The goal of this site is to advance the Austro-Libertarian tradition of economic and political thought, especially as it has been articulated by Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, and Hans-Hermann Hoppe. Additionally, separate from libertarianism technically defined, this site also tends to favor culturally traditional western mores and mannerisms in contrast with left-libertarianism.
We agree with Hans Hoppe that conservatism (which tends to be “empiricistic, sociological, and descriptive”) focuses on “families, authority, communities, and social ranks” while libertarianism (which is “rationalistic, philosophical, logical, and constructivist”) focuses on the “concepts of property, production, exchange, and contract.” And therefore the former is the “concretization” of the latter, complementary, but distinct.
This site and its related products are edited and published by C.Jay Engel.
The phrase Austro-Libertarian has appeared often in the literature produced especially by those scholars nd theorists associated with the indispensable Mises Institute. It is an intentional attempt to express commitment to two distinct bodies of thought, both of which conclude that individual liberty based on private property is the key component and foundation for all civilization. They are two distinct bodies of thought because there are two different fields of study at play: the first being economics and the second being political philosophy.
Economics is the value free study of the implications of human action. Political theory is the value-laden study of the legitimate use of force in society.
The economics of the Austro-Libertarian is that of the tradition of the Austrian School of Economics. The Austrian School of economics refers to a certain “school of thought” in regards to economic theory that has its roots in the economic theorists who came out of Austria in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Austrian School’s methodology of focusing on the implications of human beings acting purposefully to achieve their ends is the foundation of all its other contributions.
For example, Mises’ calculation argument against socialism and the Austrian Business Cycle Theory are ultimately built and depend upon the methodology. It is via the methodology that various economic laws are formulated. Economic laws for the Austrians are not discovered by data collection and empirical observation. This is because economic laws are to be built on economic theory. Any empirical testing that is done does not contribute to theory, but rather, to history. For more on the Austrian tradition, see this article.
The political theory of the Austro-Libertarian is libertarianism. Specifically, libertarianism in the tradition of Murray Rothbard. The definition of Rothbardianism is the legal theory (which has political ramifications) which holds that no man may initiate aggression, or threat to initiate aggression, against the property of another human being, lest he engage in criminal behavior. That is to say, under the libertarian legal theory, a criminal is defined as one who breaches the above described “Non-Aggression Principle.”
For the libertarian, that which is illegal is determined in terms of private property ownership and therefore not all things that may be categorized as immoral, unethical, sinful, and so on are necessarily criminal. For the Rothbardian, this principle of Non-Aggression is to be applied to all men, regardless of social rank– which of course applies to those in the role of social governance. Thus and therefore, the state itself is in systematic breach of this Non-Aggression norm. To the extent that “anarchism” means a lack of a state, Libertarians who take these principles to their logical conclusions are, as Rothbard phrased it, “anarcho-capitalists.”