Editor of Libertarian Party News 1986-1990, Barry Goldwater speechwriter


Karl Hess - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Karl Hess (25 May 1923 - 22 April 1994) was an American national-level speechwriter and author. He was also a political philosopher, editor, welder, motorcycle racer, tax resister, atheist, and libertarian activist. His career included stints on the Republican right and the New Left before embracing free-market anarchism. ..."


Karl Hess - The Advocates
300x232 JPEG, color


Laissez Faire Books

Awards Received

1991 Szasz Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Cause of Civil Liberties, granted by Center for Independent Thought, The Thomas S. Szasz Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Cause of Civil Liberties, 1991
For lifetime achievement


Eris Society
National Coordinator, Radical Libertarian Alliance


Anarchism in America, Interviewee (three segments)

Web Pages

Karl Hess - The Advocates
Biography, picture and quotes
"Tax protester and gun smuggler Hess (1923-1994) became a successful journalist who made a well-publicized intellectual journey from Goldwater speechwriter to libertarian compatriot of Murray Rothbard. Along the way, he became an exceptionally graceful author, putting fundamental issues about as well as they could be put."


Karl Hess: 1923-1994: Karl Hess, often described as the "most beloved libertarian," died April 22. He was 70., by Randy Langhenry, Libertarian Party News, Jun 1994
"In 1969, Hess wrote an article for Playboy magazine entitled 'The Death of Politics.' In the article, Hess described his own libertarian philosophy. The article, written before the founding of the Libertarian Party, is often credited with having brought about a revival of the libertarian movement."
Remembering Karl Hess, by Gary Galles, Mises.org Daily Article, 31 Dec 2003
"He is best known for penning 'extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice ... moderation in pursuit of justice is no virtue' as Barry Goldwater's head speech writer (his ability was reflected in Goldwater's nickname for him: Shakespeare)."


Karl Hess: 1923-1994: His Words, Jun 1994
From "The Most Unforgettable Libertarian I Ever Knew," Liberty, Dec 1987
"My mother, without ever having heard the term as far as I know, raised me to be a libertarian. ... it has been my libertarian urge, mother-taught, that has kept me reasonably 'sane,' self-esteeming, and secure enough to live my life on my own terms and not on someone else's ideological or managerial leash."
The Death of Politics, Playboy, Mar 1969
Related Topic: Libertarianism
"Libertarianism is rejected by the modern left—which preaches individualism but practices collectivism. Capitalism is rejected by the modern right—which preaches enterprise but practices protectionism. ... Perhaps a regular political movement, overcoming this anomaly will actually develop."


The Plowboy Interview: Karl Hess, by Anson Mount, Mother Earth News, Jan 1976
"I don't now believe in the welfare state any more than I once really believed in the warfare state. ... I've changed my mind about the identity of the good guys and the bad guys. The New Left now seems to me to be espousing the causes that the Old Right once stood up for: individual responsibility and self-determination."

Books Authored

Capitalism for Kids: Growing Up to Be Your Own Boss, 1987
Related Topics: Capitalism, Children
Community Technology
    by Karl Hess, Carol Moore (Introduction), 1979
Mostly on the Edge: An Autobiography, 1999
Robert LeFevre: Truth is Not a Half-Way Place
    by Carl Watner, Karl Hess (Foreword), 1988
Related Topic: Robert LeFevre


Karl Hess speaking at UCLA 3/3/1970, 3 Mar 1970
Related Topic: Politics
Wide-ranging talk on the "contemporary political scene"; including the SDS, the State, isolationists, NIxon, Agnew, Vietnam, left and right, anarchism, community, Black Panthers and more

Robert Anton Wilson and Karl Hess: Subversion for Fun and Profit, by Robert Anton Wilson, Sep 1987
Related Topic: Libertarianism
Wilson and Hess at the Libertarian Party national convention, fielding questions from the audience on numerous topics