Rothbard against the Christian Reconstructionists

An old piece by Murray Rothbard from 1961.

By Murray Rothbard, introduction by Grant Babcock, Libertarianism.Org

In 1961, Murray Rothbard was employed by the William Volker Fund as something of a libertarian strategist and talent scout. Rothbard would read books that showed promise for advancing the libertarian cause, and recommend that the Volker Fund support the book and its author, or not. Some of this support was done through the National Book Foundation (not to be confused with the modern organization of the same name), a subsidiary of the Volker Fund that donated books to university libraries.

Rothbard can be scathing in even his more somber, academic work, but in his Volker Fund memos, where he was writing for a private audience, he really pulls no punches. In one such memo, he famously called Hayek’s Constitution of Liberty “surprisingly and distressingly, an extremely bad, and, I would even say, evil book.” His review of Rousas John Rushdoony’s Intellectual Schizophrenia: Culture, Crisis, and Education, with which we are concerned here, makes his treatment of Hayek’s book seem restrained.

Rushdoony was the founder of a peculiar type of fundamentalist Christianity called “Christian Reconstructionism.” Reconstructionists are something like an American Taliban–they want to completely destroy the existing socio‐​political order and “reconstruct” it around their interpretation of Christianity–including a thoroughgoing and bloodthirsty application of Old Testament law that requires the execution of everyone from homosexuals to “habitual” criminals. Rushdoony’s son‐​in‐​law, Gary North, is the most prominent exponent of Christian Reconstructionism today. Despite his authoritarianism, North styles himself a libertarian since he finds certain limits on the size and scope of state authority amenable to his desire to implement “biblical” laws and norms.


Categories: Anarchism/Anti-State

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