Talk:Murray Rothbard

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Good article Murray Rothbard has been listed as one of the Social sciences and society good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
March 3, 2007 Good article nominee Listed
July 17, 2009 Good article reassessment Kept
November 10, 2013 Good article reassessment Kept
Current status: Good article
Wikipedia Version 1.0 Editorial Team / v0.7
WikiProject icon This article has been reviewed by the Version 1.0 Editorial Team.
Taskforce icon
This article has been selected for Version 0.7 and subsequent release versions of Wikipedia.
 GA  This article has been rated as GA-Class on the quality scale.

Jewish American?[edit]

Why is it relevant to list that Rothbard was a Jew in the opening paragraph? As far as I know, his Jewish identity is no more relevant than his birthday. Shouldn't he be listed as an American philosopher in the introduction, and shouldn't his Jewish heritage be put in the Life and Work section? --Liam Allen-McGoran (talk) 03:30, 3 July 2015 (UTC)

Libertarian anarchism?[edit]

Section "Anarcho-capitalism" talks about "libertarian anarchists". What does it mean? Can there be authoritarian anarchism, or anarchists? "Libertarian anarchists" seems an oxymoron to me. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:51, 6 December 2013 (UTC)

There are several varieties of anarchists and several varieties of libertarians (described at the linked articles), so yes, "libertarian anarchists" is meaningful. --RL0919 (talk) 19:29, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
Some libertarians are anarchists and some are minarchists, so RL0919 is correct.  Either way, however, it would not be an oxymoron; it would be a redundancy, the opposite of an oxymoron.  allixpeeke (talk) 17:25, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
anarcho-libertarian and anarcho-capitalist seem to be more common ways to phrase this idea. As for the notion the terms are self-exclusionary or an oxymoron I am at a loss to explain that mode of thought. Perhaps it is because there seems to be a bizarre socialist-anarchist melding taking place among young protest-attending americans? At least IMO a "dictatorship" even of the proles and the absence of any state IS an oxymoron but perhaps more nuanced thinkers can help enlighten me. Jaydubya93 (talk) 21:22, 11 March 2014 (UTC)

Libertarian-Anarchism is what AnCaps call it when they don't want to say the C word. And Jaydubya social-anarchism isnt "some bizarre melding" its the standard anarchism, AnCap is the bizarre meld. Just look at the history of the term, Rothbard said it himself in "Are libertarians anarchists?" and the answer was "No, if you think they are you don't understand either libertarianism or anarchism and you dont know history"! [paraphrasing] As for your dictatorship of the prols, you should already know that that is Marxism not anarchism and the issue of the problem of a tyranny of the majority is already covered by Kropotkin. Christ its not wonder this article reads like a love letter, you all dont know your arse from your elbows! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:54, 30 April 2014 (UTC) writes, "AnCap is the bizarre meld."  Some left-libertarians would respond by saying that anarcho-"capitalism" is not a "bizarre meld" of anarchism and capitalism precisely because there is no capitalism in anarcho-"capitalism."  As Brad Spangler (e.g.) put it,

I believe anarcho-capitalism is, in some ways, incorrectly named.  …  Socialism…has never been a mere intellectual discourse upon why the labor theory of value was supposedly a superior line of academic thought.  Socialism is not and never has been a "club".  Socialists have always been motivated by a passion for social justice as best they understand it—which naturally implies that understanding is capable of being raised to a greater degree of accuracy and sophistication.  …  It is my contention that Rothbardian anarcho-capitalism is misnamed because it is actually a variety of socialism, in that it offers an alternative understanding of existing capitalism (or any other variety of statism) as systematic theft from the lower classes and envisions a more just society without that oppression.  Rather than depending upon the the labor theory of value to understand this systematic theft, Rothbardian market anarchism utilizes natural law theory and Lockean principles of property and self-ownership taken to their logical extreme as an alternative framework for understanding and combating oppression.  …  Murray Rothbard was a visionary socialist.  …  Because the market anarchist society would be one in which the matter of systematic theft has been addressed and rectified, market anarchism…is best understood a new variety of socialism—a stigmergic socialism.  Stigmergy is a fancy word for systems in which a natural order emerges from the individual choices made by the autonomous components of a collective within the sphere of their own self-sovereignty.  To the extent coercion skews markets by distorting the decisions of those autonomous components (individual people), it ought to be seen that a truly free market (a completely stigmergic economic system) necessarily implies anarchy, and that any authentic collectivism is necessarily delineated in its bounds by the the natural rights of the individuals composing the collective.

(C.f. "Is Capitalism Something Good?" and "Capitalism, Corporatism, and the Freed Market" by Sheldon Richman and "Rothbard's 'Left and Right': Forty Years Later" by Roderick T. Long.) also writes, "Rothbard said it himself in 'Are libertarians anarchists?' and the answer was 'No.'"

(1) That piece was written only shortly after Rothbard became an anarchist and at a time when Rothbard seemed to be timid about using the term anarchist to describe himself.  (Many eschew calling themselves anarchists after first converting to anarchism, so this oughtn't be shocking.)  As time went on, Rothbard became more and more comfortable acknowledging his own anarchism, and eventually even said, "Capitalism is the fullest expression of anarchism, and anarchism is the fullest expression of capitalism," in stark contradiction to what he wrote in "Are Libertarians Anarchists?"

(To be clear, whether one agrees with Rothbard that "Capitalism is the fullest expression of anarchism, and anarchism is the fullest expression of capitalism" is contingent upon how one defines capitalism.  Plenty of left-Rothbardians would disagree with that statement precisely because they tend to define 'capitalism' as state-driven monopolisation of capital—something all libertarians, whether anarchist or not, rightly oppose.  Either way, however, it must be noted that even Rothbard himself recognised that there are unjust strains of capitalism.  Thus, in "A Future of Peace and Capitalism", Rothbard writes, "The difference between free-market capitalism and state capitalism is precisely the difference between, on the one hand, peaceful, voluntary exchange, and on the other, violent expropriation.  In both cases we obtain something—whether it be money or newspapers—but we obtain them in completely different ways, ways with completely different moral attributes and social consequences."  (C.f. "Left and Right: The Prospects for Liberty", in which Rothbard builds on the New Left's analysis of "political capitalism," and "Confiscation and the Homestead Principle", in which Rothbard suggests that there are possible situations in which it might be appropriate for workers to seize from capitalists the means of production.))

(2) More importantly, it must be noted that "Are Libertarians Anarchists?" was written under the nom de plume "Aubrey Herbert," and therefore cannot be taken as necessarily something Rothbard himself would agree with.  Noms de plume are frequently used by authors to express views similar to but not necessarily identical to their own.  Thus, technically speaking, we cannot be sure that any particular claim made in "Are Libertarians Anarchists?" is one with which Rothbard would absolutely agree.  In short, there is no use in ever citing "Are Libertarians Anarchists?"

Sincerely yours,
allixpeeke (talk) 06:26, 8 March 2015 (UTC)

Mischaracterizing MR on evolution[edit]

In this good-faith edit, Allixpeeke describes MR as a believer in biological evolution and a proponent of punctuated equilibrium. The source s/he uses is a footnote from Rothbard's For a New Liberty. The footnote reads: "modern evolutionary theory is coming to abandon completely the theory of gradual evolutionary change. Instead, it is now perceived that a far more accurate picture is sharp and sudden flips from one static species equilibrium to another; this is being called the theory of "punctuational change."

There is no language in this footnote that establishes Rothbard's belief in punctuated equilibrium. If I say "it is now perceived that Keynes' view of recessions is far more accurate than Hayek's," that does not mean that I personally believe Keynes' view of recessions is more accurate than Hayek's. I am describing the perception of a certain group of people.

Rockwell's comparison of Rothbard's views on evolution to those of Ron Paul, who flat-out denies evolution, also provide reason to doubt this interpretation. Steeletrap (talk) 21:47, 25 February 2014 (UTC)

Neither source is good. Furthermore, since we can only find two places where Rothbard commented on evolution, and no reliable sources commenting on these comments, it is unimportant to his belief system, per WP:WEIGHT. TFD (talk) 22:06, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
TFD, that makes sense. On the other hand, it apparently was important to Rothbard's political views and activism. Since a great deal of MR's notability stems from his activism rather than from his systematic thought, it seems to me it's not undue to cite the sources on this subject. SPECIFICO talk 22:28, 25 February 2014 (UTC)

The evolution section previously said,

In a blog post defending Ron Paul from a letter published by The Daily Dish accusing Ron Paul of "evolution denial,"[1] Lew Rockwell likened Paul's views on evolution to those of Rothbard, noting that the latter "had doubts about the official church of Darwinism".[2]

I found this paragraph to be highly problematic for multiple reasons.  First, it mostly focuses on Ron Paul and Ron Paul’s views on evolution, which are entirely irrelevant to the current article.  While it is true that Rockwell likened Paul’s views to those of Rothbard, that is also irrelevant to the current article.

The only relevant feature here is Rockwell saying that Rothbard “had doubts about the official church of Darwinism,” but it is not made clear what that even means.  Thus, as it is written here, the entire paragraph is irrelevant.

Worse yet, because the paragraph brings up an accusation made in The Daily Dish about Paul being a denier of evolution, the paragraph falsely implies that Rothbard was a denier of evolution, even though the most one can infer from Rockwell’s actual comment is that Rothbard did not agree with Darwin’s interpretation of evolution.

So, there were only three ways to improve this.

(1)  Remove all of the irrelevant info about Ron Paul and The Daily Dish, and simply say that Lew Rockwell noted that Rothbard “had doubts about the official church of Darwinism.”  Unsatisfactory, because it’s meaninglessly vague.

(2)  Delete the paragraph entirely.  This is a better option than the first option, but an even better option would be option three.

(3)  Explain what Rothbard’s actual views on evolution are.

Considering this third option the best, I proceeded to do just that.

See this edit.

After my edit, the evolution section read as follows:

While Rothbard believed in biological evolution, he had, according to Lew Rockwell, "doubts about the official church of Darwinism".[3]  In contrast to Darwin, Rothbard believed in evolutionary punctuational change, writing in For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto that a "far more accurate picture [of biological evolution] is sharp and sudden flips from one static species equilibrium to another."[4]  Rothbard lamented that the notion of gradual biological change influenced classical liberalism to embrace the counterrevolutionary influence of social Darwinism:
The social Darwinist liberal came, then, to abandon the very idea of revolution or radical change in favor of sitting back and waiting for the inevitable tiny evolutionary changes over eons of time.  In short, ignoring the fact that liberalism had had to break through the power of ruling elites by a series of radical changes and revolutions, the social Darwinists became conservatives preaching against any radical measures and in favor of only the most minutely gradual of changes.[4]

I honestly did not think there would be an iota of controversy over this edit, but apparently, a user named Steeletrap did not like the edit.  He She reverted the section back to the way it was before.

See this edit.

Thus, the paragraph is now back to presenting (A) utterly irrelevant info about accusations made against Ron Paul, and (B) Rockwell’s vague comment.  The paragraph is now back to falsely implying that Rothbard, an agnostic, was somehow an evolution denier.

Steeletrap justified his her edit by writing “cited source is MR describing prevailing view of ev; he doesn't endorse it.. Soc Darwin off topic.”  Since I do not want this to devolve into an edit-war, I have decided to bring the topic here for review.

I believe, and wish to argue here, that the section should be reverted back to the way I had left it.

I admit that it is debatable whether the second paragraph (wherein I quote Rothbard’s concerns with social Darwinism) should be included.  Is it “off topic,” as Steeletrap maintains?  I’d say no.  Rothbard expresses explicitly the personal view that social Darwinism was the product of conflating sociology with biological evolutionary theory.  I think that Rothbard’s personal view on the impact of biological evolutionary theory on theories of social change merits being acknowledged in this section.  It would be off-topic if Rothbard had not made the connection between the two, had not promoted the view that a connection exists between the two.  But, clearly Rothbard did connect the two, and thus his connection of the two is hardly off topic.

Reasonable minds can debate the notability of his connection.  Nevertheless, I don’t think one can debate whether the connection is on or off topic.  Rothbard’s act of connecting the two is clearly relevant.

While it can be debated whether the Rothbard quote about social Darwinism should be included on grounds of notability, what cannot be debated is whether Rothbard believed in evolution.  Contrary to Steeletrap’s claim, Rothbard is not merely presenting the views of others in describing how evolution works.  He is presenting his own view.  Were he not presenting his own view, he would have noted his own disagreement with the punctuational change view of evolution.  Or, he would simply have not brought up the punctuational change view at all.  The fact that he brings it up, and states that it is a “far more accurate picture” without indicating anything to the contrary, indicates clearly that he does not reject the idea of punctuational change, or of evolution broadly.

After all, if evolution were false, then the punctuational change view of evolution could not possibly be a “far more accurate picture” of anything (and would not be worth mentioning at all).  The punctuational change view would then be just as “false” as any other view of evolution.  In order for the punctuational change view to be a “far more accurate picture” of evolution as it exists in reality, evolution itself must exist in reality.  If evolution does not exist in reality, there would be no point whatsoever in even bringing up the punctuational change view.

Moreover, Rothbard uses the punctuational change view of evolution to promote his own belief in the utility of revolution.  Just as he connects the idea of gradual evolution to social Darwinism, he connects the idea of punctuational change to revolutionary social change, which he obviously promoted.  He could hardly use the former (punctuational change) to promote the latter (revolutionary social change) if he didn’t believe in the former!  He couldn’t make the argument that revolutionary social change is desirable and in concert with natural evolution if he did not believe in natural evolution.  Logic dictates that he obviously believed in evolutionary punctuational change.  There are simply no two ways about it.

(Using punctuational change to promote revolutionary social change if he didn’t believe in punctuational change would make about as much sense as me using an explanation of ‘how Santa Claus works’ to promote my belief in something I actually believe in, like gravitational time dilation.)


Therefore, I propose we repair this article by restoring my expanded evolution section.  There can be no doubt that Rothbard believed in evolution, and there is no rational reason why Rothbard’s acknowledgment that evolutionary punctuational change is a more accurate picture of reality should be exercised from a section about Rothbard’s views on evolution.

Please share your thoughts below.  Should this section be reverted back to the way I had it before Steeletrap reverted it back?

allixpeeke (talk) 22:40, 25 February 2014 (UTC)

EDITED to correct gender.  My sincere apologies.  allixpeeke (talk) 06:37, 8 March 2015 (UTC)

I'm she (no big, but keep it in mind for the future). It's clear that Rothbard was talking about the perception of academics. It is not clear whether he was endorsing their perception. Therefore we can't ascribe their view to Rothbard. Steeletrap (talk) 22:50, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
Lew Rockwell is not rs for what Rothbard said. If no rs have commented on his views of evolution then it fails WP:WEIGHT. There are other fora where can speculate but it is against policy for Wikipedia. TFD (talk) 23:04, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
Of course Lew Rockwell is RS for the views of Rothbard. They spoke to each other every day. Rockwell is routinely used as a source for the views of Rothbard on these and other WP pages. Yet it is just this one sentence you object to. Steeletrap (talk) 23:13, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
For the record, I do not object to this Rockwell sentence being used, but I do object to it being used in conjection with the irrelevant and inadvertently-misleading discussion of Ron Paul, and I also object to this sentence being used in isolation.  I object to it being used in isolation since it is vague and conveys nothing.  One can believe in evolution, and still reject the Darwinian view of evolution.  I have absolutely no doubt the evolution is real, for example, and yet I think that Darwin’s perspective on evolution was flawed.  The Rockwell comment says nothing of what Rothbard actually believes with regards to evolution, only that he questions Darwin’s interpretation, which, if used in isolation, is rather unremarkable.  The only way Rockwell’s comment becomes noteworthy is by including information about what Rothbard actually believes about evolution, specifically his rejection of Darwin’s gradual change view and his adoption of the punctuational change view.  Best, allixpeeke (talk) 23:38, 25 February 2014 (UTC)

Steeletrap writes, “It’s clear that Rothbard was talking about the perception of academics.  It is not clear whether he was endorsing their perception.”
Rothbard’s endorsement was implicit.
I’ll use and expand upon an analogy I made above.
I do not believe in Santa Claus.  I do believe in gravitational time dilation.  Unless I were writing a non-serious work, I would never write the following:
Many used to believe that, no matter where a person was, time would always flow by uniformly.  But, it is better to believe in gravitational time dilation.  You may ask, why?
Many children today believe that Santa Claus is only able to deliver toys to all the good boys and girls of the world in one night by employing the time-altering effects of anti-gravity.  Santa’s reindeer are able to defy gravity, and their anti-gravity powers pull them—and Santa—away from the effects of Earth’s gravitational pull.  This allows time to flow differently for Santa, empowering him to get to all the houses on his list in a single night.  This backs up the notion of gravitational time dilation.
Now, I’d have no problem writing that in a non-serious work, since there’s a certain fun frivolity to it.  But I’d never write that in a serious piece.  Why?  Because I don’t believe in Santa, because I am a “Santa denier.”
Nobody ever says “X, therefore Y” if she or he doesn’t believe in X.  Nobody ever says, “The existence of this thing I do not believe in is what proves the existence of this thing I do believe in.”  People only ground their beliefs in other things they believe (save for those who are adherents of Ingsoc, of course).
In this analogy, the view that time flows uniformly everywhere is akin to social Darwinism, gravitational time dilation is akin to revolutionary social change, Santa Claus is akin to evolution, and the anti-gravitational-effect-of-reindeer theory is akin to evolutionary punctuational change.  If a person, in a serious work, defends gravitational time dilation on the grounds of the anti-gravitational-effect-of-reindeer theory, that can only be because that person seriously believes in the anti-gravitational-effect-of-reindeer theory, and therefore also believes in Santa Claus more broadly.  The fact that Rothbard defended revolutionary social change using evolutionary punctuational change theory indicates implicitly that Rothbard agreed with the punctuational change view, and with evolution more broadly.
If Rothbard were an evolution denier, as the current paragraph incorrectly implies through overblown association with Paul, then he would have found some other argument to justify revolutionary social change, just as I would find some other argument—not Santa Claus—to defend gravitational time dilation.
Respectfully yours,
allixpeeke (talk) 23:38, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
Steeletrap, scholars may conclude that Rockwell's relationship with Rothbard and Rockwell's ability to accurately recall conversations decades after they took place, combined with what they know about about Rothbard's views, and conclude that the conversation was accurate. But we cannot make those judgments ourselves, per no original research. TFD (talk) 00:07, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
Yes we can. It's up to us to apply WP:RS, in a contextually sensitive manner. Rockwell is not RS for econ but is RS for the thought of Rothbard. Steeletrap (talk) 00:54, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
Reliable sources have "a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy." No fact-checking was done, Rockwell did not examine original transcripts of his conversations and no one's memory is accurate to that degree. TFD (talk) 01:07, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
FYI what the Lew Rockwell aside is a bad source was discussed at length here. Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 01:19, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
You don't need original transcripts of conversations to know the political/religious beliefs of your close friends. However, I would be surprised if Llewellyn didnt at least do some "journaling" (if not transcribing) on the daily conversations he had with Rothbard. He believed Rothbard was the "greatest man" he ever knew, and the most brilliant "man" alive. [Unsigned]
allixpeeke: Rothbard's comments in For a New Liberty are very clear to those who understand theories of Punctuated equilibrium; having been familiar with them before reading Rothbard I doubtless was impressed by the footnote. He couldn't be more clear than to connect it to evolutionary change in economies. (Black swan theory is a later version of the application to economics.)
It would be helpful to use the book PDF link, at page 21 as the ref. And Punctuated equilibrium probably should be a wikilink to Rothbard's relevant phrase, since he himself didn't use that phrase. Rockwell's secondary source comment, which is too vague, at least has been acceptable so far as a secondary source and thus can be an introduction to the primary source statements you quote.
Also note that the Roberta Modugno "Introduction: Law And Nature In The Work Of Murray N. Rothbard" in Rothbard vs. the Philosophers has some interesting comments that might help put this all together in one section. At least once the Arbitration resolves the "Fringe vs minority views" issue. :-) Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 02:50, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
The Modugno works are not WP:RS. SPECIFICO talk 03:12, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
A detailed analysis by a professor is not RS but a vague throw away blog comment by LewRockwell is. Geez, and people wonder why we're having an Arbitration. :-) Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 03:21, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
Carol, understanding punctuated equilibrium has nothing to do with this point. (nor, I assure you, does it have anything to do with black swan theory.) This is a matter of elementary logic. Think: the statement "Protectionism is generally perceived to be harmful by economists" is a statement of fact. The person who says this is just stating an fact relating to the stated opinions of others; s/he is not saying that s/he personally believe protectionism to be harmful. Please check your understanding of descriptive statements versus statements of opinion. Steeletrap (talk) 04:22, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
Both sources are stretching things. That's why another - and perhaps best - alternative is to include nothing. We can always say that "Rothard noted such and such" - people can decide for themselves if he supports, opposes or merely noted. It's certainly a lot better than a vague blog reference from Rockwell and certainly supports the idea that that vague reference might actually refer to something he's written or thought about. Time for an RfC? Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 17:44, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

It appears that the only case that has been made against writing the section as I had written it is the case made by Steeletrap, who notes that a statement about the views of others does not mean the person making the statement about the views of others necessarily shares the views of others.  And although that is true in isolation, Rothbard did not make his comment in isolation.  He made his comment in a context, and we have to look at that context in order to understand what Rothbard meant.

If I simply say, “Modern children tend to believe the anti-gravitational-effect-of-reindeer theory explains how Santa successfully operates,” then it would say nothing about my views.

If Rothbard had simply said, “Modern evolutionary biologists today tend to believe in the theory of evolutionary punctuational change,” then it would say nothing about Rothbard’s views.

But if I, in a serious work, write…

Many used to believe that, no matter where a person was, time would always flow by uniformly.  But, it is better to believe in gravitational time dilation.  You may ask, why?
Many children today believe that Santa Claus is only able to deliver toys to all the good boys and girls of the world in one night by employing the time-altering effects of anti-gravity.  Santa’s reindeer are able to defy gravity, and their anti-gravity powers pull them—and Santa—away from the effects of Earth’s gravitational pull.  This allows time to flow differently for Santa, empowering him to get to all the houses on his list in a single night.  This backs up the notion of gravitational time dilation.

…then you can tell, by context, that I implicitly agree with the anti-gravitational-effect-of-reindeer theory, and that I therefore also believe in Santa Claus.

When we look at Rothbard’s actual position, as I’ve said above, we can see that he is using the punctuational change view in order to defend the validity of revolutionary social change.  Why, if he didn’t believe in the punctuational change view, would he use that particular line of argument?  He wouldn’t.  Ergo, he believes in the punctuational change view, and thus evolution, too.

The only way a person can conclude that evidence for Rothbard’s belief in evolution is lacking is by taking Rothbard’s comment about evolutionary experts out of context.  The only reason Rothbard brings up the evolutionary experts at all is to let his reader know that he, Rothbard, didn’t come up with this punctuational change view all on his own, that this is a widely-accepted view.

To reiterate, out of context, his statement is just a statement about the beliefs of evolutionary experts, just as my facetious comment about children, when taken out of context, is just a statement about the beliefs of children.

But, when put in context, it is clear that Rothbard implicitly endorses the punctuational change view.  If Rothbard did not himself believe in the punctuational change view—and thus evolution, too—he would not have brought it up when he did, but would have, instead, found some other argument in favour of revolutionary social change.  (Likewise, because I don’t believe in Santa, I would, in a serious work, use some other argument in favour of gravitational time dilation, not the anti-gravitational-effect-of-reindeer theory.)

Above, in the Talk:Murray Rothbard#Continued: Rockwell blog on views on evolution section, I wrote Rothbard’t entire comment on the subject.

Now, I will readily admit that if we look at Rothbard’s comment out of context, we are not able to determine his views on evolution.  But can any of us, when looking at his comment in its proper context, conclude anything other than that he believed in the punctuational change view of evolution (which, obviously, he would have to believe in in order to regard it a valid defence of revolutionary social change)?

My thanks to Ms. Moore for concurring that Rockwell’s comment is far too vague to be used in isolation, and for agreeing that Rothbard’s support for evolutionary punctuated equilibrium is very clear.  Having not read Rothbard vs. the Philosophers, I cannot comment thereupon, but if you know any relevant passages, I encourage you to post them here.

Best regards to all,
allixpeeke (talk) 23:16, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

You are adding way too much of your singular interpretations and conjectures above. We have RS for a straightforward bit of text as @Steeletrap: has shown. As WP editors, our job is to paraphrase what the sources actually say, not to draw inferences or conclusions as you have done above. SPECIFICO talk 23:36, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

Alternative proposal[edit]

Lew Rockwell has written that Rothbard had "doubts about the official church of Darwinism".[1] In For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto Rothbard wrote that the "crippling aspect" of social Darwinism was that it assumed societal changes were extremely slow, just like changes in species or genes. He noted another evolutionary theory that change occurred in "sharp and sudden flips from one static species equilibrium to another" which he described as the theory of “punctuational change.” He quoted Stephen Jay Gould who originated the theory.[2]

[1]Rockwell, Llewellyn H. Jr (December 29, 2007). "Ron Paul's 'Evolution Denial'?"
[2]Murray N. Rothbard, “The Libertarian Heritage: The American Revolution and Classical Liberalism,” Ch. 1 of For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto, 2nd. ed. (Auburn, AL: the Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2006; 1973, 1978), pp. 20-21.

This removes any WP:OR and summarizes briefly what he says. Obviously summaries can be tweaked, but it's a clear and simple statement. Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 04:05, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

That text is entirely OR and doesn't conform to the meaning of the cited source. SPECIFICO talk 04:11, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
In addition to the OR concern, the above passage is not clearly written. It is likely to confuse readers. Steeletrap (talk) 04:15, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
The hallmark of Rothbard's best work is the clarity of his prose. I see nothing of Rothbard in the proposed text. SPECIFICO talk 04:22, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
So you prefer longer quotes to summaries. Can be done. Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 04:47, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
SPECIFICO. in order not to confuse readers, could you please explain what Rothbard meant by the "official school of Darwinism" and what doubts he had. Is he referring to evolution in general or some specific aspect? Does he doubt evolution or just specific parts? Please provide rs that have analyzed this. Since it is important enough to include, I assume that there is substantial writing about it. TFD (talk) 05:39, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Hi, well it's not text which I put in the article or have thought much about, but Rockwell is referring to evolution in general not just a particular model or theory about how it occurs. The source for this brief bit is Rockwell's statement as to MR's view, which I accept as RS for what Rockwell says. I don't see how LR's brief statement could be taken to refer to the entirely separate issue being mooted on this page. As to that issue: As I said above and as I believe that you and I agree -- there would need to be clear secondary discussion of MR's specific theories or beliefs. SPECIFICO talk 13:12, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
The context is biological evolution. Ron Paul is expressing skepticism of whether human beings evolved at all, dismissing evolution as "just a theory." Rockwell compares Paul's views to Rothbard's. Rockwell is an accepted expert on Rothbard's views, and the text you are objecting to only comprises one sentence. It should be kept, imo, as it helps us learn more about Rothbard's worldview. Steeletrap (talk) 18:56, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Just to be clear about my view above: "Social Darwinism" is not "evolution" -- it's an entirely different idea. Rockwell was talking about the fish and monkey thing vs. creationism. SPECIFICO talk 19:03, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
So the implication of what your Rockwell quote that you wish to convey to the reader is that Rothbard was a creationist. Why not then just say that? Then we can go to a noticeboard to see whether your opinion is adequately supported. TFD (talk) 20:20, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
That doesn't make sense to me. We don't have a source that says MR was a creationist. We have Llewellyn, RS, saying that MR was a skeptic. That's noteworthy but we should be careful to confine the text to what's actually said. I presume you don't believe the Rockwell quote suggests that MR was affirming creationism. SPECIFICO talk 20:48, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
TFD, Llewellyn as quoted in the article does not state that Rothbard is a creationist. Please do not repeat that claim, or encourage others to add it to the article, until you have a reliable source supporting it. Thank you. Steeletrap (talk) 20:56, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
You made the claim implicitly. If you cannot back it up, then leave it out. TFD (talk) 00:08, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
TFD, I don't think that either Llewellyn or Steeletrap was suggesting that MR was a creationist. Rothbard was however steadfast in his righteous questioning of nearly every accepted "fact" of American history and civilization. I think he was a skeptic on everything that's widely accepted but not clearly thought out or not clearly stated. On this count, I think Llewellyn's comment is not surprising and that it helps portray the character of MR's thought. I don't think Rockwell would have written anything derogatory about his MR. I think it is an interesting detail about how those around the great man saw him think and react. There seems to be a kind of hypersensitivity among some editors here when the very best of MR -- his unyielding skepticism and questioning -- is portrayed in the article. SPECIFICO talk 00:34, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
Guess you haven't read the sentence -- After Ron Paul was accused of "evolution denial"[113] for stating "I think it's a theory, the theory of evolution and I don't accept it as a theory",[114] Lew Rockwell likened Paul's views on evolution to those of Rothbard, noting that the latter "had doubts about the official church of Darwinism".[1 -- if you don't "think"...etc... Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 15:05, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
In the blog post, Llewellyn compares Rothbard's views to those expressed by Paul in a Youtube, in response to the latter's views being called "evolution denial" by the Daily Dish. Apparently you all want to leave out of the article what Paul actually? I thought that would be explanatory and help dispel the "creationist" talk. But apparently it's "synthesis"? I think it puts MR in a worse light to compare his views to Paul's "evolution denial" without explaining that Paul (like MR, presumably) is just a skeptic. Steeletrap (talk) 17:55, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
If Lew Rockwell had said "Rothbard had doubts about Darwinism", then we could say that "Rothbard had doubts" because the source directly supports the sentence. But even that would not mean Rothbard was an "evolution denialist." But Rockwell's statement includes the "official church" phrasing, so Rockwell appears to be commenting about Rothbard's views on the people or institutions that support evolution and the teaching of it. Maybe it's simply a sarcastic remark about those people and has nothing to do with Rothbard's personal views on evolution. Again, WP:CONTEXTMATTERS is the guideline we must follow. Adding stuff about what Ron Paul actually believes scientifically or religiously does not help in clarifying what Rothbard's views are. – S. Rich (talk) 18:23, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
It's clear what LR is saying in the original blog post -- he is comparing Rothbard's views on evolution to Paul's. It has nothing to do with "institutions." However, I have no objection to restoring the phrasing. The "synthesis" is just explanatory. It helps the reader but it isn't necessary to (accurately) convey what Llewellyn is saying. Steeletrap (talk) 19:31, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
Per the remarks above and below, we can describe Rothbard's views on evolution – if there is RS which supports the description. Using the "official church" phrasing to compare these views "on evolution" (which are not at all clear) with someone's views is not an explanation. Whatever his views are, they really aren't significant. Was he a force in the anti-evolution community? What is the editing purpose of adding this particular blog post? Ah, yes. He's not a scientist or leader in the anti-evolution community, so WP should say so. And WP should also say he always tied his left shoe first and didn't use double knots – just like Ron Paul. – S. Rich (talk) 19:58, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
Those comments ignore the entire development of the views expressed in the thread above. Nobody has asserted MR is an expert on evolution, a physical scientist, or a creationist. Please try to stay on topic. Thanks. SPECIFICO talk 20:05, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

Alleged synthesis[edit]

Llewellyn compares Rothbard's views to those espoused by Paul in a Youtube. I added an RS which cites the remarks of Paul in the Youtube. This is being called "synthesis." It is not synthesis because synthesis is not explanation. Rockwell compares Rothbard's views to Paul's, and the link just explains what the views Rockwell refers to are. Steeletrap (talk) 00:59, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

What are the two sources that say, essentially, the same thing? Seems we have one off-hand remark from Lew Rockwell about what Rothbard thought about the "church of evolution (whatever)". But where is the second source that is "just explaining the same material in a different way..."? The same material must be about Rothbard's thoughts on evolution, not what someone else thought about evolution even if those thoughts happen to coincide. – S. Rich (talk) 04:39, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
The sources do not say "essentially ... the same thing." If they did, using them would be redundant rather than explanatory. One source explains what the views of Ron Paul, referred to by Llewellyn in the other source, are. If you read what Llewellyn links to, you'll see that he is talking about the views expressed in a particulr Youtube clip; this clip is quoted, for explanatory purposes, by the Reason rs. Steeletrap (talk) 05:09, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Well, then, you have a article topic-focus problem. That is, we don't layout articles to say "So-and-so had the same views about such-and-such as these people: Ron Paul,[1] Pope Benedict,[2] Attila the Hun,[3] Sydney Greenstreet,[4] etc." Such a listing would not be encyclopedic, even if there was RS that verified that each of these folks had the same views about a particular topic. The essay you cited says the two sources can be used when "explaining the same material in a different way,...." which is not the case here. If you have something that explains Rothbard's views on evolution, in context, then use it. But adding in the Ron Paul stuff is synthesis. – S. Rich (talk) 05:18, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Srich is correct, of course. Obviously I'd be going for a third opinion now if not for pending developments in Arbitration. Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 16:18, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Continued in a new section below. – S. Rich (talk) 03:39, 2 April 2014 (UTC)

Anthony Flood not RS/Removal of Casey info[edit]

Anythony Flood is a non-notable self-published writer/blogger and his "factoids" and opinions on Rothbard really aren't very usable, especially since are 3 (Casey, Raimondo, Gordon) or more far better biographical sources which have relevant facts. The fact that Casey's comments about Rothbard being bullied and the inferior teaching in public schools was removed is particularly questionable since it gets to the root of why he liked the private school. Having lived in Manhattan for ten years, I knew lots of Jews who got beat up in public schools, some of whom then went to better private schools, so I certainly don't like to see that removed. Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 02:09, 14 March 2014 (UTC)

The next time you state any of your off-topic personal ruminations about Jewish people, I will seek enforcement against you. SPECIFICO talk 02:32, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
{Insert}: I think it's quite on-topic that he probably was bullied in part cause he was Jewish. But also it doubtless was relevant because he was short and wore glasses and was so darned smart. My apologies for not including all possible reasons that he might have been bullied. In any case, I do have a real problem with the bullying being removed and see it as quite POV; and that's the important point. Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 03:24, 14 March 2014 (UTC)

The Flood citation looks like SPS and is non-RS in this regard. I've removed it and tagged the sentence as cn. – S. Rich (talk) 03:15, 14 March 2014 (UTC)

PS: A WorldCat search for Flood came up with 5 articles. See: [1]. If he discusses Rothbard in any of those articles, which are published in journals, those would be RS. But his webpage comments do not satisfy WP:V. – S. Rich (talk) 03:20, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
The citation we are talking about – "Flood, Anthony. "Murray Newton Rothbard: Notes toward a Biography". Retrieved 11 August 2013. " – is crap, ahem ... SPS. And not worthy of preservation in the article space. Editors who disagree should shoulder the WP:BURDEN and show how it qualifies as RS. – S. Rich (talk) 03:57, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
The Review of Metaphyics might be an indication he was RS for an opinion or even factoid in Libertarianism (metaphysics). But not for a biography heavy on opinion when there are more substantive bios available. Do we really have to take this to WP:RSN? Tomorrow... Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 04:38, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
Brought to WP:RSN here. Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 04:34, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
As I commented on the RSN, there is no need to bring it up on the RSN. The only reason the material remains in the article is because it is page protected. If Steeletrap or Specifico had argued for retention, then an RSN might be helpful. – S. Rich (talk) 05:03, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
And what would happen if I proposed down there changing to some other version without Flood? Same old arguments, right? Maybe if we can get WP:RSN to agree it's no good, it will be easier to get a proper change made. Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 05:23, 16 March 2014 (UTC)

I'm sorry to see that some editors question the appropriateness of citing the small harvest of my interview-based research, which unfortunately I was unable to complete, indeed, that one editor regards one of my two short articles as 'crap' (arguably in violation of at least one rule of etiquette). Casey thought both articles worth listing. The article's note 23, citing one of my short articles, asks in superscript whether the statement regarding his happy time at Birch Wathen is reliably sourced. The source is JoAnn Rothbard, Murray's widow, who gave her blessing to my hopeful project in 1997, over the course of which year I interviewed her several times. I have no peer-reviewed article to back that up. Of the five articles by 'Anthony Flood' that a search yielded, only the fifth is mine. (There's a Ph.D.-bearing professor of philosophy with the same name.) The scarce resource of a Wiki article's space must be allocated wisely, however, and the currency of 'notability' must be protected against inflation, so if those values dictate excluding input from someone who actually knew Rothbard for a dozen years, so be it. -- Tony Flood Anarchristian (talk) 20:16, 21 February 2015 (UTC)


I've protected the page again, due to the aggressive editing and edit warring that's been going on the past several days. If you would like to make edit requests, please do so, while remembering that you'll have to have a fair consensus (unless it's an uncontroversial edit) for it to go through. I will keep my eye on the talk page myself for edit requests. ~Adjwilley (talk) 19:13, 14 March 2014 (UTC)

Can you change the oddly technical sounding "male offspring" to "sons" or "boys" in the paragraph about Rothbard's schooling? Steeletrap (talk) 22:13, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
Agreed on male offspring. (Or else please change to "children with XY chromosomes.") Also, the description of the "rent-controlled apartment" (Life and work: Education 1st paragraph) is not needed. If Rent control in New York is accurate, Rothbard was between 0 and 3 years old when this occurred and the economic conditions relative to his parents choice of apartments is not too relevant. Besides, everybody in NYC lived in rent controlled housing at that time. So what? – S. Rich (talk) 23:35, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
I agree with the change from "male offspring" to sons. I do not agree with Srich's proposal concerning rent controlled apartment. Srich, if you'd like to open a thread on that, we can discuss your concerns. Let's not, however, engage in original research as to how many New Yorkers lived in which apartments at a given time. Thanks. SPECIFICO talk 23:58, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
Actually a thread on the rent control info exists at Talk:Murray Rothbard#Anthony Flood not RS?Removal of Casey info. E.g., the sentence is supported by an SPS blogger. The Flood citation had been removed as such, and the removal was reverted. But no one has stepped up and said Flood is RS. With that in mind, the whole sentence, Flood citation and all, should be removed. – S. Rich (talk) 01:57, 15 March 2014 (UTC)
Not convincing. Also, since the content is uncontroversial and true, it would be better just to tag citation needed rather than destroy article content prematurely. SPECIFICO talk 02:02, 15 March 2014 (UTC)
I'm glad you agree its better to tag the sentence as cn. That is exactly what I did when removing the SPS Flood citation. – S. Rich (talk) 02:12, 15 March 2014 (UTC)
I'm not following you at all on this. You want to remove the article content but leave a citation needed tag without reference to which of the removed text needs a citation? You've outdone yourself, Sgt. See you tomorrow. SPECIFICO talk 02:30, 15 March 2014 (UTC)
I made the male offspring change, but not the rent-controlled change. (Not sure why it's important, but there doesn't seem to be consensus just yet.) ~Adjwilley (talk) 06:45, 15 March 2014 (UTC) Further note: I looked up the source for the 2nd sentence of the Education sentence (as part of reviewing the edit request below) and in my quick scan I didn't find support for the rent-controlled bit. ~Adjwilley (talk) 06:50, 15 March 2014 (UTC)
Rent control is mentioned because it's a snide inference that Rothbard's father was a hypocrit for living in rent controlled housing, though of course back then most/all of it was. In last week I tried to deal with a host of such snide, WP:OR, inaccurately sourced, biased, etc. edits, everyone of which was reverted. Protection at least squelched my desire to improve the article for now. I'll give it a rest and hope the Arbitrators do the right thing. Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 13:57, 15 March 2014 (UTC)
I think that the rent-controlled thing illustrates the fact that Rothbard grew up with modest mines. However, on balance I don't think it adds much to the article. Steeletrap (talk) 00:56, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
Without that source, you have the Rothbard's living in the Bronx with Murray going to school in Manhattan. Who would have thought their modest family domicile could be so problematic? The fact that they rented a rent-controlled apartment is consistent with their modest means at a time when many NY families owned row houses throughout the City and a few owned the early co-operative apartments sold within high rise buildings. SPECIFICO talk 01:34, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
These are absurd petty details compared to the fact that he was bullied in public school which you removed, or that he had the "Circle Bastiat" or more on his relationship with Mises which you probably would remove. Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie)
I have to change my mind after reading SPECIFICO. It shows the family had relatively modest means, which Murray had to overcome. It doesn't indicate hypocrisy: you can oppose a system and still take advantage of it as an individual (one person's action isn't sufficient to perpetuate a system). Steeletrap (talk) 13:44, 16 March 2014 (UTC)

Protected edit request on 15 March 2014[edit]

Remove the sentence (and citation) "Rothbard was born in the Bronx, but the family moved to a rent-controlled apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, where he attended Birch Wathen, a private school on the Upper East Side.[23][unreliable source?]" Rationale: the sentence is supported by a self-published blog; no editor has stepped for forward to defend the blog as acceptable RS. – S. Rich (talk) 03:41, 15 March 2014 (UTC)

Church of Darwinism synthesis[edit]

An edit has been made re-adding the "church of Darwinism" doubts mentioned by Lew Rockwell. This was discussed, somewhat, above at Talk:Murray_Rothbard#Alleged_synthesis. The combination stems from a blog about Ron Paul, plus Lew Rockwell's observation. The Daily Dish does not discuss Rothbard, so nothing explicitly describes Rothbard's views on evolution. Next, we have Rockwell's comment. Is he explicitly saying Rothbard was denying evolution, or skeptical about evolution, or accepted evolution? No. He says Rothbard had doubts about the "Church of Darwinism" -- nothing more. I have tagged the paragraph as SYN. Commentary is welcome. – S. Rich (talk) 03:50, 2 April 2014 (UTC)

How is this synthesis? The title of Llewellyn's post refers to "Ron Paul's evolution denial." (direct quote) Rockwell links to the post in which these allegations are made. He then likens Paul's views to Rothbard's. Therefore there is no synthesis, but a direct comparison between Paul's views (which constitute evolution denial) to Rothbard's. Steeletrap (talk) 14:36, 2 April 2014 (UTC)
As stated, this issue was raised in February. At present I've simply tagged the paragraph. Hopefully some fresh eyes will look at the material and comment. And perhaps the Arbcom results will set some parameters. If nothing develops, we might do a RFC on the issue. – S. Rich (talk) 16:02, 2 April 2014 (UTC)
I've removed that part and renamed the section, which takes care of the problem.

Rumors about non-conversion to Catholicism[edit]

@Steeletrap: In this reversion you refer to "deragatory" or "scandalous" rumor. But the guidance WP:NEWSORG is neutral in this regard -- rumors in general (positive or negative) are not encyclopedic. The source cited only tells us what his friends were thinking or reporting. It does not verify what Rothbard was thinking. – S. Rich (talk) 15:56, 2 April 2014 (UTC)

The relevant guideline states: "The reporting of rumors has a limited encyclopedic value, although in some instances verifiable information about rumors may be appropriate. Wikipedia is not the place for passing along gossip and rumors." We have a reliable source so it's perfectly appropriate. If you exercise common sense, you'll come to the view that the anti-rumor policy is intended to protect BLPs from disparaging information. Rothbard is dead and the information is not disparaging. Steeletrap (talk) 17:35, 2 April 2014 (UTC)
Okay, looks like the question is resolved. – S. Rich (talk) 01:15, 3 April 2014 (UTC)


This topic was discussed in September at Talk:Murray_Rothbard/Archive_5#Matt_Zwolinski_on_Rothbard.2C_and_the_bleedingheartlibertarians_website. Editors are invited to reopen the discussion. (If more edits occur on Zwolinski I will ask for page protection.) – S. Rich (talk) 23:25, 25 April 2014 (UTC)

Frankly this simply looks like an effort, by Rothbard's admirers, to censor criticism of Rothbard. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 03:01, 27 April 2014 (UTC)
To be clear, is this the edit of concern? Since this edit is about The Ethics of Liberty, why isn't the Zwolinski material in that article? – S. Rich (talk) 03:16, 27 April 2014 (UTC)
The relevant policy is WP:WEIGHT. Before adding opinions we need to establish their significance, which is done through consulting reliable secondary sources that mention them. That has not been done here and it is disappointing one of the same editors raised this type of issue at Talk:Southern Poverty Law Center supports the edit. TFD (talk) 03:29, 27 April 2014 (UTC)
I have hinted twice now that the material should go into the Ethics article. Parsing particular aspects of one of MR's book is not needed in this biographical article. – S. Rich (talk) 03:34, 27 April 2014 (UTC)
I've added some of that material to The Ethics of Liberty. But note that some of the material removed wasn't about that book; it was more about Rothbard himself, and as such belongs here rather than there. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 03:37, 27 April 2014 (UTC)

Find a Grave external link (b-r-D)[edit]

Per Wikipedia:External_links/Perennial_websites#Find-a-Grave "Sometimes, [an external] link is acceptable because of a specific, unique feature or information that is not available elsewhere, such as valuable images and location information of graves." In this case a photo of his grave-marker is provided (later in the listing of photos) along with the cemetery, This is unique information, and it is not used as a reference for anything in the text. Restoring link. – S. Rich (talk) 01:25, 16 March 2015 (UTC)

Peer review[edit]

Should we subject this article to peer review? Lbertolotti (talk) 15:31, 12 August 2015 (UTC)

  1. ^ Sullivan, Andrew (December 29, 2007). "Ron Paul's Evolution Denial." The Daily Dish.
  2. ^ Rockwell, Llewellyn H. Jr (December 29, 2007). "Ron Paul's 'Evolution Denial'?"
  3. ^ Rockwell, Llewellyn H. Jr (December 29, 2007). "Ron Paul's 'Evolution Denial'?"
  4. ^ a b Murray N. Rothbard, “The Libertarian Heritage: The American Revolution and Classical Liberalism,” Ch. 1 of For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto, 2nd. ed. (Auburn, AL: the Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2006; 1973, 1978), pp. 20–21.