Delivered April 16, 2016 as The 2016 Murray N. Rothbard Memorial Lecture at the Mises Institute, Auburn, AL.
As the person who has been asked to deliver this year’s Murray N. Rothbard address, it seems appropriate to relate my remarks to the person being honored. Although the observations that follow may not have come directly from Murray, he and my speech do have some connection. My pleasurable, often edifying conversations with this remarkable polymath, the letters we exchanged, his book America’s Great Depression and, not least of all, his study of American intervention in the First World War strengthened for me beliefs that I continue to hold.
I never truly grasped where we were heading as a country until my encounters with Murray. Nor did I fully assess the worthlessness of the American conservative movement up until that point. Those realizations took place despite the fact that Murray and I did not always agree on all issues. We often debated political theoretical questions, as a mental exercise, without expecting to come to full agreement. But we did hold the same views about the present age, while I deferred to Murray on all economic matters, because unlike me, he was the proven expert. Most importantly, I finally accepted his arguments about the damage inflicted on our freedoms by America’s run-away administrative state.
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