November 30, 2009
A great bit of libertariana is reproduced at Mises.org: longtime
libertarian activist Don Meinshausen, who in the late 1960s served as
a House Internal Security Committee spy on Students for a Democratic
Society, wrote this statement to the Committee about a real threat to
American liberty: the American government. Excerpt:
Today I am to be the House Internal Security Committee's major
witness to testify on the workings of a "dangerous organization": the
Students for a Democratic Society. During my membership in SDS, I
learned of a much more dangerous organization, which has seized and
destroyed more lives and property than SDS ever could. I am speaking
of the United States government. Under the guise of relief and urban
renewal, the government has destroyed the black people's pride and
any chance to form a stable community. In the cause of the defense of
freedom, it has aided tyrants in Greece, Spain, and Vietnam and has
exploited and oppressed people at home and abroad.
I did not receive my ideas from Marx, nor did some that I met in SDS
receive their ideas from Marx but, rather, from the revolutionary
American tradition of liberty as expressed by Jefferson, Daniel
Webster, Thoreau, Josiah Warren, Benjamin Tucker, Lysander Spooner,
Twain, and others.
Five years ago, I worked for the election of Barry Goldwater for
president. That work and working for a student insurrection are not
contradictory. Both seek to return power to the people....
I am against conscription, the war, the taxation which is
bankrupting our people, and against laws governing consensual moral
behavior. I am not alone in such views, and there are many in SDS and
in YAF (a right-wing organization to which Mr. Ashbrook and Mr.
Watson [members of the Committee] are advisors) who agree with me.
Both of these organizations, and not SDS alone, suffer from
authoritarian leadership. If these authoritarians ever reached power
they might be worse than our present power holders, but, with both
liberals and conservatives, labor and big business, the military and
the state today maintaining power for their interests, there seems to
be little choice.
Much, much more on libertarian movement history, including
Meinshausen's role in a draft card burning at a Young Americans for
Freedom convention in 1969 that helped split off a self-consciously
libertarian countermovement to the conservatives, in my book Radicals
for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American