When a libertarian argues that the United States is an empire, that Woodrow Wilson was a tyrant, and that the Civil War was an unnecessary slaughter, he should expect Republicrats to pounce at the opportunity to challenge him. It’s simply human nature to try to smash a gadfly. This is especially true when said gadfly is directly challenging the deeply-enculturated, throughly pro-state viewpoints of the people it pesters.
To prepare for bombardment from all fronts, libertarians need to demonstrate we’re knowledgeable people not just being contrarian for its own sake. Statists aren’t expected to justify cliche’ statements about how wonderful Lincoln and FDR were, but we will be attacked for challenging these emotionally comforting orthodoxies. This requires a decent grounding in western history, not just economics and political philosophy.
On that note, I strongly recommend Ralph Raico’s lectures on western history from Mises.org. Raico is a titan of the liberty movement who knew and worked with Rothbard, Hayek, Rand, and all the greats. In my opinion, he is also the most important living libertarian historian.
His lectures will not only teach you what a murderous joke the state always has been– throughout history, but also will prove to be an absolute pleasure to listen to. Download them to your iPod and take some time to digest and enjoy Raico’s wonderful narratives through European and US History.
And remember, you’ll have an opportunity to use this knowledge to advance yourself and the cause of liberty. If we take the time to adequately arm ourselves before venturing out from the barricades to challenge statists to intellectual jousts, we maximize our chances of winning and — more importantly — converting new libertarians.Published in