05 Oct 2008

Why Tyler Cowen Could Be Today’s Hayek, & Why Rothbard Could Be a Real Jerk

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One of the biggest sources of regret I have is that I never met Murray Rothbard. So I acknowledge that in the following observations, somebody from Auburn, AL could easily destroy me by saying, “Bob, I knew Murray Rothbard. He was a friend of mine…”

Annnywho, here’s what led me to understand why Rothbard could sometimes be…well, a real jerk. (I think poor Hayek is still nursing a nosebleed from Murray the Big Bully.)

I try, whenever possible, to criticize Tyler Cowen. This is because he has established unbelievable credibility for himself, and he has done this necessarily by knowing the mainstream material SOOOO thoroughly that no one on their side would have the audacity to dismiss him as an ideologue. This is exactly what Hayek did–they actually gave him the Nobel (Memorial) Prize, for crying out loud, even though he had the testicles to put “Serfdom” in his title. Do you know how “unscientific” that was? C’mon folks, Hayek really put in the time to infiltrate the mainstream, and then dropped a bomb within their worldview, the implications of which rippled out in all directions. That’s why there are so many diverse applications of “Hayekian” thought. He shattered the dominant worldview in which he grew up. Whom else could you want him to attack, than his powerful contemporaries–which he did?

Anyway, Cowen is like the Hayek of our days. And so if I’m going follow WWRD, I need to go after Cowen and be a jerk about it. See?

Now, there is no denying that Rothbard was bigger than I am. And partly why, is because he put on a better show. If you’re watching Spiderman in the theaters, you don’t hope that Peter Parker can use his wits to avoid all need for violence. No, you want him to go pick some fights with super villains, and then save the day! Go Murray!

So for all of you who lament at how that brilliant Murray Rothbard wasted his opportunity to really shake up the academic world… For good or ill, Rothbard consciously knew what he was doing, just like Ann Coulter is obviously shrewd and has decided she is willing to act like that for money and fame.

Well, in the same way Rothbard was fighting a war against the State, and he decided he would rather fight with the backing of a large number of independent, gun toting, Union hating tough guys, rather than a bunch of academics who might fax letters of support if Rothbard got imprisoned. Yay, thanks professors for getting my back!

So just as I can think Sam Adams was a riot for stealing private property and dumping it in the Boston harbor, I can think Murray Rothbard was a riot for picking such fights with other academics. They must have been utterly flabbergasted at this clearly very sharp guy who was acting like a, a, a, brawler for crying out loud!

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