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Ralph Raico’s Early Works and The History of Classical Liberalism

May 3, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken


[A relatively new master’s thesis on Raico’s work is now available from the archives of Buffalo State College.

In this passage, the author explains some of Raico’s early work and the conflicts within the movement that partially led to Raico’s turn toward his work as a historian of classical liberalism and the West:]

By Daniel P. Stanford

The New Individualist Review was initially produced with the sponsorship of the Intercollegiate Society of Individualists (ISI), a non-profit educational organization founded by Frank Chodorov and whose first president was William F. Buckley, Jr. This  sponsor would eventually become problematic for the young editors [Raico and Ronald Hamowy], especially when the  subject of foreign policy arose. Unfortunately, considering the financial requirements of  such an undertaking, and the unpopular positions they were taking, Raico and Hamowy  had very little choice but to appease their sponsors.

Milton Friedman also became increasingly a source for funding. This was not  hard for Friedman, for in the 1950’s he was the most famous free market economist in the  United States. With Friedman becoming more involved, Raico again found that he had to  be careful to tone down certain content. One of the taboo subjects for Friedman was Austrian economics, which was at odds methodologically and epistemologically with the Chicago School’s positivistic approach to economics. Since Hayek was involved, he  did serve somewhat as a safety umbrella under which Raico could publish Austrian  school material.

By all accounts producing the New Individualists Review was a joy, but the most  frustrating and difficult part of the project was the appeasement of conservative types,  such as Barry Goldwater and William F. Buckley Jr., watching behind the scenes. For  hardened libertarians like Raico and Hamowy, they found it nearly impossible to  compromise their ideals.

The early issues of the New Individualist Review were a clear attack on the new  statist-militarist conservative philosophy; however, this subject was quickly dropped,  apparently out of fear of offending the sponsors.108 Early on, Raico found himself in  increasingly hot water. Particularly because of articles by Hamowy and John P. McCarthy  which blasted conservatives, and especially the National Review on foreign policy and  civil liberties. For the remainder of The New Individualist Review’s publication, foreign  policy issues were basically put aside.

Rothbard, the ever prolific writer, was sending in article after article but was dismayed when he found much of the content was toned down. He felt that The New Individualist Review was “the …read more


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