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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Happy Birthday, Frank

Frank Chodorov, editor of The Freeman the first year it was owned by Leonard E. Read of the Foundation for Economic Education, was born on this date in 1887. Influenced by Henry George and Albert Jay Nock, Chodorov was a passionate and intelligent champion of individualism and free markets. He was equally passionate and intelligent on the subject of war and peace, understanding that war brings a permanent expansion of state power and a diminution of freedom. His criticisms of U.S. conduct in the Cold War and its penchant for empire are still worth reading.
If we will, we can still save ourselves the cost of empire. We have only to square off against this propaganda, and to supplement rationality with a determination that, come what may, we will not lend ourselves, as individuals, to this new outrage against human dignity. We will not cooperate. We will urge noncooperation upon our neighbors. We will resist, by counterpropaganda, every attempt to lead us to madness. Above all, when the time comes, we will refuse to fight, choosing the self-respect of the prison camp to the ignominy of the battlefield. It is far nobler to clean a latrine than to kill a man for profit.
In a letter to National Review in 1954 he said, "As for me, I will punch anyone who calls me a conservative in the nose. I am a radical." Some years ago Charles H. Hamilton edited an excellent collection of Chodorov's work, Fugitive Essays, copies of which can still be found.

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