Machine Politicsrnby Murray N. Rothbardrn”Modern liberty begins in revolt.”rn—H.M. KallenrnThe God of the Machinernby Isabel PatersonrnNew Brunswick, New jersey: TransactionrnPublishers; 292 pp., $21.95rnIn 1943, in the midst of the dark yearsrnof World War II when collectivismrnseemed to be sweeping all before it atrnhome and abroad, three fiercely independentrnand feist}’ women, all of themrnfriends and libertarians devoted to whatrnwas then called “individualism,” hurledrnmightv manifestos in defense of libertyrnat the burgeoning collectivist state. Therntwo older ladies, Isabel Bowler Patersonrnand Rose Wilder Lane, both born inrn1886, were well-known novelists and essayists,rnand Paterson was a distinguishedrnliterary and cultural critic for the establishmentarianrnNew York Herald Tribune.rnRose Wilder Lane’s nonfiction magnumrnopus, published in 1943, was ThernDiscovery of Freedom: Man’s StrugglernAgainst Authority, a prose poem on thernmeaning of individual freedom and freedomrnof enterprise in the history of humanrnaffairs, while Isabel Paterson’s ThernGod of the Machine was a brilliant andrnunusual work of political philosophy,rnwritten not for the typical drv-as-dustrnacademic, nor as an intellectual game,rnnor to win tenure, but from a devotion tornprinciple and liberty, providing marvelousrninsights into a host of economicrnmatters in which she acquitted herselfrnmagnificently despite a lack of mandarinrnacademic credentials. Mrs. Paterson succeededrnin combining political and economicrnprinciple with a powerful readingrnof history, and with a dramatic accountrnof the eternal conflict between freedomrnand power as it has manifested itself historically.rnMost striking perhaps was herrnMurray N. Rothbard is a professor ofrneconomics at the Vmversity of Nevada,rnLas Vegas, and vice-president of thernLudwig von Mises Institute in Auburn,rnAlabama. A new edition of his Man,rnEconomy and State is forthcomingrnfrom the Mises Institute.rnscintillating and dramatic style, derivingrnfrom her decidedly nonmandarin realizationrnthat political philosophy matters,rnthat questions of freedom and powerrnand egalitarianism and individualitv arerntruly issues of life and death.rnThe third of these ladies who irtuallyrncreated the individualist movementrnduring World War II was the RussianbornrnAyn Rand, also an essayist and noveli.rnst and 19 years their junior. Rand’srnThe Fountainhead, which put her individualistrnphilosophy into fictional form,rnbecame a best-seller, allowing her famernand literar’ career to blossom while herrnformer mentors, repudiated as hopelessrnreactionaries by the intellectual establishmentrnand lacking best-sellers to breakrnthrough to mass approal, found theirrncareers in deelme. A fierce critic of thernNew Deal and of America’s entry intornWodd War 11, Paterson was finally firedrnfrom her long-standing Herald I’ribunerncolumn in 1949.rnThere are remarkable similarities inrnthe lies of Paterson and Lane, in additionrnto their common birth-year. Bothrngrew up in the rural Middle West (althoughrnPaterson was born in Canada).rnBoth were married briefly and quicklyrndiscarded their husbands. Both wererneloquent, articulate, and argumentativernlibertarians. Both hated the “Social SecurityrnSwindle” above all things and rejectedrnits “benefits,” Lane going so far asrnto stop writing fiction in order to avoidrnpaying the self-employed social securityrntax.rnDespite the brilliance of Paterson’srnThe Cod of the Machine, the book is thernleast known, although by far the mostrnprofound, of the major works by Paterson,rnLane, and Rand. The climate of thernage was scarcely suited to a bold and uncompromisingrnindividualist and antistatistrnwork. It was highly influential,rnhowever, in the catacombs of the newrnlibertarian and conservative movementrnthat struggled out of Wodd War II tornform the postwar right.rnIt is wonderful, then, to have The Godrnof the Machine back in print on its 50thrnanniversary, in a handsome new paperbackrnedition, published as a volume inrnTransaction’s Library of ConservativernBooks series, edited by Russell Kirk. Thernedition is particularly graced by an excellentrn56-page introduction by ProfessorrnStephen Cox, who not onlv discusses Paterson’srnideas but provides us with thernonly biographical study ever written ofrnthis fascinating woman. One hopes thatrnthis introduction will be a prelude to arnfull-scale biographv.rnBefore discussing the merits of thisrnwonderful book, I must acknowledgernits major flaw, which undoubtedlyrnlimited and hindered its impact.rnThough Paterson cleariy considered herrnuse of metaphors drawn from the field ofrnelectrical engineering to have been a majorrncontribution to political philosophy.rnThe one person she acknowledges in thernfront matter is electrical engineering professorrnThomas T. Read, and The God ofrnthe Machine is peppered with such wordsrnDECEMBER 1993/33rnrnrn