Blackadder’s Lair

The home of many a cunning plan

Radicals for Capitalism

Libertarians are strange. There’s no use denying it. In a world in which people debate not whether the government should have a major role in the provision of health care but whether or not that role should be total the type of person who thinks we should privatize lighthouses is apt to be more than a little eccentric.

Which is what makes Radicals for Capitalism such a fun read. The book, subtitled ‘A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement’, chronicles the lives and idea of all of the major (and many of the minor) libertarian and anarcho-capitalist movements and figures in America over the last hundred years. In it you will find Murray Rothbard, who became an anarchist when he realized that his justifications for the nightwatchman state could also justify socialized steel mills (and whose anti-war sentiments later led him to oppose the Republican candidacy of Barry Goldwater). You will learn about Joseph Galambos, whose views on intellectual property were so strict that he forbid his followers from even mentioning his ideas (which may be why you haven’t heard of him). You will read about Milton Friedman’s role in getting rid of the draft, how the author of Little House on the Prairie lost her job over her opposition to Social Security, and about the various attempts to set up a libertarian island paradise in the South Pacific.

If you enjoy reading about the history of political ideas and the often off the wall lives of those who propound them, you will like this book. The chances of your becoming a libertarian or anarcho-capitalist based on reading it all is probably fairly slim.

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July 10, 2008 - Posted by | America, Capitalism, History, Libertarianism

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