Editor of Libertarian Review (1977-1981) and lead book reviewer for Laissez Faire Books (1984-1992)
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  • 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."


    TheAdvocates.org - Roy A. Childs Jr.
    200x223 JPEG, grayscale


    4 Jan 1949, in Buffalo, New York


    22 May 1992, in Miami, Florida


    Laissez Faire Books
    Adapted from Joan Kennedy Taylor's "Biographical Sketch" in Liberty Against Power: Essays by Roy A. Childs, Jr.
    "Many people only know Roy as the premier book reviewer for Laissez Faire Books, a job that he did from 1984 until his death in May 1992. .... many people wrote Laissez Faire some variation on the following ... : 'I had so much respect for him that only the books he chose to review were considered worth reading by me.'"

    Awards Received

    1974 Garvey Fellow, granted 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

    Roy A. Childs Jr. - Libertarian
    Biography (from Laissez Faire Books) and photo
    "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 began reading some of the classics of libertarian thought when he was in high school ..."


    In Memoriam [PDF], by Jeff Riggenbach, ALF News, 2006
    Biographical 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."
    Jeff Riggenbach on Samuel Edward Konkin III, by Jeff Riggenbach, Freedom Network News, 2004
    Lengthy biographical and memorial essay
    "The second generation 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
    "... one day in early 1977, she 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."
    Liberty Against Power: Essays by Roy A. Childs, Jr., by Doug Bandow, The Freeman, Jun 1995
    Reviews the subject book, with articles by Roy Childs, collected and 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. ... Although his 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, he never wrote a book."
    Roy A. Childs, Jr. - Hero of the Day, The Daily Objectivist, 2000
    Quotes about Roy and Liberty against Power from Thomas Szasz, Ralph Raico, Milton Friedman and others
    "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."
    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 ..."
    Total Victory: How Sweet It Is! [PDF], by Murray 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. ... 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."


    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. ... 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
    Ayn Rand - Hero of the Day, The Daily Objectivist, 2000
    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, where she worked at odd jobs—stuffing envelopes, waitressing in a diner, and running a studio wardrobe department—until she could make a financial success of her writing."
    Related Topic: Ayn Rand
    Big Business and the Rise of American Statism, Reason, Feb 1971
    Originally a speech given at first convention of the Society for Individual Liberty, 15-16 Nov 1969
    "In any case, we have seen that (a) the trend was not towards centralization at the close of the nineteenth century ...; (b) there was, in the case of the railroads anyway, no sharp dichotomy or antagonism between big businessmen and the progressive Movement's thrust for regulation; and (c) the purpose of the regulations, as seen by key business leaders, was not to fight the growth of 'monopoly' and centralization, but to foster it. The culmination of this big-business-sponsored 'reform' of the economic system is actually today's system."
    Henry Hazlitt: An Appreciation, by Roy Childs, Richard Ebeling, Nov 1985
    Tribute to Hazlitt on his 91st birthday, reviews his career and works
    "Henry Hazlitt was there at the beginning, and he has been there ever since, patiently writing, lecturing, editing, promoting ideas of liberty. In a sense, he is a living bridge between the best ideas of the nineteenth century, and the best today. He stands like a rock, astride two centuries. And even as you read this, somewhere in the world a young man or woman is beginning to read, for the first time, 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."
    UpdHenry Hazlitt - Hero of the Day, The Daily Objectivist, 2000
    Memorial essay
    "Henry Hazlitt died on July 8, 1993, just sixteen months short of his one hundredth birthday. ... By any standard, he lived one hell of a life. Journalist, author, literary critic, reviewer, editor, economist, moral philosopher, and one of the premier intellectual entrepreneurs for liberty of the twentieth century."
    Related Topic: Henry Hazlitt
    H.L. Mencken: An Appreciation
    Short note written for Laissez Faire Books
    "Who else would ignore the 'proper' form of an obituary, and rake some poor deceased politician over the coals one last time as Mencken did with William Jennings Bryan or Teddy Roosevelt? Or move us, as with his reflections after Valentino's death? Or inspire generation after generation of writers and readers with his humanity, wit, wisdom and panache? 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, 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. ... why should you adopt free market anarchism after having endorsed the political state for so many years? Fundamentally, for the same reason you gave for withdrawing your sanction from Nathaniel Branden in an issue of The Objectivist: namely, you do not fake reality and never have."
    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'; he is at his worst when he attempts to theorize about things, and to place them in a wide semi-theoretical context."
    Related Topic: Harry Browne
    Reading the Literature of Liberty, May 1987
    Childs' selection of "great books", 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. As a doctrine, it lies scattered throughout the pages of countless books and articles; as a point of view, it has many variations."
    The System Builder, 1974
    Foreword to the 1974 edition of Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature and Other Essays. Compares Rothbard to Karl Marx as a "system builder" of anarchist thought.
    "To students of anarchist thought there is something else present here: the first anarchist social philosopher who not only is on the level of Marx in terms of scope and originality, but who is a libertarian as well. For Murray N. Rothbard was one of the first truly free-market anarchists, and the only one so far to put forward an original system of ideology. Whether one agrees with Rothbard or not, his ideas are both original in important ways and also significant."
    Related Topic: Murray Rothbard


    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.