As noted on Antiwar.com, libertarian stalwart and heroic antiwar activist Justin Raimondo has passed away at the age of 67, from lung cancer. He follows several other noted libertarian/adjacent thinkers who have died recently (at least among the ones I knew personally), such as Norman Stone (2019), Anthony de Jasay (2019), Ralph Raico (2016) and Tibor Machan (2016).
I didn’t know Justin well personally but I encountered him from time to time at various libertarian events, and read a lot of his work over the years, such as Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement (1993) and his numerous articles, almost all expressing strong anti-war or pro-libertarian sentiments, themes, or insights. I was often impressed by his strident, clear, forceful prose, and appreciated that it was informed by an obvious passion for liberty and a deep, scholarly knowledge of history and political philosophy.
I met Justin in person first at Mises Institute conference in the mid-late 1990s, probably 1995 or ’96. I had consumed and enjoyed his Reclaiming the American Right, but thought his thesis that Ayn Rand had “plagiarized” Garet Garrett’s novel The Driver for her novel Atlas Shrugged was frankly absurd or even contrived (I still do; it’s a ridiculous notion, as I noted on the Mises blog in 2007). I remember vividly. It was at the Auburn Hotel and Conference Center, between sessions. I walked up to Justin and introduced myself, and explained that I enjoyed his book but I thought his thesis about Rand “plagiarizing” Garrett was unfounded and exaggerated. He sputtered some outrage, refused to engage me, and stalked away.
I wish I had more to add, but that’s all I got. He was a very good writer and passionate about liberty. Would that this could be said about more people. At least the latter. Not everyone needs to be a writer. But more people need to be libertarians.
Update: I should mention that Justin wrote one of my favorite articles ever: his devastating review (Chronicles, June 1994) of David Horowitz’s annoying, self-serving memoir Radical Son.
Justin also appeared and spoke at the 2008 Annual Meeting of the Property and Freedom Society, and he wrote about it in “Bodrum is Heaven,” in “Out and About,” Taki’s Magazine (June 16, 2008). His presentations at the 2008 PFS meeting are embedded below:
- Justin Raimondo, Ron Paul and the Prospects of PaleoLibertarianism in the U.S.; print version: “Libertarianism’s Divergent Roads,” Taki’s Magazine, June 11, 2008
- Simasius, Raimondo, Groezinger, Discussion, Q & A