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Murray Rothbard on Why the Paleo Movement was Founded

I am in the midst of the unenviable task of going through the pending FAQ page on the main site and answering each and every question. I came to this one, which I think would be good to answer: “Why do you call yourself a Paleo-Libertarian?” So in preparing my short answer, I reread Murray Rothbard’s essay on “Why Paleo?” (May, 1990).

Here is an interesting excerpt:

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 9.04.32 PMBut that is not the point, although I agree that liberty will tend to flourish most in a bourgeois, Christian culture. I am willing to concede that you can indeed be a good, hard-core libertarian and still be a hippie, an aggressive anti-bourgeois and anti-Christian, a drug addict, a moocher, a rude and intolerable fellow, and even an outright thief. But the point is that we paleos are no longer willing to be movement colleagues with these sorts of people. For two separate and powerful reasons, each of which would be good enough reason to form a separate and distinct paleo movement. One is strategic: that these sorts of people tend, for obvious reasons, to turn off, indeed to repel, most “real people,’ people who either work for a living or meet a payroll, middle class or working class people who, in the grand old phrase, enjoy “visible means of support.”

In the Libertarian Party, the prevalence of these sorts of people has kept the membership and the votes low and even declining. But also in the broader movement, these luffmensch types have almost succeeded in making the glorious word “libertarian” a stench in everyone’s nostrils, synonymous with nut or libertine. At this stage, the only way to save the glorious word and the concept of “libertarian” is to affix the word “paleo” to it, and thereby make the distinction and separation crystal clear.

Published in C.Jay Engel

  • C. Stayton

    Darn hippies!