The Jewish Scholastic – LewRockwell

Scholasticism: is a method of critical thought which dominated teaching by the academics (“scholastics,” or “schoolmen”) of medieval universities in Europe from about 1100 to 1700, and a program of employing that method in articulating and defending dogma in an increasingly pluralistic context.

I have just completed reading the 2 volume Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought by the Jewish/Austrian School economist Murray Rothbard. This is a magisterial (the edition sold by the Mises Institute is 1084 pages (2006, originally published in 1995)) survey of economic thought from antiquity up to the modern era in volume 1 and British classical economics, the French school of classical liberalism, and Marxism in volume 2. Somewhat surprising to me, a key realization pervasive throughout this text is that Rothbard was a Jewish Scholastic. This is not a contradiction in terms; indeed, at one point Rothbard states “The term, ‘Protestant scholastic’ has been coined for such writers as John Locke, and indeed the phrase is a coherent one, since one does not have to be Catholic to use the rational scholastic method or arrive at scholastic conclusions.” In practice, the most important concept for Rothbard is the recognition of Natural Law. David Gordon has written that Murray Rothbard rested much of his Ethics of Liberty on the foundation of Thomistic natural law.

For Rothbard, the natural law can be discerned through reason by anyone; i.e., it is not necessarily a religious concept. Roberta Modugno has compiled some of Rothbard’s private reports for the Volker Fund in Rothbard vs. the Philosophers. In a report on a conference held in 1960 Rothbard favors the objective values of Leo Strauss against the subjective values…

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