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36 Innovator, like some other libertarian publications of this time, focused on how a reader could become wealthy (or at least improve one’s financial situation) by adhering to the free market. This is not to say that these armchair philosophers were unconcerned with politics or, particularly, the actions of the New Left. A. ”38 While such publications as Innovator were very far removed from the student libertarian movement of the late 1960s, they nevertheless contributed to a larger intellectual platform from which the students could pick and choose their beliefs.
H. L. Mencken, for example, was often depicted not just as a muckraker, but as a true conservative (and thus a libertarian). 9 Mencken spoke to libertarians’ belief in the individual’s primacy, the morally correct guidance that capitalism provided, and the evils that government perpetuated. Nearly all libertarians—both pre- and post-1965—believed in what Mencken preached. And although divisions were present among libertarians in the 1960s, two important values traversed their self-constructed internal parti- The Student Libertarian Movement, 1968–1972 23 tions, whether an individual classified himself or herself as an anarchocapitalist, an objectivist, or an anarchist.
It is also possible, however, that these libertarians saw themselves as conservatives first and libertarians second. This poll was conducted before the 1967 YAF National Convention, and even in Philadelphia no outlines of a movement could thus far be discerned. Many of the respondents answered in ways that set them apart both from early (pre-1965) YAFers and those YAFers who joined after mid-1968 solely to battle the New Left. The Student Libertarian Movement, 1968–1972 31 For example, when asked about their parents’ political orientation, 40 percent responded that neither parent was conservative, 35 percent said that both were conservative, and 27 percent stated that one was conservative.