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12/10/2005 Archived Entry: "Bradford and Liberty"

STRANGE, SAD FEW WEEKS. Two of my local acquaintances died within 10 days of each other (both far too young, one barely past 40). Dave Duffy of Backwoods Home has bypass surgery. Now R.W. Bradford, founder of Liberty magazine, dies. He was just 58.

I met Bradford only once and it was an uncomfortable encounter. I was part of a small group brought to meet him in the Liberty offices in a historic building he was lovingly restoring. He almost immediately got into an Ayn Rand trivia discussion with a friend of his in the group and ignored the rest of us as if we didn't exist.

His wife and Liberty staffers were as kind as they could be, given their busy work schedules. But nobody seemed to think our treatment was odd.

Liberty itself became like that in recent years. Once it was a great magazine of ideas. For many years, both Liberty and Reason were must-reads for well-informed libertarians. Eventually, sadly, Liberty felt like one huge, self-referential Ayn Rand trivia fest, with the regular contributors sometimes talking more to each other than to subscribers.

But still ... hat's off to Bradford for creating Liberty and enlightening so many of us for so long. The Liberty contributors' list still reads like a Who's Who of libertarianism. And all those people wrote all those great articles all those years for free (including, a year or two ago, a much-appreciated review of one of my books). Pretty awesome achievement, really.

The freedom movement has lost too many of its achievers too early -- Karl Hess, Roy Childs, Sam Konkin, and now R.W. Bradford.

Posted by Claire @ 01:51 PM CST

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