Between the Lines

Lost Near the Beltway

Whatever happened to the libertarian movement?

Since the age of 14 I have been a self-conscious libertarian.  That’s when I started reading libertarian tracts (Rand, Mises, Hayek).  I say reading, but at least in the case of Mises, reading was not the same as understanding at such an early age.  I was no child prodigy.  Quite the opposite: I was what we used to call a juvenile delinquent, with a perverse penchant for reading.  Nevertheless, I owned a copy of Human Action, sent to me by the Conservative Book Club, which I ploughed through with the persistence of a budding fanatic.

Ayn Rand was more my style—pure fiction, albeit with a message, one I was more than ready to receive.  I regularly read the conservative-libertarian media: National Review, American Opinion, Human Events—yes, our local library carried all three!  Back then, Reason was a mimeographed 16-page production.  I used to talk to the magazine’s founder, the eccentric Lanny Friedlander, on the phone, excitedly discussing the advent of issue number one.  When it finally came out, it was a Very Big Deal, at least for us.  After all, the inside of it may have been mimeographed, but the cover was offset-printed!

Out of these humble origins—basically a movement of teenagers, college students, and a few university professors—came...

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