Friday, August 26, 2016

The Moral Depravity of Rothbardianism

Described in four easy steps in Rothbard’s own words:
(1) “…the parent should have the legal right not to feed the child, i.e., to allow it to die. The law, therefore, may not properly compel the parent to feed a child or to keep it alive.” (Rothbard 1998: 100).

(2) “Now if a parent may own his child (within the framework of nonaggression and runaway-freedom), then he may also transfer that ownership to someone else. He may give the child out for adoption, or he may sell the rights to the child in a voluntary contract. In short, we must face the fact that the purely free society will have a flourishing free market in children. Superficially, this sounds monstrous and inhuman. But closer thought will reveal the superior humanism of such a market.” (Rothbard 1998: 103).

(3) “Child labor laws, by restricting the supply of labor, lower the production of the economy and hence tend to reduce the standard of living of everyone in the society. …. Child labor laws may take the form of outright prohibition or of requiring ‘working papers’ and all sorts of red tape before a youngster can be hired, thus partially achieving the same effect. The child labor laws are also bolstered by compulsory school attendance laws. Compelling a child to remain in a State or State-certified school until a certain age has the same effect of prohibiting his employment and preserving adult workers from younger competition. Compulsory attendance, however, goes even further in compelling a child to absorb a certain service—schooling—when he or his parents would prefer otherwise, thus imposing a further loss of utility upon these children.” (Rothbard 2009 [1962]: 1112).

(4) “police may use such coercive methods provided that the suspect turns out to be guilty, and provided that the police are treated as themselves criminal if the suspect is not proven guilty. For, in that case, the rule of no force against non-criminals would still apply. Suppose, for example, that police beat and torture a suspected murderer to find information (not to wring a confession, since obviously a coerced confession could never be considered valid). 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;” (Rothbard 1998: 82).
And we can add to this that Rothbardian anarcho-capitalism would demand a totally free market in weapons of mass destruction.

And these people – especially in Twitter debates – pretend that they have the moral high ground.

Rothbard, M. N. 1998. The Ethics of Liberty. New York University Press, New York, N.Y. and London.

Rothbard, M. N. 2009 [1962]. Man, Economy, and State, The Scholar’s Edition. Ludwig von Mises Institute, Auburn, Ala.

I’m on Twitter:
Lord Keynes @Lord_Keynes2


  1. its remind me of an arguement with rothbardian which i had a year and half ago.

    my arguement went this way (by taking into account their sick logic of course)

    (first societies of men been tribal societies) therefore in initial stages of creating a state they created it together.

    therefore the state is a corporation and state/public property is the property of the state (a.k.a of this corporation) and the people who are part of the state are shareholders and the laws of the state are basically the terms of the contract between the corporation (in this case the state) and the shareholder (in this case the citizen and his or her share is basiaclly their citizenship).

    in case of democracy the rules to change corporate policy and laws (state policies and laws) is by majority vote.

    now one set of laws of the state (terms of the contract between the corporation which called the state and the shareholder/ctizen) is the laws which regulate residence others regulate taxation and etc.

    and as well as people have to pay to corporation or another private entity a rent in order to be able to use its resources (like land or natural resources) or royalities or shares of the profit in the same way the state have the right to get share of the profit in this case taxation is legitimate according even to crazy austrian criterias.

    as well as a state as monopoly currrency issuer.

    now if you are not happy with the contract which is your share in the corporation (citizenship in your state) because you dont agree with its policy you are welcome to cancel it and try your luck with another country another corporation or a free land with no country (you can go to competitiors haha).

    but in this case the state have the legitimacy to cancel your right for residence to earn income in its borders (which is basically according to this logic is the property of the corporation called the state).

    actually all the rothbardians i argued in this way had nothing to respond some even agreed with me (even though they told me they want to puke from this idea and they still want to have anacap utopia ahm ahm distopia).

  2. Barrel fishing today are we?

    As I have long said, Rothbard style Libertarianism does not work with children. A theory which fails on every person it is applied to leaves something to be desired.

    I do hope Bob Murphy shows up again to defend this stuff, but as I recall even he balks at some of this.

  3. While not an Ancap, lets not forget everyone;s favorite libertarian theocrat Gary North. In addition to ending the Fed, all trade restrictions, and internal regulations he has some interesting views on capital punishment.

    On the subject of executing children, North has written "When people curse their parents, it unquestionably is a capital crime... The integrity of the family must be maintained by the threat of death". Gary North, The Sinai Strategy: Economics and the Ten Commandments (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1986), p. 59.

  4. I hold to partial agreement with #3: Child labor laws do seem to be more about restricting the labor Market than they are about preventing "exploitation." You said it yourself, LK - "Teenagerhood" is a Social Construct. Add to this the point the MRA's have been making - which I think is sound - that Women are being largely infantilized by laws that practically make their accusation to be evidence of Rape, or Gender-based Affirmative Action, and I think the picture emerges of a real violence being done against our children. Look at how many youths accomplished great things in the past: Teddy Roosevelt was supposed to have been an accomplished author at 12. George Washington, a geographical surveyor. As two examples.

    So this is a lot of rambling, but I would say the better solution is to scale back the number of years of compulsory ed and encourage youths to take adult responsibilities early on. A European model of college-style education in the early-mid teens might work here. Netherlands seems to work rather well with their push to get kids on their life/career tracks by 16.

    ON THE OTHER HAND... I see a lot of problems with earlier emancipation of youths and point #2 LMAO!

    Apparently that irony is missed on most Rothbardians?

    1. "Apparently that irony is missed on most Rothbardians?"

      Well, this is the man who thought a satire was a passionate argument for anarchism...