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Article published in The Libertarian Forum, Volume XVIII, Nos. 3-4, March-April 1984, p. 4

This Is The Movement
You Have Chosen

By The Old Curmudgeon

1. Post Pres-Con Notes:

More on media astuteness on the issues involved in the climactic Bergland vs. Ravenal race. T. R. Reid, in a long Washington Post (Sept. 4, 1983) article called Dave Bergland "an outspoken antigovernment activist who is considered a hard-liner even by the Libertarians' stern standards." (Whoopee!) "In choosing Bergland", the Post's Reid added, "the Libertarian delegates chose ideological purity and turned away from the more pragmatic approach of their 1980 Presidential nominee, Ed Clark." Earl Ravenal, he went on, was backed by "the party's pragmatic wing." He astutely noted that "the distinction between them was clearly drawn when the voting was interrupted to let both address the delegates." Bergland, Reid pointed out, spoke of "the ideal of liberty" and the "ugliness" of government; while Ravenal talked of making the LP "relevant" to the "broad sweep of the American people." In contrast to the Clark campaign of 1980, Bergland declared that Social Security should be "terminated forthwith". Reid went on to detail the Libertarian programs and principles.

Philip Lentz, in the Chicago Tribune (Sept. 6, 1983), while breezier and less perceptive, also pointed out the crucial differences, with Bergland representing the forces devoted to principle and ideology, and Ravenal backed by the pragmatic "Washington-New York connection". Many purists, Lentz noted, "were afraid he might deviate from the party line in a long campaign." "Some recalled," Lentz noted, that Ravenal "once wrote in a magazine article that there were circumstances where the draft might be necessary."

But perhaps the most illuminating post-Prescon press note came from Earl Ravenal himself. Interviewed by his hometown newspaper, the Easton (Md.) Star-Democrat (Sept. 20, 1983), Ravenal held forth at some length in decidedly ungracious fashion, denouncing the winners. In contrast to his own "larger (sellout?) vision" of the party with projected "mass appeal", Earl the Pearl denounced the rest of us as fighting to maintain the LP "like a tightly cloistered church", "just guarding the flame of dogma." OK, that tears it, because, you see, one man's principle is always another man's "church dogma". And if principle equals "dogma", what does that make the person who bitterly denounces "dogma"? The answer is "unprincipled, opportunist—not a libertarian—" in short, all the things many of us were worried that Earl Ravenal really was down deep. But now it's not so deep. It all came out in the wash, and it didn't take very long.

Meanwhile, speaking of coming out in the wash, Professor John Hospers, hero of the LP's small ultra-right wing, has slithered his way out of the Libertarian Party and into the ranks of the Republicans. Hospers now supports Ronnie Reagan for re-election, and laments that the LP has been taken over by backers of unilateral disarmament. (See the USC Daily Trojan, Oct. 21, 1983). Since the LP's platform is still solidly pro-multilateral disarmament, and hasn't changed on the issue in many years, and since the unilateral disarmamentists have always been in a minority, one wonders what world John Hospers has been inhabiting in recent years.

2. Crane Machine Notes:

And what of our old friends the Crane Machine, once so scary, now a figure only fit for raucous mirth? In addition to refusing to support the Bergland ticket and sulking loudly and angrily in their tent, so filled with angst were these turkeys that they actually comtemplated for a while joining John Anderson's National Unity Party ticket, and then "taking it over" from Anderson! What a gas that would have been: the Machine extending their Unity Scam from the LP, after its failure there, to a bigger failure for the entire country! To finally get their hands on another source of funds than The Donor, i.e., matching funds from the taxpayers! Truly, the Crane Machine has now become, in the great phrase of Nietzsche, only a "laughingstock, a thing of shame."

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." And, of course, the one-time out-and-out champion of lying ("if lying helps ...") now spends his time accusing the rest of us of lies. He also has the historiographical sleaze to laud his paymaster, Ed Crane, as the modern embodiment of Cobden and Bright.

On Childs's projected conversion to Judaism: May he get a mohel with a rusty knife!

Send in the clowns? Don't bother, they're here.

3. Exit Upchuck?

Our farflung intelligence network reports the impending demise of Update. Apparently, The Donor has pulled the plug on this old Craniac smearsheet, long since become toothless and unread. Let me ask you, dear Reader, how long has it been since you have seen, much less read and pondered Update? If Update is truly leaving us, it will depart unwept, unhonored and unsung.