Betrayal of the American Right, The

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Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2007 - Anarchism - 231 pages

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Murray Rothbard in his Betrayal of the American Right gives the history of the "right" side of the political spectrum and how it changed in the twentieth century. The "extremists" of the Old Right ... Read full review

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An eye-opening look at the history of the modern American political landscape.
Rothbard details the evolution of the "right wing". The "Old Right", being opposed to militarism and centralization
, underwent a transformation beginning in the early 1950's. Rather, not so much a transformation as marginalization. Using the Cold War and anti-Communist sentiment as their rallying cry, the "New Right" silenced the "Old" and in the name of liberty, individualism and peace, replaced all three with an implicit position of centralization and militarism.
Also, for fans of Rothbard, this book gives the reader an insight into his life and intellectual development that can be found in none of his other works.
Libertarians should read this book to understand recent developments in their political genealogy. Others seeking to understand the Libertarian position would do well to wrestle with a history of modern American politics from the perspective of one of the foremost libertarian minds of the 20th century.

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Page 43 - The three most important groups who have been pressing this country toward war are the British, the Jewish and the Roosevelt administration.
Page 100 - The march of events rules and overrules human action. Avowing unreservedly the purpose which has animated all our effort, and still solicitous to adhere to it, we cannot be unmindful that, without any desire or design on our part, the war has brought us new duties and responsibilities which we must meet and discharge as becomes a great nation on whose growth and career from the beginning the Ruler of Nations has plainly written the high command and pledge of civilization.
Page 43 - It is not difficult to understand why Jewish people desire the overthrow of Nazi Germany. The persecution they suffered in Germany would be sufficient to make bitter enemies of any race. No person with a sense of the dignity of mankind can condone the persecution of the Jewish race in Germany.
Page 13 - When a private citizen is robbed a worthy man is deprived of the fruits of his industry and thrift; when the government is robbed the worst that happens is that certain rogues and loafers have less money to play with than they had before.
Page 13 - ... ...What lies behind all this, I believe, is a deep sense of the fundamental antagonism between the government and the people it governs. It is apprehended, not as a committee of citizens chosen to carry on the communal business of the whole population, but as a separate and autonomous corporation, mainly devoted to exploiting the population for the benefit of its own members....
Page 12 - All government, in its essence, is a conspiracy against the superior man: its one permanent object is to oppress him and cripple him. If it be aristocratic in organization, then it seeks to protect the man who is superior only in law against the man who is superior in fact; if it be democratic, then it seeks to protect the man who is inferior in every way against both. One of its primary functions is to regiment men by force, to make them as much alike as possible and as dependent upon one another...
Page 106 - Third, the testimony of General Douglas MacArthur: Talk of imminent threat to our national security through the application of external force is pure nonsense. . . . Indeed, it is a part of the general pattern of misguided policy that our country is now geared to an arms economy which was bred in an artificially induced psychosis of war hysteria and nurtured upon an incessant propaganda of fear.
Page xiv - Far better is it for ourselves, for Hungary, and for the cause of liberty, that, adhering to our wise, pacific system, and avoiding the distant wars of Europe, we should keep our lamp burning brightly on this western shore as a light to all nations, than to hazard its utter extinction, amid the ruins of fallen or falling republics in Europe.
Page 12 - Thus one of its primary functions is to regiment men by force, to make them as much alike as possible and as dependent upon one another as possible, to search out and combat originality among them. All it can see in an original idea is potential change, and hence an invasion of its prerogatives. The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos.
Page 75 - The government does not, indeed, waylay a man in a lonely place, spring upon him from the roadside, and holding a pistol to his head, proceed to rifle his pockets. But the robbery is none the less a robbery on that account; and it is far more dastardly and shameful. The highwayman takes solely upon himself the responsibility, danger, and crime of his own act. He does not pretend that he has a rightful claim to your money, or that he intends to use it for your own benefit.

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