Thursday, November 16, 2017

My, How Times Have Changed

The Libertarian Forum, edited by Murray N. Rothbard; May 1, 1969. 

All through the land, this wondrous month of April, the student revolution has spread to campus after campus, even to the most conservative and most apathetic.

…the student rebellion has reached a crescendo this spring which few of us have ever dreamed could be possible.

In this edition, Rothbard focusses on the campus protests of the time.  Before considering further his observations, let’s pause to review the concerns of today’s college students:

Ann Coulter, Charles Murray, Heather MacDonald, Corey Lewandowski, Betsy DeVos, and Milo Yiannopoulos – they might say something that hurts the feelings of these poor delicate snowflakes.  Comfort rooms, cupcakes hot chocolate, and teddy bears are offered for those who melt.

A nice list from Forbes:

·        Cornell Students Hold A Post-election “Cry in”
·        UT Austin Students Organize “Cocks Not Glocks” Protest
·        UMass Students Hold A “Shit-in”
·        UC Merced Students Seek To Disarm Campus Police
·        Gettysburg College Students Sit Down Against Hate
·        Smith College Students Host Anti-Colonial Thanksgiving
·        U Chicago Students Block Michigan Avenue Traffic For Free Tuition Protest
·        Oberlin Students Demand Low Grades Be Abolished
·        Hampshire College Students Lowered And Burned The American Flag
·        Faculty And Students Try To Silence UVA Founder Thomas Jefferson

Some really earth-shattering stuff.

And for the pièce de résistance, a view that takes these present-day campus protests far too seriously; the issues at hand:

…campus rape, structural racism, gender-based wage discrimination, and skyrocketing expenses over student housing…

To clarify the viewpoint of the author and publisher:

To look at the situation differently, it might help to think alongside Antonio Gramsci, the Italian communist…

For anyone unfamiliar with Gramsci, let’s just say he was a cultural Marxist before anyone ever heard of either cultural Marxists or the Frankfurt School.

So, this is now.  What was the situation that brought Rothbard such glee in 1969?

The prime goal is to sever the universities’ all-pervading tie-ins and linkages with the government and its war machine.  This year’s major protest demanded the abolition of the ROTC on campus.

…the realization that ROTC is training officers to enslave their fellow soldiers and to murder en masse in Vietnam.

Rothbard does not spare libertarian conservatives who have condemned the protestors for initiating violence:

But who has initiated violence?  The kids, or the universities that collaborate in the draft and the war machine, who eagerly obtain funds from the taxpayer for all manner of research and grants, including research for germ warfare?

And his charge for libertarians?

And so, libertarians must hail the student revolution, their means and their ends, their demands both immediate and ultimate.


It is unfortunate to consider – many of that generation of protestors went on to create the state and the crony-capitalist system that we live under today.

We can thank them, at least, for doing their part to bring an end (at least so far) to conscription.


  1. Now, instead of marching against war, they march and cheer for it:

  2. His defense of student violence sounds a lot like “punching a fascist is sef-defense.” It sounds like Antifa rationalization. I’m not sure what I think about that.


    1. Given that their main reason for protest was the Vietnam War and the draft, the supporters of this criminal enterprise deserved a punch in the face.

      Does this help clarify your thinking?

    2. I guess it would help if I had examples of the particular violence that was occurring. I know the government is a gang of thieves, but it is rare that the individuals affected directly by protest violence are the people who are initiating violence themselves. This doesn’t absolve them of responsibility, but it’s sort of like punching the city clerk.

  3. As I recall, the mighty campus protests ended the day after Nixon announced the end of the draft. True, conscription is slavery, but in this case outrage over the murder of Vietnamese innocents took a backseat to self-preservation. Just as today, such a moral outrage was conspicuous by its absence. Sadly, it says much about the American character that probably the only way to force an end to Washington's endless foreign military interventions is to bring back the draft.

    1. True and true.

      But I hope the draft never returns (and I am not suggesting that this was your intent).