Libertarian History/Philosophy

Have 'Delusion and Greed'—and Murray Rothbard—Destroyed Libertarianism?

Burning Down the House argues that the shift from Hayek's classical liberalism to Rothbard's anarcho-capitalism has led the movement astray.


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The libertarian movement has lost its way over the past 60 years as it's shifted from Friedrich Hayek's classical liberal corrective to Depression-era central planning to Murray Rothbard's full-blown anarcho-capitalism in which all taxation is theft and all transfer payments are immoral.

That's the argument in a provocative new book called Burning Down the House: How Libertarian Philosophy was corrupted by Delusion and Greed, by Andrew Koppelman. Along the way, he critiques major libertarian figures such as Ayn Rand, Robert Nozick, Ron Paul, and Charles Koch.

Reason's Nick Gillespie spoke with Koppelman, a law professor at Northwestern University, about why he believes classical liberals have given ground to anarchists and how that fundamentally changes not just the rhetoric but the political goals of the libertarian movement.

Produced by Nick Gillespie; Edited by Adam Czarnecki and Justin Zuckerman; Sound Editing by Ian Keyser.

Photo Credits:Roll Call/Newscom; Everett Collection/Newscom