For the past year or so I have been lukewarm to the Mises Caucus because they seemed to be good guys despite all of the intellectual teachings of Rothbard and Hoppe saying not to get involved in politics or political parties. I have previously let my personal fondness for some people in the party affect my judgement of their proposal. In this article I wish to address this mistake. This mistake was also something Rothbard had made. Rothbard cherished the moment he left the Libertarian Party.
The resounding success of this opening to the Right put Rothbard in an expansive mood. In those days, he would often remark to me, “Isn’t it great that we’re finally out of the Libertarian Party?” He found the company of conservatives far more personally congenial than the company of Libertarian Party activists who, as a group, tend to be boorish.
- Raimondo, Murray Rothbard
Rothbard was positively ecstatic about no longer having to deal with the Libertarian Party shenanigans, which we can clearly see have lasted to this day. It doesn’t matter what caucus in the LP it is, they are always kowtowing to the dominant culture and thereby ceding ground to the progressive movement. Rothbard was also mistaken in his alliance with the left, as can be seen in The Betrayal of the American Right and The Irrepressible Rothbard, but that goes beyond the scope of this article. Rothbard was ecstatic to leave the Libertarian Party and join in the new formation of the Old Right. This is what I would implore any serious Rothbardian or Hoppean to do instead of joining the Libertarian Party, which is inherently leftist and statist because of the open borders policy for new members. Not only is it the best to do for strategy, but it will make your life so much better.
Rothbard sadly created this Party (aka Monstrosity) during his temporary alliance with the left. Many in this “liberty” movement have decided to try to fix it by putting their guys in charge of this inherently corrupt organization. These people have taken up the banner of Mises, but what would Mises have thought of this left alliance time of Rothbard? Guido Hulsman in Mises: The Last Knight of Liberalism gives us a glimpse of that:
Mises also followed Rothbard’s subsequent writings and activities, often to his chagrin. A 1968 letter that Fertig wrote to Mises probably conveys Mises’s own feelings as well: Among the things which are really disturbing is the case of Murray Rothbard. I enclose the current issue of National Review. . . . Now he is allied with the New Left. Imagine that! Just a short while ago he was on a Committee that favored Castro and Cuba. It’s sad to see a brilliant mind like his go to pot that way.
Isn’t it ironic that people carrying the namesake of Mises proudly are also trying to fit in with the very same people that Mises despised? So many people are putting in their work in the LP just for it to elect leftists. I would laugh if it wasn’t so serious.
During the 1930s, fascists and communists fought in the streets and both also rioted. Today, it is people like Patriot Prayer and “trained Marxists” like antifa and Black Lives Matter fighting in the streets. So far only the left has rioted. Mises's response to this was to work for a fascist government under Dolfuss. Mises even had this to say about the fascists winning their fight against the communists:
It cannot be denied that Fascism and similar movements aiming at the establishment of dictatorships are full of the best intentions and that their intervention has, for the moment, saved European civilization. The merit that Fascism has thereby won for itself will live on eternally in history. But though its policy has brought salvation for the moment, it is not of the kind which could promise continued success. Fascism was an emergency makeshift. To view it as something more would be a fatal error.
- Liberalism by Mises
Is that a guy that would screech about “right wing collectivists” like Patriot Prayer or the Proud Boys? Mises saw the bright side in fascists winning against the communists, but the modern Libertarian Party is giving out compliments to the communists. Mises would likely be praising people like Kyle Rittenhouse far more than he did the fascists and would be far more critical of Garrett Foster than he was of Rothbard running with leftists.
This worry about “right wing collectivism” is not imaginary, but has gotten people kicked out of the Libertarian Party and Mises Caucus for edgy jokes. The Mises Caucus is not only susceptible to cancel culture, but helps perpetuate it. This is precisely what trying to fit in to the left means - submitting to their crazy show trials.
This fall into the left’s meta cult is not new, but was what clued Rothbard in on the subversion that had already occurred within the LP. Such statements can be found in Rothbard’s articles, such as Big Government Libertarians
I told two well-known leaders of the movement that I thought it had become infected with and permeated by egalitarianism. What? they said. Impossible. There are no egalitarians in the movement. Further, I said that a good indication of this infection was a new-found admiration for the Reverend “Doctor” Martin Luther King. Absurd, they said. Well, interestingly enough, six months later, both of these gentlemen published articles hailing “Dr.” King as a “great libertarian.” To call this socialist, egalitarian, coercive integrationist, and vicious opponent of private-property rights, a someone who, to boot, was long under close Communist Party control, to call that person a “great libertarian,” is only one clear signal of how far the movement has decayed.
This subversion can even be seen in Ron Paul’s LP run of the 80s where he was criticized for not voting for MLK day. Such pandering to the left is not new, isn’t going away, and comes from leftists who have been able to pass off as if they are libertarians. The absolute unwillingness to weed out these leftists earlier left the LP of the 90s in control of those leftists.
This follows Rothbard’s program for right wing populism - to cooperate with right wingers. Trying to operate within the LP will mean doing the opposite of this - of cooperating with the left. It will dampen any hope for meaningful change as the left will necessarily be for redistributionist and integrationist policies to force society to fit their egalitarian model. This even goes against Hoppe’s prescription to not put your trust in politics or political parties.
Whenever an idea is criticized, people always want to know what the proposition to do is instead. Growing out of party politics and instead becoming a stand out member of your community is the best way to give yourself the respectability to change minds when you do speak on the topic of politics. Becoming involved in other things will also allow you to get away from the politics that would be draining you otherwise.
The first prescription is to have many children. Not only will having a good family life make your life more enjoyable, but it will spread the message of liberty far further than any move in the LP or podcast with 20 listeners will. Imagine if there were six Murrays running around today instead of a bunch of people LARPing as Rothbardians while giving cover to the left at every turn. Those six Rothbards would be so much more beneficial than the subversives we see hold sway in the LP. These children would have likely done well to keep Rothbard’s legacy from being tainted by his own party by having been raised as Rothbardians.
The second part is to get involved in your community. Lead something at your church. Slowly and carefully bring up secessionism when political discussions come about, as they inevitably will because we live in a democracy. Build institutions that will both last and be protected from infiltration and subversion. In this way, you can leave something behind for the next generation as well as have a fulfilling life instead of simply getting drained by politics. Not only is leaving the LP right from a political strategy perspective, but from the perspective of improving your life.