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Two Periodical Looks at Libertarianism's Past

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The Mises Institute continues its relentless digitization of previously hard-to-find aspects of the modern American libertarian movement's past.

Its latest additions are full issues from the early to mid 1950s of the very obscure Faith and Freedom, the journal of the early Christian libertarian group Spiritual Mobilization, and mid- late-1970s issues of Libertarian Review, which began as a specifically book-reviewing journal and grew into a more general interest cultural and policy mag of a libertarian bent.

Examining them together gives you an interesting sense of the movement's growth over those two decades. Faith and Freedom is more general, more homiletic, and in some ways more daring given its focus on first principles in a social and political environment when radical libertarianism was greatly mistrusted and even feared.

Libertarian Review is undoubtedly more sophisticated, more engaged with a wider world of social sciences and history and current events in a manner that could appeal to a reader merely curious, not interested in being preached at. Both make great reading for those interested in how libertarian ideas have been framed and sold in the past 60 years. For people, like me, who either as eager students interested in this stuff or adult researchers writing history on it, found getting ready and extended access to these publications quite a trick, their existence digitized this way inspires sweet amazement and gratitude that we live in an era when it's possible for everyone everywhere to read it anytime.

I talk quite a bit about the curious history of Spiritual Mobilization (which ended largely due to its lawyer chief's discovery of psychedelics in the mid-1950s via Gerald Heard) and of course the curious history of the American libertarian movement in general in my 2007 opus Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement.

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  1. LR is hard to find now? I remember when Laissez Faire Books could hardly give them away.

    Oh, wait, I forgot…we’re in the digital era now, and nobody wants to hunt for paper.

  2. The racists are at it again. Richard Hoste thinks he proves something when he’s nothing but a half-educated bigot. They have the nerve to suggest that Reason isn’t being true to the libertarian cause.

    These racists are the worst human beings on the planet.

  3. Annoon-I-MOOSE,

    Are you really Richard Hoste?

    “These racists are the worst human beings on the planet.”

    Really? Racists are scum IMHO, but that’s a little over the top. Who cares what this racist has to say anyway.

  4. I just lost the game!
    U LUZ 2!

  5. Why o why did I follow that link?

    *vomit*

  6. Bronwyn,

    I could be wrong, but I think Richard Hoste is just trying to get people to read his stupid blog. By posting as Annoon-I-MOOSE.

  7. Hoste is such a dick. “I am too a libertarian! I believe in individual liberty, as long as the individual in question is white.”

  8. Woo! Finally, I get name-checked too!

    And he reposts his own (or one of his cretinous minion’s) spoof post as “Strugglin Brother” and criticizes me for calling it satire. What a lot of chutzpah.

    “Voluntary race separation” could be done right now. Hoste and the rest of his redneck, noneck, inbred, shitstain followers could pool all their McDonald’s and gas station wages, meth profits, mobile home capital gains, and the coins in their “Goddamn, I hate Nigrahs” change jars and buy themselves a right nice place on the outskirts of some Hicksville and have White Power Cotillions until Helter Skelter if they wanted.

    And the Feds will leave them alone if they can manage to refrain from fucking little kids (good luck with that.)

    But they don’t have the foresight, energy or drive benefiting a “Master race” to pull off something like that, they have to whine about how black people are keeping them down and what small brains they have. Pathetic.

    Although I suspect that Cabeza de Vaca is right, so I’m not going to play along from now on.

  9. I’d just like to toss out there that I do appreciate the increasing documentation and awareness of of movement history. I’m pretty satisfied with the explanation reason produced for the racist newsletters- not that Rockwell, Rothbard, et al. were raging racists but rather that they made the ill-advised tactical decision after RP’s 88 LP campaign to cuddle up to the paleocon/militia/survivalist wing of the political spectrum and Lew took it too far in an attempt to appeal to them. Shameful, to be sure, and their obfuscation on the subject hasn’t helped, but discounting all the work LvMI/Lew Rockwell/Ron Paul has done because of a few obscure newsletters from the early 90s seems more than a bit extreme given that they’re obviously not really white supremacists and no hint of such bigotry has ever appeared in any of their works outside of those newsletters.

  10. Of course, some would say that pandering to racists, when you aren’t one yourself, is worse than being an actual, raised from the womb, racist.

  11. This is rich. I’ve exposed “libertarians” as favoring government supression of political dissent, or at least not speaking out against it (the way they do against FUCKING RACISTS), so they accuse me of planting the deranged posts. Was I also all the posters that agreed with them?

    Those that think that Strugglin Brother is satire have never talked to a an African American studies, or even sociology, major. Censorship exists at the major universities. Why would it be surprising to see somebody from the academic left calling for it in all of society? I wouldn’t have believed that there are people who think concepts like truth are racist had I not seen it myself.

    I don’t think that people who say “fuck off” on an internet message board are capable of grown up conversation, so I’m only here out of sociological curiosity. I do have to point out the following things though.

    “Voluntary race separation” could be done right now. Hoste and the rest of his redneck, noneck, inbred, shitstain followers could pool all their McDonald’s and gas station wages, meth profits, mobile home capital gains, and the coins in their “Goddamn, I hate Nigrahs” change jars and buy themselves a right nice place on the outskirts of some Hicksville and have White Power Cotillions until Helter Skelter if they wanted.

    Oh yes, that’s the history of the white race, NASCAR and meth. What else have people of European descent ever accomplished? Please, more Haitians and Mexicans!

    And the Feds will leave them alone if they can manage to refrain from fucking little kids (good luck with that.)

    No they wouldn’t. It’s illegal for a neighborhood to come to an agreement on who to sell or rent property to. It’s also illegal to have white schools, even if they’re private. Not even country clubs, much less cities and employers, can decide who to admit by their own standards. The only thing left is for government to choose your friends and mates. The original logic behind the civil rights movement was to tear down government-enforced separation and let people mix. When that didn’t work to usher in utopia and people separated voluntarily, the state went back into the coercion business.

    But I guess you support that kind of legislation because it’s “anti-racist,” right? That seems to be the only standard by which people/ideas are judged here.

    Hoste is such a dick. “I am too a libertarian! I believe in individual liberty, as long as the individual in question is white.”

    I favor freedom of association for blacks too.

  12. Ever notice that the cosmotarian’s signature issues – open borders, gay marriage, and an oh-so-politically correct view of race, diversity and multiculturalism – are exactly the same positions our political elites have been trying to shove down the throats of an unwilling citizenry for decades? You do have to give Reason credit – they’ve managed to take the same old status quo bullshit, dress it up in a leather jacket, and market it to gullible college kids as racy and rebellious radical politics.

    Sticking it to the establishment? Hell, they’re the establishment’s best salesman!

    Cosmotarianism – the freedom to be politically correct!

  13. Dick, there are not too many people around here who will argue against freedom of association. That’s a nice, wide brush you’ve got for painting strawmen with. It’s your belief in white supremacy that folks have issues with. Now, it’s entirely your right to buy into “racialism,” but it is also MY right to believe that that makes you a reprehensible shithead, and to say so on the internet.

  14. What X said. I don’t care who anyone associates or refuses to associate with, as long as they keep their mitts off the statute books.

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