Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tom Paine and Our Pain: Rothbard, Monarchies and Republics

From Nouspraktikon's Weblog:

It is a maxim of conservative thought, which should be fully shared by paleolibertarians, that good things evolve, while evil things burst suddenly into the world with revolutionary force. In the short time since the death of Murray Rothbard (1995), paleolibertarian theory has continued to clarify itself through small increments of incisive reasoning. This is, of course, as Murray would have wanted it, for if there was anything that he was more skeptical of than the idea of a “new libertarian man” it would have to be the notion that he himself provided an infallible model of such a person.
One of the most surprising turns in the late and post-Rothbardian period of libertarian theorizing has been the rehabilitation of monarchism stimulated by Hans Hermann Hoppe in his Democracy: The God That Failed. This paleoconservative/paleolibertarian synthesis is indeed a promised land which Rothbard, even looking out from the highest Pisgah peak of his theory could but vaguely dicern. Thus the excerpting of a portion of Rothbard’s history of the independence movement Concieved in Liberty by the Ludwig von Mises Institute provides a valuable opportunity to assess the limits of Rothbardian thinking, as well as to explore a new trajectory of thought which was mostly unguessed at during his lifetime. I can add nothing to the brilliant analysis of “private government” (aka monarchy) as a stable and equitable economic system contained in Hoppe. However there is another dimension to the critique of republicanism which was overlooked by Rothbard, a dimension which, for want of a better term, might be called “social psychology.” Hoppe is no doubt aware of this dimension, but in his works he makes the case for “private government” according to the strict methodological rationalism of the Austrian school. Although I am every bit of a rationalist as Hoppe, here my approach will be more phenomenological, which might be termed rational inquiry into the irrational.

Read the rest here

Hat tip to The Young Fogey

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