This Is the Movement We Have Chosen

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When the Meyer Lansky character in the gangster classic, The Godfather, is confronted with a foolish, naive observation from the young Godfather portrayed by Al Pacino, he wistfully responds, “This is the business we have chosen.”

It was Murray Rothbard’s favorite line from Francis Ford Coppola’s great movie and he often adapted it when confronted by some wacky or unprincipled libertarian.

Yet nothing could be more noble than the search for truth. In a boringly written essay, “To Tell the Truth,” columnist David Brown (FEE’s Laissez Faire Books), torch in hand, exposes political philosophers who would sacrifice human life along with truth in their ruthless search for the “ideal society.”

Paul Johnson’s book, Intellectuals (Johnson’s worst, in my opinion), is Brown’s primary resource for pinpointing “crummy intellectuals” who are “chronic large-scale liars.” Rousseau and Marx are the sort he has in mind.

But who is next on Brown’s list of lying, duplicitous figures? Lincoln? FDR? The latest tyrant masquerading as “Hitler”? Wrong. He passes over these pygmies to cite a truly egregious instance of an intellectual “lying in pursuit of an agenda”: me.

Am I supposed to be flattered, or shattered?

Maybe you recall “Giving Vermin A Bad Name,” the hard-hitting fund-raising piece I recently wrote for (I hope you’ll respond.)

The appeal was prompted by a press conference announcing the founding of AVOT, headed by William Bennett, former Drug Czar. At the press conference, Bennett, bubbling over with anger and vitriol (much like Mr. Brown), read from some of Lew’s writings and identified him as an irresponsible dissenter to the war on terrorism, and someone whose ideas must not be allowed to move into the mainstream.

It was chilling and small wonder we at LRC were worried.

Americans For Victory Over Terrorism and William Bennett. Those words alone should scare the heck out of a libertarian. But Mr. Brown says my criticism of AVOT shows “reckless disregard for the truth.” He defends Bennett and AVOT. Yet it is clear that he is not attacking a fundraising letter, but choking on his hatred for and what we represent.

Shortly before Mr. Brown wrote the first of his two attacks on LRC, an official of his publisher, FEE’s Laissez-Faire Books, pleaded with us to drop Amazon and direct our book business to them.

Amazon is not perfect, but at least they don’t attack us because of our anti-war views.

Burt Blumert [send him mail] is publisher of and president of the Center for Libertarian Studies.

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