Rose Wilder Lane and Roger Lea MacBride a Libertarian View

Although this video was posted back in 2011 and originally recorded in 2010, I just stumbled over it recently during a search for something else. It’s a podcast recording that has had a handful of images  included as a very slow slideshow to make it into a video. The podcast is presented by the Ludwig von Mises Institute as part of a series called “The Libertarian Tradition,” a weekly podcast with Jeff Riggenbach. Riggenbach, who presents the entire program, gives his viewpoint of Rose Wilder Lane and Roger Lea MacBride as seen through the eyes of a Libertarian.

Rose Wilder Lane Books
Rose Wilder Lane Books


Do Libertarians Today Know Rose and Roger?

I’ve very glad to find this podcast because it answers a question I’ve long had and been unable to get an answer for, how do the Libertarians view Rose and Roger today? Laura fans first see Rose from her connection to Laura Ingalls Wilder or as a writer. Since the Libertarian movement is such an important part of Rose’s later life (she abandons writing fiction and travel stories to focus on political writing, fundraising, and action) and as many fans don’t know much else about the party beforehand, naturally we see her impact on the Libertarian Party as a large one. I’m glad I finally can hear the viewpoint from the other side, people who learn about Rose from her  Libertarian work first. Apparently people recruited to the cause in the 1970s and before see her and Roger as people who made important contributions to the party. I second Riggenbach’s question though, how do the younger members of the party see them or do they even know Rose and Roger at all?

Important Points

I want to spell out a couple of points that if I had heard before this podcast, they didn’t stick. When MacBride voted for the first (and only) Electoral College vote for the Libertarian Party, he was also casting the first Electoral College vote to go to a woman and to a Jewish candidate. I would have thought it was an important point, but it’s one I have not heard before. Her name was Tonie Nathan and she was running for Vice-President on the ticket under John Hospers. Now it’s been pointed out to me, I’m going to see what more I can find on her. Hopefully it will be enough for another post.

Another new to me fact was that later in life MacBride abandoned the Libertarian Party to return to the Republican Party within which he founded a Libertarian caucus called the Republican Liberty Caucus. This caucus is still active. Find them here: This departure might have caused him to be less well known within the Libertarian Party.

Finally I want to transcribe a quote Riggenbach shared from Lane  about why all efficient, central control must take away freedom. I want to emphasize it because I just love the idea of going into the future like an explorer. Find a greatly expanded version of the quote at about 18:00 in the video. “It is the nature of man to do the same thing in different ways. To waste time and energy in altering the shapes of things, to experiment, invent, make mistakes, depart from the past in an infinite variety of directions. Plants and animals repeat routine. But men who are not restrained will go into the future like explorers into a new country and exploration is always wasteful. Great numbers of explorers accomplish nothing and many are lost.”

I’ll forgive Riggenbach’s “Ostensibly written” remark because I’m betting he’s just taking Ghost in the Little House as gospel without looking any further in it.

More Resources

Be sure to click on the About or the Show More link under the video because there is a long list of connections and links to other related sources, but I wanted to call out a few of my own. I’ve linked the titles to Amazon links, if you would rather have me link to WorldCat next time I can, drop me a comment. You can also find the titles other places, especially the Rose book which you can order through many of the Laura Museum giftshops, but the Amazon page gives enough information that you can find it another way if you prefer.

Riggenbach heavily credits Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement by Brian Doherty for his history.

He lists these four early Libertarian titles as the start of the movement:

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation.Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+,LinkedIn, and She is currently acting President of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.


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Sarah Uthoff - Trundlebed Tales

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

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