Monday, June 15, 2015

Murray Rothbard

I started reading Murray Rothbard with a certain defiance. I knew some of his conclusions falls largely outside the range of "acceptable opinions by respectable people".

I started with Anatomy of The State, which seemed to me more like a bragging against the state than a really thoughtful masterpiece. But I gave it another try with For a New liberty then Man, Economy and the State, where he exposes his arguments more deeply.

Murray is the most coherent and logical author I ever read. As a book of math, you need to get full concentration on every of his premises then follow the reasoning to reach his conclusions that might sound very radical. (but which are never violent)
Then an unbelievable thing happens : You will very likely agree with all his premises, but will also disagree with his conclusions, but by trying to retrace the path of reasoning he took, you won't find any flaw, no incoherence in his mind and in his book.

Then you'll think about it as night, trying to come up with some counter argument. You won't find. Then you will try to challenge people on his ideas on internet forums about economy / politics / philosophy, and you will find no logical argument that bring down the edifice.

You will then give up and accept his conclusions.

Often, by discussing with people, you will see the incoherences in their thoughts about economic and politic. Then you'll start to bring Rothbardian arguments to the discussion (without even mentioning him), following the same steps you read before. The person will magically change his mind, as you did before.

His premises are few and easy to relate to, but if you accept them, then you will discover a lot of the intellectual incoherences in your own world view. The only way to resolve the incoherences it to find the flaws in Rothbard's reasoning or to change your mind... a brain does not support incoherence.