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The Libertarian Forum, Vol. 3, No. 5, May 1971

Part of the complete Libertarian Forum archives. This issue is also available as a PDF format facsimile.

A Monthly Newsletter


Libertarian Forum

Joseph R. Peden, Publisher Murray N. Rothbard, Editor

VOLUME III, NO. 5 MAY, 1971 75¢


Do you ever get the feeling that the rest of the world is crazy and that you are one of the few sane people in it? I suppose that psychologists would consider such a feeling a sign of deep neurosis — except of course if you happened, empirically, to be correct. And reading the daily press is enough to induce such a feeling in even the sanest amongst us. In particular the stream of pronouncements emanating from the Nixon Administration. Every President, every Administration, has lied, lied grossly and systematically, to the public; but surely none before Nixon has elevated the Lie, big and small, to the constant and the universal. There used to be the charge against Hitler that he used the technique of the Big Lie; yet Nixon lies continually and habitually, on virtually every issue, and the horrendous problem that arises is: how can he get away with it? Why don't the American people laugh him off every public forum?

Take for example the unemployment statistics. Every month a new statistic emerges, and the Nixonian experts anxiously examine its entrails for signs and omens. Always, and invariably, and whatever happens, the omens are pronounced to be superb. Thus, in one month, the unemployment falls by one-tenth of one per cent. So small as to be meaningless, right? Wrong, for Nixon's crew will pronounce this to be the beginning of recovery from our recession. And then, the next month, the unemployment rate rises again by one tenth of one per cent. What does the Nixon team do? Do they admit that by their own logic things are looking gloomy? Do they at least have the good taste to keep their mouths shut? Not on your tintype. For there they are again, saying: Yes, this is a very good thing, for it shows that "unemployment is bottoming out."

Better is good; worse is good; whatever happens is terrific. On this Orwellian logic rests the rock of our Republic. There is first the Nixonian expansion of the war into Cambodia and Laos, each time proclaiming that, of course you ninny, this is how you "wind down" the war; any dolt knows that the way to phase out a war is to expand it. In Orwell's world, the Ministry of War has become the Ministry of Peace, and so in the world of Tricky Dick. And the Laos invasion: we were going to nip into Laos, "cut the Ho Cho [Chi] Minh trail" — as if this "trail" were some sort of superhighway which we tear up (It is, in fact, an enormous, thirty-fifty mile wide network of jungle trails) — capture the base of Schepone, and maybe even stay there permanently to keep the trail "cut". So then we get bogged down, and the military genius of Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap, the hero of Dienbienphu — turns the American-Saigon invasion into another Dienbienphu, a veritable disaster, in which the cream of the Saigon puppet troops get chopped up, from which the remainder barely escaped with their lives, and in which we lost many hundreds of helicopters. And our reaction? It was a great victory, we did just as we meant to do, we never, er, never meant to capture Schepone, or even to cut the trail — but by George we delayed their "timetable"! And since no one is privy to this mystic timetable, or even whether it exists at all, any thing can be said about it without fear of contradiction. So it doesn't matter whether we win, lose, or whatnot — whatever happens, it was a glorious victory. How can we put up for another minute with this systemic fabrication and falsehood?

Or take Mr. Nixon solemnly proclaiming that all his life he has been "a deeply committed pacifist"! How can he say this, how can he dare, this mass murderer, this supporter of all of America's wars and chief murderer of the current war? Whether one is a pacifist or not, this is surely a new height of affront.

Or Nixon's gall in coming out against abortion because he is deeply committed to the "sanctity of human life". Again from a mass murderer, a man who can order the systematic bombing of thousands upon thousands of innocent peasant women and babies, this killer and bomber and napalmer has the unmitigated gall to pout because women are ejecting fetusus [fetuses] from their bodies! For shame!

And then Nixon, the self-proclaimed champion of law and order, rushes in to interfere with the judicial process because of his "compassion" for the convicted little mass murderer Calley. Mr. Nixon was indignant enough about the mass murderer Manson to interfere against him in the judicial process. But Calley killed far more people than Manson, and yet here Nixon intervenes in the murderer's favor.

Here it must be conceded that large numbers of Americans participated too in the mass outpouring of "compassion" for this convicted butcher. Orwell lives here again, for this was

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From An Old Curmudgeon

Beauty is Youth, Youth Beauty . . . From Harriet Van Horne's column (New York Post, April 16): "When we tune in a Late Late Show and see young players named Ingrid Bergman, Henry Fonda, Joan Bennett and such we feel we are looking upon a lost super-race. They had shining hair and fine bones and the whites of their eyes were always clear. Their diction was crisp, they moved through terrible plots with innocent goodwill. They stood straight and they laughed beautifully. By comparison, today's young people look messy, dull and terribly uninteresting."

Page 2 The Libertarian Forum May, 1971

Ireland: Neutralist And State Capitalist

by John P. McCarthy

Although virtually unnoticed until quite recently, the Northern Irish Government's record of maltreatment of its Catholic minority is now obvious to any well-informed person, particularly to anyone of libertarian sentiments. At the same time many libertarians might be unaware of the situation in the rest of Ireland. There things are much more pleasant, especially in the matters of minority treatment and social harmony, although certain criticisms are in order. Possibly the following analysis by a non-libertarian, or at least a non-anarchist who has, however, certain libertarian instincts, might be of interest.

Back in the ideologically uncomplicated days of the late 1950's and early 1960's Robert Welch was able to give mathematical percentages indicating the degree to which nations were under the "operational control" of International Communism. One of the nations, along with the Union of South Africa, Portugal, Spain, South Korea, and Nationalist China, that he found all but completely free from Communist influence was the Republic of Ireland. Admittedly, the dozen or so members of the Irish Communist Party of that time did not swing much political clout, and in that sense Welch's ratings can be considered legitimate. However, one cannot avoid the suspicion that Welch rated Ireland, which was put in most inappropriate company, by a most second-hand evaluation that drew very little from actual knowledge of the conditions in the nation. Probably Welch gave Ireland a good rating for the simple reason that his enemies — the "Comsymps" and the "Globaliberals" — disliked Ireland. But their views were as unfounded, and were based not so much on the situation in Ireland as on both Establishment Liberalism's inherent Anglophilism and the decided anti-Establishmentarianism of pre-Kennedy Irish-America with its reputation of isolationism, McCarthyism, and pre-Vatican II Catholicism.

In point of fact, the Irish socio-political situation, then and now, does not fit the simplistic black and white categories of either the Birchers or the Liberals. For instance, the Irish were among the pioneers in the revolutionary nationalist tactic of guerilla [guerrilla] warfare, yet the Republic of Ireland almost uniquely has permitted the old ascendant class — the Anglo-Irish Protestants — to maintain their predominant status in the economic and social structure of the nation, as well as preserve an inordinate degree of political influence. Furthermore, while the Irish Government has had a record of imposing certain moral regulations on the population, such as literary censorship (greatly relaxed of late) and prohibition of the sale of contraceptives, it has scarecely [scarcely] penalized or inhibited Protestants as such from the free exercise or propagation of their religious beliefs. (One might argue that Protestants are more desirous of the prohibited literature and the contraceptives, yet the prohibitions apply to everyone and are not specifically designed to discomfort Protestants.)

The Irish Government did not join the Soviet Union, the Republic of China, Great Britain, and the United States in the democratic anti-Axis crusade of the 1940's. Yet her record as a functioning, multi-party, proportionally-represented, functioning parliamentary democracy has few rivals in the twentieth century, and she is rather dissimilar to the authoritarian regimes that had similar strongly non-Communist ratings in the Birch score card. Her neutrality has been consistent throughout the Second World War and the Cold War, as she envisions herself — only recently a European colony — as having a special relationship with the recently independent Afro-Asian nations. Indeed, Ireland even takes the United Nations seriously — so seriously that her representatives, to the disappointment of most Irishmen, have hesitated to mount the U. N. soap-box over the Northern issue even though most members use the General Assembly for such purposes. The record of Conor Cruise O'Brien, the scholar, academician, and former Irish diplomat (probably most famous for his Congo adventurism, but more deserving of fame for permanently deflating Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., in a television debate concerning the C.I.A.), was not really a departure from an Irish diplomatic tradition that places primary emphasis on questions like the inviolability of neutral and small nation rights against big power pressure. Irish compassion for Biafra is a more recent manifestation of this tradition.

Cruise O'Brien has now become the most celebrated member of the Irish Labour Party, a group that was red-baited by the governing Fianna Fail Party in the last general election because of its espousal of an "alien" ideology — socialism. Paradoxically, one of the seventeen Labour representatives in the 144 seat Dail (the Irish National Assembly) in addition to Cruise O'Brien is Stephen Coughlan, the former Mayor of Limerick, whose political views and manner are somewhere between those of Father Coughlin and Joe McCarthy. Actually, very few in Ireland find anything wrong with socialism, and public corporations occupy a greater role in the economy there than in almost any nation this side of the Iron Curtain. It is only the name, which suggests atheism and materialism, that offends. But even that is changing, as in the last few years the Catholic Church in Ireland has become taken up with an interest in socialism. Church-sponsored seminars have started to emphasize the compatibility of Christianity and Marxism.

Irish students, emerging from a period of political indifference and careermindedness, like students everywhere have been taken up with the charm of socialism. As might be expected they identify the Irish state-capitalism with capitalism, and when pressed for an example of socialism suggest various voluntary cooperatives like that organized by Father James McDyer at Glencolumbkille, Co. Donegal, where local peasants, combining their capital with donations from exiles in America, have had relative success in setting up a weaving factory and a vegetable processing plant. But many of the leaders of these highly decentralized cooperative movements, like Father Patrick Campbell, who is connected with the Achill, Co. Mayo cooperative, prefer to avoid association with the state and, possibly unconsciously, are much closer to the free economy ideal than the state-capitalism condemned by the students.

There have been two major phases in the state-capitalist record of the Irish Government (which has been controlled by the Fianna Fail Party since 1932, with the brief exceptions of 1948-1951 and 1954-1957). The first phase was the attempt between 1932 and 1959 to implement the revolutionary ideal of national economic self-sufficiency with the usual weapons of protective tariffs, subsidized industries, and state corporations. Much of this, of course, grew out of Prime Minister (the Taioseach [Taoiseach]) Eamon DeValera's aim to complete the severance of any ties with Great Britain. DeValera's opposition, the Old Free State Party (now known as the Fine Gael Party) that he had ousted from power, naturally was hostile to this unrealistic effort of Ireland to end her economic relationship with England. Appropriately, larger Irish businesses with international outlets sympathized with that party. However, aside from this historic opposition to the economic self-sufficiency dreams, Fine Gael is scarcely opposed to state-capitalism on general principle.

The second phase of Fianna Fail's state-capitalist policy began in 1959 when DeValera moved upstairs to the honorific Presidency of Ireland, being succeeded as Taoiseach by

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Sean Lemass who was not taken up with any of DeValera's enthusiasm for preserving traditional rural Ireland and maintaining economic and cultural isolation. However, his policies were no less state-capitalist. It is true that he did take steps towards customs reductions, freer trade with England, and eventual Irish membership in the Common Market. He also reversed an earlier policy inhibiting foreign ownership of businesses in Ireland, as he sought to encourage foreign investors in Ireland with long-term tax exemptions and government-built plants, only insisting that most of their production be for export. Relatively soon thereafter improved balance of trade and export figures drew great acclaim for Lemass. In 1966 he retired, leaving his successor, Jack Lynch, to handle a skyrocketing inflation and strongly revived trade imbalance among other problems.

In the midst of all this, the Irish Government is proceeding with its plans for preparing Ireland for the expected admission to the Common Market. The planning consists of deciding the economically appropriate areas for industrial, commercial, and agricultural development, and directing government funds, subsidies, and tax exemptions to these areas. Other places, particularly in the West in large sections of Donegal, Mayo, and Kerry, are consigned by the planners to further depopulation and economic decline. To ease the economic death agony, the government will continue its palliatives such as munificent welfare assistance and home improvement grants. But only in tourism, which is highly subsidized, is any possibility seen for development and expansion.

Many in Ireland, from Churchmen through cooperative organizations to the I.R.A., are critical of the Government's plans and suspicious of E.E.C. membership because of the Government's acceptance of and commitment to the merciful elimination of the Western peasant communities. Possibly the West's demise is an inevitable economic development paralleling tendencies in other lands, but now it must also be seen as being positively promoted by state action, even if only in the directing of subsidies to other areas. Admittedly most of the critics would only want to redirect the subsidies to the peasant areas and apply other protective devices. But such would fail to get at the root of much of the rapid depopulation of the Western Irish countryside.

The psychological and numerical erosion of the traditional Western Irish peasant life can be attributed to historical and contemporary circumstances. Centuries of imperialist landlordism with arbitrary evictions and higher rents for self-improved holdings induced a reluctance to innovate and advance. Then in the twentieth century, when the peasants obtained title to their holdings, government paternalism has prevented the natural self-improvement and development that ought to coincide with private property ownership. A passive waiting on outside direction and assistance has combined with cynicism about the success of the ostensibly benevolent assistance programs of the government. For instance, improvements in either living quarters or agricultural methods usually await government grants before being undertaken, even when such could easily be afforded by the recipient. The natural sources of potential wealth in the West of Ireland such as vegetable cultivation and fishing are scarcely developed, while local leaders pressure the authorities for prestige projects like subsidized factories in areas completely inappropriate in terms of skilled labor, raw materials, or transportation. The people, who are more realistic, encourage their youth to disdain the miserable pay in the subsidized factories in favor of better wages in London and elsewhere.

The extraordinary work ethic and entrepreneurial energy of immigrants to the United States from the West of Ireland is adequate proof of the wonders that could ensue from the shedding of paternalism. This suggests that similar energies among their kinfolk at home could disprove the government planners and make a relative success of the West of Ireland if allowed to be unwrapped.

Another recent enthusiasm of the Irish Government is for the centralization of various public services and quasi-public industries. For instance, in education, in the name of improvement and expansion, small one-room country school houses are being closed to allow amalgamation into larger schools covering greater districts. Similarly, there is a drive underway for centralization of the three colleges of the National University and the unification of the Dublin college with Trinity College. Enlightened opinion is overwhelmingly sympathetic to these rationalizing and modernizing steps. Yet, here is an instance in which a lesson might be taken from the misery of the overcentralized educational systems, on both elementary and university levels, of the United States. However, statist planners are certain to remain unaware of the merits of decentralization in such matters as personal responsibility, creativity, and human contact.

Contempt For The Usual

In his scintillating dissection of Women's Lib in the December Harper's (see the Lib. Forum, Dec. 15), Irving Howe set forth an insight which deserves elaboration: the "contempt for the usual" endemic on the Left, New and Old. For apart from the tendency on the Left to employ coercion, the Left seems to be constitutionally incapable of leaving people alone in the most fundamental sense; it seems incapable of refraining from a continual pestering, haranguing and harassment of everyone in sight or earshot. (And here the Randian movement falls into much the same error.) The Left is incapable of recognizing the legitimacy of the average person's peaceful pursuit of his own goals and his own values in his quietly sensible life. Many libertarians who are enamoured of the principles of Maoism point out that, in theory at least, the decentralized communes and eternal self-and-mutual-criticism sessions are supposed to be voluntary and not imposed by violence. Even granting this point, Maoism at its best, forswearing violence, would be well-nigh intolerable to most of us, and certainly to anyone wishing to pursue a truly individualist life. For Maoism depends on a continual badgering, harassing, and pestering of every person in one's purview to bring him into the full scale of values, attitudes, and convictions held by the rest of his neighbors. I am reminded of several ardent American Maoists who, a few years ago, were taking a Chinese plane out of Hanoi. On the plane they were politely but persistently subjected to a continuing high dosage of Maoist propaganda: not only were pictures and booklets of the Chairman virtually everywhere, but the Chinese anthem "East is Red" was played over and over on the loudspeaker and the hostess sweetly but urgently demanded to know why these Americans were not joining in the community sing. By the time the plane ride was thankfully over, the young Americans had permanently lost their enthusiasm for the Maoist ideal. The point is that in the Maoist world, even at its most civilized, the propaganda barrage is everywhere.

To put it another way: one crucial and permanent difference between libertarians and the Left is in their vision of a future society. Libertarians want the end of politics; they wish to abolish politics forever, so that each individual may live his life unmolested and as he sees fit. But the Left, in contrast, wants to politicize everything; for the Left, every individual action, no matter how trivial or

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CONTEMPT FOR THE USUAL(Continued from page 3)

picayune, becomes a "political" act, to be examined, criticized, denounced, and rehabilitated in accordance with the Left's standards. No person can pick up a spoon, go for a walk to his favorite pub, or turn on TV, without being carefully watched and denounced for taking a wrong political line, or for not moulding all of his values and his life in accordance with "genuine revolutionary" standards. (In the Randian movement, a badgering of almost equivalent intensity is beamed at all movement members to mould them into models of Randian "rationality".) On the Left, this politicizing of life has accelerated in intensity in recent years.

The Women's Lib movement, of course, has been in the forefront of this elevating of hectoring and pestering into a universal moral obligation. No one can pick up a dish rag without his or her action being weighed and judged in the light of its "politics". Mutual aid and cooperation between loved ones, hitherto spontaneous and unforced, becomes a matter of endless debate, rigorous weighing and computing, and the grim toting of ledgers and accounts.

The "ordinary man", the average person, is a particular target of the Left demons of politics. Recently, for example, football has come under the heavy guns of the Left intellecutals [intellectuals]. There is nothing the "middle American" enjoys more than sitting in front of a TV set on a weekend afternoon, beer can in hand, watching a pro football game. Now this innocent and delightful pastime, this surcease from the cares of the day, comes under the scorn and gunfire of our contemporary Medusas and Savonorolas [Savonarolas]. Football, they claim, is evil because it is rugged and competitive; scoring should be abolished so that there are no winners and no losers (and hence no excellence and no mediocrity). Every player is dragged down to the same level, and all the fun goes out of the sport. Furthermore, watching pro football is also deemed an evil because it is the acme of the division of labor, of the general specialization in the economy and society which is the one thing hated above all by the Left-wing. What a sin to have football played by those who are best at the game while others delight in the spectacle and pay for the privilege! And so the Left moves in, hell-bent for the stamping out of joy, of excellence, of the market, of specialization. Away with pro football! Let everyone go out there on the greensward, and let everyone participate in eurythmic exercises! And as in the old joke about the revolution and "strawberries and cream" ("Comes the revolution, everyone will have strawberries and cream . . . and like it!"), the New Communist Man is expected to be a man or woman who finds his highest delight in non-competitive eurythmics. And if he or she is so benighted, so mired in "bourgeois hangups" as to resist the move from the TV set to the eurythmic field, then a little coercion will be applied to guide him to the proper path.

The crucial point here is that those libertarians whose only philosophy is to oppose coercive violence are missing a great deal of the essence of the ideological struggles of our time. The trouble with the Left is not simply its propensity for coercion; it is also, and in some sense more fundamentally, its hatred of excellence and individuality, its hostility to the division of labor, its itch for total uniformity, and its dedication to the Universal and Permanent Pester. And as it looks around the world, it finds that the main object of its hatred is the Middle American, the man who quietly holds all of the values which it cannot tolerate. And since most Americans are now Middle Americans, the Left's chances for success are predictably close to zero.

The great libertarian William Graham Sumner once wrote that the moral law of the free society can be summed up in the phrase: "mind your own business!" At first sight, this seems a rather narrow ethic for mankind. But Sumner, if one looks more deeply, has hold of an extremely important point: the great reluctance of the Reformer to leave people alone, to allow them to run their lives as they see fit, without subjecting them to the chronic nagging and badgering of the Universal Social Worker. One would hope that the free society of the future would be free, not only of aggressive violence, but also of self-righteous and arrogant nagging and harassment. "Mind your own business" implies that each person attend well to his own affairs, and allow every other man the same privilege. It is a morality of basic civility, of courtesy, of civilized life, of respect for the dignity of every individual. It does not encompass all of morality, but by God it is a necessary ingredient to a truly rational and civilized social ethic.

To examine whence comes this attitude of the intellectual would require a mighty treatise. (Such treatises are all too rare; intellectuals write extensive and caustic studies of social classes, businessmen, politicians, middle classes, etc., but almost never of intellectuals themselves). But a bit of speculation is in order. One reason might be that every intellectual, as he grows up, acquires a sense of the superiority of himself and his confreres to the ordinary folk around him. Sometimes this sense of superiority may be justified; often it is not. But for many intellectuals this leads to a life-long attempt to demonstrate, to flaunt their superiority to the average man. Instead of peacefully and cheerfully going about his own affairs and his own productive work without worrying about his social ranking in relation to others, the intellectual begins to express his cosmic contempt by mocking the insights and values of those around him. It is not merely that football and beer are derided on behalf of pot and eurythmics. It is far more serious than that. The rot begins to permeate the entire culture. Thus, the average man is an unself-conscious philosophical realist; he believes that the world and consciousness both exist; he believes in purpose, rationality, advancement of his career and his standards of living. So the intellectual throws over realism in supreme contempt as trivial and "superficial"; instead he substitutes one form or other of philosophical subjectivism and mocking paradox. The average man also possesses and [an] unself-conscious rational esthetics: he enjoys fiction with a plot and with a dramatization of moral struggle; he enjoys art that depicts real things in a beautiful form; he enjoys music with melody, harmony, and rhythm. And so all of these must also be thrown over as naive and superficial, and we are subjected to the triumph of the avant-garde: of "art" that is meaningless design, of fiction that is morbid and absurd, of "music" that is stripped of melody or balance, of movies that substitute lunatic montage and grainy photography for truly artistic blends of narrative, plot, and rational continuity — virtues that are, again, derided as "slick" and bourgeois. In one area of culture after another, and in one discipline of knowledge after another, the morbid, the absurd, the irrational, systematically replace the "bourgeois" virtues of reason, advancement and harmonious blend of form and content. And whoever refuses to like the new culture is mocked and scorned as a naive and hopeless clod, brainwashed by old-fashioned bourgeois standards. And all this to exalt the phony superiority of the intelligentsia and to degrade the instinctive rationality of the average man.

What I am saying then is that in this unequal war between the intellectual and the bourgeois, a war in which the clever and facile intellectual has all the aces in his hand, that the average man, beset and bewildered though he may be, is really right. The average man may not see deeply, but he sees clearly and correctly. And this means that one of the great and unfilled tasks of the rationalist intellectual, the true intellectual if you will, is to come to the aid of the

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bourgeoisie, to rescue the Middle American from his triumphant tormentors. Our task is to provide for the bourgeois the intellectual tools, the philosophical groundwork and framework for his correct but half-formed instincts. In the name of truth and reason, we must rise up as the shield and the hammer of the average American. In the present state of our corrupt and decadent culture, there is no nobler task. And in the course of our doing so, there will come about a re-integration of theory and practice, of the intellectual and the bourgeois, which will provide a far more harmonious base for genuine fraternity and solidarity than all the avant-garde communes, than all the nagging and pestering, on the face of the globe.

Chamberlain And Hess

By Robert LeFevre

John Chamberlain, appearing in the New Haven (Connecticut) Register, recently unsheathed his pen and took a stab at the growing libertarian movement. He chose as his bete noir Karl Hess, of Goldwater fame and misfortune. According to Chamberlain, Hess may be a general of a libertarian cause, but this general lacks an army. In the course of putting down the libertarian movement he linked Hess with "his brother-in-merry-anarchism" Murray Rothbard and then stated: "Here and there a shy libertarian bloom pokes its head above the snows. But it is a delusion to think that an army is following Karl Hess."

Now I am among those who did not approve of Karl's boisterous insistence that the way to attain freedom is to "man the barricades" in the streets and to use any type of violence necessary to destroy political office holders. As a matter of fact, at USC a year ago, when Karl had made just such an appeal, I followed him to the platform and in large measure "turned off" the libertarians present. Since then, so far as I am able to learn, Karl has moved toward the position of Progressive Labor or even the Trotskyite camp, and apparently has disclaimed the libertarian position. If Karl is calling himself an anarchist, it is certainly not the anarchism of Murray Rothbard, who proclaims unceasingly the validity of private property and a market without intervention.

But the real purpose of Chamberlain was not to attack Karl Hess. Rather, it was to link the libertarian movement to Hess, who may be a falling star, and by this process to sweep the deck clean of any riff-raff who don't buy the Conservative position of "I hate and fear Russia"; "I hate and fear China"; "I hate and fear Cuba"; etc., ad nauseam.

Now, it is no wonder that John Chamberlain has not been able to sniff many new libertarian blooms lately. He hasn't been in the garden where they grow. So I want to encourage John to go out of his office so he can learn just what is happening. Apparently he is hoping for a resurgence of a love of liberty on campus. At least it is possible to glean this bit of grain from the bushel of chaff that accompanied his article. The steam behind the "New Left," so called, may very well be subsiding.

After all, the sop thrown to many campus lefties by the Nixon administration by legalizing the ballot for eighteen-year-olds may very well have brought a substantial number of New Left people into the arms of the Establishment. But you don't look for libertarians among those who slavishly manipulate the ballots and hope the monster will spew a few crumbs from its table. You'll find libertarians among the rapidly growing number of campus people who don't want to play political darts and in consequence aren't going to vote at all.

Now in THIS area, if John cares to look, he may find the beginning of an army. It wears many cloaks and it marshals under a number of banners. And it isn't following Hess or anyone else to the barricades. It is insisting on reason and logic and a revolution of the mind that impels individual rejection of the coercion of government per se.

Is Pot Harmless?

A recent dispatch from Berkeley (Doug Shuit, "Expert Switches, Sees Harm in Pot," New York Post, Mar. 29) reports that the distinguished psychiatrist Dr. D. Harvey Powelson, director of the Student Psychiatric Clinic at Berkeley, has changed his mind about the "harmlessness" of marijuana. His previous Polyanna [Pollyanna] view, he reports, was based on a limited sampling of students; but now, after observing 500 students in the last five years, Dr. Powelson has changed his mind.

What Powelson reports is what most of us, observing kids on drugs, have also seen with our own eyes: for example, that pot has a "cumulative effect, and that prolonged use . . . could result in chronic changes similar to those seen in organic brain diseases — islands of lucidity intermixed with areas of loss of function." Furthermore, use of marijuana often results in a "disorder of thinking characterized by a general lack of coherence and an exacerbation of pathological thinking processes." Regular pot-users often become "will-less — anomic", "to do anything requires a gigantic effort". As to the contention of the drug-enthusiasts that marijuana "heightens perception", Powelson retorts: "It affects you in the same way any kind of delirium does. It focuses your attention. But it's pathological in a sense because it results in cutting out all the peripheral things a person looks at. When an ordinary person looks at something, he sees everything, all the peripheral things. But when you're in a delirium and you see, for example, a shadow, you have a heightened sense of the shadow because all your attention is focused on the shadow and you see nothing else."

Powelson adds that one reason that drug users claim that there are no harmful effects from pot "is that often a person high on marijuana cannot determine the changes that occur in his thinking. One of the first things that's impaired is your judgement of your own system."

No doubt out [our] drug-enthusiasts can come up with some psychiatric swinger or other to deny this point. But this overlooks a vital point. And that is the curious and brusque dismissal of the judgement of the overwhelming majority of the medical profession. The usual rebuttal by our drug fans is that the doctors are engaged in some sort of Calvinistic conspiracy against enjoyment, as embodied in pot and other psychedelic drugs. Now I am the first one to concede that there are many political conspiracies around, and that there are monopolistic collusions in the medical profession. But what earthly reason would there be for such a "conspiracy"? What would doctors have to gain? And as for Calvinism, we have not been living in a Calvinist culture for a long, long time. The entire emphasis of our culture is hedonic, sensate, pleasure-loving. To postulate some sort of mass Calvinistic throwback among conspiring physicians is too grotesque to warrant the slightest consideration.

And moreover: suppose we concede for a moment that all the returns are not yet in, that there are two points of view, that there is a great need for further study in this area. So what? Surely the sensible and rational person, confronted with a new, powerful, and unstudied drug which a large body of physicians claim is harmful, surely such a person will abstain from this needless danger until all the returns are in? What is the masochism that leads our youth to rush pell-mell into the grave risk of destruction of their mind and consciousness? From whatever angle we look at the problem, once again the instincts of Middle America are right, and the anti-culture is tragically wrong.

Page 6 The Libertarian Forum May, 1971

Recommended Reading

Nixon and Co.

Witty, sardonic, emphatically "in", unerring in zeroing in on the defects of those persons and groups (a vast number) whom he hates, and unique in being absolutely unafraid to use ethnic humor, Noel E. Parmentel, Jr. is back! This time he eviscerates a pet hate, Henry Kissinger, and along the way spears his boss Nixon. See Noel's two-part piece in the Village Voice, "Portnoy in Tall Cotton: Or Making It on the Potomac" (March 11, March 18). Thus, Noel says of Kissinger, author of an adoring study of Metternich, that "the man is more Sammy Glick than Metternich." On Betty Friedan: "Mrs. Betty Friedan takes on Norman Mailer and any and all other comers whose male chauvinism and sexism seek to exploit her obvious and manifest visual appeal." On White House aide Martin Anderson: "'Dr.' Anderson is, or was, roughly equivalent to Cardinal, played off against Miss Ayn Rand's Popess, in the Objectivist church or synagogue . . . In any case, 'Dr.' Anderson bears more resemblance to Elisha Cooke, Jr. in the 'Maltese Falcon' than to Gary Cooper in 'The Fountainhead' ('Dr.' Anderson has since foresworn the epistemology of John Galt for that of Spiro Agnew.)" For his pains, National Review accused Noel of being anti-Semitic, while one irate Voice reader called him a "closet Nazi". Well, aren't these the days when all oppressed minority groups are being called on "to come out of the closet?"

The Left.

I have been meaning to recommend in the highest terms a brilliant article that appeared in the Dec. 1, 15th Anniversary issue of National Review by Eugene D. Genovese (!), "The Fortunes of the Left." One of this generation's outstanding Marxist scholars, Genovese, who has spent his entire life on the Left, has for it nothing but almost total contempt. Genovese begins by pointing out that the Left is in total ruin; that its chances of seizing power "are slightly inferior to the chances of a seizure of power by a coaliton [coalition] of the Campfire Girls and the Gay Liberation Front under the leadership of Ti-Grace Atkinson." Whereas the New Left of the early and mid-60's had considerable promise, it has descended into suicidal "madness", into a "cult of violence generally manifested in blustering and sporadic and self-defeating acts of nihilism, which are no more than the acting out of adolescent fantasies of revolution . . ."

The Weathermen, Genovese points out, are largely an invention of the media, who found them "cute"; while the "cultural revolutionaries" of the youth culture are the "problem children of the solid bourgeoisie", a phenomenon that terrifies the solid citizens of the Right and Center, "who interpret their own inability to discipline their children as the beginning of the end of civilization. (I suspect that it is, in fact, only the beginning of the end of the quaint notion that children can be raised without occasional spankings.)" So long as the cultural revolutionaries persist, supported by the media "that hail everything young as intrinsically good and misunderstood", so long will working class and middle-class Americans be totally repulsed, and so long will it be impossible to build a sober and decent Left in this country. The idealogy [ideology] of the current youth-Left is "liberal-nihilist", and therefore associates the entire Left in the public mind with a repudiation of those values which are necessary to any civilized existence."

The original New Left, Genovese adds, contributed many positive virtues: its libertarian instincts, its "critical spirit, an assertion of humane values, a hatred for regimentation and, on a more direct political level, a strong suspicion of centralization in general and Big Daddy government in particular." But now, these early strivings, which intersected at many points with the best of conservatism, have been reversed: partly because of the "inability of the Now Generation to bear setbacks, defeats and other irritants to the compulsion for instant gratification."

What Genovese is calling for is a sort of socialist, or decentralized-socialist, counterpart of what I have been calling for in the libertarian movement with equal lack of success: taking one's place in a sober, protracted commitment to a libertarian (or, in his case, socialist) caucus within a broader anti-war political coalition, amid the anti-war politicians of the McCarthy-Lindsay-McGovern-Hatfield variety. But this sort of program fails to fulfill the lust for instant gratification so endemic in the present-day. Genovese calls also for a dialogue between the Left and Right opposition to the current status quo, and hails such socialist intellectuals as William Appleman Williams for striving to incorporate decentralist-conservative insights into a socialist program.

In his analysis of the current political scene, Genovese presents to the N. R. readers for the first time in their lives the great truth that there is not very much difference between Old Left and New Right: "President Nixon's right-wing liberalism is the counterpart of the Communist Party's left-wing liberalism — that is, each advances solutions within the established consensus of liberal social policy."

The only hope for a sane Left opposition, Genovese concludes, is the disappearance of the youthful nihilists; it is only the "certain defeat of the carriers of apocalyptic fantasies" that can "clear the way for the long, slow work of finding new ground on which to stand . . ."



It hurts to recommend anything in National Review, but truth must always triumph in our hearts over prejudice. The April 6 issue has an excellent article by the Lib. Forum's own discovery, Edwin G. Dolan, "Why Not Sell the National Parks?" Dolan, far more of an outdoorsman than many of us effetes in the New York movement, makes the point: if the conservationists want to preserve the parks, wilderness, etc., why don't they buy these areas? Shouldn't they trust themselves to preserve these areas rather than some government bureaucrat?

May, 1971 The Libertarian Forum Page 7

We Beat The SST

The glorious triumph over the SST was not only an important victory for liberty over the Leviathan State and the military-industrial complex; it was also an instructive lesson for libertarians on who our natural political allies may be in the present historical period. Who favored this billion-dollar boondoggle? The Nixon Administration, the war-mongers, the Conservative Movement, the entire uneconomic and submarginal aircraft industry, Big Unionism — tied in with that industry: in short, the entire Establishment force of the Unholy Triad: Big Business - Big Government - Big Unionism, working together in that unholy "partnership" that characterizes the current American political system. Who opposed the SST? First and foremost, every single economist, regardless of political persuasion, left, right, and center; and then, Left-liberals of the anti-war and anti-militarist movement; Old Right conservatives opposed to the waste of taxpayers' money; and libertarians.

One of the most amusing and enlightening aspects of this new-found unity among economists: from Friedman to Heller and Galbraith, was the Congressional testimony of the high panjandrum of Orthodox Keynesian economics, Professor Paul Samuelson. Samuelson declared that we must stop the orgy of "pyramid-building" in which we have engaged for many years. This was an "in-joke" reference to one of the most famous remarks of Samuelson's Master, Lord Keynes, to the effect that the building of pyramids is just as economically sound as any more productive expenditure, for both will increase that revered figure, the Gross National Product, by the same extent. In fact, pyramid-building is better! Samuelson's repudiation of pyramid-building, his justifiable concern for what is being done with our productive resources, signals The End of Keynes. For the Liberals have had their Keynesian Economics rule us for over thirty years; and now they are beginning to realize that what they have reaped is vast governmental waste in behalf of the GNP, the growth of a State Leviathan, and the proliferation of endless imperial wars. Yearning for pyramids, the Liberals have reaped missiles and napalm and H-bombs and germ warfare. And they don't like the results.

If we analyze the vote in the Senate, we find that the leading Conservatives voted en masse for this statist boondoggle: Brock, Buckley, Curtis, Dole, Fannin, Goldwater (ponder that, ex-Goldwaterite libertarians!), Gurney, Hruska, Thurmond, Tower, et al. They were joined by the war-liberals among the Democrats: Inouye, Jackson, McGee, Symington. But the interesting — and crucially significant — votes were those cast against the SST by a minority of conservatives: Bentsen, Byrd (Va.), Chiles, Ervin, Gambrell, Griffin, Hansen, Jordan (Id.), Miller, Prouty, Roth. (And for nostalgic Old Rightists, there was the glorious spectacle of veteran isolationist-libertarian H. R. Gross (R., Io.), that veteran guardian of the taxpayer, voting against as well.) We have it on good authority that at least two of the Senate conservative votes were shifted by the testimony before the Senate Appropriations committee of the intrepid libertarian, James Davidson of the National Taxpayers Union. And so the libertarian movement, for the first time, exercises its political muscle — not through violence or hysteria but through the use of reason and persuasion. And if we remember that a shift of three votes in the Senate would have put the SST over, we can see the importance of the libertarian "intervention" into the political scene. Onward and upward!

Libertarian Book News

The fall and winter season will be a surging, glorious time for the publication of important new libertarian books from major publishers. Watch this space for developments as they occur.

One of the most important books — and one which will get major publicity — is by our own Jerome Tuccille. Stein and Day will be publishing a book by Jerry on the current right-wing and libertarian movements, and it is shaping up as a veritable blockbuster. Present plans are for the book to be a "non-fiction novelized non-fiction, the closest parallel being the witty and insightful novels of the French writer, Roger Peyrefitte. There will be a fictional hero, a Yossarian-Everyman, in search of the truth, who goes from one right-wing movement to another, and finally from one branch of the libertarian movement to another; in each group the Everyman encounters real people with real names, and they engage in fictionalized dialogue in which they present their real views, and Jerry's hero responds with the author's real reactions.

And it's going to be a blockbuster: witty, hilarious, iconoclastic, as St. Jerome rides out to slay the Dragons of Deviationism, to expose the crazies, to prick the balloons of posturing pomposity, to employ the sword-pen of satire on behalf of reason and common sense. And so: deviationists of all stripes, beware! Humorless fanatics, en garde! Jerry is out to get you! And you will probably find yourself, named and revealed, in the pages of his sparkling book. And the title — oh boy, the title — the title, my friends, is calculated to send three-quarters of the libertarian movement into an instant conniption fit. The title is: IT USUALLY STARTS WITH AYN RAND. And so libertarians, gird your loins; brace yourselves for the Tuccille blitz.


Also this fall, Jerry Tuccille's Radical Libertarianism, so far the only book on our movement, is coming out in paperback. The hard-cover edition, which came out early last year, encountered two misfortunes: the fact that the book predated by a year the sudden publicity storm for the libertarian movement, and the early death of the book's brilliant young editor, a man highly sympathetic to the cause. But now the major publishing house of Harper and Row will be putting out the book in paper this fall, and so we can expect a major publicity push for this book as well — as well as the tapping of the vital mass paperback market.


Coming also in the fall season is a new libertarian book by Harry Browne, author of the current runaway best seller by Arlington House, How You Can Profit From the Coming Devaluation ($5.95). (The book has sold a phenomenal 90,000 copies to date, largely on the strength of personal radio and TV appearances by the author.) The new book, tentatively titled How I Found Freedom In An Unfree World, will be published by Macmillian, and will get top publicity — (it will have to, to recoup the amazing advance paid by the publisher.) Judging from Harry's general position, the book will probably stress how the individual (either Harry or the reader) can escape the crippling hand of the State in his own life.


Also, Harper and Row is scheduled or rumored to be producing other paperbacks of interest in the fall: a collection of essays by David Friedman, and a reader on capitalism edited by Professor Dorothy James, which will consist of original articles from all ends of the spectrum, left and right, critical of the existing status quo. Especially featured will be libertarian authors, since Professor James (and we hope she's right!) expects libertarianism to be the wave of the future on college campuses. Included in the James collection will be essays by Rod Manis, Tibor Machan, and Murray N. Rothbard.

Page 8 The Libertarian Forum May, 1971

ORWELL LIVES(Continued from page 1)

an American public that showed no compassion whatever when millions, yes millions, of Vietnamese and Cambodian and Laotian peasants were brutally and genocidally massacred by American weaponry. They showed precious little compassion for the women and babies whom Calley slaughtered at My Lai. No, it was only to Calley that their warmth and goodness reached, these same Americans who sternly oppose the "coddling of criminals", who yearn for law and order. Let us indeed cease coddling criminals, especially those who have been duly convicted. Indeed, not being liberals, libertarians do not shrink from capital punishment when capital crimes are involved. "Let the punishment fit the crime!" is the old motto, and it remains good today.

Meanwhile, one good thing has emerged from this mess — the arrival of an authentic hero, Capt. Aubrey M. Daniel, III, of Orange, Va., the fearless and tireless prosecutor of the murderer Calley. Not only did he resist pressures within the Army, but Capt. Daniel sat down and wrote a tart and trenchant letter to Mr. Nixon attacking the President's gross interference with the judicial process. There are precious few heroes in American life for us to ignore or fail to salute one when he finally comes along.

For Bengal

Considering the traditional apathy and ignorance of most libertarians in foreign affairs, I don't suppose that many have taken a stand on what the press misleadingly terms a "civil war" in East Pakistan. In fact, the situation there is scarcely a "civil war"; it is a mass movement by the people of East Pakistan — the Bengalis — to rid themselves, once and for all, of the tyranny and despotism of the Punjabi-run central government of the West.

One of the major problems blocking most libertarians from supporting national independence movements is their pettifogging semantic hangup on the phrase "national self-determination", a concept, by the way, that loomed large in that very nineteenth-century liberalism to which libertarians consider themselves the heir. "National self-determination", most libertarians patiently explain, is an erroneous concept, an equivocation on the world "self"; since the self can only be each individual, libertarians should only support "individual self-determination" rather than national. But this analysis, while philosophically correct, misses the whole essential point: the point that these national movements are primarily concerned with getting other imperial states and nations off their backs. "National self-determination" is only a harmless metaphor for a movement against imperial dictation. The point, for example, about the nascent but growing Scottish National movement is that it is concerned with ending the domination of Scotland by English imperialism, a domination which is cultural, economic, and throughout political.

The same is true for the crisis in Pakistan. For Pakistan is in no sense a genuine nation, but a geographical abortion, created by the British as they were forced to leave the Indian subcontinent shortly after World War II. The Bengalis of the East have nothing whatsoever in common, except for their religion, with the Punjabis of the West; culturally, linguistically, ethnically and by every other criteria, they are separate nations. Furthermore, the political structure of Pakistan establishes a despotism by the Punjabis over the numerically superior, and far more productive, Bengalis. The Bengalis are the merchants and the traders of India; and a large chunk of their productive earnings are taxed away by the central Punjabi government to build up a vast Punjabi-staffed army and central bureaucracy, as well as to subsidize the Punjabi large-landlord class. The Punjab government has always been a thinly-veiled military dictatorship; and it was the decision of that government to suspend Parliament in the wake of its loss in the recent Pakistani elections that touched off the current crisis. It was that suspension that finally convinced the long-suffering Bengalis that there was no hope for them to attain autonomy within the Pakistan framework, and that decided them for national Bengali independence.

The fighting in Bengal is not a civil war, but a counter-revolutionary struggle by a Punjabi army to crush the independence forces, in other words the people of Bengal. Hence the use by that army of familiar genocidal tactics, for it realizes that the entire population of Bengal is its "enemy." Hence its systematic massacre of civilians, hence its imposition of curfew and censorship, and its expulsion of all foreign correspondents from the country. The similarity with the American use of mass terrorism in Southeast Asia should be striking and expectable, for in Southeast Asia we, too, are trying to impose an external rule on an entire population, all of which therefore becomes "the enemy", to be slaughtered wherever found. Genocidal slaughter is the logical conclusion of imperial war.

Another instructive point: the Great Powers, including the United States and Communist China, are all supporting the Pakistan government, since they all have deals with that government and they all value "stability" everywhere. Which shows where Great Powers, whoever they may be, will stand when it comes to justice and statism.

HTML formatting and proofreading by Joel Schlosberg.