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This is the first biography of one of the most interesting and controversial social theorists of our time. Murray N. Rothbard was the founder of the libertarian movement, a radical free marketeer who came of age in the era of collectivism and fought all his life for individualism and laissez-faire against overwhelming odds. The story of his life is at the same time a cavalcade of virtually all of the controversial events, ideas, and personalities of the latter part of the twentieth century. The author of twenty-eight books and thousands of articles, Rothbard's life goal was to found a science of liberty, a comprehensive libertarian system of social thought encompassing philosophy, ethics, economics, and history. This book tells the story of the intellectual adventure that was Rothbard's life, his relationship with the great libertarian economist and philosopher Ludwig von Mises, and his intellectual growth and development as an economist and a thinker. While Rothbard's contributions to the history of social thought are important, his life story is interesting in itself: against almost impossible odds he managed to singlehandedly create the libertarian movement out of thin air at a time when such ideas were considered completely outside the pale. An Enemy of the State traces Rothbard's ideological odyssey, from the Old Right of the Chicago Tribune and the "isolationist" America First Committee, to the conservative movement of the fifties and early sixties, to the New Left of the mid-sixties, and then on to the Libertarian Party and the post-Cold War return to his Old Right roots. Rothbard was that interesting combination, an intellectual system-builder and theorist who was also an intellectual street fighter, a scholar, and a man of action. Anyone interested in the history of ideas, whether or not they agree with Rothbard's ideology, is bound to be captivated by and drawn into the story of his fascinating life.
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