Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Robert LeFevre: Truth-Seeker

(Holy Moly, it's been almost a month since I've written a post for this blog. I've been busy with various other projects and I've also been traveling. My husband and I went to New Hampshire, partly to attend the Porcfest Freedom Festival. We really didn't do the Porcfest thing right though, we stayed at Rogers Campground Motel for one night and though we did get to attend a few activities, we did not really "feel" the experience. The setup is more tailored to campers. Also the weather was horrible during the time we were there. I was glad to meet a few people I had only interacted with online, so that was cool. Anyway I'm back and will be posting more often.)

In Issue 20, dated July 1986, we learn that Robert LeFevre died in May. I've written about him several times already as I've moved through the issues because had a big influence on the libertarian movement. (Here's one I wrote last September.)

Interestingly, LeFevre died while on a return trip home after attending Carl's wedding to his wife Julie.

Carl considered him one of his closest friends and LeFevre even asked Carl to write his biography. He gave Carl a 2000 page manuscript which Carl pared down. LeFevre was able to comment on the first 3 drafts of the project before he passed away. Carl did end up publishing the biography which is titled Truth Is Not A Halfway Place: The Story of a Freedom Philosopher.

I found a review of the book on FEE website. It's not particularly flattering but it is interesting and the reviewer also knew LeFevre personally, though mostly as a student of his from what I can gather. One interesting tidbit I discovered when reading this review was that LeFevre ran for Congress and lost in the Republican Primary to Richard Nixon! What might be different today had he beaten Nixon in that race?

Carl shares highlights of LeFevre's life in this issue and both the review mentioned above and Carl's article mention LeFevre's deep involvement in a religious movement known as "I AM" which is described in both writings as a cult. I found this news somewhat disturbing and yet I know that it is often the total result of all of our life experiences that make us who we are in the end. Carl notes that there was a good message from this group: the understanding that each individual controls himself.

In his article, Carl also shares two paragraphs that he read at a memorial service, which includes the following:

"Bob was a truth-seeker, one of those rare people one meets, oerhaps a few in a lifetime. Part of his greatness was his ability to stand alone intellectually; another was his consistency. He insisted on thinking ideas through to their conclusions. If there was a choice between being popular and holding to the truth, he always chose the truth. He knew that truth is not a half-way place."

July 14, 2011 update: I received this additional information from a reader:
"Dear Debbie,

Perhaps you were not aware that Bob also published an autobiography of his life. I have a copy. It is much more extensive and detailed than Carl's version, and for that reason I found it more interesting. It is called "A Way To Be Free" and consists of two volumes. He also published a summary of his philosophy called "The Fundamentals of Liberty" and left behind a set of video tapes of his last presentation of the lectures he delivered at the Freedom School in Colorado. Bob had worked for a traveling company of actors during his youth and had obtained training as an actor, and I think this helped make him a good speaker. He also was involved with real estate in San Francisco for a time. He had quite a colorful life.

Lewis S. Coleman"


Paul said...

Lewis - What is the name of the tapes? Do you know if they are available? If not, consider putting them on disc and selling them. I'd buy a set.

Debbie H. said...

Hey Paul, Lewis has responded to me about your question and I thought it would make more sense if I could connect the two of you. If you would like to send me your email address, I can pass his message on to you. (You can email me from a link on my blogger profile.)