RAW's take on the Austrians

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.”


3 Responses to RAW's take on the Austrians

  1. iceberg says:

    Old Bob has flaunted his lack of economic knowledge in his Cosmic Trigger series, for the most part in the second volume.

  2. bkmarcus says:

    I’ve only read the first Cosmic Trigger book. What does he say in #2?

  3. iceberg says:

    Allow me to restate more precisely what I meant to say earlier. In Cosmic Trigger II, R.A.W. narrates the mythological leftist reality-tunnel in regards to events such as the Great Depression, and the S&L crisis. Furthermore he claims that “capitalist nations make endless wars to protect themselves from economic competition by other capitalist nations” and that white racism coupled with capitalist greed made the genocide of Native Americans inevitable.

    Now that I think about it though, it can simply be the semantic confusion on his part between the political and economic variants of capitalism.

    There is also his disturbing belief in centrally planned cities/countries which he inherits from Buckminister Fuller, and their eventual goal of a united global synergy which sounded awfully utopian to me; something you’d expect to see U2’s Sonny Bono involved in.

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