Saturday, June 24, 2006

Rothbard: "A Strategy for Victory"

Cleaning out desk drawers and filing cabinets can be a pain in the ass. But sometimes, treasures are found. Case in point: my notes from a dinner lecture given by the late Murray Rothbard in October 1993 at a meeting of the John Randolph Club in San Mateo, California. Fascinating stuff.

Murray’s talk was titled “A Strategy for Victory,” and from my scribbling, I see that he argued that the Libertarian Party is not a “real-world, real-people” organization where middle and working class Americans feel at home. Still true, 13 years later.

Rothbard said it was time for libertarians to re-enter the real world and create a new populist movement: “exciting, dynamic, tough, and confrontational, rousing and inspiring not only the exploited masses but the often shell-shocked right-wing intellectual cadre as well.” He suggested a few rules for radicals committed to building such a movement:

  • Always hold the freedom principles aloft. Talk about them constantly to help keep your eye on the ultimate target.
  • Any transitional demands must be radical and consistent with the ultimate goal.
  • Accept no compromise.
  • Remember, we’re guerilla fighters. We’re small and don’t have to worry about our image. We can pick our shots.
  • Recapture the moral high ground from the Left. Our core principles are correct, moral, and newsworthy.
  • Sustain the attack. Keep the enemy on the defensive.
  • Tap the masses directly. Short circuit the dominant media and academic elites.
  • Rip the mask off the unholy preppie-liberal-media-academic alliance. Our foe is the Elite — full-time professional tyrants. They are not well-meaning. Their motives are evil: expansion of their own power.
  • Tell the truth.
  • Expose the fraud.
  • Demystify the State.
  • Hammer home the message persistently. Accustom people to our ideas.

Still good guidelines for revolution, don’t you think?

Technorati Tags: ,


At 6:51 AM, Blogger Per Bylund said...

Rothbard's clearly talking about the political dimension of the libertarian struggle towards revolution. And it is clear he doesn't think it goes through party politcs; he's saying the way to achieve a society with no slaves and no masters must be through ignoring masters and appealing to slaves (even those who are ignorant of being so).

I haven't seen him saying it this clearly before. But even though the market for ideas is very powerful, he's missing the market for goods and services. There's no reason fighting a one-front war when there is so much to gain from "being everywhere" while "being vulnerable nowhere."

It seems to me just adding an [individualistic] economic dimension to the libertarian guerilla warfare strategy, in other words: counter-economics, and what you have is Agorism, plain and simple. And that's a hell of a plan! :-)

At 12:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

His strategies have failed for decades. Why not celebrate them!

At 1:55 PM, Blogger Wally Conger said...

Hi, Anonymous!

Exactly which strategies of Rothbard's have failed? Are you looking at his points as ideas for a political party or for a political movement? It does make a difference.


Post a Comment

<< Home