13 votes

Walter Block on the Ayn Rand Cult, the Differences Between Libertarians, and more!

In this episode of the Lions of Liberty Podcast, I am joined by well-known Austrian economist and anarcho-capitlast, Dr. Walter Block. Dr. Block talks about his early days in libertarianism, including how he met Ayn Rand, Murray Rothbard, and Ludwig von Mises.

We continue to discuss the connection between Austrian economics and libertarianism, the various types of libertarians, and the important distinction between criticism of fellow libertarians and attempting to excommunicate others from the movement. Dr. Block also takes a few listener questions!

Read more at Lions of Liberty.

Check out thepodcast archive!

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

very nice interview, Marc

Something you said during the interview got me thinking about a bumper sticker that we need:


“With laws shall our land be built up, but with lawlessness laid waste.”
-Njal Thorgeirsson


...99.9% of people don't know what ancapism is and would probably give that a sexual meaning. If you're an attractive female, I'd advise against wearing a T-Shirt with that slogan next time you go to the bar. ;-)

"Alas! I believe in the virtue of birds. And it only takes a feather for me to die laughing."

that would be a cool sticker

i'd buy one too.


Here's a deal:

You make it, I'll buy it.

*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

i wonder what the ratio of Anarcho Rothbardians

to minarchists there are on DP these days. I have a feeling there are more Rothbardians now then in 2007 after living through 2 of DR Pauls campaigns.

On the topic of excommunication

I think a few here on the DP would do well to pay extra close attention to this. The "real libertarian" arguments that pop up on almost a daily basis gets EXTREMELY annoying and it almost always devolves into "NO U" style e-peen swordfights.

Disagreement is healthy, as is civil discourse, but the 'real' and 'true' fallacies, coupled with an (ironically enough) elitist 2libertarian4u attitude does nothing but drive the curious away while the 'choir' fights amongst themselves.

Who needs infiltrators to weaken an opposing movement when it's happily cannibalizing itself?

On Ayn Rand-- Smart lady to be sure, but she always came across as a bit of a looney toon to me. When you start telling other people what music they 'should' listen to and who to date, and that all other choices are irrational, then you've gone off the deep end. But hey, she was all about individualism, *her* individualism which she wanted to imprint on everyone who would allow it.

A signature used to be here!

I Totally Agree -

I totally agree with your assessment of Ayn Rand, honored "fish mother" of Galt's Gulch. As an author she had an incredible talent for painting scenes that sprang from the desires of her leading characters, for projecting real life into her settings, breathing real voice into her words, although her supporting characters (especially her villains) were often wooden. As a philosopher, however, she was more like Frankenstein's Monster - many facets of her materialism are dead and simply stitched on.

It's too bad, really

because a lot of people's first glimpse into anything 'libertarian' comes from The Objectivist and interviews, and tends to turn a lot of people off to not only her books, but anyone or anything associated with 'libertarianism'. I've lost count of how many people on the 'left' quote her, and only her to discredit the positions and ideas held by others. (Rothbard, the Pauls, Mises, Woods, etc.)

Yeah, it's a guilt by association fallacy, but try pointing that out to them!

All that aside, it's like you say; she was an excellent writer who created several believable and memorable characters which helped inject some libertarian ideas into the mainstream, and I can at least praise her on that much.

A signature used to be here!


But there is a distinct difference between excommunication and criticizing.

It's the difference between saying "Statement X is not a libertarian statement" and explaining why, as opposed to Person X is not a libertarian, and Person X should be shunned!"

It's not only acceptable but to critique individual positions. The key is to not become a heretic and make libertarianism "cultish" as the Ayn Rand movement became.

*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*


"But there is a distinct difference between excommunication and criticizing."

Agreed, and maybe I should've clarified as much is my previous post. I don't mind those who are critical, so long as it's backed up with some sort of consistent reasoning and insults are avoided. I'm not 100% perfect on this, hell nobody is, but generally speaking it'd be nice to see a political movement that wasn't so rife with ultimately trivial infighting over who is purest of the pure. Like those people who, after hearing someone tell a story, feel compelled to "one up" that person with an even better story, despite having nothing to gain by it.

As for the "X is not a libertarian statement" case, I have to slightly disagree here, at least in practice, mostly because I believe the word 'libertarian' is an umbrella term that covers several schools of thought, for better or worse.

Just finishing up the interview now, btw. Thanks for posting it!

A signature used to be here!

Thanks for listening!

I view the "X is not a libertarian statement" as a way to have the conversation and try to influence each other, within that umbrella, about just what libertarian *should* mean. We all have our opinions on it, and there's nothing wrong with standing by those opinions and trying to influence others of the same.

Ultimately, our quest should not be a for a randomly put together set of views, but for a consistently, rational, logical philosophy.

*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

Ultimately, our quest should

Ultimately, our quest should not be a for a randomly put together set of views, but for a consistently, rational, logical philosophy.

True dat! Which is why we should appreciate those radical libertarians like Block, Hoppe and Molyneux who push the envelope.

I must be willing to give up what I am in order to become what I will be. Albert Einstein

No kiding!

We all KNOW that I am the purist of the pure.

Perhaps you are!

The question remains...pure *what*?


Also, I was thinking of you when I typed my post, because I know a lot of people, myself included, have gotten (sometimes fairly, other times unfairly) nasty with you over your positions concerning the Middle-East.

A signature used to be here!


When I read the "purest of the pure" part, I only typed that ot was me because we all KNOW, that I am NOT the purest of the pure but can laugh at myself to say that I am KNOWIng I am NOT.. and honestly, I wouldn't want to be the purest of the pure.. I like getting dirty or pirty /purty durty.

As far as my position on the ME, I enjoy finding and sharing good things about everything, even when others do not see what is good, and maybe they can't at this time.. I couldn't all the time.. hopefull I am not the only one learning about the ME.

had issues playing this audio plugin however this one

works in linux/firefox


can also download the mp3 here.

Which browser

Were you using, just curious?

The show can also be subscribed to on iTunes or found on the Stitcher Radio App.

Thanks for listening!

*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

chrome and firefox.

64 bit linux flash plugin is a little wonky.

But the other link works fine.


For some reason I can't listen to this thru the player. Click play and nothing happens. Luckily the podbean website works for me. Seems like I had the same issue a while back.

Anyhow, look forward to the interview. Thanks!

Using Firefox 24.0.


Not sure why this is but I'm just a host and producer, not a tech guy! The show can also be downloaded and subscribed to via iTunes, or on the Stitcher Radio App.

Thanks for listening!

*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*


No problem. Just thought I'd let you know in case others were having the same issue. Great show!

You guys made it on my radio ratings list lol.

Keep up the good work.

Do you happen to have NoScript installed?

Because if so, open it and 'temporarily allow podbean.com' to get the player to work on the DP. I had the same issue at first.

A signature used to be here!


No, I don't have NoScript. Just Adblock. I don't have a clue what it could be.

I always look forward to

I always look forward to these. Haven't had a chance to listen all, but I have heard most. Great stuff to think about with a hint of whitty humor. Love it!



Can't wait to give this a listen.

Also, I wish people had to pay me to read some of these comments.

Just a friendly suggestion,

Just a friendly suggestion, but with all the free traffic your site gets via the Daily Paul have you thought about paying for an ad?

Also, do you have at least two more fake accounts here that you are using to promote your site? I refer specifically to "McWilly" and "Jao171".

not fake

I am a fellow contributor to the site. Not really sure what your angle is here. We started a website to advance the ideas of liberty. We are sharing them on a like minded site with the goal of spreading the message and growing our site. What is the issue?

Haha this guy

I think his day consists of trolling to see when we post. Get a life Velveeta. You're a sad, sad little man.

Why don't you try to create some interesting content instead of whining when we post articles under the proper guidelines?

Keep trolling, kid. In the meantime, we'll keep writing articles that forward the libertarian discussion.

Just a friendly response

No, I have not thought about paying for an ad. I don't make money off of my site - in fact I put much more money into it. Is this site not for sharing our projects? When I post I follow DP guidelines regarding quick links.

Should I not share our articles? Do you have a problem with that? Michael Nystrom certainly doesn't.

In fact, I embed my podcast *in* the post here so people don't need to click on my site to listen.

Not that it's any of your business, but I am a paid subscriber of the Daily Paul.

And no, they are not "fake accounts", they are regular contributors to our site. I'd say to feel free to come read some of their articles, but I don't need to be accused of any more "freeloading".

If you don't like our posts feel free to down vote. If you think I am posting anything inappropriately, contact the admins and I'm sure they will take appropriate action.

Otherwise, hope you enjoy the interview!

*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

Fair answer. On the other

Fair answer. On the other hand, your fellow "contributors" are far more thin-skinned.