Hess, Karl (1923-1994)
, by Brian Doherty, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism
, 15 Aug 2008
"Karl Hess, a libertarian author, activist, and publicist, was a popular libertarian speaker and movement personality in the late 1960s through his death in 1994. He edited the Libertarian Party's official newspaper, LP News, from 1986 to 1989 ... Hess came to national political prominence with the Republican Party by helping to write their 1960 and 1964 platforms. He was a speechwriter for Barry Goldwater during his 1964 presidential campaign. ... He also was a founding editor of Liberty magazine, a still-surviving libertarian movement journal launched in 1987."
Laissez Faire Books
"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. "
Anarchism in America
, Interviewee (three segments)
Karl Hess - Libertarianism.org
Short profile and links to essays, videos and other resources about Hess
"Karl Hess was a noted speechwriter (for Barry Goldwater among others) and author, and later in his life became known as a tax resister and market anarchist."
Karl Hess - The Advocates
Biography, picture and quotes
"Hess was editor of Libertarian Party NEWS from 1986-1990 and afterward served as editor emeritus. He was the author of more than a dozen books, including In a Cause That Will Triumph (1967), Dear America (1975), Neighborhood Power (1975) and Community Technology (1979). He also wrote Capitalism for Kids and was the subject of a 26-minute documentary entitled 'Karl Hess: Toward Liberty.' The film won two Oscars in 1981, including one for best short documentary."
Book Review: Capitalism For Kids by Karl Hess
, by Carl Helstrom, The Freeman
, Jul 1988
Concise review of Capitalism for Kids
concluding with "I wish it had been around when I was a kid"
"Karl Hess has written a book for children and for those who care about children. ... Hess places strong emphases on ethics and entrepreneurship. The capitalistic system is best, he says, because it encourages people to be open to new ideas, to be ready to change, and to be able to make choices which, from an economic perspective, are beneficial for all. ... Hess encourages youngsters to start their own businesses, to plan well, to develop a strong work ethic, and to be ready to answer for mistakes and liabilities."
Enemy of the State
, by Lew Rockwell
, Mises Daily
, 24 Nov 2006
Review of Raimondo's biography of Rothbard, An Enemy of the State
, analyzing several of the conventional critiques of Rothbard that are countered in the book; includes quote of Rothbard to Robert Kephart about the Rothbard's life choices
"He [Rothbard] talked Karl Hess into not paying taxes, thereby ruining his life. This charge, which first emerged in an early draft of Hess's autobiography and has otherwise circulated for years, is outrageous on the face of it. Murray cheered on every tax revolt, but he never counseled anyone to be a personal martyr. ... Raimondo brilliantly quotes from an old book of Hess's describing the moment he became a tax protestor, and it had nothing to do with Rothbard's urgings and everything to do with Hess's penchant for making bad judgment calls out of anger."
In Memoriam: Karl Hess
, by Lynn Scarlett, Reason
, Jul 1994
Short remembrance of Karl and his pursuit for liberty and justice
"At one time, he served as 1964 Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater's speechwriter. Later, he plunged into grass-roots community organizing, interacting with such groups as the Black Panther Party. For Hess, liberty was a lifestyle, not simply a philosophical concept. In the 1970s, he strived to build an economically independent community. He brought to that effort ideas reminiscent of British writer E. F. Schumacher's 'small is beautiful,' experimenting with small-scale, 'backyard' technologies, including solar ovens and windmills."
Karl Hess: An appreciation
, by David Nolan
, Libertarian Party News
, Jun 1994
Memorial essay, discussing when and how Nolan met Hess and other recollections
"Karl was fond of Colorado, and made many trips there over the years; he found it highly appropriate that the LP was born there. On first meeting Karl, I was a bit awestruck. ... Karl's warmth and gentle, down-to-earth manner soon dissipated my awe, however. Within minutes we were talking like old friends. And it was this quality that made Karl perhaps the best-loved of all figures in the modern libertarian movement. Like many of us, he possessed a keen intellect and an unflinching devotion to the ideals of freedom. ... Karl was a genuinely nice person, utterly lacking in pretension, and people warmed to him quickly."
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
Memorial and biographical essay
"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 M. Galles, Mises Daily
, 31 Dec 2003
Biographical essay, basis of talk given at Karl Hess Club, includes several notable quotes from Hess
"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 ... And while he was involved in the Libertarian Party later, he was never really interested in politics as anything but a venue for airing dissent against the prevailing trends of our time."
Robert LeFevre, Paying a Debt Backward
, by Wendy McElroy
, 6 Nov 2014
A tribute to Robert LeFevre, highlighting his solution to ensuring private justice
"In a tribute to his posthumous friend, Karl Hess summed it up. 'LeFevre's main point, which he once summed up in an interview, was that each of us should "Do as you please – but harm no other in his person or property". From that position can be extrapolated everything ... He tenaciously held that the individual was the key to it all. Not tides of history. Not winds of war. Not storms of ideology. Not pressure of politics. The individual must and does make up his or her own mind whether to be free or controlled.'"
The Death of Politics?
, by Ed Crane
, Cato Policy Report
, Nov 1994
Explores trends in politics in the U.S. and other countries, particularly those that show voters are unwilling to support the political status quo
"In late 1969 the late Karl Hess wrote a classic essay on the future of America entitled 'The Death of Politics.' That it was somewhat ahead of its time is evidenced by the fact that it appeared in Playboy rather than a public affairs magazine. Hess, one of the most astute political observers of our time, was convinced that the evidence of the failure of the political approach to solving societal ills had become so overwhelming as to absolutely confirm the theoretical case for civil society over political society."
The measure of a man
, by Karl Hess Jr., Libertarian Party News
, Jun 1994
Remembrances from his son
"To the left of the diploma is a photograph of Emiliano Zapata. Of the many heroes and heroines of the twentieth century, my father admired Zapata most of all. Emma Goldman and Petr Kroptkin were close seconds, but Zapata was a true democrat, a man of the people, a leader who was not a leader, a common man who rose to uncommon heights, a complex man of simple needs, a loving husband, and a caring neighbor."
"The Police Force Is Watching the People"
, by Sheldon Richman
, 22 Aug 2014
Argues that the facts are crucial when identifying "the agressor and victim in particular cases" such as occurred in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and separately, that the role of police forces must be re-examined
"I see potential in the approach spelled out by one of my favorite libertarians, Karl Hess, who wrote, also in 1969: 'Libertarianism is a people's movement and a liberation movement. ... It means people free collectively to organize the resources of their immediate community or individualistically to organize them; it means the freedom to have a community-based and supported judiciary where wanted, none where not, or private arbitration services where that is seen as most desirable. The same with police. The same with schools, hospitals, factories ... and pensions. Liberty means the right to shape your own institutions.'"
Karl Hess: 1923-1994: His Words
, Libertarian Party News
, Jun 1994
Selections from "The Death of Politics", Dear America
, "The Playboy Interview", "If I Were Running Against Reagan", "Why Me?", "The Most Unforgettable Libertarian I Ever Knew" and "A Fond Farewell"
"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
, Mar 1969
Discusses libertarianism, contrasting it with both conservatism and modern liberalism, including specific policy differences
"... the radical-revolutionary position is a lonely one. It is feared and hated, by both right and left — although both right and left must borrow from it to survive. The radical-revolutionary position is 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."
Related Topics: Cold War
, War on Drugs
, Barry Goldwater
, Ayn Rand
, Freedom of Speech
The Importance of Tools
, Future of Freedom
, Apr 1993
Contrasts scientific and technological discoveries or inventions with political events throughout the history of humankind
"Perhaps the first great tool of change was the horsecollar or ox yoke. It was the tool which first enabled human beings to use a non-human source for energy. Even the discovery of fire seems pallid beside this. ... Isaac Newton described differential calculus. In some distant future, private space travellers will owe their journeys, in no small part, to Newton and his analysis. ... In America, the Wright brothers’ plane successfully flew. ... That was also the year that Crick, Wilkins, and Watson received their Nobel prize for describing the molecular structure of DNA."
Interview with Karl Hess
, by Karl Hess, A. Lin Neumann, Reason
, May 1982
Topics discussed include the Republican Party, National Review, AEI, Goldwater, Rothbard, anarchism, the Vietnam War, Carter and Reagan, fascism, urban enterprise zones, the environment, and authoritarianism vs. freedom
"Karl Hess was present at the creation of the New Right: he was a founder of National Review, a Goldwater speech writer in the campaign of 1964, a well-placed employee of the Republican National Committee. Now, having been purged from the party after the Goldwater deluge, and going through a career as a welder, lecturer, technologist, tax resister, and other useful pursuits, Karl finds himself rather comfortably, though not elegantly, ensconced with his partner and wife, Therese, on a small parcel of West Virginia real estate in a self-built home."
Related Topics: American Enterprise Institute
, Barry Goldwater
, Personal Responsibility
, Ronald Reagan
, Republican Party
, Franklin D. Roosevelt
, Murray Rothbard
, United States
Karl Hess: Presidential Speechwriter Turned Homesteader
, by Karl Hess, Anson Mount, Mother Earth News
, Jan 1976
"The Plowboy Interview", shortly after Hess' book Dear America
had become a bestseller, questions him about the switch from right wing conservatism to the New Left
"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."
Capitalism for Kids: Growing Up to Be Your Own Boss
Partial contents: Money and You - What Kind of Person Are You? - Capitalism and Other Isms - The Wonderful World of Work - Your Friend, The Computer - The Family That Works Together - Investing Time and Dollars - Are You a Volunteer?
by Karl Hess, Carol Moore (Introduction), 1979
Relates a five-year experiment in the Adam-Morgan neighborhood of Washington, D.C. where Hess and many others participated to make it as self-sufficient as possible
Mostly on the Edge: An Autobiography
Partial contents: Overview - Amelia - Mother - Adolescence - The Morgue - Scribbler - Journalist - Big-Time Journalist - Gun Shooter, Gunrunner - Anti-Communist - Businessman - Platform - Goldwater - New Left - True Believer
Robert LeFevre: Truth is Not a Half-Way Place
by Karl Hess (Foreword), Carl Watner, 1988
Partial contents: Born to be Different - Down and Out in L.A. - The San Francisco Group and more Financial Troubles - The Shift from Politics - Freedom School (three chapters) - The Phrontistery to Rampart College - A Man at Peace with Himself
Karl Hess: Tools to Dismantle the State
, Aug 1986
Talk given at the Third Libertarian International World Convention, Stockholm; starts off by tracing truly important events in human history, then discussing ways in which libertarians can be "filthy stinking rich or creatively poor" and ends with Q&A
Karl Hess compares Emma Goldman and Ayn Rand
, Anarchism in America
Hess describes his experience reading Emma Goldman and how Goldman, "consciously or not, [was] the source of the best in Ayn Rand"
Karl Hess speaking at UCLA 3/3/1970
, 3 Mar 1970
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 Karl Hess, Robert Anton Wilson
, Sep 1987
Wilson and Hess at the Libertarian Party national convention, fielding questions from the audience on numerous topics
Karl Hess and the Death of Politics
, by Jeff Riggenbach
, 13 May 2010
Transcript of the 6 May 2010 "Libertarian Tradition" podcast with a wealth of biographical information
"Karl Hess was born Carl Hess III in Washington DC, 87 years ago this month — on May 25, 1923, to be exact ... the awakening began in the early 1960s, when he was 40 years old ... it was then that he began reading Ayn Rand. ... When he started writing his autobiography ... he chose to portray himself ... as a lifelong libertarian who had, somewhat ironically, spent most of his life wandering around searching for his true political identity and his true ideological home."
The Libertarian Tradition: Karl Hess and the Death of Politics
, by Jeff Riggenbach
, 6 May 2010
Detailed biography of Hess, beginning with how his parents met and ending with his activities in the late 1980's and early 1990's before his death