Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement

By Greaves, Bettina Bien | Freeman, April 2008 | Go to article overview

Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement


Greaves, Bettina Bien, Freeman


Radicals For Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement by Brian Doherty Public Affairs * 2007 * 741 pages * $35.00

Reviewed by Bettina Bien Greaves

Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises said, "He who wants to improve conditions must propagate a new mentality, not merely a new institution." But propagating a new mentality is not as easy as flipping a switch. It takes time; an idea that starts in the mind of one person must travel to others by persuasion-talking, teaching, writing, broadcasting, or simply by setting an example. Only if an idea gains general acceptance will it bring social change.

Brian Doherty, a senior editor of Reason, has written a "freewheeling" history of the libertarian movement developed in America by "radicals for capitalism" who have tried to "propagate a new mentality." Doherty reports the activities of many individuals-dedicated and colorful characters all-who, each for his or her own reason, helped promote the libertarian mentality.

Doherty traces the freedom philosophy back to Jefferson and the Founding Fathers, through the philosophers and thinkers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, down to present times. The ideas of Marx and Keynes, the popularity of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and two world wars overwhelmed the limitedgovernment voices that survived the Depression, effectively silencing opposition to the government. Once the war ended, however, the radicals for capitalism who had opposed the New Deal and its Keynesian spending programs began fighting back.

Three books by remarkable women, published while the war was still going on, began to rekindle faith in the old American philosophy and, according to the Cato Institute's David Boaz, can be credited with having "given birth to the modern libertarian movement." Doherty devotes a chapter to them-The God of the Machine by Isabel Paterson, The Discovery of Freedom by Rose Wilder Lane, and The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.

Doherty identifies five individuals as having played major roles in postwar libertarianism: Mises, the Austrian-born economist who fled war-torn Europe in 1940 after teaching and writing on free-market economics for decades and then continued his work in America; F. A. Hayek, student, friend, and colleague of Mises in Europe and author of The Road to Serfdom (1944), which created a sensation by maintaining that socialist economic planning, then popular with most nations, actually leads to fascism and Nazism, the very evils the free countries were fighting; Ayn Rand, a refugee from communist Russia who wrote the dramatic novel Atlas Shrugged-which converted a generation of young people into enthusiastic advocates of capitalism and opponents of the altruistic welfare state; Murray Rothbard, son of Jewish immigrants and an ebullient, irrepressible "radical for capitalism" who attracted many enthusiastic young followers who later became serious economists and libertarians; and Milton Friedman, also the son of Jewish immigrants and a brilliant, charismatic intellectual who had substantial political success by pushing for "half steps in the direction of less government. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.