Today marks twenty years since the passing of "Mr. Libertarian," Murray Rothbard. Rothbard was Ludwig Von Mises' top American student, and Mises' heir as the world's top Austrian economist. Rothbard was also a top-notch philosopher, historian, and political and social commentator. Rothbard blended economics, political philosophy, history, and the sociology of the state together to create modern libertarianism.
Rothbard also founded the modern libertarian movement and served as a friend and adviser to Campaign for Liberty Chairman Ron Paul. Here are some excerpts from Dr. Paul's tribute to Rothbard from the Mises Institute's collection of tributes to Rothbard, Murray N. Rothbard: In Memoriam:
Murray was a world-class Austrian economist, and he influenced thousands of students. I was one of them, for he taught me about economics and liberty, and encouraged my political work against war, inflation, and big government.
Although I had read Murray for years, I didn’t meet him until 1979. I wrote him, he wrote back, and I invited him to the “belly of the beast,” the U.S. Congress. I knew he had a great mind, but instead of a pompous professor, I discovered a joyous libertarian, and one of the most fascinating human beings I’ve ever met.
I loved talking to this down-to-earth genius. And he told me he enjoyed meeting a Congressman who had not only read his books, but used them as a guide in his votes and legislation. A close and lasting friendship was the result, which wasn’t hard. Murray was the sweetest, funniest, most generous of men.
Thanks in large part to the rEVOLUtion inspired by Dr. Paul, Rothbard's influence today is greater than ever, especially among the young people inspired by Dr. Paul to study the ideas of liberty.
I am proud that I am one of the many people who learned from, and were inspired by, Murray Rothbard. Reading Rothbard, as well as having the privilege of hearing him lecture and conversing with him, deepened my understanding of, and commitment to, the ideas of liberty, peace, and sound money.
Among his other accomplishments, Rothbard was the leading expert on the evils of the Federal Reserve. One of my favorite of his works is short book "The Case Against The Fed". Linked here, with an excerpt below, is the chapter from the book where Rothbard makes the case for Auditing the Fed (hat/tip the Mises Institute, which has a complete archive of Rothbard's scholarly works along with most of his non-academic political writings):
By far the most secret and least accountable operation of the federal government is not, as one might expect, the CIA, DIA, or some other super-secret intelligence agency. The CIA and other intelligence operations are under control of the Congress. They are accountable: a Congressional committee supervises these operations, controls their budgets, and is informed of their covert activities. It is true that the committee hearings and activities are closed to the public; but at least the people’s representatives in Congress insure some accountability for these secret agencies.
It is little known, however, that there is a federal agency that tops the others in secrecy by a country mile. The Federal Reserve System is accountable to no one; it has no budget; it is subject to no audit; and no Congressional committee knows of, or can truly supervise, its operations. The Federal Reserve, virtually in total control of the nation's vital monetary system, is accountable to nobody—and this strange situation, if acknowledged at all, is invariably trumpeted as a virtue.
Tags: Ron Paul, Audit the Fed, Murray Rothbard, Austrian Economics