Samuel E. Konkin, 3rd
Carrots And Sticks 2
In the last issue of SLR, Your Friendly Neighborhood Anarcho-columnist decided to toss some carrots of praise to neglected W. Coast libertarians and to rest the stick with which he beats various deviationists. But the coastal regions of the U.S. have received more than enough good press coverage. Let YFNA’s roving eye cast itself on Middle America, that paradise promised us by the Prophet Murray, the Profit Incarnate.
Colorado, of course, was gifted (or cursed, as you will) with the Nolans. But how many of my friendly neighborhood anarcho-readers know that one of the truly great libertarians of all time still lives high up in the mountains?
James J. Martin was a hard-core Stirnerist-type free market anarchist back in the dim, dark days of World War II. He fought the draft and the war with brilliant revisionist history from the beginning. Martin’s REVISIONIST VIEWPOINTS contains essays from the old RAMPART JOURNAL of Robert LeFevre that are still pace-setters in libertarian historiography. Recently Jim appeared at a libertarian conference which ran concurrently with the ill-scarred Dallas LP convention. He may yet return to liven up the pages of the journals of the modern Movement.
Up north, in Illinois, Joe Cobb prowls. I have much quarrel with Joe’s present Partyarchist actions, but in the sixties he put out a great little journal called the NEW INDIVIDUALIST REVIEW: A Journal of Classical Liberal Thought. In it Murray took cudgel to minarchists, and Austrians battled with Friedmanites. Joe’s own chapter of the Radical Libertarian Alliance was humorous, though perhaps unintentionally, since he worked for an alliance with ACLU-liberals while the rest of the RLA was trying to embrace the New Left. Whatever degradation Joe slips into these days, his fame and value has already been vouchsafed by history, which is more than the rest of us can safely assert about ourselves.
In Barry’s Back Yard
Arizona was the home of the original Student Libertarian Action Movement, once described by this writer as the “Weathermen” of the libertarian movement. SLAM’s classic battle with the police on the U of A campus won them accolades and collections for a defense fund around the country. Alas, SLAM is gone, after a brief split into SLAM and “North American Libertarian Alliance,” though Fred Woodworth and Conrad Goeringer have gotten together in the modern MATCH! to got their left-deviationist way.
Ralph Kerner brought the Libertarian Caucus home from the ’69 YAF-con in St. Louis to La., and he and Evan Soule have been fueling the flame of freedom there ever since. Evan went on to create the Committee to Legalize Cold, a strange animal in the libertarian bestiary of front groups. After all, it actually succeeded in achieving its goal!
The Lone Star State once boasted Scott Tips and Mike Holmes, with their HARD CORE NEWS. “Hard Core” is still the highest exclamation of approval in the Movement, and the famous Hard Core sweatshirt is a rare collector’s item.
Mike Holmes has since sunk into Partyac, and Scott has Browned out and moved to Southern California, but their legacy remains. Over at Sul Ross State College, Tony Warnock teaches “logic,” his name for the basic libertarian principles. Tony was once at the U. of Wis. with YFNA, and gave Free University classes in Praxeology while YFNA roused the rabble a bit more crudely.
Still in Wis. is Don McKowen, trying to liberate minds in Milwaukee, a truly Herculean task. Many a libertarian leaflet has been passed to the unsuspecting masses by Don, and many of the Rationalist Church of America objectivists have been shaken out of their views by his Stirnerism
The Deep South Folks
Recently Browned out in Georgia, but still watching us with some interest, is David Rosinge Dave’s original SOUTHERN LIBERTARIAN MESSENGER was a brilliant Rothbardian beacon in a branch of the Movement which once predominantly Randist and Banneristi. Dave’s activism brought about the first two Southern Libertarian Conferences, the second of which featured YFNA routing Mike Holmes and his attempt to get a libertarian part going in the bayous and magnolia. Dave has also been into revisionism, and the only ISOLATIONIST pamphlet was written by him and printed in NLN for the now defunct radical caucus.
Down at the south end of Alabama teaches a university professor by the name of Steve Halbrook. “Crazy Steve” was one of the great deviationists of the Movement, and today’s heretics pale in comparison. Today I regard him wit nostalgia, remembering his articles (like “Classical Utopianist Anarchism vs. Leninist Libertarianism,” and his urging us to consider Mao a libertarian) as something a critic could really sink his teeth into. While his Vanguard Party thankfully never got off the ground, Steve was instructive to us in showing how libertarians should not go.
Not all Middle American libertarians have faded into the Shadow World of Mundanity. Still plugging away in Pa. is the Society for Individual Liberty of Don Ernsberger and Dave Walters. While the coasts never did get into a SIL frame, preferring libertarian alliances of a local nature, most of Middle America knew of other libertarians only through their SIL NEWS.
One neglected area of interest is Canada. During the heyday of the Libertarian Alliance, a group put out an occasional journal in Winnipeg, Manitoba, called THE SKEPTIC. While the zine ha faded out, it briefly gave hope for the expansic of libertarianism into some of the more outflung areas of the world. Currently, revival of activity in Ontario and Alberta gives us hope.
Many other bright comets soared across the libertarian skies in the early seventies in the Middle of the Heartland, and with the upcoming collapse of the LP and its stifling influence and rigid conformity to outworn institutions, we can hope that a general renaissance is in the offing.
(What about the E. Coast? For those readers who are interested in YFNA’s views on that subject, a quick subscription to NEW LIBERTARIAN NOTES will bring NLN 40 and “Farewell to the East,” where that is well taken care of.)
Abby Goldsmith, another dropout from state level LP leadership, has been active in the Movement for many years in Conn. and Fla. She is a regular contributor to such publications as NEW LIBERTARIAN NOTES and SOUTHERN LIBERTARIAN MESSENGER.
Samuel Edward Konkin, III, is the editor of NEW LIBERTARIAN NOTES, the Movement’s most outstanding monthly magazine. A doctoral candidate in theoretical chemistry at NYU, Konkin plans a move to the west Coast this summer.
NOTE: NLN 40 wasn’t published until after (it was also NLW 88-89, the fifth all-sf ish) and contained no such material. But it might’ve been published somewhere else...
Southern Libertarian Review
Volume 1 Number 10 / April 18, 1975
Pages 2, 8