VIEWSrnSweet Land of Libertyrnby Murray N. RothbardrnIam deeply honored to receive the Richard Weaver Aw ard, tornstand in the ranks of the distinguished men who hae receivedrnit, and to have an award in the name of a man who hasrnalways been one of my heroes. As a lifelong libertarian, I havernbeen mo’ed by the occasion to reflect on one of the most importantrnquestions of our time: ^^1^at exacth- is the relationshiprnbetween the principles of liberty, the “abstract” principles ifrnyou will, aird the undeniable fact that the were instantiatedrnmost fullv and gloriously in the Old Republic, in the IgnitedrnStates of America, in the old patriotic hvmn the “sweet land ofrnliberty,” at least until recent decades?rnFree-market economists generally focus on the point, whichrnI believe undeniable, that a free-market ceonomv, and its necessaryrnunderpinnings, the secure rights of pri ate property, willrnvivify any culture, any civilization. The people of an’ countryrnwill be inrmeasurably better off to the extent that they enjoy arnfree market and its blessings. One of the most inspiring worksrnby my faxorite “deyelopment economist,” L.ord Peter Bauer,rnwas his first book, Wed African Trade, which demonstrated inrndetail that the back country jungles of Nigeria and what is nowrnGhana prospered from a vast network of market exchangesrnalong the jungle trails, markets which were largely unknown bvrnthe British officials luxuriating in the capital city or b theirrnAfrican Marxist successors. To the extent that these rural mar-rnMurray N. Rothbard (J926-J995) received the IngersoU Foundationrn’s 1994 Richard M. Weaver Award for Scholarly Letters,rnfor which this was his acceptance speech.rnkets were known, of course, they were crippled bv taxes andrngovernment controls.rnConeediirg this point, what interests me here is the oppositernquestion: What was there about America that led to the widestrnand deepest example in history of secure property rights, libert’,rnand freedom of enterprise? Part of the answer was suppliedrnin the excellent little book by the French economic historianrnJean Baechlcr, The Origins of Capitalism. Baechler locates thernorigins of the highly and uniquely developed market economyrnin \tstern Europe in two interrelated facts from eady centuriesrnof the Christian era: first, the policies were so remarkably decentralizedrnthat there were literally hundreds of small sovereignrnstates or quasi-states instead of one mighty empire; and second,rnfor the first time in world history, there was no state-runrnChurch; in other words, the Christian Church was transnationalrnand therefore could and did function as a mighty checkrnupon state power. As a result of these lucky or providentialrncircumstances, an international market could develop, and pri-rnatc individuals and groups could flourish more or less free ofrnstate power and depredations. I would add another importantrnpoint: that Christianity is the only religion that I know of thatrnis individualist rather than collectivist, whose focus is not therntribe or the city-state or some universal pantheistic blob, butrnthe person and his salvation, not onK’ a person made in God’srnimage, but one in whom God Himself had become incarnate.rnSo the first reason America became the sweet land of libertyrnis that its heritage was Western European, the creation of thoserncurrent villains, dead white European males. But what ledrn14/CHRONICLESrnrnrn