Proposal for The Libertarian Tradition: American Anarchist Thought

When a colleague told me that there were no anthologies of anarchist-libertarian thought currently in print, it seemed opportune to propose to do one that I’ve been thinking about for years, an anthology that would differ from those available before, and be perhaps more relevant now, precisely by

1.) focusing wholly upon American thinkers;

2.) combining proponents of the libertarianism (“right”) with anarchism (“left”).

Remembering Peter Kropotkin’s comment that Josiah Warren’s brand of anarchism seemed peculiar to America, I would try to establish in my extended introduction the Americanness of the selections and of the mix. Otherwise, I envision a book at least 320 pages long, and among the historical contributors would be Henry David Thoreau, Josiah Warren, Benjamin R. Tucker, Stephen Pearl Andrews, Adin Ballou, Lysander Spooner, Albert Jay Nock and Emma Goldman. From contemporaries I would expect to select choice works by Dwight Macdonald (“The Root Is Man”), Kenneth Rexroth, Paul Goodman (“The Black Flag of Anarchism”), Karl Hess (“The Death of Politics”), John Cage, Robert Nozick, Thomas Sowell, Ayn Rand, Thomas Szasz, Murray Rothbard, Dorothy Day, and Murray Bookchin (“Post-Scarcity Anarchism”). The book would close with a bibliography of further readings. In structure and polemical thrust, The Libertarian Tradition would resemble the anthologies of futuristic social thought (Beyond Left & Right, Social Speculations, Human Alternatives, The Edge of Adaptation) that I did for Wm. Morrow and Prentice-Hall over a quarter-century ago. If only because we are reaching in America now the edge of widespread change in our ways of thinking about politics, I’d like to believe that now would be a propitious time to publish The Libertarian Tradition. For further discussion, please contact me. Thank you.