Friday, October 6, 2017

Murray Rothbard Smeared by Book Reviewer at the "National Catholic Reporter"

Nancy MacLean's absurd book, Democracy in Chains, was reviewed by Michael Sean Winters and published online at the National Catholic Reporter---and then deleted.

The deleting was well deserved.

Winters begins the review with a bow to authority:
When a review copy of Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America arrived, the title put me off. I am not much of a fan of conspiracy theories. But, then I noticed that the author, Nancy MacLean, is a historian at Duke University, not a tabloid writer. 
And from there he apparently just swallowed every absurdity MacLean put in the book--and expanded on them. This is what he claims Murray Rothbard's view was
on slavery:
Buchanan, like Byrd, took much of his inspiration from John Calhoun, the fiery antebellum senator who had championed states' rights. He was not alone: Another seminal libertarian thinker, Murray Rothbard, was also explicit about his debt to Calhoun. What mattered was not the racial injustice black people suffered, but the attack on property rights, first against the slaveholders and now against the wealthy, forced to pay taxes for programs from which they did not benefit. In this worldview, racist consequences are perfectly acceptable so long as property is not unduly burdened.
What a piece of shit commentary. Rothbard never held such a view on slavery.

This is what Rothbard wrote about slavery in his book The Ethics of Liberty:
 We have indicated above that there was only one possible moral solution for the slave question: immediate and unconditional abolition, with no compensation to the slavemasters. Indeed, any compensation should have been the other way—to repay the oppressed slaves for their lifetime of slavery. A vital part of such necessary compensation would have been to grant the plantation lands not to the slavemaster, who scarcely had valid title to any property, but to the slaves themselves, whose labor, on our “homesteading” principle, was mixed with the soil to develop the plantations. In short, at the very least, elementary libertarian justice required not only the immediate freeing of the slaves, but also the immediate turning over to the slaves, again without compensation to the masters, of the plantation lands on which they had worked and sweated. As it was, the victorious North made the same mistake—though “mistake” is far too charitable a word for an act that preserved the essence of an unjust and oppressive social system—as had Czar Alexander when he freed the Russian serfs in 1861: the bodies of the oppressed were freed, but the property which they had worked and eminently deserved to own, remained in the hands of their former oppressors. With the economic power thus remaining in their hands, the former lords soon found themselves virtual masters once more of what were now free tenants or farm laborers. The serfs and the slaves had tasted freedom, but had been cruelly deprived of its fruits.


  1. Michael Sean Winters, sit on a stick.

  2. He's been called a mendacious reviewer before (see )

  3. For some reason, I hadn't noticed what the picture on the cover of this book was- a bunch of old white guys in suits smoking cigars (secretly plotting to take over the world and enslave all black people apparently!) Ha ha!