Doug_Casey_0In this exclusive third installment featuring the previously unaired lectures of the late Karl Hess, we visit with one of Karl’s friends, Doug Casey. He is an American-born libertarian author and the founder and chairman of Casey Research. Jackson Stucker interviewed Doug as part of our series sharing fond memories and recollections of Karl.

What is the best short summation of Karl Hess’ philosophy of liberty?

Karl was all about being a good neighbor. Very get along and go along. A good  example of the Golden Rule without the religious baggage.

Can you give a sketch of Karl Hess the man?

A big friendly bear who loved adventure and meeting people. He was proud of being the only white member of the Black Panthers. He used to love riding a motrorcycle. He was always personable and courteous dealing with people, even talking with IRS employees as if they were individual humans as opposed to robotic state operatives. I always felt he’d try anything once.

What distinguishes Karl Hess from other libertarian thinkers?

He was practical and commonsensical on a very basic level. He actually knew how to do things, unlike most intellectuals, who can only talk. He built his own house in West Va, grew trout in downtown DC, and when asked for his occupation he’d answer “Welder”.

Why does Karl Hess still matter?

A rather cosmic question, actually. Everything matters, and nothing matters. Karl matters most because he was a really good guy who was a pleasure to be with. Something that’s often untrue of intellectuals in general. Unlike socialists and objectivists, he was never strident or dogmatic.

Why do you think Karl Hess has faded into obscurity?

Obscure doesn’t mean unimportant. He’s a little like a preSocratic philosopher in that way. Perhaps it’s because he wasn’t a big selfpromoter.

What work (writing, film) do you think best captures Karl Hess and his thought?

I thought his Playboy interview from the 60’s was genius. It had a big effect on me.

Do you think that Karl Hess’ visions of alternative technology working toward liberty have played out, or have they been quashed by state effort?

Well, it wasn’t an attack against Karl in particular. But the State naturally tries to squash any type of innovation, or individual and entrepreneurial activity. Karl would remark, I think, that is true of any large bureaucratic organization, including corporations.

Do you see any significant modern heirs to the ideas and attitudes of Karl Hess?

Good question. Bill Bonner has some similarities.

What can libertarians today do to live up to and emulate the ideas and actions of Karl Hess?

Get out and do things, put theory into practice. But do so in a good humored and humane way.

Thank you, Doug, for taking the time to share your memories of Karl. 

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Karl Hess on Elements of Liberty, Management of Liberty (3 of 5)

We all know that the congressman is an enemy to liberty, but what about the foreman? Karl Hess looks at liberty in both the political realm and the workplace as he discusses the dangerous idea of managerialism. He draws a parallel between the arrogance of the technocrat and the supervisor and their attempts to centralize knowledge. This is a quintessential libertarian critique of corporate culture and bureaucracy.



Exclusive Video: Karl Hess on Elements of Liberty, Practice of Liberty (1 of 5)

Exclusive Video: Karl Hess on Elements of Liberty, Tools of Liberty (Part 2 of 5)

Exclusive Video: Karl Hess on Elements of Liberty, The Skills of Liberty (Part 4 of 5)

Exclusive Video: Karl Hess on Elements of Liberty, The Love of Liberty (Part 5 of 5)