Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Why Rothbard Trended on Twitter This Weekend | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on August 18, 2021

Jeff Deist

Jack Dorsey, Vipassanā meditation practitioner and billionaire CEO of Twitter, is known for cultivating an eclectic image as a guru and deep thinker. He is also well-known as a supporter of bitcoin, having a personal stake and speaking at conferences to dedicated hodlers. But over this past weekend he used his sizable Twitter account (5.6 million followers!) to go a step beyond simply questioning the currency regime and post a decidedly provocative link to 


By provocative we mean Dorsey linked not to some article on bitcoin or money, but to Murray N. Rothbard’s seminal 1974 essay “Anatomy of the State.” This short missive may well represent Rothbard’s most bracing and concise attack on government as an institution, and that’s saying something. This is Rothbard at his full-throated best, challenging the state per se as a predatory and malign force in society rather than a needed protector of rights or provider of order. As I wrote earlier this year

[“Anatomy of the State”] demands that readers understand the stark nature of government, without fairy tales or niceties. It applies the same lens to public and private criminality. It challenges every myth surrounding politics and statecraft, ranging from “the government is us” to judicial review. It explains how the state maintains legitimacy, how it expands, how it deals with other states, and ultimately how it works to prevent domestic threats to its power. And it still serves as the baseline analysis for understanding state power, nearly 50 years after Rothbard helped create a burgeoning anarcho-capitalist movement.

As always, Dorsey was cagey and a bit opaque in his Twitter habits. He offered no explanation or follow-up. But we can only assume he intended to plant a seed, and our analytics tell us many tens of thousands of new visitors to clicked through both to Rothbard’s essay and related links. 

But Dorsey wasn’t done, tweeting another cryptic message over the weekend about the fiftieth anniversary of Richard Nixon’s gold shock:


The hashtag #wtfhappenedin1971, and its accompanying Twitter account, has been active throughout 2021 in explaining the end of gold redemption in America. Like it or not, social media is now where anyone can climb on their soapbox and attempt to advance a narrative. Subversive sites like use twitter to do just that, helping millions understand the tremendous harm caused by government issuance of money backed by nothing. They skillfully use shocking graphics to make the case against inflationism and monetary hedonism. And they help organizations like the Mises Institute in our broader mission to show how money has become entirely corrupted by politics and special interests at the expense of ordinary Americans. Thanks to #wtfhappenedin1971 and Mr. Dorsey’s missive, the term “Rothbard” trended on Twitter all weekend—after we seized the opportunity to promote what we consider the best and most accessible book on money ever written: Rothbard’s What Has Government Done to Our Money?

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