George Resch, R.I.P.

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You could never forget a conversation with George Resch. It might include a story about trying to arrange a lecture on Pearl Harbor revisionism by Harry Elmer Barnes, a remark that Richard Weaver had made to him about the bellicose policies of Frank Meyer of National Review, and his less than favorable view of John Gray, an Oxford political theorist who once flirted with libertarianism. Drawing on his remarkable memory, he could tell you what Murray Rothbard had said to him in their first talk over the telephone in 1959.

George was one of the founders of the modern libertarian movement. He was F.A. (“Baldy”) Harper’s right-hand man and assisted Harper in founding the Institute for Humane Studies. (IHS). Despite the claims of others, no one else was a founder of this group. He was also one of the main talent-spotters for the William Volker Fund. He was one of Murray Rothbard’s closest friends, and his views were strongly Rothbardian.

In my almost daily conversations with him over the past thirty-three years, the topic that came up most often was revisionist history, one of George’s main interests. Like one of his favorite writers, H.L. Mencken, George had a keen sense of the absurdities and incongruities of life, and he practically always had funny stories about the revisionist historians he had known. He would tell these stories, always in carefully constructed sentences, in a calm voice, waiting for the inevitable laughter from me. I spoke to him last Monday, and he sounded fine; but he died peacefully in his sleep the next night.

Yesterday, I had a number of calls from people who wanted to talk about George, and my first thought was to call George and tell him about this. But of course I couldn’t do this and will never be able to speak to my friend again.

10:11 am on December 14, 2012