By James Mesko
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80 While SIL’s ends were certainly unique among student groups on the Left and Right, its means were anything but original. ” SIL’s “struggle” was part of the same battle that both SDS and YAF fought during previous years. This time, however, the opposition was a “collectivist” society that contained all political ideologies except the libertarians. SIL was asking for no less of a revolution than any leftist group did, and in many respects it wanted more. Unfortunately for SIL, the means to that revolution either never materialized or were never as important as the idea of revolution.
The four leaders announced the union in a variety of publications. C. 74 SIL wasted no time. 75 SIL represented a deliberately constructed beginning to a reorganized student libertarian movement. C. Suddenly, individual struggles were part of a larger vision; instead of feeling alone in the fight against collectivism, student libertarians could band together to destroy the far Left and Right as well as the state. 76 SIL displayed a utopian vision common to student groups of the 1960s. But instead of simply promising to reform, say, the university or local politics, SIL’s goals were far greater: Unlike other organizations (notably YAF) we will charter no paper chapters nor only defensively react to the rising tide of collectivism in America.
For some, this dream came true in the creation of the Libertarian Party in 1972. For others, however, the Libertarian Party was the coup de graˆce of the libertarian movement and of 1960s idealism. The student libertarian movement of 1968 to 1972 represents not just another short-lived attempt at fundamentally altering the American system, but the climax of a generation’s efforts and another voice in the chorus that cried out for a recasting of American political culture. LIBERTARIAN IDEOLOGICAL ORIGINS While the literature on 1960s student movements is vast,3 almost none of it has directly addressed the student libertarian movement.