Thursday, September 20, 2007

A (very) minor quibble

I’m enjoying Murray Rothbard’s The Betrayal of the American Right so much that I’m gently sipping it, just a chapter or two a day. It’s really an extraordinary history lesson, certainly for libertarians and probably for anyone else who feels a disconnect with what generally passes for “Right” or “Left” these days.

I do quibble with the book’s title. Betrayal is part memoir, and with that in mind, the title works. After all, Rothbard first dabbled with politics in the 1940s, and his right-wing Republican friends were then largely antistate, antiwar, and isolationist; when conservatives showed their true colors and turned tail in the ’50s, he understandably felt betrayed. But the book is broader than memoir. It details the longer and bigger story of “homeless” laissez-faire liberals and individualist anarchists, expelled first from their birthplace on the Left and smeared by double-crossing socialists and progressives, then likewise disenfranchised and vilified by the treacherous Right. It’s a chronicle of shifting alliances, of rebuilding, and of launching new political movements. The title The Betrayal of the American Right is too limiting. It doesn’t even begin to hint at the full story or the book’s scope.

Regardless, Betrayal is what my pals in PR used to call “boffo.” Must reading.

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At 10:28 PM, Blogger camelCase said...

You make me want to read it now. I assumed it was only about the relationship between libertarianism and the Old Right, which I am not so fond of, but the idea you talk about here is something a lot closer to my heart.


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