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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

T his work has been literally a lifetime in the making, for my vital

interest in libertarianism began in childhood, and has intensified

ever since. Hence, it is simply impossible to mention and acknowledge

all the people or influences from whom I have learned, and to whom

I am deeply grateful. In particular, I have had the good fortune to benefit

from countless discussions, interchanges, and correspondence with a large

number of thoughtful and scholarly libertarians, all of whom have helped

to form my ideas and hence to shape this work. This will have to be my

apology for not mentioning each one of them. I will have to confine my

acknowledgments to those who helped me specifically on this book. As the

one exception to this rule, I would like to express my gratitude to my father,

David Rothbard. Until my twenties, it seemed to me that he was the only

other libertarian in the world, and so I am particularly grateful for his

encouragement, endless patience, and enthusiasm. I first learned about

the rudiments of liberty from him and then, after I became a full-fledged

and consistent libertarian, in the winter of 1949-50, he was my first convert.

Turning then to the book itself, it too has been long in the making,

and has undergone several wholesale transformations. It began, in discussion

with Dr. Ivan R. Bierly of the William Volker Fund of Burlingame,

California, in the early 1960s, with the idea of bringing natural rights to

libertarians and liberty to conservatives. This concept of the book has long

been abandoned, and transmuted into the far bolder task of setting forth

a systematic theory of the ethics of liberty. On this long and rocky road,

the patience and the encouragement of Floyd Arthur ("Baldy") Harper and

of Kenneth S. Templeton, Jr., both initially of the William Volker Fund and

then of the Institute of Humane Studies, Menlo Park, California, have never

faltered.

I would like to thank the organizers and the commentators on parts

of this book at the Libertarian Scholars Conference in New York City. I

am grateful that Randy E. Barnett and John Hagel, III, saw fit to include

my defense of proportionate punishment in their work, Assessing the

Criminal. And Ordo is to be commended for publishing my critique of F.A.

Hayek's concept of coercion.

Williamson M. Evers, of the department of political science, Stanford

University, was immeasurably helpful during the year (1975) that I spent

working on this book in Palo Alto, California. I am grateful to him for his

stimulating discussions of libertarian theory, for his bibliographical erudition,

and for numerous helpful suggestions. John N. Gray, fellow in politics,

Jesus College, Oxford, and James A. Sadowsky S. J. of the philosophy department

of Fordham University, each read the entire manuscript and their kind

comments greatly bolstered my morale in seeing it through to completion.

Dr. David Gordon, of Los Angeles and of the Center for Libertarian Studies,

read the entire manuscript and offered detailed and extremely helpful suggestions;

his erudition and keen philosophical insights are an inspiration to

all who know him. The devotion to and enthusiasm for this work by Leonard P.

Liggio, now president of the Institute for Humane Studies, Menlo Park, were

indispensable to its final publication. I would also like to thank Dr. Louis M.

Spadaro, president emeritus of the Institute for Humane Studies, and George

Pearson of the Koch Foundation and of the Institute.

I am grateful to the Volker Fund and to the Institute for Humane

Studies for repeated research aid. I am particularly grateful to Charles G.

Koch of Wichita, Kansas, for his devotion to this work and to the ideals of

liberty, and for enabling me to take off the year 1974-75 from teaching to

work on this book.

Despite my enormous gratitude to those friends and colleagues on

the long and lonely struggle to develop libertarianism and to advance the

cause of liberty, it cannot compare to the inexpressible debt that I owe my

wife Joey, who for nearly thirty years has been an unflagging source of

support, enthusiasm, insight, and happiness.

MURRAYN . ROTHBARD

New York City, May 1980