Let us steer by the compass, the journey is the destination

Brad Spangler links to a Molyneaux video about how Ron Paul is a disaster for libertarianism. I totally disagree, and an astute commenter on Spangler's blog, Jeremy, has written a good enough response that I can save some time and just quote him:

The problem I have with his message is that none of what he’s championing precludes supporting Ron Paul. To the extent that it takes energy away from people who would be pursuing other, more authentic anti-state activities, then maybe he has a point. But that’s NOT what I see occurring. Instead, Paul’s campaign is inspiring new activists to seriously think, learn, and act on the principles of individual liberty that we all support - many of them for the first time in their lives. This is not a zero sum game.

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That’s why I see all this (forgive the expression) pissing on Ron Paul’s parade as incredibly ill advised. So what if the campaign is a less-than-perfect vehicle for bringing about change? It’s in good company with the other strategies we libertarians have tried and continue to think up. None of us have it figured out. None of us have enough success that we can go to these people and show them how stupid or misguided they are. We’re all trying to get it right, and it’s counterproductive to turn it into a debate over strategy when we haven’t even captured the majority’s hearts and minds yet!

No, the Ron Paul campaign is not the ideal vehicle for raising libertarian, anti-state consciousness, but it’s the best vehicle we’ve had in some time. Let’s admit it’s flawed and use it for our own ends rather than complaining that the unwashed masses haven’t figured out what we know so well.

Even Ron Paul doesn't think that he has to win to make a difference. By inspiring young people out there with the idea of freedom, and a realization that they are not alone in their beliefs, his campaign is making a difference.

We lovers of freedom are few enough in number that we cannot afford to sneer at those who are not "true believers". We should delight in the philosophy of freedom wherever and however it manifests, not mock those who sully their hands with the machinery of democracy. For the world is not black and white, but infinite shades of gray.

I think this is the fundamental fallacy of the idealistic and elitist folk like Murray Rothbard who moan and gripe over anything that involves compromise or pragmatism about cooperation with the state. They have their mind so fixed on a single point that any deviation is unacceptable. But utopia is not an option.

So we should treat Libertopia, not as a place we are trying to reach, but as a direction towards which we are trying to steer. The winds and currents may sometimes dictate tacking back and forth to make forward progress, but as long as we keep the arrow pointed, inasmuch as we can, towards more liberty and justice for all, tack by tack the world will become an incrementally better place. We might wish to make better headway, but wishing does not make it so, and sailing straight into the teeth of the wind is rarely productive.

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I think this is the

I think this is the fundamental fallacy of the idealistic and elitist folk like Murray Rothbard who moan and gripe over anything that involves compromise or pragmatism about cooperation with the state.

Anyone know how accurate this is? To the contrary, I've heard Caplan criticize Rothbard for excessive compromise, such as with the anti-war left.

Patri is right

Rothbard was a true believer. He didn't like the idea of compromise. His associations with the anti-war left were to bolster his true belief: that the US was to blame for the Cold War, not the USSR.

Yeah right  Government

Yeah right 

Government property is always and everywhere fair game for the libertarian; for the libertarian must rejoice every time any piece of governmental, and therefore stolen, property is returned by any means necessary to the private sector. (Rothbard circa 1969)

We must reject once and for all the left-libertarian view that all government-operated resources must be cesspools. We must try, short of ultimate privatization, to operate government facilities in a manner most conducive to a business, or to neighborhood control. (Rothbard circa 1992)  

Those quotes don't really

Those quotes don't really capture the Rothbard worldview. He wrote a lot of things over many decades, and most of it was from an all-encompassing rationalist (as opposed to pluralist) worldview. An example:

Do you hate the state?

They do capture his

They do capture his paleolibertarian shift against immigration on a deep level, the status of public property. It's a big philosophical shift, not just a different stance. The main difference between Walter Block and Hans Hermann Hoppe for example.

I thought of quoting "Do you hate the state" too but went for "The Case for Radical Idealism" in my other comment. Radicalism is more a state of mind than anything else, but it has practical implications and must be cultivated. I also wrote a post a while ago on radical gradualism.

I know he voted for LBJ over

I know he voted for LBJ over Goldwater in 1964 on the basis that not dropping the bomb was better than a conervative treatment of the economy.

I think this is the

I think this is the fundamental fallacy of the idealistic and elitist folk like Murray Rothbard who moan and gripe over anything that involves compromise or pragmatism about cooperation with the state. They have their mind so fixed on a single point that any deviation is unacceptable. But utopia is not an option.

I think calling Murray Rothbard an elitist is very far from the truth, Rothbard clearly was a populist, as opposed to, say, Hayek.

Rothbard did prove he was compromising finding allies from the left to the conservative old right and changing his focus depending on his allies (while maintaining somewhat consistent principles). What characterizes Rothbard is really radicalism.

Rothbard says:

The major problem with the opportunists is that by confining themselves strictly to gradual and "practical" programs, programs that stand a good chance of immediate adoption, they are in grave danger of completely losing sight of the ultimate objective, the libertarian goal. He who confines himself to calling for a two percent reduction in taxes helps to bury the ultimate goal of abolition of taxation altogether. By concentrating on the immediate means, he helps liquidate the ultimate goal, and therefore the point of being a libertarian in the first place. If libertarians refuse to hold aloft the banner of the pure principle, of the ultimate goal, who will? The answer is no one, hence another major source of defection from the ranks in recent years has been the erroneous path of opportunism.

He is not opposing practical programs per se but pointing out that, lest someone holds true principles they are in danger of being forgotten.

There is no doubt that Rothbard would have supported Ron Paul since his campaign relies on two of what he considered to be the most important issues, banking and war.

In defense of Rothbard

Government property is always and everywhere fair game for the libertarian; for the libertarian must rejoice every time any piece of governmental, and therefore stolen, property is returned by any means necessary to the private sector. (Rothbard circa 1969)

We must reject once and for all the left-libertarian view that all government-operated resources must be cesspools. We must try, short of ultimate privatization, to operate government facilities in a manner most conducive to a business, or to neighborhood control. (Rothbard circa 1992)
Not necessarily inconsistent. He could easily be pro-theft but against vandalism/mismanagement of public resources.

The first

The first quote is part of an argument made against Randians claiming the students protesting the war on university campuses where trespassers (and fucking hippies). It is certainly not conducive to business or to neighborhood control to operate a university allowing this kind of demonstration. In the second quote, Rothbard embraces the paleolibertarian view that government property can and should have rules mimicking what the market would do (short of privatization), in the first he claims the opposite.

When two austrolibertarians discuss about the right of a hobbo to pee in a public library, they're really discussing immigration.  

http://www.mises.org/journals/jls/13_2/13_2_4.pdf
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