Friday A/V Club

Henry Hazlitt Meets Peter Kropotkin's Daughter

Friday A/V Club: A little chat about Stalin


G.P. Putnam's Sons

When Alexandra Kropotkin appeared on the talk show Longines Chronoscope in 1951, one of the hosts informed the audience that "her father was exiled from czarist Russia because of his liberal views." Roderick Long notes that this is true, "if by 'was exiled' you mean 'escaped,' and by 'liberal' you mean 'anarcho-communist'": Her father was the radical geographer Peter Kropotkin, one of the most prominent left-anarchist figures of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. And now the younger Kropotkin—a journalist, a translator, and the author of a Russian cookbook—was going to be interviewed about the evils of Stalin by American Mercury editor William Bradford Huie and, sitting to Huie's left, the libertarian Newsweek columnist Henry Hazlitt, author of the free-market favorite Economics in One Lesson.

The interview has its clumsy moments—Kropotkin claims that 80 percent of the Soviet population opposes Stalin, then has trouble backing up that figure when Hazlitt asks about it—but sometimes the very fact that something exists is reason enough to watch it:

Ms. Kropotkin went on to back Barry Goldwater in the 1964 presidential election.

(For past editions of the Friday A/V Club, go here. For another installment featuring Longines Chronoscope—this one starring Karl Hess and Henry Wallace—go here. Hazlitt's one article for Reason is here. Peter Kropotkin's most famous book is here.)