If Mr. Hess was the movement’s visionary, its political strategist was Murray N. Rothbard, an economic historian at the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute. Formerly a “hard-right” Republican, he, too, had been seeking to break the stranglehold of the two parties, which he argued had perpetuated an oppressive “warfare” and “welfare” state.
Together, they urged campus conservatives, many of whom opposed the Vietnam draft, to work with the left-wing Students for a Democratic Society. Out of this strange-bedfellows coupling came the Libertarian Party, which fielded its first candidates in 1972, though they drew little notice and few votes.
But when the left-right alliance came unglued over drug use and sexual freedom, Mr. Rothbard and others reoriented the movement back to the right.
It was then that Ron Paul emerged, offering a refreshing new face and voice. He was grounded in libertarian doctrine, but presented it as homespun