cultural libertarianism and the judeo-christian tradition in murray rothbard, bob dylan, and woody allen

I suppose this is the third time I’ve mentioned this particular article of mine. I began writing it several years ago when I was still teaching and coaching at a local high school. Looking back, the first several versions were absolutely terrible, and were in no shape to be submitted to academic journals. But reviewers throughout the several submissions were always kind and helpful with feedback, and especially the editor at the Christian Libertarian Review, who finally gave me the green light, with one final round of revisions. Needless to say, the published version looks nothing like the original, and the title has changed. It’s tough to put my finger on what exactly I think binds Rothbard, Dylan, and Allen, but I settled on cultural libertarianism (rather than Jewish anarchism). I define this idea as libertarianism applied to their creative and professional lives. Rothbard was certainly “anti-state,” but I don’t focus so much on this part of his life in this paper. I lump him in with the others since all three led successful careers by resisting social and/or professional pressure. Rothbard, though prolific, is largely unheard of, and I wouldn’t be the first to say that this is because he held views that made him anathema to polite academia. And Dylan and Allen, artistically, basically did whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted, regardless of the desires (and demands) of their fans. Though as I show in the article, this freedom shouldn’t be misinterpreted as license or libertinism. For each of them, their Jewish backgrounds influenced their fierce independence, whether that meant running from their inherited culture, or to it.

Especially today, in 2020, a name like Woody Allen is untouchable, and draws instant consternation. But as I see it, it’s not my job as a writer to prove or disprove anything about his personal life. He’s had his day in court, and people can either agree or disagree with those findings. But it’s a slippery slope to say that anyone accused of anything is “canceled.” I think we can appreciate and/or analyze art without saying we’re holding the artist on a pedestal.

At any rate, the process to publish this has been long (two-ish years), but I am appreciative to the various unknown referees, to the editorial staff at the CLR, and especially to Kristen who has read countless versions of this article and always given thoughtful feedback. And to Revel, who made the trek to New York as a six-month-old to watch her dad present this as a conference paper.

Here it is.