Thursday, April 13, 2017


The title of an essay written by Murray Rothbard in October 1992, captured in the compilation “The Irrepressible Rothbard. 

Yes, yes, you rotten hypocritical liberals, it's a culture war!  And high time, too!  It is, of course, typical of our liberal "intellectual" and media elite: after having ridden through and captured our culture, after twenty-odd years (at least!) of their cultural conquest of America proceeding almost unopposed, after completing their successful Gramscian (note: much revered Italian Stalinist of the 1920s) "long march through our institutions," liberals were just about ready to sit down and treat us as their conquered province.  When suddenly, some of us beleaguered provincials began to fight back – rallied, of course, by Pat Buchanan's speech at the Republican National Convention.

I have written of Gramsci, of the love for him by left-libertarians – whether knowingly or unknowingly.  But what of this speech by Buchanan? 

Like many of you last month, I watched that giant masquerade ball at Madison Square Garden–where 20,000 radicals and liberals came dressed up as moderates and centrists–in the greatest single exhibition of cross-dressing in American political history.

I read this thinking…did Rothbard write Buchanan’s speech?

…a militant leader of the homosexual rights movement could rise at that convention and exult: “Bill Clinton and Al Gore represent the most pro-lesbian and pro-gay ticket in history.” And so they do.

Regarding Mrs. Clinton:

Well, Hillary believes that 12-year-olds should have a right to sue their parents, and she has compared marriage as an institution to slavery–and life on an Indian reservation.  Well, speak for yourself, Hillary.

Regarding the vice-presidential candidate, Al Gore:

In New York, Mr Gore made a startling declaration. Henceforth, he said, the “central organizing principle” of all governments must be: the environment.  Wrong, Albert!  The central organizing principle of this republic is freedom.

And of the Republican nominee, George H.W. Bush:

…we stand with him against the amoral idea that gay and lesbian couples should have the same standing in law as married men and women.

At its root, Buchanan understood the reality:

There is a religious war going on in our country for the soul of America. It is a cultural war, as critical to the kind of nation we will one day be as was the Cold War itself.

The Cold War was Marx; the cultural war is Gramsci.  Both had the same objective.  Gramsci’s model has sustained and has proven more successful in destroying western civilization.

Returning to Rothbard and the complaint that Buchanan is “dividing us,” Rothbard cites Joe Sobran:

Naturally; Joe adds, "they and their media allies hold 'divisiveness' to be a cardinal sin.  The parasitical organism doesn't want the host to think of itself as a distinct entity; with interests of its own.  So it tries rhetorically to 'unify' the two organisms in the undifferentiated pronoun 'we'."  Exactly!

Rothbard goes on to cite many of the ways government proactively acts to destroy traditional culture – not evolutionary, but revolutionary.  He concludes, therefore, that absent this government effort:

…I am convinced that removing the poison…and getting government out of the picture would spark a return to natural law and the Old Culture….

Rothbard continues, attacking the idea of the “anything goes” culture, promoting the idea of revealed or objective ethics. He favorably compares the Ozzie and Harriet culture to the Woody Allen culture.  His description of the difference of these two cultures is telling:

The corrupt, rotten New Culture, versus the glorious life-affirming Old.

There is a culture that is supportive – and I believe necessary – to achieve and maintain a reasonably libertarian society.  Rothbard has identified it; it isn’t libertine.

I can hear it now: “you are a fascist,” and if that doesn’t work, “a Nazi.”  Nothing changes, as noted by this reaction after Buchanan’s speech:

The Republicans, said Mario [Cuomo], are ''Nazis.''  Why?  Get this: because "the Nazis used the word 'culture'."

Breathtakingly imbecilic.

Breathtakingly imbecilic.

Yeah, that’s what I said.

Not content with all this, Mario also claimed that the Republican Convention was "anti-Semitic."  What?  How do you get that?  Because Newt Gingrich attacked Woody Allen…

Well, of course.  All roads lead to this.


In his closing paragraph, Rothbard offers what could have been written of the most recent election:

Bumbling Bush is no great bargain, but to keep undercutting the president from now until Election Day means, that whatever your intent, you are objectively pro-Clinton, and that you are helping a future Clinton administration to dig the grave of liberty, of the free market, and of what's left of traditional American culture.


  1. The charge of "fascist" is always interesting in terms of discussing culture, because if it's used properly it should suggest that one is ok with enforcing others cultural standards on another using government.

    A quick google definition of fascist:

    an advocate or follower of the political philosophy or system of fascism.
    "he went to Spain to fight against the fascists"
    authoritarian, totalitarian, autocrat, extreme right-winger, rightist; More
    Nazi, blackshirt;
    nationalist, xenophobe, racist, anti-Semite, jingoist;
    neofascist, neo-Nazi
    "he was branded a fascist"
    a person who is extremely right-wing or authoritarian.
    "fascists made death threats against immigrants and asylum seekers"
    a person who is very intolerant or domineering in a particular area.
    "I'm a bit of a spelling fascist, but still have blind spots over words like “privilege” or “separate”"

    I find it interesting that they use "liberal" as an antonym, and "extreme right winger" as synonym.

    Not only are the terms timeframe dependent(in interpretation), they aren't clearly defined.

    I think "authoritarian" is the best/closest/most accurate definition.

    We all know "liberals" as defined today can be authoritarian and NAZI's defined themselves as "socialist", certainly not a "right wing" trait per se.

    So in the end, the charge of fascism in my mind if properly used should indicate a willingness to use their state to enforce one's cultural viewpoints.

    I definitely don't view Ron Paul as being an "authoritarian"/fascist, but I do view him and substantially "right wing". (in context, Ron Paul doesn't endorse drug use but says it should be permitted as an example)

    There's so much word confusion/appropriation today it clouds discussion. Ugh.

    In the end, a voluntary society would seem to feature decentralized communities with different cultural standards between them.

    Asking the state to force the standards of one community upon another(like a fascist would) is just asking for trouble...(versus voluntary association)

  2. In those days I was in the Republican Party and was a Buchanan supporter. Unfortunately, I was not able to make the selection for that National Convention, in my home town.

    Also, from Buchanan's speech: It had met the one thing that could stop it: force, rooted in justice, backed by courage.

    I think that this is something Bionic Mosquito attempts to do against a Libertarian utopia that teaches culture is irrelevant.

    Thanks for this blast from the past.

  3. It seems like these days libertarians are just as bad as cultural marxists when it comes to throwing around dumb accusations of racism, sexism, antisemitism, and various -isms. I am often the target of this which is strange because my views on these matters are virtually identical to Murray Rothbard!

  4. "After the destruction of a rational or objective ethics was accomplished, the left proceeded to the current Phase II. Having managed to subvert traditional Christian and bourgeois values and mores in the West, by destroying the religious and rational groundwork for those values, the left moved on to their present stance: yes, there is morality, but this "morality" is totally the reverse of the Old Culture: now we find (1) that the "moral" is pure hedonism: "do your own thing," but also, and contradictorily (2) that it is self-evidently deeply immoral to engage in all manner of "hate thought," personal discrimination, judgments of demerit that can be construed as "racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-disabled," or whatever. (1) and (2) are contradictory if "doing one's own thing" means becoming a skinhead. In that case, of course, political correctness must trump hedonism.”

    This is from the same essay, and I believe it still applies, if not more so, to our present condition. I was reading my copy of the "Irrepressible Rothbard" last night and came across this excellent essay. I was going to recommend for you to read it as well, but I thought I would search your site to see if you'd already tread this ground. I'm glad I did. Of course you have already written on it. You cover a lot of ground my friend!

    1. ATL, I am truly embarrassed and I owe you a "thank you." I have written more than a half-dozen posts on this book. I went to the bibliography tab at the top - I was going to point you to it.

      I neglected to capture these in the bibliography! I will include these in the next update. In the meantime, if you are interested, the titles are:

      o Kulturkampf!
      o Nation
      o Invade the World
      o Why They Hate Rothbard
      o Rothbard and Open Borders
      o Rothbard on Trump
      o Rothbard: Concluding Remarks

      They should be easy enough to find - they are all around the same time.