Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

July 29, 2010

Justin Raimondo, the America First Committee and the antiwar left

Filed under: antiwar — louisproyect @ 4:06 pm

Justin Raimondo

I think most people who read my blog are aware of a website called antiwar.com that is run by someone named Justin Raimondo. It was launched during Clinton’s intervention in the Balkans and has promoted the same non-intervention principles with respect to the military adventures that appear like clockwork during a period of declining capitalist fortunes.

Unlike such groups as Workers World Party and the CPUSA that have played a role in one antiwar coalition or another since the “war on terror” began, Raimondo identifies with the old right, the isolationist current in American society that found expression in the America First Committee at the beginning of WWII. Raimondo is a libertarian as well and obviously has a strong affinity with the positions taken by Congressman Ron Paul who has been opposed to foreign interventions despite his pro-capitalist politics. For that matter, it is also the orientation of the comedian Bill Maher who wears his libertarian politics proudly.

On the “about us” page at antiwar.com, there’s a tribute to Murray Rothbard, an interesting character who I ran across doing some research on a study of the New Deal that like so many of my projects never came to fruition. One of the books I looked at in conjunction with this project was “A new history of Leviathan; essays on the rise of the American corporate state”, co-edited by Rothbard and Ronald Radosh. At the time (1972) Radosh was still a leftist while Rothbard was at pretty much the same place as Raimondo today. Fortunately this book is downloadable from Scribd and I recommend it strongly as an antidote to the kind of mush-headed liberalism that puts people like Woodrow Wilson and FDR on a pedestal, especially Radosh’s “The Myth of the New Deal”. Rothbard has a couple of essays, including one that makes the case that FDR simply expanded on Herbert Hoover’s own “corporate liberalism”. One wonders if Barack Obama might have been inspired by Rothbard’s essay, but putting the emphasis more on Hoover than FDR after taking office.

Like Radosh, Rothbard grew up as a Red Diaper baby. In the 1950s, he took classes with von Mises at NYU and became a convert to the Austrian school of economics, while politically calling himself an anarcho-capitalist. The wiki on Rothbard establishes the link between him and Raimondo:

During the 1970s and 1980s, Rothbard was active in the Libertarian Party. He was frequently involved in the party’s internal politics. From 1978 to 1983, he was associated with the Libertarian Party Radical Caucus, allying himself with Justin Raimondo, Eric Garris and Williamson Evers.

Rothbard died in 1995 and I guess it is safe to say that Raimondo is carrying a torch for him. It is worth mentioning that he is also openly gay but has derided gay marriage as being “based on a heterosexual model of sexual and emotional relationships, one that just doesn’t fit the gay lifestyle.”

Yesterday Raimondo published an article on antiwar.com that took issue with a small Trotskyist group called Socialist Action that had played a key role in organizing a conference in Connecticut that sought to revivify the antiwar movement. His main objection is that some of the speakers attacked the Tea Party movement and other rightist forces. Since Ron Paul has garnered a great deal of support from the Tea Party, Raimondo was naturally offended. He writes:

Now, I did not attend this conference, and have no idea what the upshot of the discussion was; however, Benjamin and Zeese have expressed their support for such a coalition (the former somewhat tentatively, and the latter with more conviction). [This is a reference to a workshop titled “The Rise of Right Wing Populism & the Tea Party: Do We Need a Right-Left Coalition?”] On the other hand, one can easily imagine that [Glen] Ford, who has called the Ron Paul movement and the tea partiers “racists,” and advocates of “white nationalism,” and Gauvreau, a leftist who spent much of this speech mouthing all the expected slogans, see a left-right coalition as a deadly threat to “their” movement.

Kevin Zeese has advocated building an antiwar coalition with conservative groups in—surprise, surprise—antiwar.com. There is some logic to this since he ran as a Libertarian candidate in 2006, despite his close ties to Ralph Nader. Of course, this makes some sense since Nader’s Jeffersonian embrace of small-town shopkeeper American values overlaps to some extent with far right populism. At times, it would be difficult to distinguish between passages in a Pat Buchanan and a Ralph Nader speech when it comes to “globalization”.

For her part, Medea Benjamin raised the possibility of building an alliance with the Tea Party as reported on Huffington Post last April:

Perhaps the Tea Party and peace folks–unlikely allies–can agree that one way to shrink big government is to rein in military spending. Here are some questions to get the conversation going:

* At the Southern Republican Leadership Conference on April 10, Congressman Ron Paul — who has a great following within the Tea Party — chided both conservatives and liberals for their profligate spending on foreign military bases, occupations and maintaining an empire. “We’re running out of money,” he warned. “All empires end for financials [sic] reasons, and that is what the markets are telling us today….We can do better with peace than with war.” Do you agree with Congressman Paul on this?

Now I might be missing something, but I have seen no evidence of Tea Party opposition to the war in Afghanistan, despite Ron Paul’s laudable opposition to that war. Furthermore, it is his son Rand Paul who is much more of the darling of the Tea Party than his dad. You also have to consider that Rand Paul is on record:

Washington Wire: Your father opposed the war in Iraq.

Paul: I would have voted no on the Iraq war and yes to Afghanistan. The main thing I say on war is that we need to obey the law and formally declare war.

This does not seem very promising in terms of coalition building, does it?

Of some interest to me as an amateur historian of American imperialist wars was Justin Raimondo’s praise of America First, a group I knew only by reputation—and not a very good one, I’m afraid. Raimondo writes:

Their [Socialist Action] account of the America First movement repeats all the old Stalinist canards about the biggest peace movement in American history: it was run by big businessmen, it was “anti-Semitic,” it wasn’t really for peace, just pro-Hitler. The article cites the considered opinion of James P. Cannon, the Trotskyist leader at the time, as saying “the ‘isolationists’ in elite circles merely held a tactical difference with those of their peers who were for sending U.S. armaments to Britain.” Their real goal, he thought, was to consolidate their control over the Western hemisphere in preparation for intervening in Europe.

Cannon’s view is nonsensical, as anyone who has read the writings of America First leader and top activist John T. Flynn would readily understand: Flynn was a principled opponent of US intervention abroad, because he understood what turn of the century liberal Randolph Bourne meant when he said “War is the health of the State.” Flynn and his co-thinkers wanted to limit the power of the American state – a goal not shared by Trotsky’s disciples.

In any case, what the Socialist Actioneers fail to note, in their endless polemic, is that the America First Committee mobilized millions against the war: it had 800,000 members (dues-paying members, I might add), and a Washington lobby that very nearly sunk Roosevelt’s ever-accelerating drive to drag us into war in Europe. Massive rallies conducted on a nationwide scale kept the Roosevelt administration in check, right up until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The War Party had to take the “back door to war,” as one historian put it, in order to get us in.

In a way, all of this is moot for a couple of reasons. Raimondo fails to point out that America First was opposed to building any kind of coalition with the left, including the CP when it was dovetailing politically with isolationists during the short-lived Stalin-Hitler non-aggression pact. If, by the way, you want to get a good idea about CP thinking during this period, you should watch the movie “Woman of the Year” that starred Spencer Tracy as a left-leaning isolationist and Katherine Hepburn as an ardent interventionist, evoking women like the awful Samantha Power. Or you can listen to the Woody Guthrie song “Washington Breakdown” that included this lyric:

Franklin D., listen to me, You ain’t gonna send me across the sea, ‘Cross the sea, ‘cross the sea. You may say it’s for defense, It’s that kind of talk I’m against…

But even more importantly, America First fell apart almost immediately after Pearl Harbor. In an article titled “The America First Committee”, written by Wayne Cole for the Winter 1951 edition of the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, we learn:

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was the death blow for America First. The Committee statement on December 7 urged its followers “to give their support to the effort of this country until the conflict with Japan is brought to a successful conclusion.” On December 11, 1941, the national committee voted to dissolve the America First Committee, and its followers were again urged to support the war effort. All that remained was the dreary task of dissolution.

Apparently the America First Committee was just as capable of turning on a dime politically as the Communist Party. Whether that turn is based on the exigencies facing the Kremlin or America’s corporate brass—an element of which that largely comprised the America First Committee—hardly matters when it comes to the all-important question of war and peace.

17 Comments »

  1. The main reason, more than any other, that there’s so little organized anti-war activity is the fact that, unlike during the Vietnam war, there are so few US casualties. It’s the lack of body bags which makes so profound a difference here.

    Illusions about Barack Obama – which were and are baseless since he campaigned on a promise to escalate the war in Afghanistan – are secondary to the lack of body bags. They play a role, but a secondary role compared to the lack of body bags.

    Sure, it would be better if there were more united action by left-wing activists, and if that conference held in Albany would have been bigger and broader, but Washington has been successful in changing the price of this war from human bodies through the use of high-technology devices like those drones, and so on.

    Samples of what’s posted to Antiwar.com include:

    Many More Wikileaks Coming
    Julian Assange is just getting started
    http://antiwar.com/radio/2010/07/28/julian-assange-2/

    Calling All Wikileakers!
    Daniel Ellsberg says it’s time to step up
    http://antiwar.com/radio/2010/07/28/daniel-ellsberg-9/

    The Fifth Estate
    Ray McGovern on Wikileaks, the Times and the future
    http://antiwar.com/radio/2010/07/28/ray-mcgovern-24/

    Iran Would Halt Enrichment for Fuel Swap
    US more interested in talks with sanctions already passed
    http://news.antiwar.com/2010/07/28/iran-would-halt-20-percent-uranium-enrichment-for-fuel-swap/

    These are some examples, and they’re hardly the writings of the enemies of the political left.

    Nostalgia for previous periods of history, normally ones which took place before any of the nostalgia-mongers were even born, is an all-too-familiar phenomenon. Back where I used to hang my hat, in the Trotskyist world, the idea that we had to find a model in the Russian Revolution of 1917 was, and remains, the presumed recipe to guarantee success.

    Unfortunately, there’s no way to wish a broader anti-war movement into existence. Objective conditions are decisive. Even with hundreds of thousands of US troops in Vietnam in 1965, anti-war demonstrations were of modest numerical dimensions. Relative economic prosperity played vital role as well, but even that didn’t stop the growth of a massive anti-war movement when the body bags became unmistakably numerous.

    There’s plenty of day-to-day anti-war work which can be done right now.

    Comment by Walter Lippmann — July 29, 2010 @ 4:38 pm

  2. It might be worth adding that Raimondo praises the SWP of the 1960s for building a single-issue antiwar movement around ‘Out Now!’

    The irony here is that it was the Trotskyists in the 1960s who really understood how to build a mass antiwar movement: the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) had a really effective strategy and that was to make the antiwar movement during the Vietnam era a single issue movement. The idea was to unite all who could be united around a simple axiomatic principle: Get the US out of Vietnam. Period. The SWPers were among the most energetic and effective antiwar organizers because they knew the difference between building a mass movement around the issue of war and peace and building a political party: the former had to be broad and all-inclusive, as opposed to the latter, which, by definition, has a more comprehensive (and self-limiting) character.

    Comment by Ken MacLeod — July 29, 2010 @ 5:57 pm

  3. The way things are shaping up in this country, I think we’re going to see some kind of eclectic libertarian green coalition emerge that contains features of the old “Republican” party of Hugh Scott and Jacob Javits, with a strong measure of Peronism to keep the U.S. “left” in line. Sort of like the hodgepodge that came together to form the early Republican party, nothing with an anti-capitalist perspective, but a political formation that will act mildly against the more voracious appetites of capital, just as Lincoln and the early Republicans were forced by the war to move against slavery. I think that’s all we’re going to get out of these clowns- none of whom even have the complex character of a Lincoln- until such time as marxist thinkers learn how to work and posit more creatively in one of the weirdest cultural contexts the world has ever seen.

    Comment by Michael Hureaux — July 29, 2010 @ 8:01 pm

  4. Louis, an interesting post. You are absolutely right to make the point (in another, separate post of yours) that what is important is Who Rules. Rothbard would have agreed with you. He admired the work of Bill Domhoff, whose website on research into the power structure of the US (WhoRulesAmerica.net) is, in my opinion, an underappreciated resource for understanding events and motivations and the linkage between US wars and domestic politics. Domhoff in turn is a follower of C. Wright Mills, whose “maverick” and outspoken work on power and class was and still is mistrusted in the acadmeic social science mainstream, which of course has long depended on its cozying up to power for its livelihood.

    It is also worth noting that Justin Raimondo is the author of an extended “biographical sketch” of Murray Rothbard entitled “An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard” (Prometheus Books, 2000). To the nest of my knowledge this is currently the only full-length biography of Rothbard. The book review at this link (http://www.depressedmetabolism.com/an-enemy-of-the-state-the-life-of-murray-n-rothbard/), which is not entirely flattering, helps to put into perspective Rothbard’s many enthusiasms and fallings-out over the course of his lifetime, and explains that he was above all a master of agitprop in the cause of liberty.

    Rothbard’s other abiding principle, incidentally, was always to ask Cui Bono? or, to put it more prosaically, to follow the money.

    Comment by Richard Wall — July 29, 2010 @ 10:34 pm

  5. Hi,

    Hope all is well.

    As a Christian I believe in Loving ones enemies and doing good to all. I hate war as much as I hate Facism and Imperialism which is with all my heart. But as far as a political alliance let me ask this- What other issue unites you except opposition to the war?

    I do not admire Lenin but he did do somethings right. If Lenin would not join with the Menshevicks or even certain people in the Bolshevik party he must be rolling over in his grave at this notion.

    Trotsky’s idea of the permanent revolution should be adhered to. The good book warns “Do not be uneqally yoked” and “What does light and dark have in common?”

    Another question to ask is what about candidates for election? Sarah Palin as president?

    One must think a few steps down the road and see where things would lead.

    Love,

    John Kaniecki

    Comment by John Kaniecki — July 29, 2010 @ 10:42 pm

  6. Re: 1930s CP turning on a dime, here’s Woody singing the praises of WW2 and damning the America Firsters:

    Mister Charlie Lindbergh, he flew to old Berlin,
    Got ‘im a big Iron Cross, and he flew right back again
    To Washington, Washington.

    Misses Charlie Lindbergh, she come dressed in red,
    Said: “I’d like to sleep in that pretty White House bed
    In Washington, Washington.”

    Lindy said to Annie: “We’ll get there by and by,
    But we’ll have to split the bed up with Wheeler, Clark, and Nye
    In Washington, Washington.”

    Hitler wrote to Lindy, said “Do your very worst,”
    Lindy started an outfit that he called America First
    In Washington, Washington.

    All around the country, Lindbergh, he did fly,
    Gasoline was paid for by Hoover, Clark, and Nye
    In Washington, Washington.

    Lindy said to Hoover: “We’ll do the same as France:
    Make a deal with Hitler, and then we’ll get our chance
    In Washington, Washington.”

    Then they had a meetin’, and all the Firsters come,
    Come on a-walkin’, they come on a-runnin’,
    In Washington, Washington.

    … So I’m a gonna tell you people: If Hitler’s gonna be beat,
    The common workin’ people has got to take the seat
    In Washington, Washington.

    And I’m gonna tell you workers, ‘fore you cash in your checks:
    They say “America First,” but they mean “America Next!”
    In Washington, Washington.

    http://www.lyricsmania.com/lindbergh_lyrics_woody_guthrie.html

    Comment by Nik Barry-Shaw — July 30, 2010 @ 1:14 am

  7. Guthrie’s lyrics describe the “tea party” movement perfectly. Beware.

    Comment by ish — July 30, 2010 @ 1:37 am

  8. So am I to believe that after making a living off of chasing Democrats, Medea Benjamin is now pursuing the reactionary right as potential partners in opposing the Afghanistan war?

    Of course, in order to woo the latter, the “left” will have to trim its sails…just as it does when it sucks up to the Democrats. What that would mean in practice is alienating the traditional constituencies of what passes for the left, ie, trade unionists, Blacks, immigrant workers, women, gays; i.e., those elements who are potentially the most sympathetic to socialism, and in the case of the working class (which encompasses all of them) has a material interest in such an agenda.

    Hand in hand with that goes keeping mum on issues like health care, social security, jobs, housing, abortion rights, etc. in order to entice elements of the pro-capitalist, i.e., “libertarian” reactionary right who oppose a particular war from a totally different class perspective. Of course, Benjamin and Co. had no problem doing the same thing vis-a-vis Democrats like John Kerry and Obama who didn’t even oppose the war(s) to begin with.

    For radicals, let alone Marxists, war is inherent in imperialist capitalism and we oppose the former in order to better build the struggle against the latter. To subordinate movements to supporters of capitalism, be they on the reactionary right or the liberal “left” (the Democrats) is to ensure that no anti-capitalist struggle and movement ever gets off the ground. Raimondo, no doubt is far more principled in his opposition to American wars than Benjamin, Leslie Cagan and all the rest of the pro-Democratic party liberal left, just as Ron Paul is more anti-war and pro civil liberties than John Kerry or Obama. But let’s not forget for one minute that he’s not coming from the same side of the street as we are, and, hence, has no desire to take the same road, either.

    If the left really wants to win over what ever sane middle class elements that constitute the base of the Tea Party, as opposed to chasing after its reactionary capitalist leaders, it can start by fighting for a pro-working class (and needless to say, anti-war) agenda all across the board, and that means taking on the pro-war and pro-Wall Street Obama regime, which is the prime recruiter for the radical right just as the Clinton regime was in the 1990s.

    P.S. If “Woman of the Year” is reflective of the anti-war Stalinism of 1939-1940, i.e., the years of the Hitler-Stalin pact, “Keeper of the Flame” is its counterpart for the pro-war Popular Front period. This time Tracy is the “anti-fascist,” i.e., pro-FDR, reporter who winds up exposing the Nazi-like machinations of the America First Lindburg type who Katherine Hepburn was married to.

    Comment by Roy Rollin (MN Roy) — July 30, 2010 @ 3:09 am

  9. Ron Paul / John Birch Society / Koch Industries / America First / Tea Party

    All are various strains or spokesmen for factions of ‘domestic capital’ and their positions overlap quite a bit, even over time. They are often at odds with the Wall Street faction in tactics if not desired outcome. They definitely prefer war ‘on the cheap’.

    Comment by purple — July 30, 2010 @ 6:23 am

  10. Every day the political climate seems to grow bleaker and bleaker. As I perused the nearby chain bookstore I see rack after rack of inane far right and libertarian drivel from Sean Hannity to Glenn Beck with a surprisingly few left/liberal tomes to balance the scale and hardly a radical left perspective in sight. I have always found it telling that if a chain bookstore has anything by Marx at all, it is just the Communist Manifesto, as if that contains everything you would ever need to know about the man’s thought or the later revolutionary ideas he was to inspire, but there is no shortage of Ayn Rand or her disciples.
    We on the left most definitely have our work cut out for us as far as just disseminating our ideas are concerned.

    Comment by Rob — July 30, 2010 @ 6:54 am

  11. Raimondo seems to be using Flynn as a figleaf here. As an individual Flynn was principled in his own way and he didn’t simply turn 180 degrees after Pearl Harbor. But you’re correct that most of the America First Committee did. Raimondo seems to be using Flynn as s symbol for something bigger than what he really was.

    Flynn was an interesting character in his own way, but he went off the rails when he began cheering for Joe McCarthy. Flynn’s confusion there is emblamatic of the sort which most conservatives have about McCarthy. McCarthy reached public prominence at a time when a wave of investigations initiated by Truman had uncovered evidence of a Soviet spy ring. McCarthy never did very much to add to these inestigations in any concrete way, but instead he began a wave of ideological scare-mongering which involved shouting out that he had lists of 50, no make that 200, spies in the US government. Nothing was ever initiated by McCarthy to bring about any real investigation of these alleged spies, but he whipped up a panic among the public. Eisenhower regarded McCarthy as a severe nuisance who was making problems for the leading Republican administration, and no more.

    What’s clear about Flynn’s silly decision to start cheering for McCarthy was that it was totally ideologically based. Nothing done by McCarthy and nothing about Flynn’s support for McCarthy was in any way based upon a real investigation of Soviet spies. It was more than anything else part of an ideological grudge which Flynn had developed against Roosevelt which covered a wide range of issues beyond just World War II. In a tract like The Road Ahead: America’s Creeping Revolution, Flynn goes off about how free national health care is a threat which is being prepared for the US. What’s amazing is that there are cranks today who will call what Obama has produced “free national health care” and then begin rambling about how Flynn predicted Obama.

    Comment by PatrickSMcNally — July 30, 2010 @ 9:45 am

  12. Any leftist who doubted the progressive significance the existence of the USSR played ought to note that the reactionary, anti-worker, pro-war, religio-fascist politics that thrives today is only possible because of the absence of the USSR’s world historic counter-hegemonic force, in other words, the collapse of the Soviets was such an enormous defeat for the working class that they’re still suffering the consequences 20 years later.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — July 30, 2010 @ 12:10 pm

  13. Walter Lippman is unfortunately right about the lack of interest in US imperialism’s wars, insofar as the majority of the American people are concerned. Leaving aside the cost of them, which, of course, impacts on social spending and thus, on all of us, the only ones, besides what passes for the far left (and Raimondo) who pay attention to them, are those with family members over there. And as Walter points out, there aren’t enough of those, to provide an audiuence.

    However, there is still what most of the “left” described as “the worst recession since the Great Depression,” and that touches on anyone and everyone who has to work for a living. That there haven’t been any mass mobilizations against layoffs, cutbacks and the welfare for the rich “bailouts” is precisely due to the support given to Obama and the Democrats by the trade union bureaucracy, the major Black oraganizations and the “mass movements” led by liberal left types like Medea Benjamin. And with elections coming this November, you can be sure that none of them are goling to rock the boat and risk getting the GOP back in control of Congress, regardless of how many people are being killed in Iraq and Afghanistan or many people are losing their jobs and homes here. Until that bunch is given their walking papers, we’re in for a dry spell insofar as any kind of activism is concerned.

    Comment by Roy Rollin — July 30, 2010 @ 7:19 pm

  14. Right on, Karl Friedrich. The Soviets were a disaster to be sure, but the political culture that has emerged in the U.S. since the demise of the Soviet Union is more dogmatic and stupid than anything that existed during the years of the Cold War, when the ruling class in this country at least realized they had to build infrastructure in order to be seen as a player in the semi-civilized world. Now the U.S. ruling class cares only about being seen as a credible force, which is something entirely different. And the ongoing mass refusal to critically engage with the earliest efforts to build socialism in the Soviet Union is fucking us up further. More and more “Leftists” identify such study as “obsession with dead Russians”, as opposed to being willing to undertake the study of the whole experience of the shapes socialism has taken in the last near 100 years. Not only what used to be called “actually existing socialism” by some, but the nascent cultural forms of working class resistance. I think what’s most interesting about posting and reading here is that, regardless of where people are coming from at this site, there is an ongoing effort to use marxism as critical tool/cultural analysis. Beats the hell out of wading through ninety per cent of the stupidities that pose as “objective analysis” on non-marxist sites, and even many that think of themselves as marxist.

    Comment by Michael Hureaux — July 30, 2010 @ 8:19 pm

  15. I respectfully suggest that the reason why the anti-war and anti-state writings of Justin Raimondo and Murray Rothbard strike a chord with the esteemed owner of this blog, but with some hesitations, is that Austrian-school class analysis is strongly in sympathy with the Marxist view of history, albeit not with all of its explanatory theories. The essential affinity lies in agreement on the existence of a ruling class and on the existence of exploitation.

    I draw your attention to the 1990 essay by Hans Hermann Hoppe entitled “Marxist and Austrian Class Analysis,” sections of which are reproduced below (slightly paraphrased):

    QUOTE

    Marxism correctly interprets the state as exploitative, [offering] some important insights regarding the logic of state operations.

    For one thing, it recognizes the strategic function of redistributionist state policies. As an exploitative firm, the state must at all times be interested in a low degree of class consciousness among the ruled. The redistribution of property and income is the state’s means by which it can create divisiveness among the public and destroy the formation of a unifying class consciousness among the exploited. Furthermore, the redistribution of state power itself through democratizing the state constitution and opening up every ruling position to everyone and granting everyone the right to participate in the determination of state personnel and policy is actually a means for reducing the resistance against exploitation as such.

    Secondly, the state is … the great center of ideological propaganda and mystification: Exploitation is really freedom; taxes are really voluntary contributions; non- contractual relations are really “conceptually” contractual ones; no one is ruled by anyone but we all rule ourselves; without the state neither law nor security would exist; and the poor would perish, etc. All of this is part of the ideological superstructure designed to legitimize an underlying basis of economic exploitation.

    …Finally, Marxists are .. correct in noticing the close association between the state and business, especially the banking elite, even though their explanation for it is faulty. The reason is not that the bourgeois establishment sees and supports the state as the guarantor of private property rights and contractualism. On the contrary, the establishment correctly perceives the state as the very antithesis to private property that it is and takes a close interest in it for this reason. The more successful a business, the larger the potential danger of governmental exploitation, but the larger also the potential gains that can be achieved if it can come under government’s special protection and is exempt from the full weight of capitalist competition. This is why the business establishment is interested in the state and its infiltration. The ruling elite in turn is interested in close cooperation with the business establishment because of its financial powers. In particular, the banking elite is of interest because as an exploitative firm the state naturally wishes to possess complete autonomy for counterfeiting. By offering to cut the banking elite in on its own counterfeiting machinations and allowing them to counterfeit in addition to its own counterfeited notes under a regime of fractional reserve banking, the state can easily reach this goal and establish a system of state monopolized money and cartelized banking controlled by the central bank. And through this direct counterfeiting connection with the banking system, and by extension the banks’ major clients, the ruling class in fact extends far beyond the state apparatus to the very nerve centers of civil society.

    UNQUOTE

    Comment by Richard Wall — August 4, 2010 @ 10:53 pm

  16. Louis, Raimondo wrote a rather flattering comment about you on his blog, have you read it. Has he found a kindred spirit in you? After all you are both U.S.A. patriots. Will the two of you seat down and forge the historic compromise required to get the antiwar movement going? I not why not?

    Comment by anonymous — August 24, 2010 @ 7:55 pm

  17. Im one of those who see libertarians in the anti-war movement in a ‘With friends like these’ light. Im also quite surprised by the faint praise you give to Rothbard, Im sorry but the difference between a Rand and a Rothbard is like the difference between Likud and Kadima. I think he’s way off base on FDR, to call it a continuation of Hooverism is quite wrong, objectively the New Deal was rather mediocre but in comparison to anything we’ve seen lately its quite radical. Interesting to hear you in fact say something not unlike that more recently. Of course were all a bit annoyed that in response to recent events the most radical thinker many turn to is Keynes but I have to say looking at it longer term a revival of keyneisiasm is a step in the right direction. I thik Naomi Klein for all her Keynes adoration is far better a thinker to draw on then war of all against all Rothbard.

    Comment by SGuy — August 26, 2010 @ 4:38 pm


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