Freedom Circle logo
Freedom Founts

Source Materials About Freedom

Cover article published in The Libertarian Forum, Volume XV, Nos. 5-6, August 1981-January 1982, pp. 1,12

Big News! Lib. Forum Reorganized!

Dear Faithful Readers:

After twelve years of sizzling, persistent, and faithful (even if not constant) publication, the Libertarian Forum is delighted to announce a big and welcome change for the better. Starting next issue (Feb. 1982). Not to worry: the Lib. Forum will still be in the sole control of your faithful editor, who will continue to send off sparks and make enemies right and left as he analyzes politics, economics, the "real world", the libertarian movement, and the culture of our day.

The difference is:
We will be regular.
We will appear monthly, and on time.
We will become a professional, or at least far more professional, publication.
We're going onward and upward.

Your editor will still be in there, free-wheeling, free-swinging, independent, calling all shots as he sees them. But with more system. By popular demand, for example, Mr. First Nighter will be back with a regular, or at least, quasi-regular column lashing out at the avant-garde and the pretentious in movies and other arts, and standing solidly and foursquare for classical values and aesthetic reaction. There will be a more systematic Horror File about the Movement, perhaps entitled This Is the Movement You Have Chosen. (see inside.) We might even be able to persuade the greatly feared Old Curmudgeon to come out of retirement.

Why are we doing all this? Basically, for two important reasons. First, the libertarian movement is very different from what it was when we first launched the Lib. Forum, back in the antediluvian days of the spring of 1969. It was very small then, before we began to hail the publicity wave that wafted the libertarian movement to media attention and to prominence in 1971, and before the founding of the LP in 1972. The movement was small then, and libertarians read a lot more per capita, but still — as always — there were deviations popping up all around us. One reason we launched the Lib. Forum was the tendency of many libertarians to regard the then embryonic Nixon Administration as the fulfillment of the libertarian dream. (Come to think of it, things are not much different now, with Reagan getting the palm, for we are being told by the right-wing of our movement that We Are Being Too Beastly to the Gipper.)

At this point, the Party and the movement have grown relatively large, and are beginning to be a force on the national scene. But growth has caused many problems. For one thing, all signs indicate that the amount of reading of libertarian books and articles, let alone the depth of knowledge of libertarian principles and issues, is declining, certainly relatively and maybe even absolutely. The continuation of a mass of deeply ignorant and even uninterested libertarians must spell disaster for our movement. In 1969, virtually all libertarians had recently emerged from the Randian Movement, and we had to cope with their spiritual shellshock, and either excessive Randianism or else overreaction against reason and principle. But the basic problem now is that for most new libertarians Rand is as remote as John Locke, and as little read. At least the Randians had a respect for intellect and for principle which many newcomers totally lack.

All thinking people and all factions in the movement agree that Internal Education is desperately needed. But, just at this critical juncture, we have fewer publications commenting on and judging the real world and the movement, fewer organs of internal education, than over the past decade. Just as the need has become crying, the supply of educational publications has punked out. Libertarian Review, the major organ of our movement, has just been killed, (See inside). Everyone else is busily engaged in "outreach", that is, in ignoring movement concerns and movement ideology. Reason and Inquiry, our most professional magazines, are strictly outreach 'publications. Reason rarely mentions the movement or presumes to educate or guide it, and Inquiry never does do. (This does not mean that these publications are not worthwhile, just that they are not performing movement-education tasks.) Frontlines is a highly valuable movement publication, but it strives always to be "objective" and neutral; further, it provides movement news but little ideological analysis. The same can be said for the inferior Update. Several LP state newsletters — notably Caliber (Cal), Free Texas and Colorado Liberty are outstanding for what they do, but they are necessarily constrained by being official newsletters of their state parties (And Free Texas arguably the best of them, is in danger of going under.) Apart from the estimable Libertarian Vanguard — the organ of the LP Radical Caucus — and Sam Konkin's publications there is virtually nothing going on, only a big, looming ideological news and opinion vacuum.

In this dire situation, Libertarian Forum steps into the breach, accepting its moral responsibilities. We shall not be neutral, nor namby-pamby. And while everyone else is whoring after "outreach", we opt for inreach, for a frankly and boldly libertarian perspective, let deviationists of all stripes bellyache though they may. Nature and the Lib. Forum abhor a vacuum, and we propose to fill it.

There is a second reason, too, for going regular and professional. You, our heroic and ever-constant readers, deserve a break at long last. Being a Lib. Forum subscriber has for too long been a sheer act of faith, a shot in the dark, a saga of grit, determination, and hope. Of faith, hope, and charity. Will the Lib. Forum come out again? When will it come out? Too many times has our cockamamie computer bumped some subscriber's name or lost his renewal. Too many times has the lament wafted in: "I sent my check in three years ago. Why did I only receive one copy?" Too many times have we had to explain: "No, I can assure you, you were not bumped for deviationism; our Computer goofed again!"

Too long, in sum, has it been very very tough to be a Lib. Forum subscriber; from now on, we're going to make it easy, maybe even a pleasure. Bless you all!

And so the demands of opportunity and of justice required this Great Leap Forward; but we also needed new resources and new blood. And so we are delighted to announce that we have secured the services of a real, honest-to-God professional publisher — a man who is, mirabile dictu, both a veteran (though young) and dedicated libertarian and a supremely competent and brilliant self-made businessman and newsletter publisher. He is my old friend Daniel Rosenthal, who was one of the first and leading student libertarian activists in the nation, and thCn became a notably successful businessman.

While at Berkeley, Rosenthal was the leader of the Students for Goldwater in the 1964 campaign, and of its successor group, the Cal Conservatives for Political Action, as well as the libertarian Moïse Tshombe chapter of YAF and the Alliance of Libertarian Activists at Berkeley. A doctoral student in mathematics, Rosenthal left Berkeley in 1967, to launch his business career. Moving East, he founded an innovative arid highly successful advertising agency. Eight years later, Danny moved into the newsletter field, launching the now widely circulated Silver and Gold Report. We are elated that he has agreed to become our publisher and assist in our expansion and regularization.

This means that our heroic and publisher, Joe Peden, is at last freed to perform his myriad of other tasks and responsibilities. Joe has done a marvelous job, and is now delighted to be relieved of his burden. (Note to Forumologists and Future Historians: Joe is not being bumped or purged for any deviations. No one is happier than he at this change, and Joe will continue to be our Contributing Editor and resident wise counselor and statesman.)

Of course, and here's the touch of bad news with all the good, expansion and regularity means money, and the stern realities of inflation and cost require that we raise our subscription price. But now you will be getting a regular monthly magazine, on top of the news, on top of events, lashing out at the numerous enemies of liberty on the spot. Actually, subscription rates will not be stratospheric under our new regime of rational capitalism. They will be: $15 per year, $12 for students, and $27 for two years. But if you renew your sub now, before the monthly Forum appears, you can renew at the old $10 rate. So hurry, get in on the bargain! And tell all libertarians and sympathizers on your block, that the New Improved, or rather, the Old Improved Forum will be coming your way. Come one come all, subscribers are welcome, and no one will be purged for deviations!

Murray N. Rothbard