Famous Quotes & Sayings

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 73 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Murray N. Rothbard.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Pinterest Share on Linkedin

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 134812

Once one concedes that a single world government is not necessary, then where does one logically stop at the permissibility of separate states? If Canada and the United States can be separate nations without being denounced as in a state of impermissible 'anarchy', why may not the South secede from the United States? New York State from the Union? New York City from the state? Why may not Manhattan secede? Each neighbourhood? Each block? Each house? Each person? — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 445773

The most sanctified figure in American historiography is, by no accident, the Great Saint of centralizing "democracy" and the strong unitary nation-state: Abraham Lincoln. And so didn't Lincoln use force and violence, and on a massive scale, on behalf of the mystique of the sacred "Union," to prevent the South from seceding? Indeed he did, and on the foundation of mass murder and oppression, Lincoln crushed the South and outlawed the very notion of secession (based on the highly plausible ground that since the separate states voluntarily entered the Union they should be allowed to leave). But not only that: for Lincoln created the monstrous unitary nation-state from which individual and local liberties have never recovered. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 1877289

The most viable method of elaborating the natural-rights statement of the libertarian position is to divide it into parts, and to begin with the basic axiom of the "right to self-ownership." The right to self-ownership asserts the absolute right of each man, by virtue of his (or her) being a human being, to "own" his or her own body; that is, to control that body free of coercive interference. Since each individual must think, learn, value, and choose his or her ends and means in order to survive and flourish, the right to self-ownership gives man the right to perform these vital activities without being hampered and restricted by coercive molestation. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 767347

For this essential acceptance, the majority must be persuaded by ideology that their government is good, wise and, at least, inevitable, and certainly better than other conceivable alternatives. Promoting this ideology among the people is the vital social task of the intellectuals. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 960520

Sometimes it seems that the beau ideal of many conservatives, as well as of many liberals, is to put everyone into a cage and coerce him into doing what the conservatives or liberals believe to be the moral thing. They would of course be differently styled cages, but they would be cages just the same. The conservative would ban illicit sex, drugs, gambling, and impiety, and coerce everyone to act according to his version of moral and religious behavior. The liberal would ban films of violence, unesthetic advertising, football, and racial discrimination, and, at the extreme, place everyone in a "Skinner box" to be run by a supposedly benevolent liberal dictator. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 203783

One instance of this failure is the case of smoke, as well as air pollution generally. In so far as the outpouring of smoke by factories pollutes the air and damages the persons and property of others, it is an invasive act. It is equivalent to an act of vandalism and in a truly free society would have been punished after court action brought by the victims. Air pollution, then, is not an example of a defect in a system of absolute property rights, but of failure on the part of the government to preserve property rights. Note that the remedy, in a free society, is not the creation of an administrative State bureau to prescribe regulations for smoke control. The remedy is judicial action to punish and proscribe pollution damage to the person and property of others.48 In — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 2239701

If the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries were, in many countries of the West, times of accelerating social power, and a corollary increase in freedom, peace, and material welfare, the twentieth century has been primarily an age in which State power has been catching up - with a consequent reversion to slavery, war, and destruction.43 In — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 487799

Where the questions concern governmental power in a sovereign nation, it is not possible to select an umpire who is outside government. Every national government, so long as it is a government, must have the final say on its own power. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 666734

Exchange is the lifeblood, not only of our economy, but of civilization itself. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 649787

Every once in awhile the human race pauses in the job of botching its affairs and redeems itself by a noble work of the intellect. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 641013

If men were like ants, there would be no interest in human freedom. If individual men, like ants, were uniform, inter changeable, devoid of specific personality traits of their own, then who would care whether they were free or not? Who, indeed, would care if they lived or died? The glory of the human race is the uniqueness of each individual, the fact that every person, though similar in many ways to others, possesses a completely individuated personality of his own. It is the fact of each person's uniqueness - the fact that no two people can be wholly interchangeable - that makes each and every man irreplaceable and that makes us care whether he lives or dies, whether he is happy or oppressed. And, finally, it is the fact that these unique personalities need freedom for their full development that constitutes one of the major arguments for a free society. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 1060753

The great German sociologist Franz Oppenheimer pointed out that there are two mutually exclusive ways of acquiring wealth; one, the above way of production and exchange, he called the "economic means." The other way is simpler in that it does not require productivity; it is the way of seizure of another's goods or services by the use of force and violence. This is the method of one-sided confiscation, of theft of the property of others. This is the method which Oppenheimer termed "the political means" to wealth. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 1461711

Scratch an egalitarian, and you will inevitably find a statist. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 2010475

Man has rights because they are natural rights. They are grounded in the nature of man: the individual's capacity for conscious choice, the necessity for him to use his mind and energy to adopt goals and values, to find out about the world, to pursue his ends in order to survive and prosper, his capacity and need to communicate and interact with other human beings and to participate in the division of labor. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 2087148

True agent or "representative" is always subject to that individual's orders, can be dismissed at any time and cannot act contrary to the interests or wishes of his principal. Clearly, the "representative" in a democracy can never fulfill such agency functions, the only ones consonant with a libertarian society. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 78747

Many people believe that the free market, despite some admitted advantages, is a picture of disorder and chaos. Nothing is "planned," everything is haphazard. Government dictation, on the other hand, seems simple and orderly; decrees are handed down and they are obeyed. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 141022

It is only in relation to state action that the interests of different men become welded into "classes," for state action must always privilege one or more groups and discriminate against others. The homogeneity emerges from the intervention of the government in society. Thus, under feudalism or other forms of "land monopoly" and arbitrary land allocation by the government, the feudal landlords, privileged by the state, become a "class' (or "caste" or "estate"). And the peasants, homogeneously exploited by state privilege, also become a class. For the former thus constitute a "ruling class" and the latter the "ruled. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 246115

The number of men sitting at Atlanta and Leavenworth for revolting against the extortions of the government is always ten times as great as the number of government officials condemned for oppressing the taxpayers to their own gain. (Mencken, A Mencken Chrestomathy, pp. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 246511

Taxation is theft, purely and simply even though it is theft on a grand and colossal scale which no acknowledged criminals could hope to match. It is a compulsory seizure of the property of the State's inhabitants, or subjects. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 285184

Briefly, the State is that organization
in society which attempts to maintain a
monopoly of the use of force and violence in a given territorial area; in particular, it is the only
organization in society that obtains its revenue not by voluntary contribution or payment for
services rendered but by coercion. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 291416

Passports were originally created to provide safe conduct in time of war. During most of the eighteenth century it seldom occurred to Europeans to abandon their travels in a foreign country which their own was fighting. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 329960

Since predation must be supported out of the surplus of production, it is necessarily true that the class constituting the State - the full-time bureaucracy (and nobility) - must be a rather small minority in the land, although it may, of course, purchase allies among important groups in the population. Therefore, the chief task of the rulers is always to secure the active or resigned acceptance of the majority of the citizens.8, 9 Of — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 358303

Especially has the State been successful in recent centuries in instilling fear of other State rulers. Since the land area of the globe has been parceled out among particular States, one of the basic doctrines of the State was to identify itself with the territory it governed. Since most men tend to love their homeland, the identification of that land and its people with the State was a means of making natural patriotism work to the State's advantage. If "Ruritania" was being attacked by "Walldavia," the first task of the State and its intellectuals was to convince the people of Ruritania that the attack was really upon them and not simply upon the ruling caste. In this way, a war between rulers was converted into a war between peoples, with each people coming to the defense of its rulers in the erroneous belief that the rulers were defending them. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 376813

It is not so evident why intellectuals need the State. Put simply, we may state that the intellectual's livelihood in the free market is never too secure. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 475641

One gratifying aspect of our rise to some prominence is that, for the first time in my memory, we, 'our side,' had captured a crucial word from the enemy . . . 'Libertarians' . . . had long been simply a polite word for left-wing anarchists, that is for anti-private property anarchists, either of the communist or syndicalist variety. But now we had taken it over... — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 501839

It would be an instructive exercise for the skeptical reader to try to frame a definition of taxation which does not also include theft. Like the robber, the State demands money at the equivalent of gunpoint; if the taxpayer refuses to pay, his assets are seized by force, and if he should resist such depredation, he will be arrested or shot if he should continue to resist. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 635235

In sum, freedom can run a monetary system as superbly as it runs the rest of the economy. Contrary to many writers, there is nothing special about money that requires extensive governmental dictation. Here, too, free men will best and most smoothly supply all their economic wants. For money as for all other activities of man, liberty is the mother, not the daughter, of order. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 728431

Professor Mises has keenly pointed out the paradox of interventionists who insist that consumers are too ignorant or incompetent to buy products intelligently, while at the same time proclaiming the virtues of democracy, where the same people vote for or against politicians whom they do not know and on policies which they scarcely understand. To put it another way, the partisans of intervention assume that individuals are not competent to run their own affairs or to hire experts to advise them, but also assume that these same individuals are competent to vote for these experts at the ballot box. They are further assuming that the mass of supposedly incompetent consumers are competent to choose not only those who will rule over themselves, but also over the competent individuals in society. Yet such absurd and contradictory assumptions lie at the root of every program for "democratic" intervention in the affairs of the people.12 — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 729056

Oppenheimer, The State, p. 15: What, then, is the State as a sociological concept? The State, completely in its genesis ... is a social institution, forced by a victorious group of men on a defeated group, with the sole purpose of regulating the dominion of the victorious group of men on a defeated group, and securing itself against revolt from within and attacks from abroad. Teleologically, this dominion had no other purpose than the economic exploitation of the vanquished by the victors. And — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 756532

Another potent ideological force is to deprecate the individual and exalt the collectivity of society. For since any given rule implies majority acceptance, any ideological danger to that rule can only start from one or a few independently-thinking individuals. The new idea, much less the new critical idea, must needs begin as a small minority opinion; therefore, the State must nip the view in the bud by ridiculing any view that defies the opinions of the mass. "Listen only to your brothers" or "adjust to society" thus become ideological weapons for crushing individual dissent. By such measures, the masses will never learn of the nonexistence of their Emperor's clothes. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 764527

In this century, the human race faces, once again, the virulent reign of the State - of the State now armed with the fruits of man's creative powers, confiscated and perverted to its own aims. The last few centuries were times when men tried to place constitutional and other limits on the State, only to find that such limits, as with all other attempts, have failed. Of all the numerous forms that governments have taken over the centuries, of all the concepts and institutions that have been tried, none has succeeded in keeping the State in check. The problem of the State is evidently as far from solution as ever. Perhaps new paths of inquiry must be explored, if the successful, final solution of the State question is ever to be attained. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 799751

We may test the hypothesis that the State is largely interested in protecting itself rather than its subjects by asking: which category of crimes does the State pursue and punish most intensely - those against private citizens or those against itself?
The gravest crimes in the State's lexicon are almost invariably not invasions of private person or property, but dangers to its own contentment, for example, treason, desertion of a soldier to the enemy, failure to register for the draft, subversion and subversive conspiracy, assassination of rulers and such economic crimes against the State as counterfeiting its money or evasion of its income tax.
Or compare the degree of zeal devoted to pursuing the man who assaults a policeman, with the attention that the State pays to the assault of an ordinary citizen. Yet, curiously, the State's openly assigned priority to its own defense against the public strikes few people as inconsistent with its presumed raison d'etre. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 827660

There is one good thing about Marx: he was not a Keynesian — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 853642

It is infinitely better to rely on the pursuit of economic interest by landowners or street companies than to depend on the dubious "altruism" of bureaucrats and government officials. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 896566

There is no gainsaying the fact that this suggested program will strike most people as impossibly "radical" and "unrealistic"; any suggestion for changing the status quo, no matter how slight, can always be considered by someone as too radical, so that the only thoroughgoing escape from the charge of impracticality is never to advocate any change whatever in existing conditions. But to take this approach is to abandon human reason, and to drift in animal- or plant-like manner with the tide of events. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 933746

Compare the degree of zeal devoted to pursuing the man who assaults a policeman, with the attention that the State pays to the assault of an ordinary citizen. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 1020193

It's true: greed has had a very bad press. I frankly don't see anything wrong with greed. I think that the people who are always attacking greed would be more consistent with their position if they refused their next salary increase. I don't see even the most Left-Wing scholar in this country scornfully burning his salary check. In other words, "greed" simply means that you are trying to relieve the nature given scarcity that man was born with. Greed will continue until the Garden of Eden arrives, when everything is superabundant, and we don't have to worry about economics at all. We haven't of course reached that point yet; we haven't reached the point where everybody is burning his salary increases, or salary checks in general. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 1041408

No action can be virtuous unless it is freely chosen. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 1063130

It is in war that the State really comes into its own: swelling in power, in number, in pride, in absolute dominion over the economy and the society. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 1068232

It is clearly absurd to limit the term 'education' to a person's formal schooling. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 1159150

Any increase in the relative size of government in the economy, therefore, shifts the societal consumption-investment ratio in favor of consumption, and prolongs the depression. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 1162619

It is curious that people tend to regard government as a quasi-divine, selfless, Santa Claus organization. Government was constructed neither for ability nor for the exercise of loving care; government was built for the use of force and for necessarily demagogic appeals for votes. If individuals do not know their own interests in many cases, they are free to turn to private experts for guidance. It is absurd to say that they will be served better by a coercive, demagogic apparatus. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 1168652

For centuries the State has committed mass murder and called it "war"; then ennobled the mass slaughter that "war" involves. For centuries the State has enslaved people into its armed battalions and called it "conscription" in the "national service." For centuries the State has robbed people at bayonet point and called it "taxation. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 1189735

War is Mass Murder, Conscription is Slavery, Taxation is Robbery. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 1302051

Albert Jay Nock wrote vividly that the State claims and exercises the monopoly of crime ... It forbids private murder, but itself organizes murder on a colossal scale. It punishes private theft, but itself lays unscrupulous hands on anything it wants, whether the property of citizen or of alien. Nock, — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 1306523

And, indeed, what is the State anyway but organized banditry? What is taxation but theft on a gigantic, unchecked, scale? What is war but mass murder on a scale impossible by private police forces? What is conscription but mass enslavement? Can anyone envision a private police force getting away with a tiny fraction of what States get away with, and do habitually, year after year, century after century? — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 1338268

To be moral, an act must be free. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 1373052

Whenever the legislators endeavour to take away and destroy the property of the people, or to reduce them to slavery under arbitrary power, they put themselves into a state of war with the people, who are thereupon absolved from any farther obedience, and are left to the common refuge which God hath provided for all men against force and violence. John Locke — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 1431590

In war, State power is pushed to its ultimate, and, under the slogans of "defense" and "emergency," it can impose a tyranny upon the public such as might be openly resisted in time of peace. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 1530120

It is easy to be conspicuously 'compassionate' if others are being forced to pay the cost. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 1550182

If "we are the government," then anything a government does to an individual is not only just and untyrannical but also "voluntary" on the part of the individual concerned.
If the government conscripts a man, or throws him into jail for dissident opinion, then he is "doing it to himself" and, therefore, nothing untoward has occurred. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 1606374

The concept of life and perfection is incompatible. BUT so is death and perfection — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 1701544

Libertarianism holds that the only proper role of violence is to defend person and property against violence, that any use of violence that goes beyond such just defense is itself aggressive, unjust, and criminal — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 1712789

The State provides a legal, orderly, systematic channel for the predation of private property; — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 1732996

For while libertarians have too often been opportunists who lose sight of or under-cut their ultimate goal, some have erred in the opposite direction: fearing and condemning any advances toward the idea as necessarily selling out the goal itself. The tragedy is that these sectarians, in condemning all advances that fall short of the goal, serve to render vain and futile the cherished goal itself. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 1739327

Not content with the liberal creed of equality of rights, of equality before the law, the socialist State would trample on such equality on behalf of the monstrous and impossible goal of equality or uniformity of results--or rather, would erect a new privileged elite, a new class, in the name of bringing about such an impossible equality. Socialism was a confused and hybrid movement because it tried to achieve the lbieral goals of freedom, peace and industrial harmony and growth--goals which can only be achieved through liberty and the seperation of government from virtuallty--by imposting the old conservative means of statism, collectivism, and hierarchical privilege. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 1765910

Dutt effectively concluded with a quote from an editor of the highly respected Current History Magazine: The new America [the editor had written in mid-1933] will not be capitalist in the old sense, nor will it be socialist. If at the moment the trend is towards fascism, it will be an American fascism, embodying the experience, the traditions, and the hopes of a great middle-class nation.13 Thus, — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 1819571

In short, and this is a highly important point to grasp, the depression is the "recovery" process, and the end of the depression heralds the return to normal, and to optimum efficiency. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 1856131

Capitalism is the fullest expression of anarchism, and anarchism is the fullest expression of capitalism. Not only are they compatible, but you can't really have one without the other. True anarchism will be capitalism, and true capitalism will be anarchism — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 1877507

A robber who justified his theft by saying that he really helped his victims, by his spending giving a boost to retail trade, would find few converts; but when this theory is clothed in Keynesian equations and impressive references to the "multiplier effect," it unfortunately carries more conviction. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 1889242

Therefore, the chief task of the rulers is always to secure the active or resigned acceptance of the majority of the citizens.8, 9 Of course, one method of securing support is through the creation of vested economic interests. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 1891364

The State has invariably shown a striking talent for the expansion of its powers beyond any limits that might be imposed upon it. Since the State necessarily lives by the compulsory confiscation of private capital, and since its expansion necessarily involves ever-greater incursions on private individuals and private enterprise, we must assert that the State is profoundly and inherently anticapitalist. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 1936040

We conclude, therefore, that determining the supply of money, like all other goods, is best left to the free market. Aside from the general moral and economic advantages of freedom over coercion, no dictated quantity of money will do the work better, and the free market will set the production of gold in accordance with its relative ability to satisfy the needs of consumers, as compared with all other productive goods.10 — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 1941570

It is evident that the State needs the intellectuals; it is not so evident why intellectuals need the State. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 1949291

Of all the numerous forms that governments have taken over the centuries, of all the concepts and institutions that have been tried, none has succeeded in keeping the State in check. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 1995459

The General Theory was not truly revolutionary at all but merely old and oft-refuted mercantilist and inflationist fallacies dressed up in shiny new garb, replete with newly constructed and largely incomprehensible jargon. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 2025400

It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a 'dismal science.' But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 2028052

Moreover, in the system of criminal punishment in the libertarian world, the emphasis would never be, as it is now, on "society's" jailing the criminal; the emphasis would necessarily be on compelling the criminal to make restitution to the victim of his crime. The present system, in which the victim is not recompensed but instead has to pay taxes to support the incarceration of his own attacker - would be evident nonsense in a world that focuses on the defense of property rights and therefore on the victim of crime. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 2083966

Social power is the power over nature, the living standards achieved by men in mutual exchange. State power, as we have seen, is the coercive and parasitic seizure of this production - a draining of the fruits of society for the benefit of nonproductive (actually antiproductive) rulers. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 2132058

Suppose for a moment, that we define a virtuous act as bowing in the direction of Mecca every day at sunset. We attempt to persuade everyone to perform this act. But suppose that instead of relying on voluntary conviction we employ a vast number of police to break into everyone's home and see to it that every day they are pushed down to the floor in the direction of Mecca. No doubt by taking such measures we will increase the number of people bowing toward Mecca. But by forcing them to do so, we are taking them out of the realm of action and into mere motion, and we are depriving all these coerced persons of the very possibility of acting morally. By attempting to compel virtue, we eliminate its possibility. To be moral, an act must be free. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 2133188

Since production must always precede predation, the free market is anterior to the State. The State has never been created by a "social contract"; it has always been born in conquest and exploitation. — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 2205638

While everyone else must pay their debts or go bankrupt, the banks are permitted to refuse redemption of their receipts, at the same time forcing their own debtors to pay when their loans fall due. The usual name for this is a "suspension of specie payments." A more accurate name would be "license for theft;" for what else can we call a governmental permission to continue in business without fulfilling one's contract? — Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard Quotes 2213142

The greatest danger to the State is independent intellectual criticism. — Murray N. Rothbard