Sabra and Shatila

Sabra and Shatila

Originally published at "The Massacre" in The Libertarian Forum, October 1982. All other news, all other concerns, fade into insignificance beside the enormous horror of the massacre in Beirut. All humanity is outraged at the wanton slaughter of hundreds of men (mainly elderly), women, and children in the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila. The days of the massacre— September 16 to 18—shall truly live in infamy. There is one ray of hope in this bloodbath: the world-wide outrage demonstrates that mankind’s sensibilities have not, as some have feared, been blunted by the butcheries...

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The Crisis of American Foreign Policy

The Crisis of American Foreign Policy

"War is even worse than OSHA and price controls." –Murray Rothbard https://mises-media.s3.amazonaws.com/media-large/Rothbard_19800923_0.mp3 Chris Sciabarra: In September 1980, I extended an invitation to Murray to be among the speakers featured in a nearly week-long “Libertython” sponsored by the NYU chapter of Students for a Libertarian Society—dedicated to exploring the politics, economics, and philosophy of freedom. On September 23, 1980, he gave the second of six scheduled lectures that day. His lecture focused on “The Crisis of American Foreign Policy,” wherein I introduced him to a...

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War, Peace, and the State

The libertarian movement has been chided by William F. Buckley, Jr., for failing to use its "strategic intelligence" in facing the major problems of our time. We have, indeed, been too often prone to "pursue our busy little seminars on whether or not to demunicipalize the garbage collectors" (as Buckley has contemptuously written), while ignoring and failing to apply libertarian theory to the most vital problem of our time: war and peace. There is a sense in which libertarians have been utopian rather than strategic in their thinking, with a tendency to divorce the ideal system which we...

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Our Anti-Imperialist Heritage

Our Anti-Imperialist Heritage

Murray N. Rothbard on War These edited extracts, from an interview in the February 1973 issue of Reason magazine, first ran in the June 1999 issue of The Rothbard-Rockwell Report, published by the Center for Libertarian Studies. The introduction is taken from “Murray N. Rothbard: A Legacy of Liberty,” by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. Introduction Murray N. Rothbard (1926-1995) was just one man with a typewriter, but he inspired a world-wide renewal in the scholarship of liberty. During 45 years of research and writing, in 25 books and thousands of articles, he battled every destructive trend in...

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Wall Street, Banks, and American Foreign Policy

Businessmen or manufacturers can either be genuine free enterprisers or statists; they can either make their way on the free market or seek special government favors and privileges. They choose according to their individual preferences and values. But bankers are inherently inclined toward statism. Commercial bankers, engaged as they are in unsound fractional reserve credit, are, in the free market, always teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. Hence they are always reaching for government aid and bailout. Investment bankers do much of their business underwriting government bonds, in the...

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Do You Hate the State?

I have been ruminating recently on what are the crucial questions that divide libertarians. Some that have received a lot of attention in the last few years are: anarcho-capitalism vs. limited government, abolitionism vs. gradualism, natural rights vs. utilitarianism, and war vs. peace. But I have concluded that as important as these questions are, they don't really cut to the nub of the issue, of the crucial dividing line between us. Let us take, for example, two of the leading anarcho-capitalist works of the last few years: my own For a New Liberty and David Friedman's Machinery of...

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How to Look at Tariffs

The best way to look at tariffs or import quotas or other protectionist restraints is to forget about political boundaries. Political boundaries of nations may be important for other reasons, but they have no economic meaning whatever. Suppose, for example, that each state of the United States were a separate nation. Then we would hear a lot of protectionist bellyaching that we are now fortunately spared. Think of the howls by inefficient, high-priced New York or Rhode Island textile manufacturers who would then be complaining about the "unfair," "cheap labor" competition from various...

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The Laissez-Faire Radical: A Quest for the Historical Mises

That Ludwig von Mises was the outstanding champion of laissez-faire and the free-market economy in this century is well known and needs no documentation. But in the course of refining and codifying his political views, Mises's followers have unwittingly distorted them and made them seem at one with the modern conservative movement in the United States. Mises is made to appear a sort of National Review intellectual concentrating on the free-market aspects of conservatism. While the image of Mises as an essential conservative is scarcely made up of the whole cloth, it totally overlooks rich...

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Last Rights: The Death of American Liberty

Last Rights: The Death of American Liberty

Americans today have “freedom” to be fleeced, groped, injected, harassed, surveilled, vilified, disarmed, beaten, detained, and maybe shot by federal agents. From hapless homeowners hit by SWAT raids to pandemic lockdowns pointlessly paralyzing lives, government...

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