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The Naughty Mr. Hazlitt


In digging through the archives at the Foundation for Economic Education, one comes across a variety of correspondences, from the friendly to the boring and from the hostile to the downright amusing. Today’s document is a correspondence between Henry Hazlitt and a Major L.L.B. Angas. Hazlitt and Angas disagreed about the merit and viability of the gold standard, and in a letter dated August 9, 1962, Major Angas apparently gives up on converting Hazlitt on how wrong the gold standard is. He even said of Hazlitt, “You are very naughty.”

Hazlitt’s response on August 17, 1962, was polite and humorous, as he calls hearing from Major Angas pleasant, “especially when … accompanied by such kind personal words.” This was a common strategy by those associated with FEE. They always took the high ground and were nice to even the most hostile (and even to those who were completely wrong). This was part of the strategy to spread liberty. As Herbert Spencer once said, “It takes varied reiterations to force alien concepts upon reluctant minds.” And if we are going to get others to hear varied reiterations of our ideas, we must keep the dialogue open. That’s what Hazlitt was doing.

Download the Hazlitt-Angas August 1962 correspondence here.

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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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