Libertarian History/Philosophy

"The most ambitious effort of any author…to promote laissez-faire ideas to a black audience"


As I noted last month, the historians David Beito and Linda Royster Beito have published a fascinating article on the "laissez-faire antiracism" of libertarian writer Rose Wilder Lane. Thanks to David Beito, that article is now available online [pdf]. Here's the opening paragraph:

The ideals of liberty, individualism, and self-reliance have rarely had a more enthusiastic champion than Rose Wilder Lane. A columnist and popular author, she held firm to these beliefs during the New Deal and World War II era, when faith in big government was at high tide. Through her book The Discovery of Freedom, she became a key transitional figure from the Old Right of the 1930s to the modern libertarian movement. Of equal fascination but much less known today is Lane's sustained effort to promote laissez-faire ideas in columns for the Pittsburgh Courier, the largest black newspaper in the United States. Although Lane was white, she used this unusual venue creatively to promote the philosophy of limited government. During World War II especially, her outspoken activism generated headlines. She was not only investigated by the FBI for "subversive" remarks, but denounced by Walter Winchell, the leading nationally syndicated journalist and radio commentator in the country.