Mondays with Murray: Rothbard on "Libertarian Populism"Submitted by Marc Clair on Mon, 08/26/2013 - 03:04
The term "libertarian populism" is one that is heard more and more in today's political discourse as libertarian ideas become more mainstream and slowly begin to bleed over into establishment political rhetoric. In the past week, several different libertarian voices have expressed their thoughts on the use of this term, and specifically in relation to its connection to Murray Rothbard's and his "radical" brand of libertarianism.
David D'Amatowrites at LewRockwell.com:
The pivot point of libertarian populism is its hostility toward the cronyism that presently characterizes the political economy of the United States. Relationships between powerful elites in government and industry have, libertarian populists argue, cemented into an immovable and perennial force that creates privilege for the few at the expense of the many — hence, libertarian populism. This populism addresses itself to everything from lobbyists to bailouts and to the Federal Reserve System. In point of fact, the “End the Fed” movement, the germ of which was Ron Paul’s stout emphasis on the issue, was arguably among the prime movers and mainsprings of the particular moment of libertarian populism that we’re witnessing right now. Those influenced by the Austrian School and Rothbardian libertarians, contrary to the empty jeremiads of our critics, have always called attention to the often-incestuous relationships between all things big, irrespective of whether they are found in the “public” or the “private” sector. We have been on the forefront of demonstrating the causal link that connects misallocation to corporate welfare in all of its myriad embodiments that show why government intervention in the economic sphere is profoundly harmful, particularly for ordinary working people. The seeming fixation on the Federal Reserve then, is not a randomly chosen fetish of libertarians, but a recognition of the sweeping, harmful implications of Fed policy. Were more Americans to understand the Fed’s role in, for instance, American wars and economic instability, they might see that real libertarian populism is anything but a calculated political rebranding. Rather, libertarian populism simply is genuine, radical libertarianism, the kind that takes the state for what it is — a small criminal class that has successfully institutionalized economic spoliation.
D'Amato sees libertarian populism as perfectly in sync with radical, Rothbardian libertarianism due to its natural opposition to the Federal Reserve, America's overseas conflicts, and the economic harm they bring to the everyday man. Indeed, if people understood these issues from the libertarian point of view, they would surely find that a firm opposition to the Fed and the wars would line up with a "populist" view.