April Freeman Banner 2014


Liberty’s Big Three: Celebrating International Women’s Day


Would Rose Wilder Lane, Isabel Paterson, and Ayn Rand appreciate being honored on International Woman’s Day? All had a sense of irony, so here goes.

International Woman’s Day was established by collectivists in the early twentieth century as part of a socialist labor movement in Europe. So what did the big three above think about such movements? Consider this from Jim Powell:

They dared to declare that collectivism was evil. They stood up for natural rights, the only philosophy which provided a moral basis for opposing tyranny everywhere. They celebrated old-fashioned rugged individualism.

Why else should we honor them?

They envisioned a future when people could again be free. They expressed a buoyant optimism, which was to inspire millions.

All were outsiders who transcended difficult beginnings. Two were immigrants. One was born in frontier territory not yet part of the United States. They struggled to earn money as writers in commercial markets dominated by ideological adversaries. All were broke at one time or another. They endured heartaches with men—one stayed in a marriage which became sterile, and two became divorced and never remarried.

These women who had such humble beginnings—Rose Wilder Lane, Isabel Paterson, and Ayn Rand—published major books during the same year, 1943: The Discovery of FreedomThe God of the Machine, and The Fountainhead, respectively. The women, recalled journalist John Chamberlain, “with scornful side glances at the male business community, had decided to rekindle a faith in an older American philosophy. There wasn’t an economist among them. And none of them was a Ph.D.” Albert Jay Nock declared that, “They make all of us male writers look like Confederate money. They don’t fumble and fiddle around—every shot goes straight to the centre.”

In a fine tradition of referring to collectivism as evil and of honoring women who fought for liberty, you could do worse than to dust off some Lane, Paterson, and Rand.

For more on ladies of liberty, check out Wendy McElroy’s review of Ladies of Liberty.
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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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