The purpose of this particular essay is simply to apply some of the principles of libertarianism to an interpretation of events in a very special and important period of human history. I have attempted to give a straightforward summary of New Left revisionist findings in one area of domestic history: the antitrust movement and Progressive Era. But I have done so not as a New Leftist, not as a historian proper, but as a libertarian, that is, a social philosopher of a specific school.
In doing this summary, I have two interrelated purposes: first, to show Objectivists and libertarians that certain of their beliefs in history are wrong and need to be revised under the impact of new evidence, and simultaneously to illustrate to them a specific means of approaching historical problems, to identify one cause of the growth of American statism and to indicate a new way of looking at history.
Secondly, my purpose is to show New Left radicals that far from undermining the position of laissez-faire capitalism (as opposed to what they call state capitalism, a system of government controls which is not yet socialism in the classic sense), their historical discoveries actually support the case for a totally free market. Then, too, I wish to illustrate how a libertarian would respond to the problems raised by New Left historians.
Finally, I wish implicitly to apply Occam’s razor by showing that there is a simpler explanation of events than that so often colored with Marxist theory. Without exception, Marxist postulates are not necessary to explain the facts of reality.
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