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Charles Steele on Murray Rothbard and American Exceptionalism.

March 2, 2017

Economist Murray Rothbard, whose 91st birthday we celebrate this week, was one of the leading intellectual lights defending individual liberty and free markets in the 20th century.

Charles Steele, the Herman and Suzanne Dettwiler Chair in Economics at Hillsdale College in Michigan discusses economist Murray Rothbard's contributions to America's intellectual history, how he resurrected Austrian economics in the United States and how his thoughts are at the core of modern libertarianism.

Rothbard was a fierce defender of property rights and individual freedom, center pieces of American Exceptionalism at the country's founding but, going even further, Rothbard came to believe, no level of government could be morally justified. Instead, Rothbard argued private contract could provide even those institutions or functions, like national defense and a legal system, many believe only government's provide. Love him or hate him, Rothbard stands along side Ayn Rand and Ludwig von Mises as an intellectual leader and an independent voice for individual liberty and free markets fighting against the growth of tyranny under the guise of progressivism and liberalism in the 20th century.

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H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. is a Heartland senior fellow on environmental policy and the managing editor of Environment & Climate News.