It’s no secret that libertarians used to flirt with radical ideas.
From the Ron Paul newsletters to the later writings of Murray Rothbard, race and other important issues were dealt with frankly and without any concern for political correctness.
But there’s one idea that the movement once dabbled with that is lesser known and even more extreme than anything printed in a leaflet bearing the name of the elder Paul.
With the ascent of the liberty movement into the mainstream, these ideas are no longer talked about and everyone tries to act no one actually believed in these ideas. There’s no more questioning of the Civil Rights Act and the Southern Avenger has turned into the Antifa Avenger.
In the words of Rand Paul supporters, they’re just “playing the game.” All of this being done in the name of outreach, and one of the targets for this outreach is the large tech community in California.
Unfortunately for them, left-wing and neocon critics aren’t forgiving of these past transgressions and are now hellbent on turning over every stone in libertarianism’s past in pursuit of dangerous views. Thus, when the Koch brothers (who are well-known for their libertarian beliefs and support of libertarian causes) sponsored an event aimed at recruiting techies to the liberty cause, it was bound to happen that one reporter would find skeletons in their closet.
Enter Koch-hating journalist Mark Ames on a mission to thwart this nefarious plot to ensnare innocent tech geeks into the Kochtopus. In a two-part series on liberty’s buried past, Ames discovered that the movement’s flagship publication, Reason, once published (gasp!) pro-apartheid articles. To those unfamiliar with the history of the conservative movement, this may seem shocking but to anyone familiar with it will know that every publication on the American Right once supported apartheid. No matter how “offensive” Reason’s defense may be, it’s not an attack that will stick.
However, in part two of his series, Ames finds an entire Reason issue where the magazine crossed into a whole new horizon with its subject matter: a sympathetic portrayal of holocaust revisionism.
You heard that right–Reason, the bastion of left-libertarianism, once gave a voice for those questioning the Holocaust.
Here’s what Ames dug up:
Authors who contributed articles to Reason magazine’s “special issue” included one of the most notorious American pro-Nazi activists of the postwar era, Austin J. App, author of the 1973 tract, “The Six Million Swindle: Blackmailing the German People for Hard Marks and Fabricated Corpses” and contributing editor to the rabidly anti-Semitic magazine, the American Mercury. Two more authors hired to write for Reason’s “special issue” included James J. Martin, a regular contributor to the same neo-Nazi American Mercury magazine; and Percy Greaves, a founding board member at the anti-Jewish hate group, the Liberty Lobby.
Both Martin and Greaves were deeply involved in leading anti-Semitic, Holocaust-denier outfits before, during and after Reason hired them as contributors; and shortly after they appeared in Reason’s “special issue,” both Martin and Greaves served as editorial directors in David Irving’s favorite neo-Nazi outfit, the Institute for Historical Review, described as “the world’s single most important outlet for Holocaust-denial propaganda” by the Anti-Defamation League.
Perhaps the most shocking article in Reason’s “special issue” was penned by Gary North, who was also Ron Paul’s congressional aide that same year, and has been one of the most influential figures in the Christian radical-right since the 1970s. North’s article in Reason mocked the Holocaust as “the Establishment’s favorite horror story” and questioned “the supposed execution of 6 million Jews by Hitler.” North also painted other rabidly anti-Semitic Holocaust deniers in a positive, “contrarian-cool” light, praising the works of David Hoggan, author of “The Myth of the Six Million,” French neo-fascist Paul Rassinier, and American historian Harry Elmer Barnes, considered the godfather of American Holocaust denial literature…
Martin’s relationship with Reason can be traced back to Reason’s sugar daddy, Charles Koch, who first sponsored Martin in the mid-late 1960s at Rampart College, where Koch funded Martin’s fledgling “history department” as well as Rampart Journal, one of the earliest American journals devoted to pushing Holocaust deniers. When Rampart College collapsed in 1968, Charles Koch reportedly gave Martin a one-time $60,000 payout, a lot of money in those days, which Martin used to fund his own far-right publishing house, issuing books by authors like “American Fascist” Lawrence Dennis. In the 1970s, Charles Koch continued funding Martin through grants and seminars put on by Koch’s Institute for Humane Studies, through sinecures at Koch-funded outfits like the Center for Libertarian Studies (where Martin served on the advisory board in the mid-late 1970s), and through the Cato Institute, which published James Martin and his Holocaust denier guru, Harry Elmer Barnes, as late as 1980.
Pretty damning stuff for an ideology trying to go mainstream. The question is how much of it will stick and how will it affect Rand Paul’s bid to be the Republican presidential nominee.
Reason’s rebuttal to the article was half-assed and tried to divert attention to how the magazine now covers safer topics–like the drug war and police brutality–that the left should agree with them on. But the left is unconcerned with their contemporary focus when their past is a gold mine for righteous exposes. And just wait till the media finds a bunch of 9/11 Truthers working for Rand 2016 and other issues libertarians love that the general public finds insane.
Needless to say, it’s bound to happen that the ascent of libertarianism will soon be cut short when more of the general public comes in contact with its ideas and history. While the liberty movement has managed to purge all of its right-wing elements and ensured no one touches on racial unorthodoxy anymore, they still can’t escape their “kooky” past.
No matter how hard they try to appease the left, the left still hates libertarianism as much as it hates any other ideology placed on the right.