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Editor of Libertarian Review (1977-1981) and lead book reviewer for Laissez Faire Books (1984-1992)
Roy Childs

Roy Alan Childs Jr. (4 January 1949 – 22 May 1992) was an American libertarian essayist and critic.


Childs, Roy A. (1949-1992), by Joan Kennedy Taylor, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
Biographical essay
Roy A. Childs, Jr., a self-taught writer and speaker, was a major influence in the libertarian movement during the 1960s and 1970s. He is perhaps best known for his work as editor of The Libertarian Review (1977–1981) and as the primary reviewer for Laissez Faire Books from 1984 to 1992. Apart from these positions, however, he also played a role in determining the direction of contemporary American libertarian thought and is credited with popularizing the anarcho-capitalist movement through his "Open Letter to Ayn Rand," published when he was 20 years old.
Related Topic: Cato Institute

Images - Roy A. Childs Jr.
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4 Jan 1949, Roy Alan Childs Jr., in Buffalo, New York


22 May 1992, in Miami, Florida

Awards Received

1974 Garvey Fellow, by Independent Institute
Topic: "The Moral Imperative of the American Private Enterprise System of Risks and Rewards"


Laissez Faire Books, Book review editor, 1984-1992
Radical Libertarian Alliance, Founding member, corresponding secretary

Web Pages

Laissez Faire Books: Roy A. Childs, Jr.
Adapted from Joan Kennedy Taylor's "Biographical Sketch" in Liberty Against Power: Essays by Roy A. Childs, Jr. (1994)
Roy A. Childs, Jr. ... claimed to have been interested in political issues since the age of nine, and a libertarian since 1964, when, he said, "I counted myself as an anti-Cold War Goldwaterite." ... He said that he read Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead in 1965, and found it so disturbing to some of his religious ideas that he burned it. But he recovered, and went on to read Anthem and Atlas Shrugged. He reported he was "enthralled" by Ludwig von Mises' Human Action the Christmas before he was seventeen, that Rose Wilder Lane's Discovery of Freedom "more than any other book" made him a libertarian.
Roy A. Childs Jr. - Libertarian
Includes photograph and biography (from Laissez Faire Books)
One of Roy's speeches so impressed Charles Koch that he bought Libertarian Review from Robert Kephart to turn it into a national magazine that Roy would edit. Then began what Roy always considered to be the high point of his life: the editorship that lasted from the first issue of July 1977 to the end of 1981. He drew on his remarkably extensive libertarian acquaintance to put out what to this day is considered by many to have been the best libertarian magazine ever -- a 'golden age' of articles about every facet of the libertarian movement by as many libertarian luminaries as he could persuade to write for him.


Atlas Shrugged and the Corporate State, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 12 Oct 2007
Explains how Ayn Ran's Atlas Shrugged properly depicted some businessmen as privilege seekers, but some of her non-fiction was mistaken about big business being a "persecuted minority"
Roy Childs documented in his 1971 Reason magazine article, "Big Business and the Rise of American Statism," historically business was the major impetus to centralized control of the American economy. The advocates of corporatism in the business world are usually overshadowed by the German-educated American intellectuals who espoused statism in lofty philosophical terms. But in fact, corporatism was mostly the handiwork of business leaders' efforts to protect their market positions from upstart competition. Childs's article ... draws substantially on work of New Left historian Gabriel Kolko ...
Ayn Rand (1905–1982), by Cato Institute, Mar 2003
One of the "Three Women Who Launched a Movement" articles, celebrating during Women's History Month the 60th anniversary of the publication of The Fountainhead (as well as Rose Wilder Lane and Isabel Paterson books published in the same year)
Following [Ayn Rand's] death in 1982 from lung cancer, the late libertarian scholar Roy A. Childs wrote that tracing Rand's influence on the libertarian movement was "rather like trying to sort out the effects of Christianity on Western Civilization."
In Memoriam [PDF], by Jeff Riggenbach, ALF News, 2006
Biographical and memorial essay covering Joan Kennedy Taylor's varied career
In 1977, she returned to political writing, taking a position as an associate editor on another monthly, The Libertarian Review. Over the next few years, she would follow this publication, and its eccentric, gifted editor-in-chief, Roy A. Childs, Jr., across the country and back, from New York to San Francisco and from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. When The Libertarian Review ceased publication at the end of 1981, she embarked on a career as an editor and freelance writer which occupied her for the rest of her life.
Jeff Riggenbach on Samuel Edward Konkin III, by Jeff Riggenbach, Freedom Network News, 2004
Lengthy biographical and memorial essay
The second generation [of leadership in the "modern" libertarian movement] was made up of intellectuals born in the 1930s, '40s and '50s. Out of this second generation there were to come two great libertarian journalists – Roy A. Childs, Jr. (1949-1992) and Samuel Edward Konkin III (1947-2004). Both were to die too young. Childs has been suitably memorialized in print with a fine collection of his magazine and newsletter essays and reviews, Liberty Against Power (San Francisco: Fox & Wilkes, 1994).
Joan Kennedy Taylor, by Jeff Riggenbach, 14 Jan 2011
Biographical essay, including a review of Taylor's book Reclaiming the Mainstream: Individualist Feminism Rediscovered; transcript of "The Libertarian Tradition" podcasts of 28 Dec 2010 and 12 Jan 2011
[O]ne day in early 1977, [Taylor] received an extremely interesting telephone call from an extremely interesting young man, one Roy A. Childs Jr., 28 years old, who was taking over the editorship of a small publication called Libertarian Review, with the assignment of turning it into a monthly magazine of issues, events, and ideas ... from a libertarian perspective ... For the new magazine he was launching, he hoped to attract an editorial staff and a group of associate editors who would represent both the Rothbardian and the Randian elements within the libertarian movement.
The Movement Grows, by Murray N. Rothbard, The Libertarian, 1 Jun 1969
Recounts the first three meetings of the Libertarian Forum, the student libertarian organizations at Fordham, Wesleyan, SUNY Buffalo and Stanford, and the formation of the Radical Libertarian Alliance
At State University of New York at Buffalo, Roy A. Childs, Jr . has made the paradigmatic progressive transition from Randianism to Lefevrian pacifism to revolutionary anarcho-capitalism, and has been writing a column in one of the college newspapers and been heard on Buffalo radio ... The key post of corresponding secretary [of the Radical Libertarian Alliance] has gone to Roy A. Childs, Jr., 109 Wende, Buffalo, New York 14211. Anyone who wants information or advice on joining the organization, forming chapters, getting speakers, etc. or who wishes to send news to other members, should contact Roy Childs.
Murray N. Rothbard: Mr. Libertarian, by Wendy McElroy, 6 Jul 2000
A tribute to Rothbard as a "system builder," an integrator of multiple disciplines into a "philosophy of freedom"; examines several of Rothbard's essays and books
[T]he political commentator R.A. Childs, Jr. remarked upon a contention he had heard bandied about in intellectual circles: namely, that anarchist theory contains no great system-builders ... Childs disagreed. The anarchist world–and, specifically, individualist (or libertarian) anarchism–had produced at least one great system-builder: Murray N. Rothbard. Although Childs gave a well-deserved nod of respect to the theoretical contributions of Spooner and Tucker, it ... was Rothbard who provided "the entire libertarian worldview, the unique way of viewing history and world affairs ..."
Roy A. Childs, Jr. - Hero of the Day, by Ralph Raico, The Daily Objectivist, 2000
Biographical profile published by The Daily Objectivist; excerpted from Raico's review of Liberty against Power, with additional quotes from Nathaniel Branden, Ed Crane, Milton Friedman, David Kelley and Thomas Szasz
Veteran readers of Laissez Faire Books knew Roy A. Childs, Jr. very well. From 1984 until his death in 1992, Roy was Laissez Faire Books: he was its editor, chief reviewer, and overall animating spirit. ... But some of Roy's fans may be unaware of his earlier career as a libertarian writer and lecturer, or of the immense influence his essays and talks exercised on the libertarian movement. Now Joan Kennedy Taylor has made available to us, and to future generations, the best of Roy's written thought. ... Liberty Against Power is a fitting memorial to a great libertarian and a great man.
The Story of Roy A. Childs Jr. (1949–1992), by Jeff Riggenbach, 21 Jan 2011
Biographical essay; transcript of "The Libertarian Tradition" podcast of 12 Jan 2011
Eventually, what he had been working toward did come to pass. He managed to bring himself to the attention of Charles Koch, a wealthy Kansas oilman who had previously provided much of the financial support for Robert LeFevre's Freedom School. And he managed to persuade Koch to buy Libertarian Review from Bob Kephart and turn it into a monthly magazine to be edited by Roy Childs. He wanted the new Libertarian Review to reflect a broadly ecumenical frame of mind toward libertarianism; it wouldn't be a magazine just for Objectivists or just for Rothbardians; it would be a magazine for libertarians of every stripe ...
This Is The Movement You Have Chosen, by Murray N. Rothbard, The Libertarian Forum, Apr 1984
Reports on media coverage of the 1983 Libertarian Party presidential convention and comments on goings-on in the Crane Machine (CM), i.e., Ed Crane and Cato Institute
And speaking of laughingstocks, the intellectual collapse of the CM's once-puffed up theoretician and would-be demagogue, Roy Childs, the no-show "foreign policy analyst" for the Cato Institute, is proceeding apace. The one-time champion of anarchism has become an archist, the one-time inspiring speaker against war now defends the U.S. invasion of Grenada, the one-time anti-imperialist has become pro-Zionist. And the one-time atheist is now seriously considering "converting to Judaism." ... He also has the historiographical sleaze to laud his paymaster, Ed Crane, as the modern embodiment of Cobden and Bright.
Total Victory: How Sweet It Is!, by Murray N. Rothbard, The Libertarian Forum, 1983
Lengthy account and commentary on the 1983 Libertarian Party presidential convention
With his flair for the pomposo, Craniac Roy Childs, after the Presidential vote, announced his immediate and eternal departure from the Libertarian Party. Some of the drama in this proclamation, however, was punctured by Franzi, who asked: "In what sense has Roy left the Party? All he ever does is come to conventions when he's paid to speak." Whether Roy will continue in his role as Minister of Hate and Disinformation for the Crane Machine, which consisted largely of calling up my friends in the LP and boozily denouncing me at great length as being the quintessence of evil, only time will tell.


Ayn Rand - Hero of the Day, The Daily Objectivist, 2000
Biographical profile published by The Daily Objectivist; excerpted from a review of Barbara Branden's The Passion of Ayn Rand
Ayn Rand's life was the stuff of fiction. Consider her saga: She was born in Czarist Russia, lived through the Bolshevik revolution, and vowed to go to America. Barely two years after graduating from university, she did so. In 1926 she arrived in New York City alone, with about $50 in her pocket. She spent some months with relatives in Chicago, and then made her way across the continent to Hollywood ... Whatever your views, read this book. Ayn Rand had a tremendous influence in helping to revive the ideals of reason, individualism, and the free society. Her achievements remain towering, and her positive legacy remains unsurpassed.
Related Topic: Ayn Rand
Big Business and the Rise of American Statism, Reason, Feb 1971
Originally a speech given at the first convention of the Society for Individual Liberty, 15-16 Nov 1969
This essay constitutes a part of "revisionism" in history, largely domestic history. The term revisionism originally came into use referring to historiography after World War I. A group of young historians, eager to uncover the realities behind the blanket of myths surrounding the origins of this crucial conflict ... Libertarians themselves should take heart. Our hope lies, as strange as it may seem, not with any remnants from an illusory "golden age"of individualism, which never existed, but with tomorrow. Our day has not come and gone. It has never existed at all. It is our task to see that it will exist in the future.
Foreword, by R.A. Childs, Jr., Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature and Other Essays, Jan 1974
Foreword to the 1974 edition, compares Rothbard to Karl Marx as a "system builder" of anarchist thought; reprinted in second edition (2000) and as "The System Builder" on 7 Nov 2008 at
Historians and anthologists of anarchist thought, in comparing the great libertarian classics with other schools of political philosophy, have always been eager to mention ... that no anarchist theorist has ever been on the level of a Marx or Hegel. [Meaning that]: traditionally, anarchist philosophers have not been system builders ...
[U]ntil Rothbard's work is carefully studied by every advocate of liberty, the value of his contributions to the libertarian system cannot be fully appreciated and, moreover, the unity and true historical context of libertarianism will not even be fully grasped.
A Guide to the Writings of Ludwig von Mises, Dec 1990
At the original Laissez Faire Books; a suggested approach to reading Mises works, starting off with Planning for Freedom and leaving Human Action nearly last
The great social theorist Ludwig von Mises was born one hundred and ten years ago, published the majority of his important works before midcentury, and died nearly twenty years ago, at the end of a staggeringly productive life. ... some people profess to be intimidated by the sheer volume and complexity of his work. Where do we begin, and were do we go from there, they ask? ... Reading through these will give you one of the great experiences of a lifetime, an understanding of the world that you will treasure forever, and a commitment to liberty that will be as precious to you as life itself.
Related Topic: Ludwig von Mises
Henry Hazlitt: An Appreciation, by Roy Childs, Richard Ebeling, Nov 1985
Tribute to Hazlitt on his 91st birthday, reviews his career and works
With the celebration of his 91st birthday this November, Henry Hazlitt can look back upon a career almost unmatched by any other advocate of freedom in this century. From the publication of his first book ... at the age of twenty-one, to the present day, one contribution has followed another ... And even as you read this, somewhere ... a young man or woman is beginning to read ... Hazlitt's masterpiece, Economics in One Lesson. Myths are being shattered, and a new world is opening to them. Some of them will go on to become the intellectual and political leaders of tomorrow, carrying on the fight for human freedom.
Henry Hazlitt - Hero of the Day, The Daily Objectivist, 2000
Biographical profile published by The Daily Objectivist; excerpted and revised from memorial essay by Roy Childs
Henry Hazlitt died on July 8, 1993, just sixteen months short of his one hundredth birthday. Word spread quickly not just across the U.S., but internationally as well, for Hazlitt's role in helping to revive classical liberalism and libertarianism, in promoting capitalism and opposing socialism, had earned him the respect of students and admirers all across the world. ... All in all, Henry Hazlitt did as much as anyone of his time to promote the ideas of freedom. He stood the course, fought for his ideals, and influenced the world he lived in to change it for the better.
Related Topic: Henry Hazlitt
H.L. Mencken: An Appreciation
Short note written for Laissez Faire Books, including a Mencken quote
H.L. Mencken was born in Baltimore on September 12, 1880, at a cost of $10. It was probably the biggest bargain in history. Writer, editor, critic, newspaperman, philologist--he was a phenomenon! His whirlwind prose reflected his zest for life with a style never matched before or since. He has had imitators but never an equal. Mencken has been called 'the joyous libertarian,' but there is so much more to Mencken than politics -- or even his sense of humor. ... He's the most provocative writer you'll ever encounter. Discover Mencken today.
Related Topic: H. L. Mencken
Objectivism and the State: An Open Letter to Ayn Rand, by Roy A. Childs, Jr., The Rational Individualist, Aug 1969
Published by the Society for Rational Individualism (later merged into the Society for Individual Liberty); responds to five of Rand's arguments in her essay "The Nature of Government"
The purpose of this letter is to convert you to free market anarchism. As far as I can determine, no one has ever pointed out to you in detail the errors in your political philosophy. That is my intention here. I attempted this task once before, in my essay "The Contradiction in Objectivism," ...
Let me [repeat] those glorious words with which you had John Galt address his collapsing world: "Such is the future you are capable of winning. It requires a struggle; so does any human value. All life is a purposeful struggle ..." Let us walk forward into the sunlight, Miss Rand. You belong with us.
Personal 'Freedom': Review of Harry Browne's How I Found Freedom In An Unfree World [PDF], The Libertarian Forum, Apr 1973
While admitting that the book has many valuable insights, Childs chastises Browne on his definition of freedom and his views on morality and natural rights
This is a very mixed book. In substance, if not in intention, this is Harry Browne's answer to Objectivism. his own personal philosophy of life. Like all books of that sort, it is a mixture of brilliant insights and shallow sophisms. At the outset, it should be stated that Browne is at his best giving certain types of concrete advice concerning what he calls "how you can be free" ... There is nothing wrong with such advice, except when it does attempt to substitute itself for philosophy. Then the advice-giver must learn the truth of Thomist philosopher Etienne Gilson's quip: "PHILOSOPHY ALWAYS BURIES ITS UNDERTAKERS."
Reading the Literature of Liberty, by Roy A. Childs, Jr., May 1987
Childs' selection of "great books" on liberty and libertarianism, including works by Hazlitt, Bastiat, Rose Wilder Lane, Nock, Ayn Rand, Friedman, Hayek, Rothbard, Mises and Nozick
Any listing of the "great books" of liberty published in recent times must necessarily be a personal one. Libertarianism is first and foremost the doctrine championing individual freedom, private property, unfettered capitalism, and free trade. As such, it has never been captured fully in any one book or essay ...
There are many, many others ... There are classic works by Thomas Sowell, Thomas Szasz, James Buchanan, Israel Kirzner, and many others, of course. Each author I've mentioned has a unique perspective, and often disagrees heatedly with others. So be it! Good reading!


Liberty Against Power: Essays by Roy A. Childs, Jr., by Doug Bandow, The Freeman, Jun 1995
Review of Liberty Against Power (1994), a collection of Roy Childs' "best writings and speeches", edited by Joan Kennedy Taylor
A leading libertarian writer, editor, and activist, Roy was also a good friend and tough intellectual sparring partner to the famous, like Milton Friedman, and a generous mentor to the obscure, like any number of college students ... [H]is words had boomed forth at a multitude of conferences, seminars, and speeches, and leaped off the pages of Libertarian Review, Inquiry, movement newsletters, and mainstream newspapers ... Roy Childs was a treasure to all who knew him. But his life has benefited, and continues to benefit, many more people than just those who had the pleasure of meeting him.


Faculty Spotlight Interview: Jeff Riggenbach, by Jeff Riggenbach, 18 Mar 2010
Topics discussed include Austrian economics, the Mises Institute, the people who inspired Riggenbach, alternate career paths, hobbies, his book Why American History is Not What They Say and revisionist history
What drew you to the Austrian school and the Ludwig von Mises institute?
I began reading works by the Austrian masters–first Rothbard, then Hayek, then Mises–back in the 1970s, because my close friend Roy A. Childs, Jr. was relentlessly talking them up and recommending them ...
Can you tell our readers a little about your work, Why American History is Not What They Say?
... My friend Roy Childs had strongly recommended back in the 1970s that I read certain revisionist historians. He particularly promoted Harry Elmer Barnes, James J. Martin, and Gabriel Kolko.


The Libertarian Review
July 1977 to 1981, editor

Books Authored

Liberty Against Power: Essays by Roy A. Childs, Jr.
    by Roy Childs, Thomas Szasz (foreword), Joan Kennedy Taylor (editor), 1 Dec 1994
19 essays on political philosophy, policy analysis and book and music reviews; topics include capitalism, objectivism, libertarianism, property rights, the draft and the war on drugs
Related Topic: Liberty


Roy A. Childs, Jr.: A Tribute to Bob LeFevre, 1986
Eulogy for LeFevre given at a Free Press Association dinner in New York
Related Topic: Robert LeFevre

Roy A. Childs, Jr.: The Radical Libertarian Vision, 11 Apr 1981
Talk given at the Libertarian Party 10th Anniversary National Convention; Childs presents his vision of what the Party should be emphasizing and trying to accomplish
Related Topic: Libertarianism

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Roy Childs" as of 15 Jul 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.