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Saturday, August 04, 2012

The Anti-Rothbard Cult

Tom Woods breaks the news: the 99.8% of humans who reject Rothbard's views (or would do so if they were made familiar with them) as impracticable, muddled, and sometimes repugnant are in a "cult." It's the .2% who worship Rothbard, who have built a shrine to him in Alabama, and who adhere to his doctrine like it was scripture who have freed themselves from the anti-Rothbard cult, you see.

Next up from Woods: The Anti-L-Ron-Hubbard Cult.

UPDATE: My little joke about Woods' silly suggestion of an "anti-Rothbard cult" leads him to call me "Most Humorless, Envious, Bitter Jerk in the Blogosphere."Wow, that's pretty good evidence of a direct hit, hey?

13 comments:

  1. Would you describe me as being in that .2%? I mean, I do have a lot of respect for the guy, and I often refer to my political leanings as Rothbardian, but I certainly wouldn't say that I worship him, adhere to his doctrine as scripture, or build shrines to the guy.

    Now, you could possibly make the argument that I give support to such a "shrine" in Auburn by the fact that I have purchased many books from LvMI, but then I remember that that is where I got my copy of 'Economics For Real People'.

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    1. Whether you are or not is not for me to say.

      "but then I remember that that is where I got my copy of 'Economics For Real People'."

      Yes: these posts are my way of doing penance.

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  2. I know this estimate is not serious, but 0.2% implies that 14 million people are Rothbardians or potential Rothbardians.

    No, that is still way too much.

    Considering that the US Libertarian Party never had more than a few hundred thousand registered members, it may be unreasonable to expect more than a million global members of any libertarian sub-group

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    1. OK, but out of all the people who have never heard of Rothbard, there must be a few who would not think he is nuts, right?

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  3. I realize it's somewhat silly to jump in on these disputes, but I was surprised at the quote you produced from Tom, since it seemed odd that you would've ruffled him that much. But here's what he actually wrote, in response to Gene posting a question asking Tom if he planned on doing a talk on the anti-L-Ron-Hubbard cult:

    Gene, as soon as I finish gathering entries for my latest competition: Most Humorless, Envious, Bitter Jerk in the Blogosphere. Good luck!

    That's actually a much different thing, Gene, than how you presented it in your post. Tom was actually just f***ing with you right back, whereas you made it sound like he blew a gasket because of your zinger.

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    1. Bob, I realize Tom's your friend, but:

      "But here's what he actually wrote..."

      Right. But surely we can read into that that the winner is probably me. He's just calling me that in a slightly oblique manner.

      "That's actually a much different thing..."

      No, it's actually the same thing, just done a little bit indirectly. When one says, "I would never compare Tom Woods to a Nazi," well, one has just done so, but in a way that allows one's friends to say, "But that's a much different thing!"

      "Tom was actually just f***ing with you right back..."

      Really? So when I make fun of the idea that there is an anti-Rothbard cult, and he personally insults me using four different terms of opprobrium, that's just doing back to me what I did to him?!

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  4. If the talk had been titled "The Underappreciated Rothbard" it would have been unobjectionable. Framing not just opposition but also lack of appreciation of Rothbard as being cult-like behavior is kind of odd.

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  5. To be fair, he said that he's gathering entries for "The Most Humorless, Envious, Bitter Jerk in the blogosphere", and then wished you luck. I don't know Tom personally, but that is probably the most pissed that I've seen him in some time. He even closed the comments, which he'll usually only do when the comments get flagrant, except this time he was the one hurling the insults. Strange world, indeed.

    I will say one thing, when it comes to getting under one's skin and/or provoking a reaction, you are certainly in the top running. I would be lying if I said that you've never pissed me off in the past.

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    1. I don't know, I always thought Gene's sardonic style was a byproduct of his British education. "Banter" and all of that.

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    2. Yes, I can see that. Keep in mind that I wouldn't be here if his redeeming qualities didn't outweigh the negatives. Then again, my judgements are always questionable.

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  6. I would love to know what started this whole hate-fest. Anyway, talk about taking things out of context. First, no one in their right mind would interpret Tom's talk as referring to the whole population of the earth. He was obviously talking about the libertarian sub-culture as a whole and the beltway libertarians in general. Second, the point Tom Woods was making that it is not that Rothbard is underappreciated, but discussion of him is actively dissuaded in the beltway libertarian circle. Would you deny this? Calling it a cult was clearly a rhetorical device, and was perhaps not the best metaphor. But it goes way beyond underappreciation.

    Finally, linking to that Rothbard quote about parents' responsibilities takes the cake. Do you not get that he was distinguishing between legal and moral obligations? Do you not also distinguish between the two? Would you like to see laws banning being mean to your grandma?

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    1. "I would love to know what started this whole hate-fest."

      There is no hate on my part, anyway. I am trying to free some people from the grip of idolatry.

      " First, no one in their right mind would interpret Tom's talk as referring to the whole population of the earth. He was obviously talking about the libertarian sub-culture as a whole and the beltway libertarians in general."

      Yes, he MEANT to restrict it to that. But if they ignore or reject Rothbard only because they are part of a cult, why doesn't that extend to everyone else? I am following the LOGIC of Tom's talk, and not his intention.

      "Second, the point Tom Woods was making that it is not that Rothbard is underappreciated,"

      No, that would be correctly appreciated.

      "but discussion of him is actively dissuaded in the beltway libertarian circle."

      Thank heavens!

      "Finally, linking to that Rothbard quote about parents' responsibilities takes the cake."

      I know! The nerve of me: to actually quote Rothbard!

      "Do you not get that he was distinguishing between legal and moral obligations?"

      Oh, no, Ed Ucation, I am a fecking dullard, and Ise can't understand shite.

      "Would you like to see laws banning being mean to your grandma?"

      Yeah... cause anyone who wants laws against deliberately starving helpless infants to death MUST also want laws against being unpleasant.

      Sorry, Mised Ucation, I think I'm due back on earth now...

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