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Book Review: Fugitive Essays: Selected Writings of Frank Chodorov Compiled, edited, and with an introduction by Charles H. Hamilton


(LibertyPress, 7440 North Shadeland, Indianapolis, Indiana 46250), 1980
416 pages • $9.00 cloth; $4.00 paperback

I never sat in a class under Frank Chodorov, but he was nevertheless one of my more memorable teachers. It began in 1947 with the Nock Memorial issue of analysis, given to me by a friend who knew of my interest in A.J.N. I subscribed to the paper, a monthly four page broadsheet written, edited, and published by one Frank Chodorov. Each issue contained a lead essay in prose as cerebral as Arnold’s, but more visceral, pungent commentary on passing political foibles, a book review or two, occasional letters to the editor. I was hooked.

Frank was a man with a cause, as dedicated as any prophet of old to the ideal of individual liberty and the free economy. Reading and experience had stocked his mind, teaching and debate had honed his rhetorical skills, his prose was polished, and his go-for-broke commitment to his beliefs energized his words.

He called himself an Individualist, for every person in his eyes possessed a supreme worth no group could diminish. “One is a crowd,” he would say, and thus he entitled one of his books. He appealed to all kinds of audiences, enjoying especially the give and take he had with students. Speaking to clergymen, he came on like an Old Testament prophet. He charmed them by his salty account of Joseph as the Pharaoh’s secretary of agriculture; he gave them a lesson in political philosophy by retelling the story of Saul’s anointing as king of Israel. We shall not see his like again.

It is too late to meet Frank in person, but the reader will get to know the man in the pages of this book. The editor has selected wisely and virtually every theme of Chodorov’s work is represented; God and natural law, the economic origin of the state, the erosion of social power by political power, the importance of private education, the evils of the progressive income tax, the insanity of war, the idiocy of socialism, the fundamentals of economics, the exhilaration of joining the fight for freedom. And there is a fine introductory essay by Mr. Hamilton.

Chodorov reads well and, as I will attest, he rereads Well. This collection will be welcomed by Frank’s old friends, and I predict it will make new ones.


April 1981

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April 2014

Around the world, people are struggling to throw off authoritarianism, with deeply mixed results. From Egypt to Venezuela, determined people build networks to overthrow their regimes, but as yet we have not learned to live without Leviathan. In this issue, Michael Malice and Gary Dudney discuss their glimpses inside totalitarian regimes, while Sarah Skwire and Michael Nolan look at how totalitarian regimes grind down the individual--and how individuals fight back. Plus, Jeffrey Tucker identifies a strain in libertarianism that, left unchecked, could reduce even our vibrant movement to something that is analogous to the grim aesthetic of architectural brutalism. The struggle for our lives and freedom is a struggle for beauty; it begins inside each of us.
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