I haven’t done a great deal of study on Rothbard. Being young of age looking at a man who practically wrote more than one can read I’ve found his content daunting to say in the least. However ideas of language I find terribly intriguing and I’ve found one in a question on Rothbard’s legacy.
How did a man so brilliant and scholarly found a movement that so miserably failed in living up to his name and relative success?
I think I’ve found a relatively simple but potent explanation. Rothbard had an excellent means of convincing people to join in on the advancement of an idea. Rather than explain the jigsaw of views stemming from a single piece of an ideology that peopl would constantly be bothered about consistency and nuance and all the things that make philosophy ideology tiresome for people disdainful of them, Rothbard simply put forth the notion that this was, deep down, what they wanted. Want more money in your pocket? Here’s a system that permits it! Want people to foster individual virtue? Here’s a culture that encourages it! Don’t want people having total control over your life? You get the idea.
Rothbard tapped into people’s natural and cultural desires and curiosities, leaving them breadcrumbs to what he held sacred. What was the result?
The people who would become the torchbearers of his ideas were so enamored by the brilliant correlation Rothbard drew between his presentation and their desires that they mistook the totality of their desires for Rothbard’s philosophy.
His philosophy which they liked was replaced by what they simply liked, and ignored that of his which they did not. The moral of the story? The LP never breached 5%, complaining all the while that others were selfish in that they were not as selfish as the LP.
There is a warning in this; in mistaking the totality of the appeals of an ideology you like for the totality of the idea you shun success.