Best Quotes by Murray Rothbard

War has generally had grave and fateful consequences for the American monetary and financial system. We have seen that the Revolutionary War occasioned a mass of depreciated fiat paper, worthless Continentals, a huge public debt, and the beginnings of central banking in the Bank of North America.

Murray Rothbard

Now judicial review, beloved by conservatives, can, of course, fulfill the excellent function of declaring government interventions and tyrannies unconstitutional. But it can also validate and legitimize the government in the eyes of the people by declaring these actions valid and constitutional.

Murray Rothbard

To deprecate human reason by saying that none of us is or can be omniscient is absurd, for it takes an impossible standard as the judge of a possible and real condition. All of our knowledge we get from the exercise of our reason; to say that no man can be God and know everything is to take an irrational standard of evaluation.

Murray Rothbard

The Keynesian prescription for unemployment rests on the persistence of a ‘money illusion’ among workers, i.e., on the belief that while, through unions and government, they will keep money wage rates from falling, they will also accept a fall in real wage rates via higher prices.

Murray Rothbard

In order to institute action, it is not sufficient that the individual man have unachieved ends that he would like to fulfill. He must also expect that certain modes of behavior will enable him to attain his ends. A man may have a desire for sunshine, but if he realizes that he can do nothing to achieve it, he does not act on this desire.

Murray Rothbard

The majority is not society, is not everyone. Majority coercion over the minority is still coercion.

Murray Rothbard

As Ludwig von Mises conclusively demonstrated in 1912, money does not and cannot originate by order of the State or by some sort of social contract agreed upon by all citizens; it must always originate in the processes of the free market.

Murray Rothbard

Man is born a tabula rasa; he must learn how to choose the ends that are proper for him and the means that he must adopt to attain them. All this must be done by his reason.

Murray Rothbard

Lacking the direct test of success or failure, the voter tends to turn, not to those politicians whose measures have the best chance of success, but to those with the ability to ‘sell’ their propaganda. Without grasping logical chains of deduction, the average voter will never be able to discover the error that the ruler makes.

Murray Rothbard

Every man must have freedom, must have the scope to form, test, and act upon his own choices, for any sort of development of his own personality to take place. He must, in short, be free in order that he may be fully human.

Murray Rothbard

Every man must have freedom, must have the scope to form, test, and act upon his own choices, for any sort of development of his own personality to take place. He must, in short, be free in order that he may be fully human.

Murray Rothbard

The State lives by its very existence on the two-fold and pervasive employment of aggressive violence against the very liberty and property of individuals that it is supposed to be defending.

Murray Rothbard

While deficits are often inflationary and always pernicious, curing them by raising taxes is equivalent to curing an illness by shooting the patient.

Murray Rothbard

It should be clear that modern fractional reserve banking is a shell game, a Ponzi scheme, a fraud in which fake warehouse receipts are issued and circulate as equivalent to the cash supposedly represented by those receipts.

Murray Rothbard

The Panic of 1819 exerted a profound effect on American economic thought. As the first great financial depression, similar to a modern expansion-depression pattern, the panic heightened interest in economic problems, and particularly those problems related to the causes and cures of depressed conditions.

Murray Rothbard

I think one of the most important directions to be pursued in the ‘sciences of human action’ is to develop a natural-law ethics based on nature rather than, or at least to supplement, ethics based on theological revelation.

Murray Rothbard

While the seeming independence of the federal judiciary has played a vital part in making its actions virtual Holy Writ for the bulk of the people, it is also and ever true that the judiciary is part and parcel of the government apparatus and appointed by the executive and legislative branches.

Murray Rothbard

The contemporary political scientist believes that he can avoid the necessity of moral judgments and that he can help frame public policy without committing himself to any ethical position.

Murray Rothbard

Reagonomics – a blend of monetarism and fiscal Keynesianism swathed in classical liberal and supply-side rhetoric – is in no way going to solve the problem of inflationary depression or of the business cycle.

Murray Rothbard

If taxes and government spending are both slashed, then the salutary result will be to lower the parasitic burden of government taxes and spending upon the productive activities of the private sector.

Murray Rothbard

The State provides a legal, orderly, systematic channel for the predation of private property; it renders certain, secure, and relatively ‘peaceful’ the lifeline of the parasitic caste in society.

Murray Rothbard

Since the State necessarily lives by the compulsory confiscation of private capital, and since its expansion necessarily involves ever-greater incursions on private individuals and private enterprise, we must assert that the State is profoundly and inherently anticapitalist.

Murray Rothbard

Private philanthropy is the direct expression of the great Christian principle of the brotherhood of man and the Golden Rule. Private philanthropy indeed is the only valid expression of these ethical principles; compulsory charity through ‘social legislation’ is the exact contrary: it is the evil imposition of force by one group on another.

Murray Rothbard

Nature is simply the environment on earth in which man finds himself, and to treat it as a separate being in the image of man is sheer nonsense.

Murray Rothbard

If you wish to know how libertarians regard the State and any of its acts, simply think of the State as a criminal band, and all of the libertarian attitudes will logically fall into place.

Murray Rothbard

The Jacksonians were libertarians, plain and simple. Their program and ideology were libertarian; they strongly favored free enterprise and free markets, but they just as strongly opposed special subsidies and monopoly privileges conveyed by government to business or to any other group.

Murray Rothbard

A robber who justified his theft by saying that he really helped his victims, by his spending giving a boost to retail trade, would find few converts; but when this theory is clothed in Keynesian equations and impressive references to the ‘multiplier effect,’ it unfortunately carries more conviction.

Murray Rothbard

An attempt by the Mongols to introduce paper money in Persia in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries flopped because no one would accept it. The public had no confidence in the paper money despite the awesomely coercive decrees that always marked Mongol rule.

Murray Rothbard

Play, as a consumers’ good, is subject to the law of marginal utility, as are all goods, and the time spent in play will be balanced against the utility to be derived from other obtainable goods.

Murray Rothbard

If government wishes to see a depression ended as quickly as possible and the economy returned to normal prosperity, what course should it adopt? The first and clearest injunction is: Don’t interfere with the market’s adjustment process.

Murray Rothbard

In order to continue in office, any government (not simply a ‘democratic’ government) must have the support of the majority of its subjects. This support, it must be noted, need not be active enthusiasm; it may well be passive resignation as if to an inevitable law of nature.

Murray Rothbard

The proper governmental policy in a depression is strict laissez-faire, including stringent budget slashing, and coupled perhaps with positive encouragement for credit contraction.

Murray Rothbard

Leading the boom of 1838 were state governments, who, finding themselves with the unexpected windfall of a distributed surplus from the federal government, proceeded to spend the money wildly and borrow even more extravagantly on public works and other uneconomic forms of ‘investment.’

Murray Rothbard

What is so terrible about transaction costs? On what basis are they considered the ultimate evil, so that their minimization must override all other considerations of choice, freedom, and justice?

Murray Rothbard

Famine emerges from a lack of interlocal trade; when one locality’s food crop fails, since there is virtually no trade with other localities, the bulk of the people starve. It is precisely the permeation of the free market throughout the world that has virtually ended this scourge of famine by permitting trade between areas.

Murray Rothbard

All government wars are unjust.

Murray Rothbard

It is in war that the State really comes into its own: swelling in power, in number, in pride, in absolute dominion over the economy and the society.

Murray Rothbard

The State thrives on war – unless, of course, it is defeated and crushed – expands on it, glories in it.

Murray Rothbard

There is one good thing about Marx: he was not a Keynesian.

Murray Rothbard

Libertarians regard the state as the Supreme, the eternal, the best organized aggressor against the persons and property of the mass of the public. All states everywhere, whether democratic, dictatorial, or monarchical, whether red, white, blue or brown.

Murray Rothbard

Early economic theory was rooted in the Italian, French, and Spanish traditions, which were subjectivist oriented. Then it shifted onto the terrible path by Smith and Ricardo and the British classical tradition, which is ‘objectivist’ – values are in inherent in production.

Murray Rothbard

Subjectivism is not an absolute principle; it is a necessary but not sufficient condition for sound methodology.

Murray Rothbard

Positivism eliminates any kind of natural law principle – for example, that there are economic laws which can be transgressed only at your peril. With positivism, there is a tendency to leap into ad hoc economic theory.

Murray Rothbard

After the Volcker Fund collapsed, I got another grant from the Lilly Endowment to do a history of the U.S., which I worked on from 1962-66. The original idea was to take the regular facts and put a libertarian assessment on everything.

Murray Rothbard

We have gotten to the point where everything the government does is counterproductive; the conclusion, of course, is that the government should do nothing at all, that is, should retire quickly from the monetary and economic scene and allow freedom and free markets to work.

Murray Rothbard

The successful entrepreneurs on the free market will be the ones most adept at anticipating future business conditions. Yet, the forecasting can never be perfect, and entrepreneurs will continue to differ in the success of their judgments. If this were not so, no profits or losses would ever be made in business.

Murray Rothbard

Declines in specific industries can never ignite a general depression. Shifts in data will cause increases in activity in one field, declines in another.

Murray Rothbard

The ‘boom-bust’ cycle is generated by monetary intervention in the market, specifically bank credit expansion to business.

Murray Rothbard

Savings and investment are indissolubly linked. It is impossible to encourage one and discourage the other.

Murray Rothbard

While other individuals or institutions obtain their income by production of goods and services and by the peaceful and voluntary sale of these goods and services to others, the State obtains its revenue by the use of compulsion; that is, by the use and the threat of the jailhouse and the bayonet.

Murray Rothbard

The majority must be persuaded by ideology that their government is good, wise and, at least, inevitable, and certainly better than other conceivable alternatives. Promoting this ideology among the people is the vital social task of the ‘intellectuals.’

Murray Rothbard

Many and subtle are the ideological weapons that the State has wielded through the centuries. Once excellent weapon has been tradition. The longer that the rule of a State has been able to preserve itself, the more powerful this weapon; for then, the X Dynasty or the Y State has the seeming weight of centuries of tradition behind it.

Murray Rothbard

The State has invariably shown a striking talent for the expansion of its powers beyond any limits that might be imposed upon it.

Murray Rothbard