Monday, April 24, 2017

Cato Vice President Attacks Ron Paul and Murray Rothbard

Cato Institute Vice President of Research Brink Lindsey went on a bizarre Trumpian-style series of tweet attacks against Ron Paul and Murray Rothbard this past week.

He tweeted about Rothbard:

The link Lindsey provides in the tweet is to a one time Rothbard fan letter to the headquarters of the States Rights Democrats in Jackson, Miss.

In the letter, Rothbard notes that he had supported the Thurmond movement:
 Although a New Yorker born and bred, I was a staunch supporter of the Thurmond movement; a good friend of mine headed the Columbia Students for Thurmond, which I believe was the only such collegiate movement north of the Mason-Dixon line.
My support, however, was not extremely enthusiastic, because, although I agreed wholeheartedly with the platform and Thurmond's campaign speeches, I felt that it was keyed too much to purely Southern interests. Sure, the Civil Tyranny program must be combatted, but what about the myriad invasions of states rights in other fields by the power-hungry Washington bureaucracy? In other words, while you always claimed that yours was a national movement, by talking only of the Civil Tyranny program you threw away any attraction to Northern and Western voters.
He then went on to urge the States Rights movement to go national:
I have always felt that it is imperative for the States Rights movement to establish itself on a nation-wide scale. Obviously, we are now living in a one-party system, a party of Socialists in fact if not in name, and only courageous Southern Democrats in Congress have so far blocked their program. But as far as Presidential elections go, the Republicans are through – the Socialist Administration has too much power to bribe voters with wild promises. If things go on as they are, it is only a question of a few years for the socialist program to go through and destroy this land of liberty.

Therefore it is essential to form a new party, of States Righters, consisting of Southern Democrats and real Republicans (omitting the me-too Republicans) to launch a dynamic offensive against National Socialism in this country before it is too late. I am greatly elated over your new platform because I believe it points in that direction.

Would you please send me a copy of your new platform and constitution? Do you plan to start a newspaper of nation-wide circulation? This would be of great help in establishing a national States Rights movement.

So Murray was for states rights over federal rule, what is the problem with that?

But when Lindsey writes in his tweet, with the link to the Rothbard letter as seeming evidence, that libertarianism had from the get-go "an ugly illiberal streak," he provides us with another Trumpian characteristic. Tweets that distort the facts.

He demonstrates nothing other than he does not have a full understanding of Murray, his personality, his career and his political activities,

I have written many times that Murray was a political junkie. He had to be in the action almost as if it was a parlor game. Sometimes he was on the right, sometimes on the left---but always seeking the side that at the moment provided the best opportunity to advance liberty.

To claim that Murray was always illiberal is contradicted by facts that should be well known to anyone at Cato.

Rothbard wrote in his publication, Libertarian Forum, a cover story endorsing Norman Mailer in his candidacy for mayor of New York City. In the endorsement, he hailed Mailer's call to free from jail Huey Newton, the co-founder of the Black Panthers.

He called out Judge Julius Hoffman for his treatment of Bobby Seale, the other co-founder of the Blank Panthers, during the trial of the Chicago 8.

And in the new collection of Rothbard 1960s' essays, Never A Dull Moment, we have these comments by Rothbard:
[W]ho can now deny that Negores in America are a colonized and occupied people?
[T]he ever-present threat of police brutality, a brutality which is endemic in the Negro ghetto areas...
In addition, he devoted an entire essay, included in the book, objecting to the arrest for incitement to riot of the black leader H. Rap Brown,

Rothbard also once joined a New York City-based Maoist wing of a Leninist-Trotskyite party in an attempt to use it as a libertarian tool.

As for Ron Paul, Lindsey tweets:

The only reason Dr. Paul voted against trade agreements when he was in Congress is not because he was anti-trade but because he saw the deals as crony trade that did not move enough in the direction of free trade. It is misleading to simply state that Dr. Paul "opposed all trade agreements" without providing context.

These weren't free trade deals passing through Congress when he was there. They aren't even now.

Daniel Ikenson, director of Cato’s Herbert A. Stiefel Center for Trade Policy Studies, recently wrote that 17 of 22 chapters of the Trans-Pacific Partnership that Cato examined are neutral to negative with regard to free trade.

Does Lindsey think Ikenson is a trade conspiracy theorist?

And another Lindsey tweet:

Ron Paul's xenophobia? Where the hell does this come from? Is Lindsey going full Trump distortion here?

I can't think of anything Dr. Paul has said that could be interpreted as xenophobic. Dr. Paul is even against Trump's wall. He has said it could very well turn into a wall that keeps us in rather than keeps others out. I have personally heard him say on his show, The Liberty Report, that as far as illegals go the best thing to do may be to keep them off the welfare rolls but allow them to work. This is xenophobic?


(ht Felix Bronstein)


  1. With finicky enough data searching and a total disregard for context (and truth), I can manage it. From page 153 of Liberty Defined:

    "The toughest part of showing any compassion or tolerance to the illegal immigrants who are very much Americanized is the the tremendous encouragement it gives for more immigrants to come illegally and avoid the wait and bureaucracy."

    So what do you think: is Brink Lindsey the type to disregard truth and context when he feels the urge to smear somebody?

  2. To hell with Brink Lindsey, the Cato Institute and the beltarian spawns that they produce.

    Cato Institute should be ashamed and embarrassed of its failure in the marketplace of ideas. Ron Paul has converted more people to the political philosophy of liberty in one GOP debate than Cato has done since its inception. What a shame. The Koch's could have made 10x the progress had they invested in Ron Paul and Mises Institute instead of Cato.

  3. Does Cato matter any longer? From where I stand it looks as if its members are pandering to power hoping to get to sit at the table with the big boys in Washington.