Was Rothbard Really So Intransigent?

by Jeff Deist

David Gordon’s recent article regarding the late Murray Rothbard’s keen interest in handicapping political races shows that Rothbard was hardly bound up in a world of theoretical abstractions. But critics of Rothbard often claim that his supposed intransigence, his unwillingness to compromise on matters of libertarian principle, rendered him a less effective advocate in the real world. Not coincidentally, the same was said of Rothbard’s great mentor, Ludwig von Mises.

But our newly released book of Rothbard’s essays from the 1960s shows that Rothbard was entirely comfortable with the practical and strategic considerations involved in building a movement. Never a Dull Moment: A Libertarian Look at the Sixties provides several great examples of his willingness to work across ideological or party lines to advance a cause—and in that era, one of Murray’s ardent causes was opposing the Vietnam War.

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