|We all float down here, Georgie… no government to hold us down, you see…|
With thanks to@gerofalltradesfor creating this post’s accompanying cursed image for me.
This article has been amended to remove an inaccurate claim that Reason magazine gave Milo’s book Dangerous a flattering review. I got them mixed up with Skeptic magazine. My bad. Sorry. BTW, for interest’s sake, the review in Skeptic was written by Dr. George Michael who received his degree from George Mason University.
Whereas many of today’s libertarians and ‘classical liberals’ like to present their doctrine as somehow above or beyond the left-right divide (even as they enable fascists and agree with everything they say), Rothbard indulged in little such pretence. He was cynical and opportunistic. He was inconsistent and incoherent. But he wasn’t confused. For him, libertarianism was, essentially, a reiteration of what he called ‘the Old Right’.
For more on this, see a flatulent, blithering essay he wrote in 1992 called ‘A Strategy for the Right’. You can read it at LewRockwell-dot-org. I won’t link to it (because, while the SPLC might not come right out and say it, as far as I’m concerned LewRockwell-dot-org is basically fash) but you can find it… if, y’know, you want to.
In this essay he praises the extreme libertarian anti-New Dealers such as Garet Garrett and H. L. Mencken. Garret was a conservative who thought the New Deal was a neo-Marxist revolution against American individualism. Praised by Mises, one of his books – an anti-government, pro-gold standard screed – was chosen to be one of the ‘twelve candles’ of the John Birch Society. (The JBS, in case you don’t know, is an ‘anti-communist’ and ‘limited government’ advocacy group, co-founded by the Koch Brothers’ dad. These days it gets classified as paleoconservative, but has always been as close to being American fascism as makes little odds.)
Rothbard is enamoured of the Old Right partly because, according to him, “they would have been horrified and incredulous at the accredited victimology that has rapidly taken over our culture”… which is presumably why Garret, as Executive Editor of the New York Tribune in 1918, was furious at one of his reporters for sending the paper to press featuring a photograph of a lynching in Georgia. Too victimological, no doubt.
Mencken, of course, was – amongst other things – a social Darwinist, a militarist, a racist, and an anti-semite who admired Hitler. Mencken disdained democracy in similar – if more vociferous – terms to the ones that would later be used by Ron Paul, saying it was a form of domination of the superior by the inferior. He also considered all higher mathematics to be “hogwash” – a very Austrian sentiment.
Rothbard manages to work the essay around to… well, um…
And while I’m on this topic, this is the year 1992, so I am tempted to say, repeat after me: COLUMBUS DISCOVERED AMERICA!
Even though a fan of diversity, the only revisionism I will permit on this topic is whether Columbus discovered America, or whether it was Amerigo Vespucci.