Rothbard on Dukakis

In addition to what you can find at Liberty magazine’s official site, there’s a trove of back issues of Liberty on (CHT Jesse Walker, who has a good labortarian piece on pp. 53-57 here.)

Dukakis tank porn

It’s been pointed out that “G. Duncan Williams,” the pseudonymous author of a sort-of-pro-Dukakis piece about the Bush-Dukakis presidential race on pp. 12-14 of the November 1988 Liberty, was actually Murray N. Rothbard, not yet in full paleo mode. (In addition to Rothbard’s distinctive style, having the same number of letters per name could be a clue.)

Ah, memories. I also wrote a sort-of-pro-Dukakis piece that year; it was my declaration of independence from the Republican Party. (Rothbard’s farewell to the GOP had obviously come much earlier.)

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17 Responses to Rothbard on Dukakis

  1. Roderick June 4, 2010 at 4:28 pm #

    A question I’d like to ask my 1988 self: how can you describe supporting anti-abortion Republicans as a “deal with the devil” at the beginning of your letter, and then endorse voting for an anti-abortion Libertarian at the end of the letter?

  2. Jeff G. June 4, 2010 at 5:06 pm #

    Hey Roderick,

    Any chance you could post your piece ‘The Benefits and Hazards of Dialectical Libertarianism’ online?

    • Michael Wiebe June 4, 2010 at 6:47 pm #

      Jeff, there’s a copy online here.

      • Jeff G. June 6, 2010 at 12:11 pm #

        That’s great. Thanks for the link.

  3. Black Bloke June 4, 2010 at 9:58 pm #

    Classic lines from that Childs interview:

    Walker: Diet Coke or a Regular?
    Childs: Regular. Do I look like I’m a Diet Coke person?


    • Roderick June 4, 2010 at 10:25 pm #

      Well, I drink Diet Coke — so maybe Childs did look like a Diet Coke person.

  4. Jesse Walker June 4, 2010 at 10:00 pm #

    No need to search for clues. Bill Bradford told me flat out that Williams was Rothbard.

    • Black Bloke June 4, 2010 at 10:16 pm #

      Hey Jesse, how old were you when you wrote that above piece?

    • Roderick June 4, 2010 at 10:23 pm #

      I didn’t mean that clues were necessary, I just meant that there were some.

  5. Jesse Walker June 4, 2010 at 10:29 pm #

    I was 22, and I’m embarrassed to read it now. Not the most felicitous prose I’ve produced. (And it’s weird that I describe Weirton as “democratic” late in the review after going out of my way earlier in the article to note the limits to the workers’ power there. Given subsequent events at the company, I should have stuck with the less optimistic adjectives.)

    • Black Bloke June 4, 2010 at 10:32 pm #

      Still, you had a lot of great ideas for 22. And in 1993 too. I’m impressed.

      • Roderick June 4, 2010 at 10:41 pm #

        Hey, when I was 22 I was still a Reagan supporter, so from my perspective you were doing pretty well!

      • Jesse Walker June 4, 2010 at 10:41 pm #

        Thanks. I think that was the first article of that length that I’d published anywhere. Glad to hear that some of the ideas managed to sound appealing, even if I hadn’t quite worked out the editorial kinks yet.

  6. Joel Schlosberg June 11, 2010 at 10:45 am #

    The real burning question is: what’s the best Rothbard pseudonym? There’s at least two others I can think of: Aubrey Herbert for early articles in Faith and Freedom and Mr. First Nighter for movie reviews. And Roy Halliday used the pseudonym Roy G. Biv while defending Rothbard:

    • Roderick June 11, 2010 at 2:35 pm #

      I was struck by Roy’s remark at that site: “During the late 1960s and early 1970s libertarians were much more radical and our rhetoric was more heated than it is now.”

      That doesn’t seem obviously true, judging from either my left-libertarian pals or my Misesian pals.

      • Rad Geek June 11, 2010 at 5:49 pm #

        It is probably true that back when the number of soi-disant libertarians was much smaller than it is now, those who defended radical views and spoke with more heated rhetoric were probably a larger percentage of the total number of people calling themselves “libertarian” at the time, and probably also exercised more influence over the movement than they do now. Of course, the difference is not because the absolute numbers of hotheaded radicals are now lower (they are almost certainly much higher), or because hotheaded radicals have fewer outlets than they used to (there are a lot more, read by a lot more people), but rather because a lot of very mildly heterodox conservatives and corporate liberals (Bill Maher, Glenn Reynolds, whatever), who wouldn’t have imagined calling themselves “libertarians” in the 1960s-1970s, are willing to call themselves that now.


  1. When History Doesn’t End | The William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism - July 2, 2024

    […] pugnaciousness led him to positions unhinted at by Szalai’s selections. In 1988, he advocated voting for Democratic “cautious spender” Michael Dukakis since Bush was providing […]

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