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Mondays with Murray: The Real Story of the Whiskey Rebellion

As President Obama himself stated at a press conference last Friday, “it’s been a tough week”. It’s been tough for those affected both directly and indirectly by the bombings in Boston, and the subsequent police state imposed upon the city. It’s been tough for those affected by the explosion in Waco, and of course it’s always tough for the victims of the U.S. empire’s violence around the globe. So why not try to start this week on a brighter note with a few subjects we Lions hold dear – Murray Rothbard, liberty and whiskey!

While Murray Rothbard is best known for his work in economics and developing libertarian philosophy, one would be remiss to forget about his historical writings. Murray was able to look at history with his unique point of view, through the lens of liberty if you will. Washing away the filth of statist propaganda, Rothbard always delivered historical events through the context of the ongoing battle between liberty and tyranny. His massive work on early American history, Conceived in Liberty is intimidating in its size but an absolute joy to read.

I know what you’re thinking…what’s this got to do with whiskey?

Many of you have probably heard the Whiskey Rebellion mentioned at least in passing if you were taught your history by government schools as I was. At most it may have gotten a brief mention as a tax rebellion in western Pennsylvania that was put down with by the army at the order of President Washington. Many libertarians often point to this, rightly, as evidence that even starting with the first President, the revered George Washington, the U.S. government has been violating the Constitution and and abusing its power.

This analysis however misses a more far reaching and important aspect of the Whiskey Rebellion

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While interesting, where are

While interesting, where are Rothbard's facts?

I can accept on his word that history went as he says it went. His version of the Whiskey Rebellion differs from the "official story" (which is backed by evidence). So where is Rothbard's evidence?

The main issue I have with this story is the idea that the government was angry that these farmers/individuals did not use American dollars. Often, people didn't use American dollars anyway until post-Civil war.

Plan for eliminating the national debt in 10-20 years:

Overview: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/my-plan-for-reducin...

Specific cuts; defense spending: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/more-detailed-look-a

Check out the link

To the article as published at Lew Rockwell. Rothbard adds this note at the bottom:

"Note: Those interested in the Whiskey Rebellion should consult Thomas P. Slaughter, The Whiskey Rebellion (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986); and Steven R. Boyd, ed., The Whiskey Rebellion (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1985).

It appears these works are the source of much of his information on the rebellion. Rothbard was an incredibly thorough researcher and would read numerous books on subjects that he would only write an article about it. I trust his research like no other.

As far as the currency issue, this was my own personal opinion that I found interesting about the tax. I did not intend to imply that the currency issue was the only -or even was at all - the initial reason for the tax. I simply found interesting the facet that, regardless of intent, this was not simply an attack on an alcoholic beverage, but on something many did view as a currency of the time.

Thanks for reading!

*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

Interesting. Again, I hope

Interesting. Again, I hope Rothbard isn't making mountains out of molehills. Philosophical statements made by some people shouldn't be taken as actual reasons.

For example, a politician may say that he opposes the tax not because the tax itself isn't valid, but because he is afraid that it will not be imposed equally. Yet in reality, he just doesn't want to be taxed and is using his fear of unequal imposition to cover the fact.

Think about many of the GMO bills, where some politicians were against anti-GMO bills because there were "loopholes". If, 100 years from now, a historian goes "aha, they were legitimately afraid of loopholes, look at the statements they made"!

When in reality, we know that the vast majority of those politicians simply do not want GMOs regulated in any way, and are using "loopholes" as an excuse.

Plan for eliminating the national debt in 10-20 years:

Overview: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/my-plan-for-reducin...

Specific cuts; defense spending: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/more-detailed-look-a

You lost me

Rothbard was not a politician, and you are completely loosing my comparing his analysis of the Whiskey Rebellion to politicians not supporting anti-GMO bills?

What Rothbard has done with much of his historical righting is attempt to show how certain events look when seen through the lens of "liberty vs. tyranny". That is all he is doing in the case of the Whiskey Rebellion. "Official" history emphasizes the military putting down the uprising, but does not discuss the overriding fact that in many parts of the country, the tax was completely unenforced and, unenforceable.

*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*


Loved this installment

Well of course

No better way to start a Monday than with some Murray and whiskey!

*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*