The Circle Bastiat, which flourished from 1953-1959, was a group of Murray Rothbard’s closest friends and disciples. Ralph Raico and George Reisman, while still in high school, began to attend Ludwig von Mises’s famous seminar at New York University. There they met Murray Rothbard, then working on his doctoral dissertation at Columbia, who had been an active member of the seminar for several years.
Raico and Reisman, impressed by Rothbard’s intellect, learning, and personality, soon became fast friends with him. They met him for long conversations, which ranged widely over economics, history, politics, and philosophy, after the seminar.
They were joined within about a year by Leonard Liggio, who had worked with Raico in the Robert Taft presidential campaign, and a little later by Ronald Hamowy, who had been friends since elementary school with Reisman. Robert Hessen also became part of the group, and sometimes Raico brought his friend, the philosopher Bruce Goldberg, to the discussions. (A couple of less well-known people also participated.) The friends met regularly at Rothbard’s Manhattan apartment and called themselves the Circle Bastiat, after the great nineteenth-century French classical liberal and economist. .The Circle came to an end after Raico departed for graduate study at the University of Chicago in 1959; Reisman and Hessen had left the previous year.
The Circle was notable not only for high intellectual quality but also for the remarkable good humor and camaraderie of the members. We have decided to name this blog after the Circle, both as a tribute and to set an ideal for participants to emulate.