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Rockwell One

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  • liberty_in_this_lifetime
    In Defense of Public Intellectuals by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. [Posted October 2, 2001] [Adapted from an address on the occasion of
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 2, 2001
      In Defense of Public Intellectuals <br><br>by
      Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. <br><br>[Posted October 2,
      2001]<br><br>[Adapted from an address on the occasion of the dedication
      of the Ludwig von Mises Institute�s new campus,
      September 28, 2001, Auburn, Alabama.]<br><br>In the last
      two weeks, I�ve heard some people comment that this
      is a difficult time to be a libertarian. I disagree.
      The events of September 11 and its aftermath only
      reinforce the case for a free society, a point to which I
      will return shortly. What is difficult is to defend
      freedom and peace when everyone around you is crying out
      for unprecedented statism, central planning, and ever
      more bloodshed. Indeed, many public intellectuals,
      backed by the enormous megaphone of the mass media and
      the immense power of the State, have used the
      occasion of the attack to call effectively for the end of
      freedom itself. <br><br>The chorus went like this. The
      reality of September 11 suggests that there are some
      values, namely security and unity, that are more
      important than liberty and rights. Our predilection for
      liberty presupposes that people are basically well
      intentioned. Because we have come face to face with evil, an
      evil from which only public authority can protect us,
      we must now recognize that our attachment to liberty
      is anachronistic, even dangerous, even life
      threatening.<br><br>Consider Francis Fukuyama�s comments. "Peace and
      prosperity," he theorized, "encourage preoccupation with one's
      own petty affairs and allow people to forget that
      they are parts of larger communities. [During] the
      long economic boom...many Americans lost interest in
      public affairs, and in the larger world beyond America's
      borders; others expressed growing contempt for
      government.... In this respect, Tuesday's attacks on Wall Street
      were a salutary lesson." <br><br>Now, Fukuyama may
      find people�s desire to be free and to be able to
      provide a good life for themselves and their families to
      be petty. He is, after all, part of an intellectual
      tradition that longs for the re-invention of the
      pre-Christian Greco-Roman polis, in which State and society are
      one, where individual rights are unknown, where the
      merchant class is expendable, and where the head of State
      becomes a god after his death. But it is the later ideas
      of liberty and individual rights, and the
      free-enterprise economy that are implied by both, that are the
      very foundation of the rise of Western
      civilization.<br><br>It is this freedom that makes authentic community,
      based on voluntarism and contract, possible in the
      first place. To provide for ourselves materially means
      to build family security, purchase the best
      education and medical care for our children, invest in new
      businesses that serve people with ever-better goods and
      services, give to charity and educational causes, fund the
      arts, and have time and space for the contemplative
      life. Prosperity is not a petty concern but the very
      pith of what it means to thrive and grow in
      peace.<br><br>The social cooperation engendered in the market
      economy is not only local but international, and
      symbolized by the activities that went on in the World Trade
      Center towers. Here were people who, in pursuit of their
      allegedly petty affairs, managed to facilitate trade and
      cooperation among 200 countries and just as many language
      groups and currencies, and also to make a profit by
      doing so. Government has nowhere accomplished any of
      the miracles that are the daily business of free
      enterprise. <br>cont...
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