Washington’s Good Doctor

The British libertarian Geoffrey Wheatcroft has a new article on Ron Paul in the Guardian. “No doubt this excellent man’s bid for the Republican nomination was by way of being a romantic gesture,” Wheatcroft writes, “But what about Ron Paul for secretary of state?”

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5 thoughts on “Washington’s Good Doctor

  1. Scott Lahti March 29, 2008 / 12:42 am

    “Paul is called a conservative, but in British terms he is an extreme liberal-individualist in the tradition of FW Hirst and Sir Ernest Benn.”

    For knowing of Hirst and Benn alone, Wheatcroft, who I recall first encountering in Inquiry, I think, three decades ago while in high school, would deserve extra points undreamed by our native punditariat – you’d otherwise have to be intimate with the fine points of Henry Hazlitt’s THE FREE MAN’S LIBRARY from 1956; Hazlitt used as his foundation for that invaluable annotated bibliography the 1927 pamphlet, as rare as Hazlitt’s own THE WAY TO WILL-POWER (yes, I guard under glass a copy of each rarity herein), THE PHILOSOPHY OF INDIVIDUALISM, edited by – wait for it – Francis W. Hirst, eminent scholar of liberty and editor of The Economist, and W.H. Hutt, the South African crypto-Austrian (as Gore Vidal might have called) economist.

    On the sadly neglected Hirst, see the must-read essay by my old friend Mark Brady:

    fee.org/publications/the-freeman/article.asp?aid=4401

    “Sadly, it is only an exceptionally well-informed reader who will recognize the name of Francis W. Hirst, whose stalwart advocacy of personal freedom, free trade, and peace during the first half of the twentieth century, and especially during the First World War and its aftermath, surely earns him an honored place in the pantheon of individual liberty.”

    And speaking of “an exceptionally well-informed reader”, recall that when Michael Wreszin’s 1994 biography of Dwight Macdonald, REBEL IN DEFENSE OF TRADITION, appeared, who did THE TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT of London choose for its reviewer but – Geoffrey Wheatcroft.

  2. Scott Lahti March 29, 2008 / 1:08 am

    Straining as usual for a suitably pretzel-bent header found me emailing Dan’s Britannia-ruled post as “Paul Mall Gazette.”

  3. Daniel McCarthy March 29, 2008 / 1:17 am

    Paul Mall Gazette indeed!

    I’m going to have to read up on Hirst at some point. I have to confess I’m unfamiliar with him. Luckily, I did see Wheaty’s review of Wreszin’s book one time while I was browsing Nexis a few years back. Wheatcroft’s interests track pretty closely to my own: not only did he review the Wreszin book and write good pieces about the Good Doctor, he was a friend of Auberon Waugh’s and wrote a very memorable essay about Auberon and Evelyn Waugh, here: http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200105/wheatcroft

  4. Brent Burk March 29, 2008 / 3:35 am

    He got a lot of good media after everyone realized he wasn’t getting the GOP nomination. Fox got all over his Federal Reserve views, albeit via blog, then this, Time.com, I think NYT?

  5. Scott Lahti March 29, 2008 / 3:36 am

    My full header read, “Dr. Liberty, I Presume?, or, Paul Mall Gazette”

    Mark Brady’s Freeman piece on Hirst is a good start, and Hazlitt’s Free Man’s Library, now selling for as low as $9.99 via Bookfinder, belongs close to hand for all such archaeological browsings. I suspect that when FWH edited The Economist, one of my Whaggish ancestors in spirit tagged it as a “Hirst paper”…

    While with my folks in England 1985-86 (Pop was heading up GM’s Vauxhall sales division in Luton), working on my essay on mid-Atlantic literary journalism for National Review (Chilton Williamson was then books editor), I used to read “Bron” Waugh weekly after our postman in Gerrards Cross, Bucks., would drop my copy of the “Speccie” and the TLS through our front-door mailslot c. 8:30 Friday mornings, sufficient to set our Shetland sheepdog, Lassie, to squirrel-alert barking fits…

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