R. C. Hoiles Revisited
By Carl Watner
[Editor's Note: Raymond Cyrus
(R. C.) Hoiles (1878-1970) was the founder of the Freedom Chain of newspapers.
For more than 35 years, in conversations, columns, and editorials, he
stated his belief that human beings can enjoy happier and more prosperous
lives where force and threats of force are absent from human relations.
Although he started out as a supporter of limited government, he evolved
into an able exponent of voluntaryism. One of his pet themes was the
separation of State and education. For many years, he had a standing
offer of $ 500 for any school superintendent in areas where his papers
were published. He challenged public school officials to explain to
him how State schools accorded with the Golden Rule. He was never seriously
taken up on his offer. Hoiles also opposed the internment of Japanese-American
citizens during World War II. He began as a printer's devil and operated
20 newspapers by the time he died. He presented a rare mixture of worldly
practicality and principle, which marked him as a philosophical businessman.
"A man should be free to make his own decisions," he used
to say, "and to learn from his mistakes and to profit when his
choice was wise and correct." The following was reprinted from
an unsigned editorial in the Colorado Springs GAZETTE-TELEGRAPH, July
11, 1972, p. 6-A, and is offered to our readers in the spirit of recognizing
one of the unsung heroes of the 20th Century libertarian movement. For
further information see an article by R. C. in THE VOLUNTARYIST, Whole
No. 17 ("Unlimited Voluntary Exchanges,") and "To Thine
Own Self Be True: The Story of Raymond Cyrus Hoiles and his Freedom
Newspapers," in Whole No. 18.]
the death of R. C. Hoiles (head of the Freedom Newspapers group), we
have encountered a surprising number of individuals who have volunteered
such remarks as, "Well, I used to think Hoiles was all wrong with
the trend of events, I've about changed my mind;" "Hoiles
was much closer to reality than many folks gave him credit. Some of
his positions evoked emotional antagonism but the passing of time is
proving him more and more correct;" "By God, he saw it coming.
With government taxes consuming close to half of everything produced,
who can argue with his warning?"
would have been out of character for R. C. (as associates and friends
called him), to have said, "I told you so," for his motive
was never to be proven correct, but rather to stimulate people to see
for themselves the consequences of ever-expanding government.
can go back to the days when he authored a signed column, from about
1935 until the 1950's, and find repeated warnings about the approaching
leviathan state. Even prior to World War II, he continually explained
the dangers of government deficits, pointing out that the inevitable
result would be expanding credit to finance the deficits with resulting
inflation. As more and more the federal government incurred deficits
and financed itself by, in effect, repudiating its debt with inflation,
R. C. warned that this "painless" sleight-of-hand, continued
indefinitely, would give birth to a monster that could collapse the
C.'s most controversial position related to what he thought would be
the inevitable (he always thought of consequences in the long run) effect
of government schooling the young. This was wildly distorted as being
"against teachers" and against "people of little means"
and an endless list of other emotional reactions that begged his points,
The control of the schools would inexorably drift away from the "local
control" concept to more centralized government control as the
local units obtained funds from the larger government units. (As the
state government offers more subsidy to the local school district, it
demands more control. Then come federal funds and also the control attending
such grants.) It would be illogical to conclude that once gaining this
power, it would not teach that big government is the primary source
of virtue and truth in order to perpetuate itself.
2. The foundation
of a sound social order is rooted firmly in moral and ethical education,
rather than training, and the government must by nature follow one of
two courses: (a) neutrality because of differing views on what is sound
moral and ethical reality; or (b) the advocating of views which are
offensive to some individuals who are forced to submit their children
and-or pay to support such views. This dilemma was answered largely
by assuming a stance of neutrality which tends to produce children who
have little or no basic philosophy of life unless obtained elsewhere.
The result has been a reversal of some 2,000 years of educational philosophy
which held that education was primarily for the purpose of inculcating
a rational morality. Whether or not our present era is reaping the result
of this could be disputed, but there are more and more people who sense
something is seriously wrong with the grounding of the young.
this was not meant to imply that the people - who manned the government
school system - were "failing" in their job, but rather that
their job just did not include and could not by its nature include this
preeminent phase of a child's rearing. The ancients well understood
that the founding of a child in a sound morality is an almost full-time
endeavor, with the most important place the educational process.
he held it was just elementary justice that no one should be forced
to support an educational system in which he did not believe, making
no distinction between this and forcing people to support a religion
they did not advocate.
position which R. C. clung to tenaciously was that it was immoral (in
the sense of being out of harmony with natural order) for the government
to tax some people for the benefit of other people. Call it welfare,
subsidies, government sanctioned or encouraged monopolies, all these
efforts were for the purpose of "robbing Peter to pay Paul."
These are distributions of wealth on an involuntary basis and create
consequences that in the long run are inimical to everyone, particularly
the beneficiaries of the “booty."
C. ran it by thusly: if it is immoral for A and B, as individuals, to
gang up on C and take his wealth by force, it is wrong for A and B to
delegate to the government as their agent the right to rob C and split
the loot with them. This was another way of saying what Mr. Jefferson
meant when he contended "the same justice is owed from a million
to one that is owed from one to a million."
and more we witness the government becoming, as has been said, "an
illusion by which everyone endeavors to live at the expense of everybody
else," one out of six civilian employees is on the government payroll
and by 1980 this ratio is supposed to drop to one in four.
all this end?
answer, possibly not far from the truth, is: "And the fall of Rome
then, R. C. always held that the powers of regeneration are unbelievably
great and that eventually men will understand the folly of forcing their
fellow-man to labor to their advantage just because they have the political
power to enforce such an action.
R. C. would say, "It took men thousands and thousands of years
to understand the folly of chattel slavery and it is going to take quite
a spell to get people to understand that it is just as disastrous, in
the long run, to be the slave of all-powerful government."