Friday, May 23, 2014

An Inside Story on Gabriel Kolko, and His Relationship with Libertarians

Walter Block emails:
Here is an inside story on Gabriel Kolko, and his relationship with libertarians. I forget what years this occurred, and also with which libertarian organizations (late 1970s? Center for Libertarian Studies? Libertarian Party?), but several of them invited Kolko to speak for them, based on his books, particularly The Triumph of Conservatism, given that his views were great attacks on crony capitalism. And, to the best of my recollection, Kolko did attend these gatherings as a speaker. But, Kolko was a Marxist. When he figured out what these libertarian groups were all about, he refused to speak for us any more, since he didn’t want to promote our agenda (even though we certainly overlapped on the subject he wrote about). I personally find this highly problematic. I would speak to any group, commie, socialist, Nazi, whatever, in an attempt to promote liberty and sound (Austrian) economics. Was Kolko afraid we would convert him to libertarianism? Why did he fear promoting libertarianism, at least those aspects of it that agreed with his analysis.

I heard all of this second hand, so cannot verify its truth. I never spoke to Kolko about this.

For more on Kolko, see:

Gabriel Kolko, RIP by Butler Shaffer

Gabriel Kolko (1932-2014) by Peter Klein


  1. Why did Kolko fear promoting libertarianism? For the same reason that no Keynesian can ever mention or even think about the concept of economic calculation. Just to think it is know that the statism to which they have devoted their lives is wrong.

  2. Then there's this:

    Kolko continued to write until recently, often for He was a strong booster and financial supporter of for many years. He emailed me several times a month with observations and recommendations for the site. I will miss him and remember his importance to the fight against the War Party.