It’s Monday once again, and despite the Veterans Day holiday, you’re darn tootin’ Mondays with Murray will plow forward! After all, it would be a bit odd to use a holiday whose main purpose is to glorify and justify the wars of the State as an excuse to take a break from our weekly tribute to one of the greatest intellectual enemies of the State, Murray Rothbard.
This week we look at a couple excerpts from Rothbard’s classic essay, “Do You Hate The State?”. The purpose of this essay is to address what Rothbard believes was the biggest divide amongst the libertarian intellectuals of his day. He believes that the biggest issue is not the debate between different philosophies or strategies amongst libertarians, rather that it is between those that passionately hate the State, the “radicals” if you will, and those that simply see anarcho-capitalism or libertarianism as a better system, but at the same time seem to be at least passively content with the existence of the State system.
Perhaps the word that best defines our distinction is “radical.” Radical in the sense of being in total, root-and-branch opposition to the existing political system and to the State itself. Radical in the sense of having integrated intellectual opposition to the State with a gut hatred of its pervasive and organized system of crime and injustice. Radical in the sense of a deep commitment to the spirit of liberty and antistatism that integrates reason and emotion, heart and soul.
I believe this “radicalism” accurately describes, for the most part, the philosophy and passion of the writers on this site. I don’t believe that any of us were inspired to get together and create this website as a forum for advancing the ideas of liberty simply because we think that libertarianism is a marginally better system than the one we have now. Each of us were passionately driven by a deep moral resentment towards the State and all of its schemes once we began down the path towards learning about liberty. While we all may have come to this through different issues – be they the wars, civil liberties, etc., we all came to a similar radicalism in our cause against the State.
Murray goes on to compare this to the abolitionist movement in the 1800’s. Abolitionists generally advocated for the end of slavery all together and were in no way content with simply having a “little less” slavery. At the same time, every single slave freed would of course be considered a victory.
There is not a single abolitionist who would not grab a feasible method, or a gradual gain, if it came his way. The difference is that the abolitionist always holds high the banner of his ultimate goal, never hides his basic principles, and wishes to get to his goal as fast as humanly possible. Hence, while the abolitionist will accept a gradual step in the right direction if that is all that he can achieve, he always accepts it grudgingly, as merely a first step toward a goal which he always keeps blazingly clear. The abolitionist is a “button pusher” who would blister his thumb pushing a button that would abolish the State immediately, if such a button existed. But the abolitionist also knows that alas, such a button does not exist, and that he will take a bit of the loaf if necessary — while always preferring the whole loaf if he can achieve it.
I feel it is very important to make a moral argument when attempting to advance liberty. It is not enough to simply present a X + Y = Z mathematical case for why private enterprise can handle things like courts, police, etc. It is important to inspire the same passionate disgust with the nature of the State, an organized crime syndicate that has a monopoly on violence, in others.
This passion is what will truly drive the liberty movement forward. And it is what we are ultimately attempting to convey here on this site.
We hope you’ll join us on the way.