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Sunday, April 22, 2018

SINCE YOU ASKED

I remarked a while back that I had received a praising letter about IN DEFENSE OF ANARCHISM from Murray Rothbard, and one of those signing him/herself "anonymous" asked about it, so I went searching through my piles of papers.  It turns out the letter was from Jerome Tuccille, also a stalwart of the Libertarian movement, not Murray Rothbard.  Tuccille, Wikipedia tells me, passed away just a year ago.  I could not find his original letter, but here is his gracious and friendly reply to my response to it.


Dec. 13, 1970

Dear Mr. Wolff,

            Your letter of Dec. 8 is in hand.  If you find yourself startled to receive kind words from the Right, you can imagine my own response to the fact that my book has been viciously attacked in the conservative press (National Review, New Guard, Triumph) and generally well received by the Left.  Actually, I had somewhat anticipated this; the ms. was bought by a New Left editor after it had been given a cool reception at some of the more conservative publishing houses.  It’s fairly indicative of the re-adjustment in political thinking that has been going on over the past two years or so.

            By now you must have seen the Widmer review of both our books, along with Guerin’s ANARCHISM in the Nov. 16th Nation.  Their new literary editor, Emile Capouya, is very sympathetic to libertarian ideas and this was apparently his inaugural feature.  The Guerin book, is, in my estimation, the best short comprehensive history of the subject available.

            I’ve done a brief review of your book for the Libertarian Forum, a bi-weekly newsletter, and I’ll send you a copy when it comes out in a few weeks.

            I’ll also keep you posted on the progress of my course at the New School.  The students who sign up will probably be a mixture of Randian capitalist types and Left Wing communalists; I’m sure to be attacked by the former for “selling out to the commies” and by the Leftists for advocating “greed” and “exploitation.”  This exchange usually takes place at every Left-Right conference I’ve been to.  If Nixon knew the truth about the so-called radical movement, he’d be sleeping much more soundly.  Fortunately, he doesn’t.

                                    Best Regards,


                                    Jerome Tuccille
                                    4 Windsor Terrace
                                    White Plains, N.Y. 10601

Despite the tensions caued by the war and the Nixon presidency and the Civil Rights Movement, those were more civil times.

4 comments:

Jerry Fresia said...

Excellent post as was the last one.

s. wallerstein said...

Why was that civility which you note lost?

Bonds of respect can form around shared political opinions and around certain theoretical interests and skills (as seems to be the case with Professor Tuccille) and both seem entirely valid to me.

Someone like you (Professor Wolff) probably has more in common with someone like Professor Tuccille (who has read and understood your book as well as, I imagine, most of the philosophical literature on left and right libertarianism) than with a ultra leftist 17 year kid for whom libertarianism means throwing molotov cocktails at police cars.


Anonymous said...

It was not as amusing as I hoped but it was interesting nonetheless.
Thanks for that.
THAT Anonymous

David Gordon said...

Among Rothbard's followers, Ronald Hamowy thought highly of In Defense of Anarchism and assigned the book in his classes at the University of Alberta.