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The Libertarian Forum (1969)
- The truth… is that libertarianism wants to advance principles of property but that it in no way wishes to defend, willy nilly, all property which now is called private. Much of that property is stolen. Much is of dubious title. All of it is deeply intertwined with an immoral, coercive state system which has condoned, built on, and profited from slavery; has expanded through and exploited a brutal and aggressive imperial and colonial foreign policy, and continues to hold the people in a roughly serf-master relationship to political-economic power concentrations. Libertarians are concerned, first and foremost, with that most valuable of properties, the life of each individual…. Property rights pertaining to material objects are seen by libertarians as stemming from and… secondary to the right to own, direct, and enjoy one’s own life and those appurtenances thereto which may be acquired without coercion…. This is a far cry from sharing common ground with those who want to create a society in which super-capitalists are free to amass vast holdings and who say that that is ultimately the most important purpose of freedom…. Libertarianism is a people’s movement and a liberation movement. It seeks the sort of open, non-coercive society in which the people, the living, free, distinct people may voluntarily associate, dis-associate, and, as they see fit, participate in the decisions affecting their lives…. It means people free collectively to organize the resources of their immediate community or individualistically to organize them; it means the freedom to have a community-based and supported judiciary where wanted, none where not, or private arbitration services where that is seen as most desirable. The same with police. The same with schools, hospitals, factories, farms, laboratories, parks, and pensions. Liberty means the right to shape your own institutions. It opposes the right of those institutions to shape you simply because of accreted power or gerontological status.
The Death of Politics (1976)
- Laissez-faire capitalism, or anarchocapitalism, is simply the economic form of the libertarian ethic. Laissez-faire capitalism encompasses the notion that men should exchange goods and services, without regulation, solely on the basis of value for value. It recognizes charity and communal enterprises as voluntary versions of this same ethic. Such a system would be straight barter, except for the widely felt need for a division of labor in which men, voluntarily, accept value tokens such as cash and credit. Economically, this system is anarchy, and proudly so.
- "The Death of Politics", essay in Playboy (March 1969); also available in Hess's autobiography, Mostly on the Edge.
Quotes about Hess
- Theodore H. White tells a remarkable story about Goldwater's chief speechwriter, Karl Hess. Chief speechwriters of losing campaigns usually find a safe berth somewhere in the party machine, but not so Hess. First, he applied for positions with conservative senators and congressmen—the very politicians who had been cheering him on a few months before. Unwanted, he lowered his sights dramatically. Could he perhaps work the elevators in the Senate or the House? Still no luck. The apostle of the free market was reduced to the ranks of the unemployed. He enrolled in a night-school course in welding and eventually found a job working the night shift in a machine shop.
- From The Right Nation: Conservative Power in America by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge
- The Karl Hess Club
- LP News Jun94 - Karl Hess 1923-1994
- The Plowboy Interview Karl Hess
- The Death of Politics, Playboy (March 1969)
- Karl Hess and the Death of Politics by Jeff Riggenbach
- The Lawless State (1969)
- "From Far Right to Far Left – and Farther – With Karl Hess" by James Boyd, in The New York Times (1970)
- "Karl Hess: Toward Liberty"