Catogate: Who's the Mole (Or Moles) at Cato?

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This article
was first published in the June-July, 1981, issue of
, Vol. 15.3-4.

They seek
him here
seek him there
Cato seeks him everywhere.

Is it a
man, a woman, a band, or…?
That damned, elusive Friend of Candor.

~ with apologies
to The Scarlet Pimpernel

In this world
we must take our fun where we may. In the titanic struggle now taking
place within the LP and the libertarian movement, the struggle over
Crane and his Machine and his institutions, there is a fun aspect
which we should not overlook. A few days before my own confrontation
with Crane and the Cato power elite (see “It
Usually Ends with Ed Crane
,” Lib. Forum, Jan.-April
1981), many Cato board members and libertarian periodicals received
a missive from a certain anonymous “Friend of Candor” detailing
a power struggle within Cato between Crane and Cato Vice President
Bob Formaini. The important point is that F of C obviously had access
to top-secret Cato memoranda supposedly seen only by Crane and Formaini
themselves. Typical of Cato, paranoia struck, and suspicion fell
feverishly on one and all. Such is the atmosphere at Cato that one
bigwig half seriously set forth the thesis that Crane himself
was the Friend of Candor, since the revelation of a Crane/Formaini
split served to solidify the Cato board against an “outside” or
public enemy, thereby strengthening Cranels hand against my own
case. Well, who knows? It is not a hypothesis that can be ruled
out of court apriori.

But the Friend
of Candor letter, apparently, was only Phase I of the underground
war. For now Libertarian Vanguard has emerged,
June 1981 issue, with a veritable battery of revelations about not
only Cato, but other Cranian institutions: Libertarian Review and
SLS. Everyone owes it to himself or herself to rush out and buy
this sensational issue. (504 from Libertarian Vanguard, 1800
Market St., San Francisco, CA 94102).

The issue contains
not only an article based on the Friend of Candor letter, but also
other articles grounded on damaging secret memoranda from Chris
Hocker about LR, and from Crane to Glenn Garvin attempting to impose
a more right-wing line on Inquiry. I also base
much of my own critique of the Craniac SLS power elite on
a number of secret SLS memoranda.

The most fun
aspect of the Mole Question so far is that the day Lib. Vanguard
came out, a copy was found on the desk of each and
every Cato staff member when he or she arrived in the morning. Knowing
the aggravated paranoia which infects the atmosphere of Cato at
even normal times, it would have been great fun to have been a fly
on the wall at Cato when Crane & Co., astonished, saw and read-this
damaging and subversive publication in their very offices. Who did
it? Who is the mole or moles at Cato? Frankly, I have no idea. What
will Crane do? There was serious talk of changing the locks at Cato,
but apparently cooler heads prevailed.

But the moles
may be everywhere. For on that same morning, every SLS national
officer and libertarian biggie in Washington found a copy of Vanguard
on his office or at his doorstep. A case can be made that
there are moles everywhere, at SLS, at LR, in Washington, even at
Mother Wichita itself.

Who is/are
the Friend of Candor?


N. Rothbard
(1926–1995) was dean of the Austrian School,
founder of modern libertarianism, and chief academic officer of
the Mises Institute. He was
also editor — with Lew Rockwell — of The
Rothbard-Rockwell Report
, and appointed Lew as his literary
executor. See
his books.

Best of Murray Rothbard

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