Monday, November 2, 2015

In Defense of Demagogues - By Murray N. Rothbard

It is the fashionable belief that an idea is wrong in proportion to its “extremism” and right in proportion as it is a chaotic muddle of contradictory doctrines. To the professional middle-of-the-roader, a species that is always found in abundance, the demagogue invariably comes as a nasty shock. For it is one of the most admirable qualities of the demagogue that he forces men to think, some for the first time in their lives. Out of the muddle of current ideas, both fashionable and unfashionable, he extracts some and pushes them to their logical conclusions, i.e. “to extremes.” He thereby forces people either to reject their loosely held views as unsound, or to find them sound and to pursue them to their logical consequences. Far from being an irrational force, then, the silliest of demagogues is a great servant of Reason, even when he is mostly in the wrong……….

It is true that, in the long run, we will never be free until the intellectuals–the natural molders of public opinions–have been converted to the side of freedom. In the short run, however, the only route to liberty is by an appeal to the masses over the heads of the State and its intellectual bodyguard. And this appeal can be made most effectively by the demagogue–the rough, unpolished man of the people, who can present the truth in simple, effective, yes emotional, language. 
The intellectuals see this clearly, and this is why they constantly attack every indication of libertarian demagoguery as part of a “rising tide of anti-intellectualism.” Of course, it is not anti-intellectualism; it is the saving of mankind from those intellectuals who have betrayed the intellect itself.
Rothbard Would Have Loved Trump -