[This important essay was published in the Libertarian Forum (1969–1984), the entire archives of which are now online at the Mises Institute. It appeared in the January 1971 issue, before Nixon’s price and wage controls and many other interventions over the course of his presidency. Rothbard predicted the future state of the Nixonian economy in every respect. The essay is important for another reason: he correctly sees that Republican socialism is of a special sort that benefits the GOP constituency, enjoys the tacit approval of conservative organs of opinion, and yet is no less socialistic than that wrought by Democrats in power and probably even more so.]
It is traditional at the turn of the year to survey the state of the economy and to try to forecast what lies ahead. Despite the Pollyanna chorus with which we have been deluged for the last year by “conservative” and “free-market” economist-whores for the Nixon Administration, we can state flatly that the state of the economy is rotten, and destined to get worse.
In the 1960 campaign there first appeared the curious phenomenon of “anarcho-Nixonites”, several friends of mine who had become aides to Dick Nixon, and who assured me that Tricky Dick had assured them that he was “really anarchist at heart”; once campaign pressures were over, and Nixon as President was allowed his head, we would see an onrush toward the free market and the libertarian society.
In the 1968 campaign, anarcho-Nixonism redoubled in intensity, and we were assured that Nixon was surrounded by assorted Randians, libertarians, and free-market folk straining at the leash to put their principles into action.
Well, we have had two years of Nixonism, and what we are undergoing is a super–Great Society—in fact, what we are seeing is the greatest single thrust toward socialism since the days of Franklin Roosevelt. It is not Marxian socialism, to be sure, but neither was FDR’s; it is, as J.K. Galbraith wittily pointed out in New York (Sept. 21) a big-business socialism, or state corporatism, but that is cold comfort indeed.
There are only two major differences in content between Nixon and Kennedy-Johnson (setting aside purely stylistic differences between uptight WASP, earthy Texan, and glittering upper-class Bostonian): (1) that the march into socialism is faster because the teeth of conservative Republican opposition have been drawn; and (2) that the erstwhile “free-market” conservatives, basking in the seats of Power, have betrayed
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