This retrospective, covering half a century, is a personal history of modern libertarianism. It provides some historical perspective on the growth of libertarianism and its impact on society, especially for those who were born into an existing libertarian movement, including political and academic paths. As outsiders, Austrians and libertarians can expect more than their share of difficult times and roadblocks, although that situation has improved over time. It also shows the limitations of the political path to liberty and the importance of the Austrian view that society changes via emphasis on sound economic science, its practicality, and its subsequent impact on ideology. Finally, it conveys the importance of solving practical problems and puzzles via the thin, radical version of libertarianism.
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was far different.
The pre Internet era of contemporary American libertarianism began in 1960, more or less.
The exact starting point can’t be pinpointed, but before 1960 there were few self-identified
American libertarians of the modern individualist, free market oriented kind. There were people
who identified as “civil libertarians” for various reasons. But the American individualist limited
government/market anarchist libertarian tradition was nearly extinct.
There were a few individuals, such as Dr. MurrayN. Rothbard, (a Ph.D.