with a Smile:
A Note to My Readers
may notice a new photograph of yours truly has replaced the austere
visage at the end of my columns. Iíll venture the self-indulgence
of an explanation.
enough, the previous photograph was getting dated (over six months
old). I figured a new millennium called for a new picture.
cheerful pose before you appeared at a bookstore appropriately called
Liberties (an ironic name given its location in an anything but
libertarian city). Although Iím partial to my local Borders and
Barnes and Noble, thatís where my friends and I were spending that
Saturday night. My disposable camera on hand, I decided to immortalize
of you might find Smiley Myles incongruous with my subject matter.
As I glance at my archive, I hardly find the stuff of hilarity.
"So whaddaya smiling for, Kantor?"
consistent critique of statism is incumbent upon proponents of liberty,
itís very easy for lamentation to displace goal-oriented analysis.
The leap from "The War on Drugs has terrorized Americans"
to "We will never be free of the War on Drugs" is closer
than it seems, which is to say the line between critique and quietism
a libertarian group characterized by the following:
countryís doomed, man!"
man, we might as well move to the mountains!"
the feds declared Ďem a nature preserve!"
enough to make you flee to a NAACP rally.
of Murray Rothbardís most attractive qualities is a zeal for liberty
that suffuses his writings. The "scintillating prose style"
Ralph Raico rightly praises could never have blossomed in works
a New Liberty and The
Irrepresible Rothbard if he were a doom and gloom screedsmith.
Consider these robust sentiments:
some day, their [Sherman, Grant, and Lincolnís] statues,
like Leninís in Russia, will be toppled and melted down; their
insignias and battle flags will be desecrated, their war songs
tossed into the fire. And then Davis and Lee and Jackson and Forrest,
and all the heroes of the South, ĎDixieí and the Stars and Bars,
will once again be truly honored and remembered. The classic comment
on that meretricious TV series The Civil War was made by
that marvelous and feisty Southern writer Florence King. Asked
her views on the series, she replied: "I didnít have time
to watch The Civil War. Iím too busy getting ready for
the next one. In that spirit, I am sure that one day, aided and
abetted by Northerners like myself in the glorious Ďcopperheadí
tradition, the South shall rise again." ("Americaís
Two Just Wars: 1775 and 1861," in The
Costs of War: Americaís Pyrrhic Victories)
is no coincidence that photographs of Rothbard often show a merry
gent, short yet towering in sanguine sagacity. In Hans-Hermann Hoppeís
description, he was "a happy warrior."
too believe anti-statism should be done with a smile. Of course,
some topics and circumstances preclude smiles. The overall pursuit
of liberty, however, should be guided by a grin, not a grimace.
If we scowl at our opponents, it is because their policies perturb
stick with Smiley Myles for now, if only to surprise those who expect
a brooding countenance at the end of a bristling column.
Kantor lives in Boynton Beach, Florida.