Parallax Views w/ J.G. Michael

Ep. 8: Jeffrey A. Tucker on Murray Rothbard & the Libertarian Critique of the Alt Right

June 22, 2018

Murray N. Rothbard

On this edition of Parallax Views, I speak with libertarian activist Jeffrey A. Tucker of the American Institute for Economic Research about Austrian School economist Murray N. Rothbard and the libertarian critique of the alt right.

Murray Rothbard previously came up briefly on episode 2 of Parallax Views in my interview with Elizabeth Sandifer about the Neoreaction (NRx) movement and the alt right. Whereas Elizabeth takes a critical view of Rothbard, seeing him as a sort of sanitized predecessor to neoreactionaries like Mencius Moldbug, Jeffrey A. Tucker, a student of Rothbard in the 80's and 90's, takes a different view.

Although I myself am neither a libertarian or a devotee of Rothbard, I thought it would be interesting to delve into Murray Rothbard from the perspective of one of his champions. In addition, I wanted to give Jeffrey A. Tucker a chance to speak on this as the most prominent libertarian critic of the alt right.

We begin by discussing who Murray Rothbard was and his intellectual history. This leads to a discussion about Rothbard's opposition to the New Right during the Cold War and alliances with the New Left during the Vietnam War. From there we discuss Rothbard's formation of allainces with the populist Right after the end of the Cold War. Jeffrey then shares a very interesting story about working with Rothbard on forging alliances with the populist Right around this time in which Rothbard expresses doubt that libertarians can have anything more than a limited, tactical alliance with this proto-alt right element.

The second portion of our discussion focuses on Jeffrey's vocal opposition to the alt right as a libertarian. We begin this part of the conversation by getting into Jeffrey's public spat with alt right figurehead Richard Spencer. This leads to Jeffrey to explaining why some libertarians have been fooled by the alt right and why it is of vital importance for libertarians like himself to speak out and have a zero-tolerance policy for characters like Spencer. This opens us up for an exploration of the alt right's intellectual history, which Jeffrey cover's in his book Right Wing Collectivism: The Other Threat to Liberty and the essay "The Prehistory of the Alt Right", which Jeffrey describes as a "Right Hegelianism".

Right-Wing Collectivism: The Other Threat to Liberty by Jeffrey A. Tucker

Finally we explore the possibility of limited tactical alliances between libertarians and the left in the age of Trump and what both can do to counter the alt right.

I invite listeners to make up their own minds about Murray Rothbard, libertarianism, and other subjects covered on this episode. I would also like to offer my sincerest thanks to Jeffrey A. Tucker for his willingness to dialogue with someone's whose political and economic views often come in conflict with his own. In an age where such dialogues are becoming increasingly rare I believe civil discussion like the one in this episode can prove fruitful.

I hope you enjoy my interview with Jeffrey A. Tucker about Murray Rothbard and the libertarian critique of the alt right.

Jeffrey A. Tucker

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