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...