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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/11103/a-founding-libertarian-document/

A Founding Libertarian Document

November 27, 2009 by

At the YAF convention in St. Louis, I organized the draft-card burning — an event many regard as the birth of the modern libertarian movement. FULL ARTICLE by Don Meinshausen


Ralph Fucetola JD November 27, 2009 at 8:15 pm


Well do I remember working with you during those days! Then we were all thinner and lived in the illusions of youth: just as we were rapidly changing, as youth always is, the world around us would simply have to change to keep up with us; after all, we Baby Boomers were the biggest, best educated of all the generations… “Life is change; that’s how it differs from the rocks…” to quote the Jefferson Airplane.

The Summer of ’69 shook American politics, though perhaps not quite as world-shaking as events of 1989.

Clearly, the break-up of the youth conservative-individualist alliance on the Right (YAF) and the anarchist-communist front on the Left (SDS) made room for the budding libertarian renaissance.

And the presence on “the bus to St. Louis” along with all us starry-eyed young YAFers of Prof. Walter Block’s students and other libertarian intellectuals and these-days-Mises.org-contributors, drove the confrontation between the authoritarian tendencies on the Right and its individualists energies over the edge.

It was that moment of draft-card burning at YAF that signaled the end of that misbegotten alliance. It provided the emotional release needed to let go of the illusion that we had to postpone Liberty while the “red menace” threatened and Viet Nam burned.

And so what have the intervening decades brought?

Certainly, the extraordinary growth of an independent Libertarian Movement allied with various issue-oriented groups, such as the Free Market scholars and intellectuals, the Health Freedom and the Oath-Keepers movements, and some others.

And of course Ron Paul, who’s entry into politics a few years later brought back our right to own gold, the first great victory of the new movement for economic liberty.

Dr. Paul represents in many ways the finest example of what a conservative/libertarian alliance could have been; and the Campaign for Liberty, led by libertarians, is the best home for individualists and conservatives working together, outside the formal LP structure.

And those decades saw the hoped-for but not fully expected collapse of the Soviet Union, justifying Liberty’s long intellectual struggle, armed with the brilliant insights of Mises and Rothbard, against collectivist authoritarianism.

Today, everyone who’s not a Keynesian is a Misian…

I well remember what Prof. Mises told us at what I think was the first of the libertarian conferences in Philadelphia, after the YAF breakup, warning us what was happening economically: “You are eating your seed corn…” as he pointed a finger at all us hippies. A futurely-illustrious audience there that day; we took to heart his warning.

Nobody defends collectivism much anymore, certainly not any Russians or Chinese! There is no draft. The Fed is hunkered down and may go the way of the Zimbabwe central bank…

And YAF no longer means “Young Americans for Freedom” having meaningfully dropped “freedom” from their name after purging us nascent libertarians. They are now a very aging Young Americans Foundation, while significant student organizing on the Right is more or less completely limited to the LP and YAL (Young Americans for Liberty), who I am sure will never drop “liberty” from their names.

The Comrade November 28, 2009 at 5:20 am

I still can’t figure out if this Meinshausen fellow is a Marxist or not. I’m not saying he is, but I can smell the reek of Marxism wafting from this article…maybe its the rhetoric.

Clay Barham November 28, 2009 at 11:50 am

Obama said, community interests are more important than are individual interests, and since community has neither brain nor heart, it falls to the few governing elite to govern. His belief that the “State or the Government is the embodiment of all that is good and beneficial and that the individuals are wretched underlings, exclusively intent upon inflicting harm upon one another and badly in need of a guardian,” should be unchallenged. (Von Mises) No one must question him or his beliefs in the sacred task of governance, and his fellow supporters are as fanatical as the Muslims who would conquer the world. He, and his modern Democrats, is far from the libertarian Democrats of the 19th century, from Jefferson to Cleveland, who believed in individual freedom, the resulting free market, small government and America’s prosperity, as cited in THE CHANGING FACE OF DEMOCRATS on Amazon and claysamerica.com.

Alexander S. Peak November 30, 2009 at 8:31 pm

To “The Comrade”:

I do not detect a single hint of Marxism in this piece. It appears beyond a shadow of a doubt that the man has no sympathy for state ownership of the means of production–or of anything else.

I quite appreciate the rhetoric of Mr. Meinshausen’s piece.

Alex Peak

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