Rockwell, Rothbard, the Left, Socialism and Liberalism

Posted: 29 March 2009 by Brad Spangler in Political Science
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Brad Spangler’s response to a blog post on the real liberalism of libertarianism.

A post on the Mises blog prompted me to notice a post on Brad DeLong’s blog and the discussion in its comments section. I then decided to re-post my own comment here:

Rockwell is a Rothbardian, and Rothbard’s conception of his radical libertarianism was that it occupied the furthest left point possible on the political spectrum, with statist conservatism on the right and Marxism in the confused middle.

To understand why, one only need understand that libertarianism is simply the more rigorously consistent application of classical liberal (in a modern context, “market liberal”) ideas.

Conservatism = statist values, statist methods
Marxism = liberal values, statist methods
Libertarianism = liberal values, liberal methods

Further context is provided by the understanding that Marxism was not the only school of socialism. Nineteenth cenury individualist anarchists, most notably Benjamin Tucker, correctly understood their pre-Rothbardian free-market anarchism as “libertarian socialism”. Despite Rothbard deciding to call his updated version of their doctrine “anarcho-capitalism” (in line with the Misesean definition of capitalism as, basically, just free exchange), his deviations from their thought do not render his ideas pro-capitalist in any more fundamental sense than Tucker with regard to definitions of capitalism used by anti-capitalist thinkers.

Reference “The Spooner-Tucker Doctrine: An Economists View”

Lew Rockwell has a better claim on the word “liberal” than most so-called liberals do — because they’re more correctly understood as social-democrats.

ADDENDUM: I also posted additional comments in reply to commenter Neil B on how the agorist application of Rothbardian property theory in the context of Konkin’s counter-economic theory of revolution throughly addresses the land monopoly issue — but Brad DeLong appears to have now deleted those comments!

Brad Spangler is the director of the Center for a Stateless Society and publishes a blog:

  1. We ARE the authentic Left.

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