No commentary on this one. Just enjoy the holiday season! The picture below is a Christmas greeting from 1950 December issue of the libertarian and anti-communist magazine The Freeman, published by The Foundation for Economic Education.
I’ve written about my dissatisfaction with Ohio Christian University before. It’s harder to ignore the faults of an institution so closely to tied to your childhood. Their talk-radio show Faith & Liberty represents everything wrong with the Republican Party today, appealing to the very worse of American “Conservatism”. Mr. Garrison, the host of the show, describes it as picking up “where fox news leaves off“. However, despite that institution’s supposed adherence to fiscal conservatism, they have received millions of dollars in subsidies directly from the state of Ohio and the federal government.
This fall/winter, OCU increased their conservative credentials. Young America, a Reaganite conservative organization based out of Virginia, named the university one of the top conservative schools in the country. The other schools on the list are quite diverse, so it’s hard to draw strong conclusions from this. They ranged from the more libertarian (Hillsdale), to the evangelical (Liberty), and the Catholic (Thomas More). Because of this, I can’t make any strong conclusions based on OCU being on the lists. The process by which the schools are selected isn’t described, but I have my doubts. I hardly think it’s a good school, let alone a good conservative school. I have yet to meet a well academically trained OCUer.
Another recent event was them giving their own Faith & Liberty Award to former George W. Bush Special Assistant Timothy Goeglein. Goeglein resigned from his position after he was caught plagiarizing. At least 38 columns that he wrote were lifted directed from other people’s work. This is hardly the kind of person that a university should honor as an example of academic integrity
With all of this in mind, I honestly wonder if the founders of the Church of Christ in Christian Union (the denomination that created OCU) would recognize it. It broke from The Christian Union in 1909 due to a dispute over Wesley’s teachings regarding Entire Sanctification, but the Christian Union broke from the Methodist Episcopal Church over that denomination’s support of the Civil War. By the time of WWI, the Christian Union and The Church of Christ in Christian Union were well known for their opposition to organized violence. Consider one of the most famous men the CCCU ever produced, Alvin York. York was a soldier in WWI who received the medal of honor. He killed at least 28 Germans and captured over 100 in combat. He tried filing as a conscientious objector on religious ground but they drafted him anyway. Upon returning from the war, he became a minister in the CCCU and argued for a more non-interventionist approach to US foreign policy. When was the last time anyone from the CCCU mentioned York?
On that note, when was the last time anyone from the CCCU took their novel doctrine of Entire Sanctification to include abstention from violence? If it’s really possible to be morally perfect in the life for the average person through God’s grace, why does that not include a denial violence?
Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith.
Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we must be saved by love.
No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our standpoint. Therefore we must be saved by the final form of love which is forgiveness.”
Reinhold Niebuhr, The Irony of American History
As discussed in the past on this blog, Murray Rothbard seems to combine the impossible beliefs. For example, his fascination with Leninism and his open financial support of far-left radicals. One could say that he had a love-hate relationship with the radical left. In the 1970s, there was some cooperation between the New Left and libertarians, especially in protesting against the Vietnam War. I highly recommend reading John Payne’s 2005 article in the Journal of Libertarian Studies “Rothbard’s Time on the Left“. It’s explores the brief period of cooperation between right-libertarians and the New Left and their parting of ways. Another oddity to add to the list of “rothbardisms” is his love of Ernesto “Che” Guevara. In the Autumn 1967 issue of Left and Right: A Journal of Libertarian Thought (Vol. III No. 3), Rothbard published a eulogy mourning the death of Che (it would later appear in The Libertarian Forum). To summarize it, consider this quote:
“What made Che such an heroic figure for out time is that the, more than any man of our epoch or even of our century, was the living embodiment of the principle of Revolution.”
Below are two screenshots:
For the most part, conservative media has looked down on the tactics used by protesters in the wake of the killings of Micheal Brown, Eric Garner, and others. Libertarians have been similarly skeptical, including the Murray Rothbard’s Luwig Von Mises Institute. With this is mind, there have been times that Rothbard himself financially supported rioters. In his personal newsletter The Libertarian Forum in 1969, Rothbard and other libertarians were asking for donations to help pay for the medical and legal expenses of those arrested at the People’s Park protest in Berkeley and eight activists arrested in Chicago for organizing the protests during the Democratic National Convention
For those who don’t remember, the People’s Park protest was when then Governor Reagan sent the California Highway State patrol and the Berkeley police to stamp out radical students who started a park. He’s reason was that it was “a haven for communist sympathizers, protesters, and sex deviants.” Reagan was elected on the ticket of being tough on protesters and he wanted to prove it. The police opened fired on them with shotguns. One student named James Rector died and dozens more were severely injured. Reagan later declared a state of emergency and sent in 2,700 National Guard troops. Roughly 250 students were arrested.
The Chicago eight were arrested under Title 18 of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (anti-rioting laws that targeted African-Americans) for organizing anti-Vietnam War protests during the Democratic National Convention.The campaign to support them was nationwide and even involved linguist and radical Noam Chomsky. To quote the Committee to Defend the Conspiracy, which Chomsky sat on:
“The nature and origin of the Chicago violence, the lack of specificity in the indictment, the doubtful constitutionality of the charges and the singling out of men who enjoy national prominence on the left, strongly suggest that the federal government is now embarked on a program to constrain dissenting political activity. The eight defendants—Rennie Davis, David Dellinger, John Froines, Tom Hayden, Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Bobby Seale and Lee Weiner—represent a broad range of styles and commitments on the political left. Their indictment reveals how sweepingly Title 18 can be applied to control and limit free political activity. If convicted, each faces up to ten years imprisonment and fines up to $20,000.”
It’s weird how things change. Then again, this was before the split between right-libertarians and New Left after the Vietnam War. I highly recommend reading John Payne’s 2005 article in the Journal of Libertarian Studies “Rothbard’s Time on the Left“. It’s explores the brief period of cooperation between right-libertarians and the New Left and their parting of ways.
I’ve been going through old center-right literature. All of the screen shots are from the May 1937 edition of The American Mercury. To be fair, the magazine wasn’t truly far-right until the 1940s when the ownership changed, but ,with articles titled “Autocrat vs. Constitution”, “You can’t beat the landlord”, “The Cost of Communism”, and “America’s Pampered Parasites”, it’s fair to say that the magazine was fairly conservative at even this point. It’s over a 100 pages, so I am still working through the article. So most of the screen shots are from advertisements and the like.
Historians of the early Libertarian Party sometimes notes the relatively authoritarian way Murray Rothbard managed the party. For example, Rothbard’s Radical Caucus attempted to isolate voluntarists from the wider party. According to voluntarist George H. Smith,
“It is no secret that the higher echelons of the Radical Caucus have kept a close eye on The Voluntarists for some time. RC members attend voluntaryist meetings and report‘ back to Bill Evers and Murray Rothbard. An RC member may be instructed to distribute anti-voluntaryist literature at a voluntaryist conference, with advance copies rushed to him through the mail.” (Smith 1983)
One of te explanations of this behavior and that given by Smith in the same essay is Murray Rothbard’s “Strategic Leninism”. This is to say Lenin’s political strategy of weeding out deviants from within the party in order to purify it. It is notable that Rothbard himself used this terminology. In his article “Farewell to the Left” in the Libertarian Forum in 1970, he says:
“One tragedy in this whole affair is that many of the libertarians of New York, New England, and Washington, D.C. have completely forgotten the crucial strategic principle of Lenin: that, in associating with other groups, one must remain firm and steadfast in one’s principles, while remaining open and flexible in one’s tactics, in response to ever changing institutional conditions. The original idea in allying ourselves with the New Left was to work with a new generation permeated with strong libertarian elements. Now that the New Left has died, and its genuine libertarian elements have disappeared, objective conditions require that we make a tactical shift away from the current Left. Instead, too many of our young East Coast libertarians have done just the opposite of Lenin’s strategic advice.”
Rothbard‘s fascination with Lenin is mentioned in John Payne‘s article ―Rothbard‘s Time on the Left‖ in the Journal of Libertarian Studies. It documents Murray Rothbard‘s strategic relationship that he formed with the New Left during the mid-1960s. Because of the increasingly growing interventionism of the Right in the United States due to Cold War politics, he sought alliances with non-interventionist socialists to create a pro-peace lobby. As one could easily imagine, disputes between Rothbardians and the New Leftists were bound to occur and by 1970 they split. In an editorial in the Libertarian Forum, Rothbard explains the demise of the New Left in completely strategic Leninist terms and chastises libertarians for attempting to preserve the alliance.
Smith and Payne is not the only individuals to point this out. French journalist Philippe Simonno wrote in the publication Le Monde several articles on libertarianism in Europe He comments:
“in this text, titled Toward A Strategy for Libertarian Social Change, Rothbard takes as his model Lenin, who knew enough to promote capitulation before Germany in 1917, and to let the peasants occupy feudal lands. In the manner of Lenin, Rothbard recommends a centrist‘ strategy designed to avoid left-wing utopian deviations and right-wing opportunist deviations.” (2003)
History is full of conundrums. I guess one of these would be Rothbard’s love of “Strategic Leninism”. People can find interesting ways to blend ideologies. However, this also hints at one of the inner problems with libertarianism itself. Rigid individualism is sometimes not the product of a concern for “natural rights”, but rather out of a will to preserve the status quo, the current hierarchies, and power structures. Examples would be libertarian defenses of the South during the Civil War or defending the innocence of greedy bankers. Rothbard wanted to preserve his control over the party and was willing to take action to protect it.
Murray Rothbard. “Farewell to the Left,” The Libertarian Forum 2, no. 9 (May 1, 1970): 2
John Payne. “Rothbard’s Time on the Left.” Journal of Libertarian Studies. No. 01 (205): 7-24.
Philippe Simonno. “Murray N. Rothbard traces economic history from Plato to Jean-Baptiste Say.” Le Monde,
translation by Roderick T. Long edition Oct. 7, 2003. http://praxeology.net/LeMonde.htm
George Smith , “Murray Rothbard, Voluntaryism, & The Great Gandhi Smear,” The Voluntaryist, 1, no. 5 (1983): 1-8,