Blogs > Liberty and Power > Historians Against the War Welcomes Libertarians

Sep 24, 2006 6:53 pm

Historians Against the War Welcomes Libertarians

David Montgomery a founder and leading member of Historians Against the War, has given libertarian and conservative critics of the Iraq War an excellent reason to support the efforts of that organization. His response to a survey of the membership stated the following (my emphasis in bold):

I remain cautious, however, about taking organizational stands on some of the other issues mentioned as possible targets of HAW activity, especially the socio-economic impact of imperialism. From the outset HAW has encompassed historians with divergent political views, among them quite a number of conservative libertarians. We must try not only to keep our ranks diverse but united. We should welcome open discussion of such issues, but limit the extent to which we take organizational stands. There are, after all, other organizations that quite properly represent their particular analyses and viewpoints. HAW's aim should always be to involve as many historians as possible and to make them feel at home, without in any way prescribing or stifling particular analyses of US power or interpretations of what is now called"globalization."

Excellent! Montgomery's statement is not the only reason for libertarians and conservatives to consider joining HAW. I received a highly encouraging email response from Carolyn"Rusti" Eisenberg, a member of HAW's steering committee, to a suggestion that libertarians and conservatives be included in the group's recommended list of speakers.

Membership doesn't cost a cent and you don't have to be a professional historian to join. All you have to do is sign this statement.

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David T. Beito - 9/15/2006

The trouble is that there are far more conservatives than libertarian historians.

If I were just to press for recognizing the rights of libertarian historians (rather than throwing in conservatives), the folks at HAW might view that cause as about as important as pushing for the rights of monarchists. In other words, they could claim "who cares?" It is much harder to dismiss the strategic importance of reaching out to conservatives.

Anthony Gregory - 9/14/2006

I don't even like "conservatives and libertarians," as it is often used, as though we go together like Laurel and Hardy or Lox and Bagels.

"Conservative libertarians" is worse, of course, and nonsensical.

David T. Beito - 9/14/2006

They can call us anything they want. They have acknowledged that we have a legitimate and needed role in the antiwar movement, which is light years ahead of their position last year.

Roderick T. Long - 9/14/2006

I wish he'd said "conservatives and libertarians" instead of "conservative libertarians."