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Rothbard began to consider himself a private property anarchist in and later began to use "anarcho-capitalist" to describe his political ideology. In his anarcho-capitalist model, a system of protection agencies compete in a free market and are voluntarily supported by consumers who choose to use their protective and judicial services. Anarcho-capitalism would mean the end of the state monopoly on force. In Man, Economy, and State , Rothbard divides the various kinds of state intervention in three categories: "autistic intervention", which is interference with private non-economic activities; "binary intervention", which is forced exchange between individuals and the state; and "triangular intervention", which is state-mandated exchange between individuals.

According to Sanford Ikeda, Rothbard's typology "eliminates the gaps and inconsistencies that appear in Mises's original formulation. Rothbard argues that self-interest therefore prejudices the views of many economists in favor of increased government intervention.

Michael O'Malley, Associate Professor of History at George Mason University, characterizes Rothbard's "overall tone regard[ing]" the Civil Rights Movement and the women's suffrage movement to be "contemptuous and hostile". Rothbard vilified women's rights activists, attributing the growth of the welfare state to politically active spinsters "whose busybody inclinations were not fettered by the responsibilities of health and heart".

Rothbard had pointed out in his 'Origins of the Welfare State' that progressives had evolved from elitist Gilded Age pietist Protestants that wanted to bring a secularized version of millennialism under a welfare state, which was spearheaded by a "shock troop of Yankee protestant and Jewish women and lesbian spinsters.

Rothbard called for the elimination of "the entire 'civil rights' structure" stating that it "tramples on the property rights of every American. Board of Education decision on the grounds that forced integration of schools was aggressive. Rothbard also urged the police to crack down on "street criminals", writing that "cops must be unleashed" and "allowed to administer instant punishment, subject of course to liability when they are in error".

He also advocated that the police "clear the streets of bums and vagrants", and quipped "who cares? Rothbard held strong opinions about many leaders of the civil rights movement. He considered black separatist Malcolm X to be a "great black leader" and integrationist Martin Luther King to be favored by whites because he "was the major restraining force on the developing Negro revolution. But while he compared Malcolm X's black nationalism favorably to King's integrationism, and for a time praised black nationalism, in he rejected the vision of a "separate black nation", asking "does anyone really believe that New Africa would be content to strike out on its own, with no massive "foreign aid" from the U.

Political scientist Jean Hardisty commented on Rothbard's "praise" of the argument, made in Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray's book The Bell Curve , that blacks tend to score, on average, lower than whites on IQ tests. Like Randolph Bourne, Rothbard believed that "war is the health of the state. Rothbard believed that stopping new wars was necessary and that knowledge of how government had led citizens into earlier wars was important. In an obituary for his friend historical revisionist Harry Elmer Barnes, Rothbard wrote:.

Our entry into World War II was the crucial act in foisting a permanent militarization upon the economy and society, in bringing to the country a permanent garrison state, an overweening military-industrial complex, a permanent system of conscription. It was the crucial act in creating a mixed economy run by Big Government, a system of state monopoly capitalism run by the central government in collaboration with Big Business and Big Unionism.

Rothbard's colleague Joseph Stromberg notes that Rothbard made two exceptions to his general condemnation of war: "the American Revolution and the War for Southern Independence, as viewed from the Confederate side. He celebrated Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Grant and other Union leaders for "open[ing] the Pandora's Box of genocide and the extermination of civilians" in their war against the South.

He was anti-Zionist and opposed U. Rothbard criticized the Camp David Accords for having betrayed Palestinian aspirations and opposed Israel's invasion of Lebanon. In his essay, "War Guilt in the Middle East," Rothbard states that Israel refused "to let these refugees return and reclaim the property taken from them.

On the one hand there are the Palestinian Arabs, who have tilled the soil or otherwise used the land of Palestine for centuries; and on the other, there are a group of external fanatics, who come from all over the world, and who claim the entire land area as "given" to them as a collective religion or tribe at some remote or legendary time in the past. There is no way the two claims can be resolved to the satisfaction of both parties.

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There can be no genuine settlement, no "peace" in the face of this irrepressible conflict; there can only be either a war to the death, or an uneasy practical compromise which can satisfy no one. That is the harsh reality of the Middle East. Rothbard embraced "historical revisionism" as an antidote to what he perceived to be the dominant influence exerted by corrupt "court intellectuals" over mainstream historical narratives. Rothbard characterized the revisionist task as "penetrating the fog of lies and deception of the State and its Court Intellectuals, and to present to the public the true history".

He was influenced by and a champion of the historian Harry Elmer Barnes, a Holocaust denier. In addition to broadly supporting his historical views, Rothbard promoted Barnes as an influence for future revisionists. Rothbard's endorsing of World War II revisionism and his association with Barnes and other Holocaust deniers have drawn criticism from within the political right.

Kevin D. Williamson wrote an opinion piece published by National Review which condemned Rothbard for "making common cause with the 'revisionist' historians of the Third Reich", a term he used to describe American Holocaust deniers associated with Rothbard, such as James J. Martin of the Institute for Historical Review. The piece also characterized "Rothbard and his faction" as being "culpably indulgent" of Holocaust denial, the view which "specifically denies that the Holocaust actually happened or holds that it was in some way exaggerated".

In an article for Rothbard's 50th birthday, Rothbard's friend and Buffalo State College historian Ralph Raico stated that Rothbard "is the main reason that revisionism has become a crucial part of the whole libertarian position. In the Ethics of Liberty , Rothbard explores issues regarding children's rights in terms of self-ownership and contract. These include support for a woman's right to abortion, condemnation of parents showing aggression towards children, and opposition to the state forcing parents to care for children.

He also holds children have the right to run away from parents and seek new guardians as soon as they are able to choose to do so. He asserted that parents have the right to put a child out for adoption or sell the rights to the child in a voluntary contract in what Rothbard suggests will be a "flourishing free market in children".

He believes that selling children as consumer goods in accord with market forces, while "superficially monstrous", will benefit "everyone" involved in the market: "the natural parents, the children, and the foster parents purchasing".

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In Rothbard's view of parenthood, "the parent should not have a legal obligation to feed, clothe, or educate his children, since such obligations would entail positive acts coerced upon the parent and depriving the parent of his rights. However, according to Rothbard, "the purely free society will have a flourishing free market in children".


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In a fully libertarian society, he wrote, "the existence of a free baby market will bring such 'neglect' down to a minimum". Economist Gene Callahan of Cardiff University, formerly a scholar at the Rothbard-affiliated Mises Institute, observes that Rothbard allows "the logical elegance of his legal theory" to "trump any arguments based on the moral reprehensibility of a parent idly watching her six-month-old child slowly starve to death in its crib. Rothbard consistently advocated for abolition of the subpoena power, court attendance, contempt of court powers, coerced testimony of witnesses, compulsory jury duty, and the bail system, arguing that all these functions of the judiciary were violations of natural rights and American common law.

He instead advocated that until a defendant is convicted he or she should not be held in prison or jails, writing "except in those cases where the criminal has been caught red-handed and where a certain presumption of guilt therefore exists, it is impossible to justify any imprisonment before conviction, let alone before trial.

And even when someone is caught red-handed, there is an important reform that needs to be instituted to keep the system honest: subjecting the police and the other authorities to the same law as everyone else.

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If everyone is supposed to be subject to the same criminal law, then exempting the authorities from that law gives them a legal license to commit continual aggression. The policeman who apprehends a criminal and arrests him, and the judicial and penal authorities who incarcerate him before trial and conviction—all should be subject to the universal law.

In The Ethics of Liberty , Rothbard advocates for a "frankly retributive theory of punishment" or a system of "a tooth or two teeth for a tooth". Rothbard emphasizes that all punishment must be proportional, stating that "the criminal, or invader, loses his rights to the extent that he deprived another man of his".

Murray N. Rothbard and the Ethics of Liberty

Applying his retributive theory, Rothbard states that a thief "must pay double the extent of theft". The thief would be "put in a [temporary] state of enslavement to his victim" if he is unable to pay him immediately. Rothbard also applies his theory to justify beating and torturing violent criminals, although the beatings are required to be proportional to the crimes for which they are being punished. In chapter twelve of Ethics , Rothbard turns his attention to suspects arrested by the police.

He argues that police should be able to torture certain types of criminal suspects, including accused murderers, for information related to their alleged crime. Writes Rothbard, "Suppose If the suspect turns out to be guilty, then the police should be exonerated, for then they have only ladled out to the murderer a parcel of what he deserves in return; his rights had already been forfeited by more than that extent. But if the suspect is not convicted, then that means that the police have beaten and tortured an innocent man, and that they in turn must be put into the dock for criminal assault".

Gene Callahan examines this position and concludes that Rothbard rejects the widely held belief that torture is inherently wrong, no matter who the victim. Callahan goes on to state that Rothbard's scheme gives the police a strong motive to frame the suspect, after having tortured him or her. In an essay condemning "scientism in the study of man", Rothbard rejected the application of causal determinism to human beings, arguing that the actions of human beings, as opposed to those of everything else in nature, are not determined by prior causes but by "free will".

He argued that "determinism as applied to man, is a self-contradictory thesis, since the man who employs it relies implicitly on the existence of free will. In his Power and Market , Rothbard describes how a stateless economy might function. Political activism As a young man, Rothbard considered himself part of the Old Right, an anti-statist and anti-interventionist branch of the Republican Party. In the presidential election, Rothbard, "as a Jewish student at Columbia, horrified his peers by organizing a Students for Strom Thurmond chapter, so staunchly did he believe in states' rights.

By the late s, Rothbard's "long and winding yet somehow consistent road had taken him from anti-New Deal and anti-interventionist Robert Taft supporter into friendship with the quasi-pacifist Nebraska Republican Congressman Howard Buffett father of Warren Buffett then over to the League of Adlai Stevensonian Democrats and, by , into tentative comradeship with the anarchist factions of the New Left.

From to , he edited The Libertarian Forum , also initially with Hess although Hess's involvement ended in The Libertarian Forum provided a platform for Rothbard's writing. Despite its small readership, it engaged conservatives associated with the National Review in nationwide debate.

Rothbard rejected the view that Ronald Reagan's election as President was a victory for libertarian principles, and he attacked Reagan's economic program in a series of Libertarian Forum articles. In , Rothbard called Reagan's claims of spending cuts a "fraud" and a "hoax", and accused Reaganites of doctoring the economic statistics in order to give the false impression that their policies were successfully reducing inflation and unemployment.


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  6. He further criticized the "myths of Reaganomics" in Rothbard criticized the "frenzied nihilism" of left-wing libertarians, but also criticized right-wing libertarians who were content to rely only on education to bring down the state; he believed that libertarians should adopt any moral tactic available to them in order to bring about liberty. Imbibing Randolph Bourne's idea that "war is the health of the state", Rothbard opposed all wars in his lifetime, and engaged in anti-war activism.