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Murray Rothbard, the Founder of Anarcho-Capitalism

Murray Rothbard, the Founder of Anarcho-Capitalism

In the pages of libertarian thought history, the name Murray Rothbard resonates as a central and provocative figure. Born in the Bronx on March 2, 1926, this American economist, historian, and political theorist played a pivotal role in the 20th-century libertarian movement.


From his early days, Rothbard challenged academic orthodoxy and state intervention. His education, as he described it, in the "communist culture," shaped his critical perspective towards the government. Graduating in Mathematics and Economics in 1945, his true intellectual journey began when he earned a Ph.D. in Economics under Joseph Dorfman's guidance in 1956.


Rothbard was not merely an economist; he was a polymath seeking to integrate economics with history, ethics, and political sciences, forming what he termed the "science of liberty." This approach, influenced by the ideas of Ludwig von Mises, his mentor, diverged from academic overspecialization.


He was the man who endeavored to fuse Austrian economics with classical liberalism and individualist anarchism. Rothbard penned his first article advocating for "private property anarchism" in 1949 and later coined the alternative term "anarcho-capitalism."

In 1971, Rothbard was one of the founders of the American Libertarian Party. However, his unwavering commitment to freedom led him to become a fierce critic of the Reagan government and some libertarians who supported it. Later, he distanced himself from the Libertarian Party and leaned towards paleoconservatism, endorsing Pat Buchanan for his isolationist stance.


Not confined to the political sphere, Rothbard's academic contributions were equally impressive. His magnum opus, "Man, Economy, and State," written at the age of 36, is considered a cornerstone of the Austrian School of Economics. Following Mises's argument that the foundations of social sciences belong to a logic of human action that can be known before empirical research begins, "extreme apriorism," Rothbard penned another of his most recognized academic triumphs: "History of Economic Thought."


Rothbard's Law is a self-attributed adage highlighting the human tendency to specialize in what they are worst at. This concept, exemplified by his time with Mises, reflects his insight into individual strengths and weaknesses.


In his work on moral and political philosophy, "The Ethics of Liberty," Rothbard defends a natural law theory based on self-ownership. From the legitimacy of original appropriations to the necessity of anarcho-capitalism, his work establishes fundamental principles that continue to influence libertarian thought.


Murray Rothbard, a dedicated critic of freedom, left a legacy that transcends controversies and political alliances. His multidisciplinary approach and ethical-political contributions continue to inspire those seeking to understand and promote individual liberty in a complex and challenging world.


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