RAW's take on the Austrians
April 24, 2007 3 Comments
There’s a chain of authors and influences that led me directly from Robert Anton Wilson to Murray Rothbard, but I’ve never seen either of them comment on the other. RAW implied some unflattering things about Misesians in his audiobook, Robert Anton Wilson Explains Everything (or Old Bob Reveals His Ignorance) — basically, he said that those libertarians who didn’t treat Ayn Rand’s writing as dogma treated Ludwig von Mises’s writing that way — but I never heard or read anything more direct from him on Mises himself, let alone Rothbard. I know he rejected Rothbard’s Natural Law/Natural Rights philosophy (as represented by Sam Konkin) but that might have made him sympathetic to Mises’s utilitarian approach. Either way, I never got the sense that RAW quite “got it” as far as economic theory was concerned.
Thanks to Brian Doherty, I now know that while RAW rejected Austrianism, he did have some respect for the Austrians:
… he also said, as quoted in my book, when asked to expound on the differences between him and the then-dominant Misesian-Rothbardian strain of the movement in a 1976 interview, “this is turning into a diatribe against the group I find least obnoxious on the whole politico-economic spectrum…The orthodox conservatives and liberals, not to mention Nazis and Marxists, are really pernicious, and the Austrian libertarians are basically OK.”