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The Betrayal of the American Right Hardcover – August 31, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 231 pages
  • Publisher: Ludwig von Mises Institute; 1st edition (August 31, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933550139
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933550138
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,100,870 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

into that long trajectory that would lead to George Bush. As Thomas Woods writes in the introduction, "It is not just a history of the Old Right, or of the anti-interventionist tradition in America. It is the story at least in part of Rothbard's own political and intellectual development: the books he read, the people he met, the friends he made, the organizations he joined, and so much more." Obviously, little of this has made it into the official history of the United States. The movement called the Old Right is rarely discussed or even acknowledged, except to be smeared as backwards and isolationist. Countless times we read that the American right was founded by National Review, and nothing of any merit existed before. In fact, the most consistent opponents of Harry Truman's early Cold War measures were on the ideological right. They saw the whole thing as a trick to keep government control and spending in place. They resisted every step. And they were precisely right: Truman's whole plan was to prevent Republican political advances by distracting people with trumped-up foreign threats. Among the resistors was Senator Robert Taft. He opposed the Truman Doctrine, Nato, the Marshall Plan, and he refused to back more military spending in times of peace. And who supported all these policies? It was people on the left, such as The Nation. The Left favored big government in the mode of FDR. The Right was against it. But how many historians know anything about these crucial years? How many know that the left and right changed place from the late 50s through the 1960s? Very few indeed. What Rothbard shows is that the cause of peace is our heritage, and that free markets has been united with the antiwar cause from the founding fathers through the Old Right and as late as the 1950s. There is so much in this book to appreciate but especially valuable are his comments on the left in the 1960s. There might have seemed to be some hope for some type of collaboration. They were against war and for civil liberties at a time when the right was becoming increasingly imperialist and warmongering. Rothbard explains his attempt to educate the left on economics. Alas, there was no hope. He had to go it alone and forge a completely new movement called libertarianism. Rothbard plays a much more important role in the history of American politics than is usually acknowledged. He is the link between the Old Right and the new libertarian movement of our times. It was Rothbard who brought Mises's work to the attention of a new generation, writing about his ideas and expanding them. It was Rothbard who worked not only as an intellectual but an activist. It shows what one man and a typewriter can do. This book has been the best-kept secret in political writing for the last half century. Now at last it can be revealed to the world. Betrayal of the America Right is the tell-all book that shows why and how the ideological world turned upside down.

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Customer Reviews

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This book is both political history and an autobiography of one of the great libertarian thinkers.
Kevin Currie-Knight
The Southern GOP delegations were very small in those days of Dixiecrat supremacy, and composed largely of African Americans and working-class whites.
Jason Seagraves
To the mouthpieces of the mainstream news media with their shallow view of American political history, this is very perplexing.
anarchteacher

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Andrew S. Rogers VINE VOICE on November 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
More than a decade after his death, Murray Newton Rothbard continues to make important contributions to libertarian thought, in this case with a manuscript first written in the 1970s and newly published by the invaluable Ludwig von Mises Institute. In typical Rothbardian form, this book is packed with theory and history, but also full of storytelling, personalities, and the author's trademark good humor. It's a book that Rothbard's many fans will certainly enjoy, but could -- and should -- also be read with profit by thoughtful people all over America's political spectrum.

It might seem nonsensical to some to try to draw a distinction between "rightism" and "conservatism," but that's just evidence for Rothbard's main point: that the true form and legacy of the American Right has been hijacked and perverted -- "betrayed" -- by self-styled "conservatives." Not really "rightists" at all, Rothbard argues, modern "conservatives" are a segment of social democracy, accepting the fundamental premises of militarism, corporatism, mercantilism, fiat money, and expensive, intrusive, bureaucratic government at home to enable the Global Anti-Communist Crusade, as it then was, around the world.

As this new kind of "right wing" grew to prominence in the 1950s, Rothbard suddenly found himself redefined as a "left-winger," without having changed any of his own views. This book thus becomes, not only a history of the Right, but also (as editor Thomas E. Woods notes), the closest we'll presumably ever have to Rothbard's autobiography. Given that Rothbard was a man who wrote movie reviews as well as philosophical treatises, "The Betrayal of the American Right" introduces us to personalities, events, and the social dynamics of political groupings around New York City.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By anarchteacher on January 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Contrary to popular belief, the betrayal of the American right and the Republican Party did not begin with the administration of George W. Bush, his father George H. W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, or Barry Goldwater. It began much earlier as this new book by the late Murray N. Rothbard details.

This is the fabulous book I have eagerly awaited almost thirty years. It meets my every expectation and confirmation of the brilliance of its author. Murray Rothbard remains unsurpassed in analytical insight and clarity of perception.

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul often describes himself as belonging to the non-interventionist tradition of the "Old Right" in American politics, and that his hero or mentor in this regard is Ohio Republican Senator Robert A. Taft, son of President and Chief Justice of the United States William H. Taft.

To the mouthpieces of the mainstream news media with their shallow view of American political history, this is very perplexing. Their superficial knowledge of events rarely stretches beyond the Reagan years, if indeed that far back.

The "Old Right" arose in opposition to the welfare-warfare state of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal and Harry Truman's Fair Deal policies of domestic corporate statism and foreign imperial interventionism.

The "Old Right" Republicans in Congress, such as Senator Taft, Congressman Howard Buffett (father of the billionaire investor Warren Buffett), Congressman George Bender, and Congressman H. R. Gross, were pro-peace opponents of war, militarism, imperialism, and conscription. Reminiscent of Ron Paul, they fought against tyrannical centralization of power in the executive branch, and the undeclared, no-win Korean War as Paul has done with the Iraq War.
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Earth that Was on January 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Murray Rothbard grew up in New York's jewish community in the 1930s where apparently, in politics, everyone was a socialist of some description. The only right wingers among his circle, were Murray and his engineer father. A concerned uncle, a Communist Party member, said young Murray would be safe in the bright egalitarian future to come if he only learned to keep their mouth shut. Murray apparently didn't learn the lesson, and this book covers much of the story of what happened to him.

Posthumously published "The Betrayal of the American Right" is more than an autobiographical work. It's also a fully footnoted overview of the history of the American right, or at least of a significant slice of the right, in the period between 1910 and 1970, along with Murray Rothbard's insider's account covering more or less the second half of that period. Analysis and autobiography comprise the content with the former winning out in the overall page count. It could just as easily have been be called "Fission and Fusion among the Fragments" because it also provides a bird's eye and an on-the-ground view of the synthetic and "antithetic" process of political coalition building and disassembly, the original "creative destruction".

The mainstream academic liberal conventional wisdom has it that the supporters of laisser faire were "radicals" in the first half, or maybe first two thirds, of the nineteenth century and were "conservatives" for the rest. Nay, says Rothbard.
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