protecting investments

Our opponents like to cast libertarians as shills for Big Business. If their mistake is made in good faith, it can be corrected by a little reading of some actual libertarians on the subject.

Here’s H.L. Mencken on the 2 major-party candidates in the 1924 US presidential election:

Big Business, it appears, is in favor of him [Republican candidate Calvin Coolidge]…. The fact should be sufficient to make the judicious regard him somewhat suspiciously. For Big Business, in America … is frankly on the make, day in and day out…. Big Business was in favor of Prohibition, believing that a sober workman would make a better slave than one with a few drinks in him. It was in favor of all the gross robberies and extortions that went on during the war, and profited by all of them. It was in favor of all the crude throttling of free speech that was then undertaken in the name of patriotism, and is still in favor of it.

Did Mencken prefer Democratic candidate John. W. Davis?

Dr. Davis is a lawyer whose life has been devoted to protecting the great enterprises of Big Business. He used to work for J. Pierpont Morgan, and he has himself said that he is proud of the fact. Mr. Morgan is an international banker, engaged in squeezing nations that are hard up and in trouble. His operations are safeguarded for him by the manpower of the United States. He was one of the principal beneficiaries of the late war, and made millions out of it. The Government hospitals are now full of one-legged soldiers who gallantly protected his investments then, and the public schools are full of boys who will protect his investments tomorrow.

– H.L. Mencken, “Breathing Space,” Baltimore Evening Sun, August 4, 1924; reprinted in H.L. Mencken, A Carnival of Buncombe (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1956), pp. 83–84.

(But I got these quotes from The Betrayal of the American Right by Murray Rothbard.)


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