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My New Year's Wish For The Movement

Mises Daily: Sunday, December 31, 2006 by

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[The Old Curmudgeon was a regular feature of Murray Rothbard's Libertarian Forum. Here are his New Year's wishes for the libertarian movement in the December 1975 issue, available in PDF.]

From The Old Curmudgeon

My New Year's Wish For The Movement

I know it's a hopeless fantasy, but I can dream, can't I? My devout wish for the libertarian movement, and for the state of my own blood pressure, is for a whole year's moratorium on the following:

On Survival

I am sick and tired of reading about how we should all stock up on a year's supply of dried beans, and backpack it to the hills. Fellas. I've got news for you: I ain't eating any dried beans, and I ain't backpacking it to the hills. I will stick to the market, crippled though it may be, and continue to dine in plush urban comfort on Pepsis, vodka martinis, and veal parmigiana. I have often wondered why our bean-eating backpackers don't really head for the hills and leave the rest of us alone and blissfully outside of their consciousness. The horrible thing is that I have a dark suspicion that our tub-thumping survivalists are themselves spending their time in urban comfort guzzling martinis and wolfing down the aforesaid parmigiana.

Libertarian Forum (2 Volume Set)

On the New Libertarian Country

For over a decade now I have heard the drums beat for the new Eden, an island, natural or man-made, that would live in either anarchistic or Randian bliss. One would think that if man can really learn from experience, then the total and abject failure of each and every one of these cockamamie stunts should have sent all of their supporters a "message"; namely, to come back to the real world and fight for liberty at home. Come to think of it, I don't see very many of the New Countryites schlepping out to Minerva, Abaco, Atlantis, an ocean platform, or a moon of Jupiter. Once again, I would love at least a year of these brethren removing themselves from the consciousness of the rest of us: either by remaining silent and returning to concerns nearer home, or, preferably, really hieing themselves posthaste to the New Atlantis and Randspeed to them.

On Psychobabble

Wouldn't it be great? A whole year of nothing, not a word, not a peep, about "open relationships", "growing as a person", "getting in touch with your feelings", "opening up a space", "non-authoritarian relations", "living free", and all the rest of the malarkey. But, then, what in the world would all our psycholibertarians have to talk about? Well yes, that would be an interesting experiment indeed. Either they would have to painfully make their way to developing an interest in history, current affairs, economics, political philosophy — in short, the real world, or else they would have to descend into a blissful silence (blissful that is, for the rest of us.)

On Griping from the Sidelines

It is easier, I suppose, to sit around and pick holes in the 85th word of the eighteenth paragraph of the fourth press release by Roger MacBride or of someone else who actually writes or does something to advance the cause of liberty, than actually to work for liberty yourself. That way, you have the luxury of hugging the mantle of "purity" tightly around your shoulders without having to do anything to move toward a libertarian society. But how about a year of concentrating on one's own constructive action? Again, it would be interesting to see whether a year of abstinence from griping would really clear the decks for constructive work. (And, come to think of it, the gripers and the psychobabblers are often one and the same.)

On Reading Science Fiction

There is nothing wrong with science fiction per se, but is has become all too clear that for many libertarians science fiction has taken on a cultic status. A year's abstinence from scifi would clear the decks, and clear a lot of minds as well. But for what? What in the world is there to read if you are deprived of science fiction? Well, look around, and maybe a new world of other things to read will be revealed.

An impossible dream, this magnificent moratorium? Perhaps. But maybe if we wait till next year….


Murray N. Rothbard (1926–1995) was dean of the Austrian School. See his archive. Comment on the blog.

This article originally appeared in Libertarian Forum, Vol. 7.12, December 1975, available in PDF.

In that same issue:

Stop Reagan! | On Nozick's Anarchy, State, and Utopia, I | Whither Anarchy? Has Robert Nozick Justified the State? (R. Barnett) | From the Old Curmudgeon: My New Year's Wish for the Movement | LP Literature | The Polish Question In Roosevelt-Churchill-Stalin Diplomacy (L.P. Liggio) | Right-Center Chic