all the hate Libertarianism Inc. was giving Donald Trump, the late libertarian polymath Murray Rothbard probably would have liked him and his candidacy quite a bit. Now that Rand Paul has dropped out, libertarians have largely abandoned electoral pursuits, and their institutions are going a bit schizophrenic, like Students for Liberty palling around with the likes of Pussy Riot and the insufferable George Will. Some of the old figures in what was termed "Paleolibertarianism" are even moving into the Trump camp. In light of all of this, let’s remind them that one of their most adored figures had quite a bit to criticize about the Current Year of his day.


Trump, despite obviously knowing many Jews in his elite New York City circles and having an adored daughter who converted to Judaism, is not afraid to tell the Republican Jewish Coalition:

“I don’t want your money, therefore you’re probably not gonna support me.”

Similarly, Murray Rothbard, despite being Jewish and having been immensely influenced by many Jewish intellectuals (Ludwig von Mises and Ayn Rand to name just two), delighted in skewering Jewish shibboleths:

Schindler’s List is a movie which has become not only Politically Incorrect but even to be less than worshipful about, since it purports to enable us, for the umpteenth time, to Learn About The Holocaust (the latter term always capitalized to emphasize solemnity and to assert its Absolute Uniqueness in the grisly world historical record of mass murder). And yet anyone who tries to Learn About History by going to a Hollywood movie deserves to have his head examined.

The Rich

Trump has become something of a “class traitor,” (as noted by everyone from the Weekly Standard to the New York Times) railing against the super rich, the job exporters, etc:

The hedge fund guys are getting away with murder. They're paying nothing and it's ridiculous. I want to save the middle class. The hedge fund guys didn't build this country. These are guys that shift paper around and they get lucky.

Murray Rothbard felt the same way. After flirting a bit with Ross Perot’s first presidential candidacy, in no small part because of its Middle American Radical trappings, but more on that later, Rothbard was livid Mr. Perot dropped out (before eventually jumping back in), and noted:

Never trust a billionaire. I have had personal experience of several billionaires, and this was the conclusion that has reluctantly but inexorably forced itself upon me. Never trust them; they are killers of the very dreams they themselves create.

And do not forget, of course, that those “several billionaires” Rothbard spoke of included the infamous libertarian Koch Brothers, who had fallen out with Rothbard decades earlier, and in a state of apoplectic shock of the rise of Trump.

David Duke

The infamous maestro of White identity electoral politics has said some nice things about Trump, much to the media’s delight. And while Trump has disavowed him, the similarities between the two men are undeniably there, and Trump sure was pleased to add Louisiana to his list of victories.

Rothbard in his day defended and even admired David Duke back when he was running for governor of Louisiana, writing in 1992:

It is fascinating that there was nothing in Duke's current program or campaign that could not also be embraced by paleoconservatives or paleo-libertarians; lower taxes, dismantling the bureaucracy, slashing the welfare system, attacking affirmative action and racial set-asides, calling for equal rights for all Americans, including whites: what's wrong with any of that?


This one is simple, Trump has heroically slammed George W. Bush’s evil and moronic wars on the debate stage with other Republicans, and Rothbard never saw an anti-war alliance he did not like.

White Genocide and the Authoritarian Right

Trump has gotten plenty of flack for retweeting something an account called “White genocide” posted, along with retweeting Mussolini quotes.

Rothbard, it should be recalled, favored the Serbs in the Balkans wars, as a child trolled his Communist family by asking, “What’s so bad about [Francisco] Franco, anyway?”, and admired Joe McCarthy, writing in the early ‘90s:

The unique and the glorious thing about McCarthy was not his goals or his ideology, but precisely his radical, populist means. For McCarthy was able, for a few years, to short-circuit the intense opposition of all the elites in American life: from the Eisenhower-Rockefeller administration to the Pentagon and the military-industrial complex to liberal and left media and academic elites – to overcome all that opposition and reach and inspire the masses directly. And he did it on television, and without any real movement behind him; he had only a guerrilla band of a few advisers, but no organization and no infrastructure.

Remind you of anybody?

Pat Buchanan and the Segregationists of Yore

Trump is constantly being compared to Pat Buchanan, George Wallace, and the like. The implicit smears aside, there is a great deal of truth to this — ever hear about the Middle American Radical?

Rothbard excitedly endorsed Pat Buchanan in 1992 and supported Strom Thurmond in his college days — not to mention his identification as a copper head.


Trump talks tough on crime — and is willing to talk about the racial and immigration dynamics behind it, do I even need to bother with a link here?

Rothbard wrote:

Take Back the Streets: Get Rid of the Bums. Again: unleash the cops to clear the streets of bums and vagrants. Where will they go? Who cares? Hopefully, they will disappear, that is, move from the ranks of the petted and cosseted bum class to the ranks of the productive members of society.


I would like to say, in sum, the Murray Rothbard was in many ways a lot more of an “alt-right-er” than Trump is today, and probably ever will be. Rothbard personally knew and corresponded with Sam Francis, kept company with Jared Taylor, he endorsed racial separation, and as pointed out earlier, he never disavowed David Duke. Regardless, there can be no doubt that if Murray Rothbard were alive today, he would be happily riding the Trump Train.

If that’s libertarianism, count me in.