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Rothbard Supports the State?

There has been a lot of discussion regarding the IP “debate” between Wenzel and Kinsella. One of the main arguments on the pro IP side has been that Rothbard supported IP in its current form.

I cant understand how anyone who has actually read Rothbard can take this position seriously. I recently read Rothbard’s “for a new liberty” which outlines his entire philosophy for a free society. It is entirely anti-state. His whole outlook is how to create a world without any state at all.

It seems completely unreasonable to take his position in ethics of liberty regarding what he labels copyright in a completely stateless free market based on contract law and turn that into support for a gigantic state enforced patent and copyright system based on authoritarianism.

Does anyone seriously believe Rothbard would support modern state-based IP with all the police state and bureaucracy that would be required to enforce it?

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Agree with posts below the

Agree with posts below the 'debate' was an embarrassment.

Of all of the pure free market he was clearing a path for, Rothbard was clearly most troubled by IP. As a purveyor of ideas this is natural, but considering how much he ever gained pecuniarily from it..

Even so, while I would like to hear Wenzel develop his thoughts, the suggestion that Rothbard would have ever supported a state sponsored IP law system is preposterous beyond the pale. He clearly supposed some free market contractual arrangement.

Invoking Rothbard sadly ended Wenzel's credibility in the argument and didn't explain Wenzel's own ideas. Also obviously whatever Rothard may or may not have thought isn't germane to the validity of Kinsella's position.

As Kinsella.. he almost seemed to provoke Wenzel to be irrational. While prevailing on the logical debate he needlessly wheedled Wenzel which in turn undermined his position.

It was like a boxing match where the victor kicked the loser in the face once he was down.

No honor to be had at all here.

Kinsella, don't be a dick. People love a good winner but poor winners look like losers.

Wenzel, brush up on your formal logic. I think you may have something to say about scarcity.. develop it, but your attacks on Kinsella's tertiary arguments were weak at best. Have your own position and clarify how it differs, and why those differences matter.

I love reading both you guys. This was just sad to see. If you have another debate like this.. and it turns out like this.. leave it in the vault.


entire Wenzel vs Kinsella IP debate has reinforced, what Rothbard stated, that there are a lot of libertarians that are bad people. Some of the vile, hurtful comments that I've read from those commenting on blog posts on EPJ and Kinsella's site reminds that you do not have to be a decent person to understand the principles of liberty.
In my opinion, both Wenzel and Kinsella embarrassed themselves during the debate. The turned a worthwile discussion into a personal vendetta. IP is an important topic and I have gained quite an education in IP by listening to the debate, but the arrogance displayed by so many on each side has been disgusting.
Although, this ugly debate has reminded me that I need to remain calm during discussion or debates I have with those outside of the liberty movement.
Thank you for posting. It is insane for anyone to pretend that Rothbard would endorse IP regulated by the State.

You just summed up

You just summed up the big strawman that I keep hearing on the anti-IP side. It essentially boils down to "But...THE STATE"

Neither Rothbard, Wenzel or I'd imagine any other serious anarcho-libertarian types that favor IP also believe the State should be the enforcer of the IP. As you point out, Rothbard advocates a stateless society, so how could he support a State IP monopoly?

This is a completely different argument from the very legitimate debate over whether "intellectual property" is even a legitimate concept. If it IS...then there can be no doubt that as "property", one would be entitled to use enforcement of some kind to defend or reclaim their property.

In today's case, the State is monopoly enforcer. If my house is broken into and my TV is stolen I will report that to the police and get a police report so that I can file an insurance claim and so that if the TV is found it can be returned to me.

In no way does this imply that I support the State any more than when I drive to work in my State-registered vehicle on a State built road.

Property rights - however they may be defined- due not suddenly disappear or become illegitimate simply because the State has claimed itself monopoly enforcer of property rights.
*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*