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The Libertarian Forum, Vol. 2, No. 7, April 1, 1970

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

—First Anniversary Issue—

A Semi-Monthly Newsletter


Libertarian Forum

Joseph R. Peden, Publisher Washington Editor, Karl Hess Murray N. Rothbard, Editor

VOL. II, No. 7 April 1, 1970 35¢


Over fifteen years ago, a nutty, oddly likeable little man named George Metesky started placing bombs around midtown New York City, fortunately setting them in such a way that no one was injured. After several bombings, Metesky, dubbed the "Mad Bomber" by the press, was finally picked up and put away. Nowadays, not only would he be a hero of the Left, but he is almost a model of its current incarnation. Like the Newest Left, he had a genuine political grievance, in fact much the same political grievance; in his case, it was injustice at the hands of Con Edison, a State-created and privileged monopoly. And like the present Left, he despaired of or was uninterested in carrying out a protracted ideological and political struggle against Con Ed and the State which created it. Instead, like the newest Looney Left, though devoid of mass popular support (to put it mildly) he decided to go over into armed struggle. His decision was certainly less conscious and less ideological than that of the Newest Left; but it was also considerably less dangerous.

There have been mutterings on the Left for months about going over into armed struggle, or into urban guerrilla warfare against the System. Now it looks as if they have done so. The insanity of their decision can be easily gleaned by reading the works and studying the examples of the successful revolutionaries and guerrilla warriors. Over and over, the vital point is that before launching armed struggle, the guerrillas must have the support of the bulk of the population of the area (whether peasants or urban residents). They must, in the metaphor of Mao and Che, "swim as a fish in the water" of the surrounding population. Fidel, for example, did not begin his revolution by landing with a handful of armed men in Oriente Province. He began it with years of previous political education and preparation which built up enthusiastic support in the Cuban population, especially among the peasantry. He arrived at the proper "water" first before putting in the "fish". And it was precisely Che's complete failure to heed his own advice that led to his own murder and to the rapid extinction of his guerrilla band in Bolivia.

If guerrillas launch their struggle without public support, they are doomed to total failure, to ending just like Metesky and Che. But not only that: the reason why American counter-insurgency quickly evolved into genocidal slaughter in Vietnam is precisely because the Vietnamese guerrillas had the support of virtually the entire population, and therefore the American effort necessarily meant war conducted against the entire population. In short, armed struggle against popular support means genocidal war. It is hard to see how the new Mad Bombers of the Left can help but deteriorate in a similar way. The Mad Bombers, of course, have nothing like the power of the U. S. war machine in Vietnam. But they face an urban population in America who are totally and violently opposed to their aims and their tactics. They are operating in a water in which they cannot hope to swim. Therefore, the logic of the situation demands that they begin to bomb everyone and everything. So far, they have been scrupulous in setting their bombs at night, and in giving advance warning to clear the buildings. But how long will it go on before the Bombers begin to escalate their struggle against the entire American population?

The Looney Left has apparently fallen for the old turn-of-the-century Left-wing anarchist and nihilist nonsense of the "propaganda of the deed", the notion that daring and violent deeds will attract the support of the masses to one's cause. All that these deeds can attract will be the undying hatred of the vast bulk of the American population, which will call down upon the head of the Looney Left the full force of the State apparatus. The only question now is how many innocents will be dragged off to the pokey from the provocations of the unhinged. And so, in a striking illustration of the "cleansing" process that we mentioned in our last editorial ("The New Left, RIP", Mar. 15), the Looney Left, frenzied, unhinged, its judgment hopelessly addled by drugs, proceeds to bomb its way to self-destruction.

The Knudson Revolt

Four years ago, Ken Knudson, a member of the pacifist Peacemaker Movement, pioneered in a new form of tax resistance: the idea of claiming enough exemptions on the Form W-4 Employee's Withholding Exemption Certificate so that no tax can be withheld from one's wages. Last fall, on October 5, at Lincoln Park in Chicago, a dozen people gathered to form the first tax resistance group based on the Knudson method. All the members adopt the Knudson approach and claim the exemptions; then they take the money which would have been paid into the U. S. treasury and pool it into a cooperative association, the Chicago Area Alternative Fund, which uses the funds for constructive, as well as voluntary, purposes. Anyone interested can write the Fund at 1209 W. Farwell, Chicago, Ill. 60626.

2 The Libertarian Forum, April 1, 1970

Liberty And The University

I recently received from a colleague a little packet of literature publicizing the activities of the University Centers for Rational Alternatives, Inc., a loose organization of scholars and educators formed for the purpose of defending academic freedom, "the freedom to speak, to teach, to learn, to inquire, to criticize, and to challenge" within the university community. Perceiving these to be principles which I strongly support myself, my first reaction was a cautious Bravo! and I read further. Soon I found the UCRA taking a position against arson, assault and battery, deliberate destruction of academic hardware, looting of files, forcible occupation of buildings, and intimidation of students. Right on! I said to myself, and read right through the little packet of literature.

Strangely, however, my enthusiasm began to cool by the time I had finished. Although I did not encounter a single statement which, in isolation, could be construed to violate sound libertarian principles, going back to read between the lines, to study what was left unsaid as well as what was said, to consider the context in which high-sounding principles were presented, I began to find grounds for suspecting that the UCRA was not such a staunchly libertarian organization as its rhetoric implied.

The big tip-off was that in all the pages devoted to elaboration of the ways in which SDS goonsquads posed a threat to freedom in the university community, there was barely a mention of the frequent failures of the university itself to promote liberty within and without its institutional perimeters. And one need not appeal to some specious, new-leftish distortion of the meaning of the term "freedom" to show that the university's record is not spotless. Let us examine three ways in which the university falls short of the ideal:

First, if a free society means one in which the threat to the individual of coercion by arbitrary authority is minimized by strict observance of the principle of the rule of law, the academic community should form itself as a model, a miniature replica, of such a society. Yet within the university, the range of arbitrary authority which the student is expected to accept in exchange for access to the knowledge he seeks is often unnecessarily broad. It must not be forgotten that what the students are protesting is often the meddlesome paternalism of an administration which, far from promoting the development of the student as a free individual, seems aimed instead at inculcating the pseudo-value of "respect for authority" as an end in itself. How can the UCRA insist that the rule of law (a system, we are taught, based on the impartial application of explicitly formulated general rules to decisions for specific cases) must extend to the university campus when the procedures for disciplining students, selecting administrators, and dismissing faculty members are a model of the rule not of law, but of caprice, favoritism, prejudice, and vacillating submission to transient pressure groups? Sidney Hook, the founding father of the UCRA, gives away too much of his true position when he fondly recalls his golden undergraduate days at Columbia when "Nicolas Murray Butler was both the reigning and ruling monarch." (NYU Alumni News, May 1968).

The second way in which the university too often violates libertarian principles occurs when it itself strays across the line, so insistently drawn by the UCRA, between mere advocacy of a cause, defensible no matter how repugnant the cause itself, and the actual use of physical force or threat of force to advance that cause. We don't need to be so abstract as to point out that every time the university accepts a dollar in tax money, extorted from citizens by the Internal Revenue Service, it is cooperating in the perpetration of initiated violence. There are more direct instances available. When the university cooperates with the Selective Service System, it is contributing to the biggest sell-out of the American tradition in the history of the nation. (One constructive accomplishment of the campus left has been to bring about a limitation of university complicity in this form of legalized slavery.) Again, when it allows its relations with the military to drift beyond the point of allowing the military to state its own case against the pacifists (recruiting and probably even most ROTC activities are defensible on grounds of academic freedom) to the point of donating the time of its salaried staff or permitting unpaid use of its facilities and real estate to pursue military objectives, the university is coming dangerously close to putting its corporate finger on the trigger.

Finally, one of the oldest principles of libertarianism holds that although the use of defensive violence is legitimate to counter force initiated by others, defensive force must never be excessive. You don't hang a pickpocket; and you don't flog a peeping Tom. So why should the UCRA cheer university administrations on when the police whom they call in to quell campus disturbances throw restraint to the wind and, instead of exacting an eye for an eye, take ten for one?

If the UCRA were truly a libertarian group, they would be as concerned with those threats to freedom that originate from within the academic establishment as they are with those posed by the campus rebels. The fact that its members are silent on these points is sufficient reason to suspect that it is something quite different. But what? Not simply another stuffy voice protesting youthful affronts to decorum and good grooming (although Hook lets his guard slip again to expose a good measure of this attitude as well: "during a talk I was giving, one of these bearded fellows stood up and tried to break up the meeting. He had a big black beard. It probably hid a weak chin." (NYT, Jan. 26, 1969).

No, no such petty principle could have united Abba Lerner, A. A. Berle, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Lewis Feuer, Edward Teller, Henry Walich, and Bertram Wolfe! What does this motley collection of corporate liberals, old socialists, and unreconstructed conservatives have in common that could have brought them together, if that common principle is not a true concern for academic freedom? One doesn't have to exercise much imagination to see that what they all have in common is a position of privilege within the academic establishment. The UCRA is a united front action of the academic elite to defend themselves against a perceived threat to their status!

But still, shouldn't the campus libertarian welcome the voice of the UCRA speaking out on behalf of academic freedom, even though their perception of the problem is

(Continued on page 3)

In Southern California the Movement is airborne!
Turn on, tune in, telephone in with


KPFK-FM (90.7 mhz) Wednesdays at 11 P.M. "Quite Rightly So" Lines open at (213) 877-5583 or 984-2420, and KUSC-FM (91.5 mhz) Thursdays at 11 P.M. (7 P.M. after March 1st, tentative). "Rapline" Line open at (213) 746-2166.

The Libertarian Forum, April 1, 1970 3

LIBERTY AND THE UNIVERSITY(Continued from page 2)

one-sided and their motives are suspect? No, because an organization of this type actually poses a threat to the advancement of academic freedom. It addresses itself to those scholars and teachers with natural libertarian inclination, who are alarmed by campus disruptions, and attempts to persuade them that to defend academic freedom they must uphold the state quo (or even the status quo ante, in some cases). Intentional or unintentional, this is a splitting tactic by which the UCRA forestalls what would be the only genuine hope for establishing academic freedom (and the only genuine threat to the privileged position of the academic establishment), which lies in the potential of an alliance between the libertarian right and the radical left.

Libertarians in the academic community must learn to keep a cool head in the campus crisis, and not be panicked into thinking that the only alternatives are to support the UCRA elite, who benefit from their position of power within the old repressive institutions, or to sell out to the new left, which aims at replacing these old with new but equally repressive revolutionary institutions. Instead, they must pursue the goal, no matter how difficult it may seem, of promoting a libertarian alternative with an appeal to the best elements of both the left and the right. Academic freedom, yes; academic privilege, no!

—Edwin G. Dolan
Ass't. Prof. of Economics
Dartmouth College

Articles Welcome

We have neglected to inform our readers that we welcome articles for the Libertarian Forum. Be assured that we do. If any of you feel that the representation of authors in the Forum is too narrow, there is one excellent way that you can help to widen that representation: submit an article. If, however, you want any article which we decide not to print to be returned, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope.

Also welcome are clippings and news items that would be of interest to libertarian readers. This would greatly increase the flow of news into our offices and therefore out to the body of our readers. And we also welcome letters, criticisms, comments on our articles, etc. If we are too dilatory to answer your letters personally, rest assured that they are all read carefully—even if we are too stubborn to heed them!

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Tax Resistance

With the income tax deadline looming steadily on the horizon, those who have been flirting with the idea of not filing might pick up a small paperback entitled, How to Refuse Income Taxes, authored and published by Lucille E. Moran. The book can be obtained by sending a dollar to Miss Moran at P. O. Box 641, Tavernier, Florida 33070. I have not yet read the book, but Miss Moran says she has been refusing to file for eight years at this point (legally) and has gotten away with it. The key point is not to file at all, claims the authoress. Her book will fill you in on what to do from there.

Free market libertarians are not the only ones concerned with tax resistance. The Manhattan Tribune, a radical left weekly published in New York City, has recently offered two articles on tax refusal by Bob Wolf who is also a regular contributor to The Realist. One of his pieces dealt with the ten percent surcharge added to the phone bill four years ago to help finance the war in Vietnam. Bob states that about six thousand people including himself have so far refused to pay the tax. When the federal government tried to collect $2.97 from him last April, he wrote to his tax collector and advised him that since the war was illegal he (the revenue agent) might want to re-examine his own position to avoid being tried at a war crimes trial in the future. He also offered to help find the taxman a job in some legitimate field of work.

Finally, the government managed to collect $6.00 in back taxes from Bob by sending a couple of agents to his employer's office and putting a garnishee on his salary. The cost in time and labor to the government certainly far exceeded the amount collected. As Bob still refuses to pay the tax voluntarily he again owes some $16.00 in outstanding taxes. He is patiently waiting for some well-salaried government agents to drop around at his employer's office once again and personally demand Uncle Sam's "protection" money.

The second article dealt with the War Tax Resistance, 330 Lafayette St., New York City, an organization that distributes anti-war tax literature and offers the services of tax-resistance counselors. Among the sponsors are Dr. Benjamin Spock, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger and Allen Ginsberg.

This group is mainly concerned with the deduction of that portion of our total taxes used to finance the war and to manufacture war machinery. In the original statement issued by this organization the point was made that the "right of conscientious objection to war belongs to all people, not just to those of draft age." Bob Wolfe in his own letter to the tax assessor warns that those seeking to enforce the collection of war taxes may be guilty of complicity in the commission of war crimes.

The main drawback in using the Vietnam war as the basis for one's refusal to pay taxes is that this position is invalidated the minute the war ends. For this reason free market radicals who conscientiously object to all taxes might be more interested in Miss Moran's proposal for its long-range possibility. In any case tax resistance is an area where radicals of every persuasion can make common cause, using whatever arguments they will to serve their own libertarian ideals.

— Jerome Tuccille

(Ed. Note: The February 13 issue of Tax Talk, published by War Tax Resistance, lists the names and addresses of the War Tax Resistance centers throughout the country, as well as news of other WTR activities.)

4 The Libertarian Forum, April 1, 1970

Recommended Reading

A. S. DeVany et al., "A Property System for Market Allocation of the Electromagnetic Spectrum: A Legal-Economic-Engineering Study", Stanford Law Review (June, 1969), pp. 1499-1561. Comprehensive article on how private property rights could be allocated in radio-TV frequencies.

F. A. Hayek, "Three Elucidations of the Ricardo Effect", Journal of Political Economy (March-April, 1969), pp. 274-85. It's great to have Hayek back writing economics, this time a welcome addition to Austrian business cycle theory, in rebuttal to the criticisms of Sir John Hicks.

Henry Hazlitt, "Compounding the Welfare Mess", National Review (Feb. 24, 1970). Brief critique of the Nixon welfare program.

Robert A. Mundell, "Real Gold, Dollars, and Paper Gold", American Economic Review (May, 1969), pp. 324-31. An anti-gold Chicago economist concedes that the root cause of the balance of payments problem has been the American artificial undervaluation of gold.

Robert R. Palmer, The Age of the Democratic Revolution (2 vols., Princeton University Press, paperback). Professor Palmer's epochal work now in paperback. An integrated study of the French and other European—as well as the American—Revolutions, showing the connections. Definitive. American Revolution is shown to be a truly radical one. Sympathetic to the revolutionary cause.

Warren C. Robinson, "A Critical Note on the New Conservationism", Land Economics (November, 1969), pp. 453-56. When the ignorant blather of conservationists was at last refuted by economists a decade or so ago, the conservationists fell back to a more limited position, of preserving a few natural amenities. Refuted here by Prof. Robinson, who also points out that the average taxpayer earns hardly more than half the average income of the wilderness camper whom that taxpayer is forced, by the conservation program, to subsidize.

Census Resistance

This is the year of the decennial Federal snoop, the compulsory invasion of the privacy of each one of us by our Big Brother in Washington. In addition to the usual head count, the Census Bureau will mail every person a questionnaire, forcing us to answer a minimum of 23 questions, under penalty of a $100 fine. Furthermore, twenty percent of us will be compelled to fill out an additional questionnaire containing over 66 questions.

One way of combatting the compulsory Census is to support those bills in Congress to make the non-head count questions strictly voluntary. Another way is Resistance. If you decide to resist (the maximum penalty for this step being a $100 fine after legal prosecution) or even to answer the questions under protest, CENSUS RESISTANCE '70 provides a form for you to send to them, informing them whether you are answering under protest or are refusing to answer the questions; they also have a form for you to attach to your census questionnaire telling the Census Bureau of your protest or refusal. In this way, CENSUS RESISTANCE '70 is organizing a mass protest movement. Furthermore, this organization plans to take to the federal courts and on up to the Supreme Court to fight the first case in which the government tries to fine someone for census refusal (Only two such fines were levied in the 1960 census). For information, write to: CENSUS RESISTANCE '70, 304 Empire Building, 13th and Walnut Sts., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107.

Capsule Wisdom

"Is it reason that produces everything: virtue, genius, wit, talent and taste. What is Virtue? Reason in practice. Talent? Reason enveloped in glory. Wit? Reason which is chastely expressed. Taste is nothing else than reason delicately put in force, and genius is reason in its most sublime form."

M. J. DeChenier — 1806


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