Who Is Garet Garrett?

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If Garet Garrett (1878—1954) is known at all today, it is by those who are captivated by the handful of intellectuals after World War II who wrote retrospectively in opposition to the New Deal planning state and the regimentation of national life it brought about. They were a rare breed, but there is much more to Garrett than people know.

Having spent several months steeped in his work and reading everything by him I can find, I remain completely flabbergasted that he is not better known. We go about our lives assuming that there is some magic force of history that causes quality work to last and inferior works to fall by the wayside. What a myth. Garrett is a case study in a forgotten genius. How did it happen? War? Depression? Politics? I don’t know. I can only say that he should rank among the master novelists and politico-economist journalists of the last century.

Ludwig von Mises recognized this: "His keen penetration and his forceful direct language are…unsurpassed by any author." He was speaking in particular about his book The People’s Pottage (1953), which is a collection of three powerful essays that had appeared earlier, and was on the reading list of the "Old Right" that died out by the early 1960s. Why did this movement die out? The Cold War against Communism became the priority for the Right, while the Left had long ago embraced the New Deal as it its own. Garrett, whose featured writings in the Saturday Evening Post were once read and celebrated by millions, had been relegated to obscurity by a generation that believed they had nothing to learn from prewar popular intellectuals.

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Jeffrey Tucker [send him mail] is editorial vice president of www.Mises.org. Comment on the Mises blog.

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