I originally began this post as a short note about my experience with libertarian speaking over the past few years, but I began rambling and it became a bit longer, something of an adjunct to my earlier How I Became A Libertarian.
A couple years ago, maybe early 2013, I resolved to stop traveling to speak at libertarian events for a while, except for attending the annual Property and Freedom Society meeting in Turkey at least every other year. I wanted to take a break. It was just becoming too much of a time such and distraction from other matters. But let me back up a bit, in hopes this may be of interest to some young libertarian scholars.
When I was a young lawyer, around 1994 (I started practicing in 1992), I started attending libertarian events, initially mostly as an attendee. I had attended an Objectivist conference in Dallas in 1988 during law school with my friend Jack Criss, and a couple of LSU campus Libertarian events (where I listened to Ron Paul speak in an LSU classroom, during his 1988 Presidential run), but that was about it. When I started practicing law in 1992, I started publishing on both legal as well as libertarian topics. I’ve discussed my legal publishing before, and while I did it partly for career development reasons (publishing is one way for young lawyers at big law firms to get their names out there, develop clients, and so on), it was mainly because I found law and legal theory interesting, and enjoyed writing. It’s the same reason I started publishing in the area of libertarian legal theory as well—such as my first scholarly article sketching out my developing theory of rights, Estoppel: A New Justification for Individual Rights, published in Reason Papers No. 17 (Fall 1992). I wrote it (by hand, in cursive!) while I was a grad law student at King’s College London—University of London in 1991. Somewhat naïvely, I submitted it to King’s College Law School’s law review, whereupon it was summarily rejected. Not daunted, I submitted an improved draft to Tibor Machan for his journal Reason Papers. In any case, a succession of both scholarly articles and books, and more popular-format articles, on both the legal and libertarian sides followed over the last two decades. One of them was my article The Undeniable Morality of Capitalism, a lengthy and favorable review essay of Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s book The Economics and Ethics of Private Property (1993). For many of my libertarian articles, I would try to publish them in standard law reviews, both to get the word out to more mainstream audiences and also to burnish my legal résumé.
While the legal publishing helped in my law career (and also led to lucrative publishing contracts later on), the libertarian publishing opened up doors for me in the libertarian world. As I recounted in How I Became A Libertarian: [click to continue…]