Selections from Rothbard’s “Betrayal of the American Right”

The history of America as a country is quite different from that of America as a State. In one case it is the drama of the pioneering conquest of the land, of the growth of wealth and the ways in which it was used … and the carrying out of spiritual ideals. … But as a State, its history is that of playing part in the world, making war, obstructing international trade … punishing those citizens whom society agrees are offensive, and collecting money to pay for it all.

“The simple truth is that our businessmen do not want a government that will let business alone. They want a government they can use.” – Ed Abbey

“The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable, and so, if he is romantic, he tries to change it. And even if he is not romantic personally [as Mencken clearly was not] he is very apt to spread discontent among those who are. . . .” – H.L. Mencken

From As We Go Marching Along, John T. Flynn:

“The great and glamorous industry is here—the industry of militarism. And when the war is ended the country is going to be asked if it seriously wishes to demobilize an industry that can employ so many men, create so much national income when the nation is faced with the probability of vast unemployment in industry. All the well-known arguments, used so long and so successfully in Europe … will be dusted off—America with her high purposes of world regeneration must have the power to back up her magnificent ideals; America cannot afford to grow soft, and the Army and Navy must be continued on a vast scale to toughen the moral and physical sinews of our youth; America dare not live in a world of gangsters and aggressors without keeping her full power mustered … and above and below and all around these sentiments will be the sinister allurement of the perpetuation of the great industry which can never know a depression because it will have but one customer—the American government to whose pocket there is no bottom. ” – John T. Flynn, 1944

“Fascism will come at the hands of perfectly authentic Americans … who are convinced that the present economic system is washed up … and who wish to commit this country to the rule of the bureaucratic state; interfering in the affairs of the states and cities; taking part in the management of industry and finance and agriculture; assuming the role of great national banker and investor, borrowing billions every year and spending them on all sorts of projects through which such a government can paralyze opposition and command public support; marshaling great armies and navies at crushing costs to support the industry of war and preparation for war which will become our greatest industry; and adding to all this the most romantic adventures in global planning, regeneration, and domination all to be done under the authority of a powerfully centralized government in which the executive will hold in effect all the powers with Congress reduced to the role of a debating society. There is your fascist. And the sooner America realizes this dreadful fact the sooner it will arm itself to make an end of American fascism masquerading under the guise of the champion of democracy. ” – John T Flynn, 1944.

Frank Chodorov, praising in his analysis a pamphlet issued by the National Council Against Conscription, wrote that “the State cannot intervene in the economic affairs of society without building up its coercive machinery, and that, after all, is militarism. Power is the correlative of politics.”

“In previous years, he added, it was assumed that the function of the Congress was to speak for the American people. But now   it is the President, standing at the head of the Executive Government, who says: ‘I speak for the people’ or ‘I have a mandate from the people.’ . . Now much more than Congress, the President acts directly upon the emotions and passions of the people to influence their thinking. As he controls Executive Government, so he controls the largest propaganda machine in the world. The Congress has no propaganda apparatus at all and continually finds itself under pressure from the people who have been moved for or against something by the ideas and thought material broadcast in the land by the administrative bureaus in Washington.” – Garet Garrett

“The Roman Empire never doubted that it was the defender of civilization. Its good intentions were peace, law and order. The Spanish Empire added salvation. The British Empire added the noble myth of the white man’s burden. We have added freedom and democracy. Yet the more that may be added to it the more it is the same language still. A language of power.” – Garet Garrett

“As Kolko pointed out, all the various measures of federal regulation and welfare statism, beginning in the Progressive period, that Left and Right alike have always believed to be a mass movement against Big Business, are not only backed to the hilt by Big Business at the present time, but were originated by it for the very purpose of shifting from a free market to a cartelized economy. Under the guise of regulations ‘against monopoly’ and ‘for the public welfare.’ Big Business has succeeded in granting itself cartels and privileges through the use of government.”

About smellincoffee

Citizen, librarian, reader with a boundless wonder for the world and a curiosity about all the beings inside it.
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2 Responses to Selections from Rothbard’s “Betrayal of the American Right”

  1. I am a fan of the work & thought of Rothbard. His economic and historical writings are incisive and persuasive (at least to those with open minds) regarding the primacy of liberty and freedom of thought.

    • I’m enjoying him so far, and am grateful that Tom Woods (whose variety podcast I listen to nearly every day) is such a passionate fan of his. He frequently mentions him and his work.

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