Friday, June 10, 2005

"Confessions of a Right-Wing Liberal"

I was a 16-year-old Young Republican in summer 1970. "I believed in God and Senator Dodd and keepin' old Castro down," as Phil Ochs used to sing.

Then I bumped into a kid waving an enormous black flag outside a Young Americans for Freedom leadership conference in Glendale, California. He pressed into my hands a photocopy of Murray Rothbard's article "Confessions of a Right-Wing Liberal," from Ramparts magazine. I read it right there on the front steps of that auditorium. And it shook my conservative political beliefs to their roots. Here's how Murray opened the essay:
"Twenty years ago I was an extreme right-wing Republican, a young and lone 'Neanderthal' (as the liberals used to call us) who believed, as one friend pungently put it, that 'Senator Taft had sold out to the socialists.' Today, I am most likely to be called an extreme leftist, since I favor immediate withdrawal from Vietnam, denounce U.S. imperialism, advocate Black Power and have just joined the new Peace and Freedom Party. And yet my basic political views have not changed by a single iota in these two decades!"
Within days, I was calling myself a libertarian. Within weeks, I was calling myself an anarchist.

I held onto that old Xerox for a decade, then lost it somewhere during a move. I've looked for another copy of "Confessions of a Right-Wing Liberal" for a quarter-century, with no luck. So my heart almost jumped out of my chest when I saw that the Mises Institute had reprinted it this morning on their website. Here it is.

How cool is that?


At 7:56 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Thank you (and the Mises Institute) for that link. It brings back memories for me as well.


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