Hilarious adventures with Ayn Rand, Murray Rothbard & others
The wild days of the libertarian movement as it came of age during the 1960s. "For a vivid and entertaining picture of the early years," David Friedman says in his charming foreword, "It Usually Begins with Ayn Rand has no equal." Many of the key figures Tuccille talks about are still with us or continue to be an important influence.
It Usually Begins with Ayn Rand reminds me of youthful classics like Catcher in the Rye and I've Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me, as Tuccille chronicles his zig-zag intellectual journey to radical libertarianism. He tells how, as a fallen Catholic, he was thrilled by Ayn Rand's moral case for capitalism. Then he talks about "Whim Worshippers," the "Rational Dancer," Nathaniel Branden's Russian accent and Rand's "Senior Collective."
Tuccille reveals why Rand demanded that anarcho-capitalist Murray Rothbard leave his wife Joey and what finally caused him to split with Rand . . . how Rothbard inspired 1964 Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater's former speechwriter Karl Hess to become a radical libertarian and why he split with Rothbard . . . why, despite many valiant efforts, Rothbard and his compatriot Leonard Liggio were unable to forge an alliance with the New Left.
Tuccille displays a wicked wit throughout. He recalls his experiences with "pudgy radicals sitting around on a Saturday afternoon, lapping up incredible mounds of ice cream and cake and talking anarchism."
He reflects on youthful dreams: "There was no doubt in anyone's mind that by the beginning of the summer of 1970 at the very latest, the government of the United States would be out of the catbird seat never, never to return again." Well, the project has taken longer than was hoped, but it's still as much fun as Tuccille suggests in this delightful book.
"Libertarians are still a very small minority--in real space. But in cyberspace, the world of Internet newsgroups, web pages, and listservers, libertarianism has made it back into the big time."
"The central figure in this work is a mythical person based partly on Tuccille, who makes his way with successive disillusionment through the 'Right Wing' of the 1960s. He flirts with, is associated with, or meets people involved with: Ayn Rand, Barry Goldwater, William F. Buckley, Jr. and National Review conservativism, YAF, the John Birch Society, Andrew J. Galambos, conservative-turned-libertarian guru Karl Hess, Murray Rothbard and his circle, the Radical Libertarian Alliance, SIL, and the fringes of the anti-war, anti-authoritarian New Left. He is witness to their strengths and weaknesses, their insights and personal foibles.
"Tuccille is often on target here, particularly when he skewers the purges and the like that have occurred in every branch and faction of the Objectivist-Conservative-Libertarian movements--as, indeed, they have on the Left. If some of the stories he tells aren't literally true--and they aren't--is there anyone who has been involved who cannot relate even worse stories that are literally true? Well worth reading and pondering."-
--Roy A. Childs, Jr.