"We are all Austrians now," said Ron Paul back in early 2012 after finishing second in the New Hampshire GOP primary. Virtually all libertarian listeners cheered at such a claim, but almost everyone else was left in the misunderstanding. What exactly did the presidential candidate mean?
This is what the new Rothbardian Circle tries to answer from its base in Miami.
The Rothbardian Circle was established officially on Monday night during its inaugural meeting. About fifteen college students and young adults attended what was designed to be a book club on economics. The chosen study, Man, Economy, and State, is the monumental work of Murray Rothbard, a late-20th century libertarian scholar famous for advocating the replacement of all government services by private enterprises.
The Rothbardian Circle is, for many reasons, dedicated to the scholar who, during his own years of activism, formed the Bastiat Circle as a similar group.
The meeting, set in a private home in the Brickell neighborhood of Miami, began with a speech from Alexander Snitker, 2010 Libertarian senatorial candidate from Florida and current candidate for the office of Lieutenant Governor in the Sunshine State. His long lecture, while promoting his platform with an emphasis on the importance of local governments, had one crucial advise for the Circle.
"You guys need to emphasize why all of this matters to the average American," said Snitker. Indeed, Austrian messages are often put in technical terms that only an used scholar may understand. And, while Ron Paul managed to explain many concepts -such as the dangers of inflation- easily, a larger organization still needs to go on to educate the next generation of students.
This is exactly what the Rothbardian Circle tries to do. Eventually, the group's aim is to become a libertarian think-tank with a large educational branch.
But for now, a small membership is all what Luis Rivera needed to set up and begin the movement. Monday's meeting was focused on praxeology (the science of economic reasoning) and a thorough analysis of why President Obama's minimum wage increase is nothing more than an evidence of economic illiteracy.
In respect of President's Day, the group also discussed the history of US presidents. The names of John Tyler, Grover Cleveland, Martin Van Buren, and Jimmy Carter were cited as some of the great presidents in our past, against such men as Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, and JFK.
Interestingly, most people in attendance were registered Republicans actively involved with the Miami-Dade County Republican Party. Manny Roman, one of the attendees, is a local GOP committeeman and a candidate for the Florida House of Representatives. "I believe it could sprout up some powerful libertarian leaders locally," said Rivera.
But on Monday night, the group went beyond party lines. The Austrian School of economics is a school of thought established in the Austria-Hungarian empire in the mid-19th century. Since its foundation, it has been developed by such men as Carl Menger, Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, and Murray Rothbard into a science based on reason that promotes free markets, limited (if any) government, and sound money.
"[The Rothbardian Circle] could galvanize others to create similar groups nationally," according to Luis Rivera, who hopes the movement will spread with the help of youth libertarian groups, such as Young Americans for Liberty. Another meeting is scheduled for next month and more people are to be expected this time. The one sure thing is that Miami-Dade County, with the recent surge of the local Libertarian Party's activism, the takeover of the local Republican Party by former Ron Paul supporters, and the establishment of the Rothbardian Circle, is to expect a wave of much-needed freedom in the coming years.