Populism Worked for the Pro-Freedom Party in the Past. Can It Work Again?
Although he was a scholar with degrees in mathematics and economics, Murray Rothbard was very much a fan of the American layman. Indeed, he was a populist both in temperament and in his political views. In a 1992 column outlining his populist strategy, Rothbard noted the importance of reaching out to the general public and especially to those groups that were most negatively impacted by state power:
This two-pronged strategy is (a) to build up a cadre of our own libertarians, minimal-government opinion-molders, based on correct ideas; and (b) to tap the masses directly, to short-circuit the dominant media and intellectual elites, to rouse the masses of people against the elites that are looting them, and confusing them, and oppressing them, both socially and economically. But this strategy must fuse the abstract and the concrete; it must not simply attack elites in the abstract, but must focus specifically on the existing statist system, on those who right now constitute the ruling classes.
Libertarians have long been puzzled about whom, about which groups, to reach out to. The simple answer: everyone, is not enough, because to be relevant politically, we must concentrate strategically on those groups who are most oppressed and who also have the most social leverage.
The reality of the current system is that it constitutes an unholy alliance of “corporate liberal” Big Business and media elites, who, through big government, have privileged and caused to rise up a parasitic Underclass, who, among them all, are looting and oppressing the bulk of the middle and working classes in America. Therefore, the proper strategy of libertarians and paleos is a strategy of “right-wing populism,” that is: to expose and denounce this unholy alliance, and to call for getting this preppie-underclass-liberal media alliance off the backs of the rest of us: the middle and working classes.
Rothbard consistently recognized that the larger battle was an ideological one in which advocates for laissez-faire must communicate to the masses the true nature of the ruling classes and their efforts to impoverish and exercise control over everyday business owners, taxpayers, and workers.
But Rothbard also understood that within the context of a political system with nearly universal adult suffrage, the educational and ideological program needed to also manifest itself in terms of a voting public that opposed the plans of the ruling elite.
It Worked in the Ninet
Article from Mises Wire