This article is a followup to an article I wrote bashing anarchist/KKK member and supporter, Murray Rothbard.
The reaction I got from it did as I predicted, which was to send a bunch of members locked inside his cult out of the bubble, and touched the cold truth that they have made a god out of a borderline no-name economist who praised David Duke and never achieved a damn thing in his life.
I stand resolutely by this message and will continue to believe that his views are that of radicalized teenagers and creepy overweight middle aged guys. He never achieved anything, and economists such as Milton Friedman can take the title as the free market thinkers who actually did change the world globally on foreign, social, and economic policy. In this though, I got a negative response from someone I actually do like: Tom Woods.
Before getting into Rothbard and Woods, I will address some of the reactions I got due to the article.
I was asked whether I’ve ever actually read any of Rothbard’s books. The answer is yes, I’ve read four of his books and listened to maybe 6 to 10 of his lectures over the years.
I was asked how libertarian am I actually if I don’t like Rothbard. I pointed out I’m an actual libertarian and Murray Rothbard wasn’t. In other words, Murray Rothbard was an anarchist and anarchy is not libertarianism.
I was asked if I’d respond to Christopher Cantwell’s mention of me? I responded with the following: “Chris Cantwell is a fat loser who is the most likely anarchist I’ve ever seen to be collecting welfare checks. He needs to get a job and grow up.” Plus, the fact that he, apparently, in his video rebuttal to me, joked around about how slavery was okay and it “kept the blacks in order”, is probably good enough reason to look at the tree from which the bad apple came. That tree being Rothbard. PS: Cantwell is a fat Neckbeard!
Anyway, moving on to the point of Tom Woods.
Regardless of the fact that Tom Woods is disagreeing me on this, I still like him and a lot of his work. I really enjoyed his talks on the Depression of 1920, and, while I don’t really think he knows what he’s doing on economic predictions, as a historian, he’s incredible. He also seems like a nice man from seeing him at events, and I hope he realizes this dialogue is purely for the point of ideologies and I don’t aim to be personal at all. Unless, of course, it’s Chris Cantwell, in which that guy should just go get out of his mother’s trailer park and take that job offer as fry cook and see where it goes.
The first thing to note is I don’t feel Tom Woods actually debunked a single one of my claims when defending Rothbard in his podcast or in his article. The guy literally didn’t really mention how I called out Rothbard as a failed political strategist for his ties with Strom Thurmond and David Duke. He didn’t try and prove he’s a good economist, just saying the man could give good speeches at Neckbeard conferences. He didn’t really counter me much when I called out Rothbard as never achieving a damn thing in his life to influence public policy. Instead, it was just him and conspiracy theorist/Donald Trump fanboy Lew Rockwell just running on for an hour telling stories like old men at a coffee shop going “Oh, old Murray!”
The thing that bothered me the most was how I got referred to as some brash young hothead trying to define an ideology I don’t understand. This annoyed me. I was literally at age 14 the guy who was getting books written by Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman, as Christmas gifts. While not even being over 25, I have read countless books on this subject, co-founded a social media platform with over 100,000 followers online for libertarianism, have multiple patents and made a pretty substantial amount of money on Bitcoin. I apologize for not having a PhD and going to speak at events with a whomping 40 attendees, but I do think I hold some right to make claims and make cases with libertarianism. This level of arrogance displayed is exactly why this movement is a joke.
I’d like to personally tell Tom Woods, Lew Rockwell and other people a very sad truth about the libertarian movement. It is a complete joke to the vast majority of the world and even many people in it. Ron Paul outspent Rick Santorum 2 to 1 and stayed in twice as long, but couldn’t even get half the votes he did. Rand Paul, who I donated money to, and really loved as a candidate, could invest $15 million into Iowa and not walk out with 5% of the vote there, almost getting into a tie with Jeb Bush who barely campaigned. There is, despite 5 to 6 decades of work into this movement, only two sitting members of Congress who do a decent job of representing us. This is the movement you’re not welcoming people like myself to come on, and say what the hell is wrong with it? This is your success to cherish and take pride in?
Woods and Rockwell seemed to cherish Rothbard’s influence, stating he was the man who brought Austrian economics back. Just boasting on about lectures with Rothbard, where he moved the room and he created a sea of people backing the Austrian school.
Just a really really simple point for Tom Woods and many other libertarians out there: The Austrian school isn’t a success. It’s a complete and total failure with zero global influence and limited evidence to suggest many of their theories even work. It’s literally labeled, very often, as the economics school where people don’t need to know math to claim expertise. The economics school where every 29 year old virgin living in their mother’s basement is an expert!
Here is why it’s a failure:
- Not one major financial firm uses it for serious reference.
- Not one White House administration, or any cabinet of any nation, supports it or takes it seriously.
- Perhaps 2 to 5 members of Congress formally back it.
- Not one policy reform, globally, could be labeled Austrian, unless they took credit for a microeconomic policy which the Chicago school made happen.
- The entire Austrian school of economics largely does consists of rooms of older nerdier white men who all had their virginities lost at ages which numbers are higher than the poll numbers of any candidate they’ve ever supported. Literally…
Plus, there’s a fundamental lie that Tom Woods, Lew Rockwell and Peter Schiff have been pandering about the Austrian school for decades, giving a false magic trick to libertarian-leaning college students. This complete and utter bullshit that they’ve predicted every economic collapse in the last five decades.
Why is it a lie?
Because the Austrian school has never once not said that the economy is about to collapse. Go back to interviews with Peter Schiff and Tom Woods from about six years back and find that every single year since it has been the same “Well, the economy, any day now!” despite every metric suggesting growth has happened. And to point out even more on why they are complete and total false prophets with regards to economic predictions, is the fact none of them have actually gotten rich on it.
Peter Schiff ran around in his 2010 senate campaign lying under this banner that he’s the only one who predicted the 2008 financial collapse with the housing bubble. I’d just make one simple point: There was a little movie titled The Big Short with some pretty big name actors in it. It is a very oddly true story about a handful of the hundreds of people who shorted the housing market and made millions, or even billions, on it. Peter Schiff, with Euro Pacific Capital in 2006 if I’m correct, had maybe $2 billion under management. I could be wrong on this, but I’m going by numbers I heard a long time ago. Also, Peter Schiff is what I’d assume a pretty wealthy guy himself who could get some contacts together and raise quite a bit for a project. If Schiff and other Austrian economists actually did predict a collapse and predict it way in advance, wouldn’t they have made money on it? Schiff could have taken his fund, put 10% of it into shorts on housing and likely made himself a billionaire. Instead, he sold overpriced gold, didn’t make that much money on the collapse compared to others, and his fund tanked about a year after the recession.
And this is the scam of the false prophets in Austrian theory.
Really, Ron Paul, Peter Schiff… Why do all libertarians seem to have a scam cash-for-gold business selling overpriced coins on commercial breaks of Rush Limbaugh? I don’t know, perhaps due to their desire to monetize the fear-mongering they bring to people who are culted into the idea that America is about to collapse due to some Federal Reserve bubble, and they can only live if they buy gold from them.
Seriously, that’s actually what’s happening.
I’ve met at least over a dozen libertarians who are literally watching these joke podcasts from Tom Woods, Peter Schiff and Ron Paul, who haven’t a clue about real finances and are going out at age 23 to take the $1,000 in their bank account they got from birthday gifts, and buy a sack of gold and silver. It’s a total joke and they should honestly feel a sense of shame for giving such false information out.
And that brings me to my big point and the topic of where libertarianism is heading. And Tom Woods won’t like this, but I’ll say it: It’s heading towards people such as myself. People who are not in a cult, like how Murray Rothbard made libertarianism. People who can look at things objectively and not just in rogue principles. Those who can make realistic economic predictions, but also point out we aren’t in some movie where everything is about to collapse or the world is out to get them. Just ambitious people who can engage socially and favor drug legalization, laissez faire capitalism and less war. However, at the same time, hold views and be able to compromise. This is a skill that Tom Woods, who called me immature, with his cronies at Mises, have never had.
So, I’m going to say it: The age of Ron Paul is dead. The age of Rothbard never was. The age of pragmatic libertarianism is coming and the Neckbeards at rallies will be obsolete in five years when fiscally conservative people who are young now, can vote and have the power to not love God, hate gays, hate pot and want to stone immigrants. There will be a group of regular people saying balance the budget, keep abortion legal, give amnesty to hard working immigrants, and do so with a level of balance and critical thinking that the Rothbard fanboys never have had.
I’m going to have to address Rothbard again and stop knocking Tom Woods and the purist anarchist. So, I just want Tom Woods to personally answer four questions of mine:
- What, in terms of actual policy proposals, did Murray Rothbard do that changed any nation globally, with his influence?
- The first person Rothbard ever endorsed was Strom Thurmond, and the last was David Duke. Can you say with a straight face this was a good political practice?
- Do you, in all honesty, think Austrian economics is relevant in today’s society in any form compared to the successes of Keynes or Chicago, which took less than a third the time to get 1000 times as popular?
- Do you, in all honesty, believe that the Austrian school and Rothbard are predicting every economic collapse properly and effectively? Also, if so, why has no one in the Austrian community monetized this and why does no major financial firm use Austrian economics?
Sorry, I went a little off topic in this article, but a real conversation needs to happen. And I’m glad Tom Woods is ready to seem to want to make it happen. I’d love to interview him, or vice versa, in the future. I’ve interviewed Gary Johnson, Glenn Beck, Michael Flynn and Cenk Uyger. I’d be totally happy to talk this out a bit more with him and feel there is a clear divide in the liberty movement with people such as me who want pragmatism, and people such as him, who I in all honesty, think are just juvenile nerds living in some fantasy in which PhDs save the world.
Anyway, let’s still all vote for a Gary Johnson this November!
This post was written by Charles Peralo.
The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.