By Fred G. Marks and Allison J. Marks
[Editor’s Note: Andrew J. Galambos (1924-1997) was one of the pivotal figures in developing the ramifications of a stateless society. The original version of this article (complete with footnotes) appeared at capitalismtheliberalrevlution.com/people-ideas/. This essay is based principally on telephone and email conversations between Alvin Lowi and Frederic Marks, and upon Alvin Lowi’s essay about his relationship with Galambos entitled “A Lasting Encounter,” available on the internet at http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig3/lowi1.html. Other memories can be found in Charles R. Estes, “We Never Called Him ‘Andy’: My Recollections of the Person and Philosophy of the Earlier Joseph A. Galambos Alias Andrew Joseph Galambos—The Liberal,” published in THE VOLUNTARYIST, Whole Number 78, page 6, February 1996. Frederick Marks, one of the authors of this piece, attended the complete lectures of Course V-50 delivered by both Jay Snelson and Andrew Galambos during the years 1967-1968.]
Andrew Joseph Galambos was born in Hungary on June 27, 1924. His parents brought him to America at age two, where the family settled in New York City. He earned degrees in physics from City College of New York (now the City University of New York) and the University of Minnesota. He taught physics at New York University, Brooklyn College, Stevens Institute of Technology of Hoboken, New Jersey, the University of Minnesota, Carleton College of Northfield, Minnesota and Whittier College of Whittier, California.
In 1952 Galambos moved to Los Angeles, California to work at North American Aviation. Later Galambos left North American Aviation to work with Ramo-Wooldridge Corporation, which had been founded in 1953 by physicist-engineer Simon Ramo and engineer Dean Wooldridge.
A brief history of the genesis of FEI Course V-50
This essay is also based on conversations with Peter Bos, Jay S. Snelson and Charles Holloway. Mr. Holloway interviewed Jay Snelson as part of preparation of a DVD recording of Snelson’s final presentation of Course V-50 in 1977-1978. A limited number of copies of that recording are available from the Sustainable Civilization Institute, http://www.suscivinst.com/ co-founded by Jay Snelson, his long-time colleague David Woodward, and Mr. Snelson’s wife, Nancy Rhyme Snelson.
The influence of Robert LeFevre on Galambos’ thinking about a stateless society is recorded in the written recollections of Charles R. Estes, engineer, a member of the class at the first presentation of Galambos’ Course 100, entitled Capitalism: The Key to Survival. Along with Alvin Lowi and Donald Allen, Mr. Estes was one of several enthusiastic supporters and promoters of the idea that Galambos should present his ideas in public lectures.
From 1957 to 1959 Alvin Lowi, Jr. (Alvin Lowi or Lowi), an engineer, Andrew Galambos, an astrophysicist, and Donald H. Allen (Don Allen or Allen), a mathematician were colleagues at the Space Technologies Laboratory (STL) division of Ramo-Wooldridge Corporation Galambos and Lowi were “rocket scientists,” working on rockets to be used as launch vehicles for space exploration and ballistic missiles. Galambos was calculating trajectories for rocket launch vehicles before the advent of high-speed digital computers. Lowi was engineering rocket thrust controls to put missiles into specific trajectories. At STL Galambos became well known for his lunch-time lectures on astronomy, astrophysics, and astronautics.
Andrew Galambos and Don Allen had a business joint venture known as Universal Shares, through which they engaged in sale of mutual funds and other investments and insurance. Universal Shares was required by federal law to be a member of the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD), a quasi-governmental agency under the supervision of the Securities and Exchange Commission. According to Alvin Lowi, Galambos’ closest colleague at the time, Galambos’ disdain for state regulation of business may have derived originally from his unhappiness and frustration with the bureaucratic requirements of NASD.
In their years together at STL (1957-1959) Galambos and Lowi studied the works of economist Ludwig von Mises. Their interest in von Mises was due to the influence of Don Allen, who was an avid reader of THE FREEMAN magazine published by the Foundation for Economic Education. Don Allen persuaded Galambos to read this magazne on the ground that the ideas of the Austrian school of economics would improve Galambos’ exposition of laissez-faire capitalism, which Galambos later taught at Whittier College.
Galambos became disillusioned with his work at STL when it became apparent that the focus of STL had evolved almost exclusively to development of inter-continental ballistic missiles for military purposes. Galambos did not want to work on weapons of war. In or around 1958-1959 Galambos formulated a proposal to George Mueller, the director of STL, for a project to develop rockets for space exploration, including landing on the moon. Dr. Mueller turned down this proposal as not in the best interests of the company. Galambos’ proposal was too early for Mueller. A few years later Mueller left STL to take a position with the National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA) as Associate Director for Manned Space Flight where he was one of the people in charge of the Apollo 11 manned lunar landing project, the same type of project he had turned down when Galambos proposed it to him at STL.
Alvin Lowi wrote that “. . . soon enough we all [Galambos, Allen and Lowi] came to realize that our employment made us part and parcel of a racket, that in principle, was not unlike the one [the Soviet Union] against which we were supposed to be defending America. Subsequently Galambos [left] the aerospace boondoggle and joined Whittier College to teach physics, math and astronomy.”
At Whittier College Galambos presented a highly popular extracurricular lecture series entitled “The Decline and Renaissance of Laissez-Faire Capitalism.” Because Galambos offered these lectures during the weekly chapel period in competition with the College Chaplain, Whittier College terminated his position at the college.
When Galambos left Whittier College, Lowi and others urged him to start his own private teaching business, which Galambos did in 1960, under the name “The Free Enterprise Institute (FEI).” At first FEI had just three staff members, Andrew Galambos, his wife Suzanne J. Galambos, and Alvin Lowi, and a single lecture course, entitled “Course 100: Capitalism—the Key to Survival.”
In 1960 Galambos asked Lowi to accompany him on a trip to New York City. The purpose of the trip to New York City was to meet Leonard Read of FEE. In 1946 Leonard Read (1898-1983), together with famed economic journalist Henry Hazlitt, co-founded The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) in New York. FEE was the first free-market-oriented “think tank.” THE FREEMAN was then (in the late 1950s), and through 2016, a popular forum for publicizing the free market principles espoused by the “Austrian” school of economics, named after its initial, influential founders who lived in Vienna, Austria from the 1870s through the 1930s.
Leonard Read either originated or at least popularized the word “libertarian” to describe those who advocate a limited government, in contradistinction to the word “liberal” which had come to mean, at least in America, people who advocate a major role for the state in the governance of human affairs. Galambos insisted on calling himself a liberal, in the sense that word was used originally in 18th and 19th century Europe, and still is in Australia, to signify advocacy of maximum freedom of the individual and governmental protection of individual rights and civil liberties. Although Galambos respected Leonard Read, he rejected Read’s “libertarian” label because it meant, in his view, surrendering the magnificent word “liberal” to collectivists. In the common American parlance of Galambos’ time, he would be described as a “classical liberal.” Galambos could be described as “an eighteenth century liberal,” a comment made by someone else, and intended to be pejorative, that Galambos related with pride.
Mr. Read was most cordial, and arranged for Galambos and Lowi to meet with Ludwig von Mises, the highly esteemed economist who was a professor at New York University. On this trip Galambos and Lowi also met with the famous novelist-philosopher Ayn Rand, and the nationally prominent economic writer Henry Hazlitt. These people and Galambos shared a passion to push back intellectually against what they saw as a rising tide of collectivist political thinking that was taking humanity down the path described by F. A. Hayek in his famous and best-selling book THE ROAD TO SERFDOM (1944), which Hayek dedicated to “The Socialists of All Parties.”
In 1961 Galambos presented his first lectures of what eventually became Course V-50. This original course was entitled Course 100: “Capitalism: The Key to Survival.” The first classes were presented at the Ivar Hotel in Los Angeles. Galambos’ early societal models were modified versions of the Unites States republic, with the addition of the “Resistor,” a body empowered to repeal laws passed by Congress if it judged them to be contrary to the Constitution.
After starting the Free Enterprise Institute in Los Angeles in 1960, Galambos sponsored guest seminars by well-known freedom-oriented thinkers. Ludwig von Mises and Leonard Read were the first two who spoke in Los Angeles under FEI auspices. Other guest seminars offered in the years 1962-1964 included presentations by F.A. Harper of the Institute for Humane Studies, and Spencer MacCallum, anthropologist, author, and advocate of a theory of proprietary community governance.
During the years 1962-1964 there were several people presenting Course 100 at various locations in the Los Angeles area, including Galambos himself, Lowi, engineer Chuck Estes, patent attorney Billy Robbins, purchasing agent Jerome Smith, electrical engineer Richard Nesbitt, Ph.D. and George Haddad, M.D.
Working with Galambos, Lowi listened to a recording of each Galambos lecture of Course 100 and the following week Lowi would replicate that lecture in his own presentation of Course 100. The lectures ran long, starting at 7:30 p.m. and often going until midnight. In 1963 Lowi proposed to Galambos that some changes ought to be made in Course 100, for two principal reasons. The first was dissatisfaction with what Lowi and many students thought was the excessive length of the individual lectures. The second and more important reason was that Course 100 envisioned continuation of a political state under what is known as “limited government.” Limited government has become identified with what is known as “libertarian” ideology, in which there would be a political state but it would be subject to strict limits on its powers.
By 1963 Lowi and Galambos were getting feedback from Course 100 students who were questioning the need for a state at all, and questioning the utility and efficacy of a restrictive constitution in limiting the state. Robert LeFevre had been giving his popular Freedom School Lectures for several years. Some FEI students had attended these lectures or knew of them and were influenced by LeFevre’s advocacy of the idea that the state was absurd at best, and was actually an enemy of human freedom.
According to Charles R. Estes, an early student of Galambos, in 1964 Estes, Alvin Lowi and several other associates of Galambos sponsored “. . . LeFevre at a three-day seminar in Los Angeles. Galambos attended. Course 100, which was undergoing major changes during that period, was soon modified to recognize the disutility of the political state.”
Galambos was unhappy with Lowi’s practice of holding lengthy after-class discussions with Lowi’s Course 100 students, and Lowi was unhappy with Galambos’ restriction on such discussions. That mutual dissatisfaction led to Jay Snelson becoming a lecturer for The Free Enterprise Institute.
Don Allen was instrumental in motivating Jay Snelson to attend a Course 100 presentation by Andrew Galambos in 1962. Concurrently Snelson also attended a Lowi presentation of Course 100. In consequence of Lowi’s dissatisfaction, in 1963, he proposed to Galambos that Jay Snelson take his place as an FEI lecturer.
At first Galambos was reluctant to consider taking Snelson on as a lecturer for FEI. However, he was convinced to do so by (1) an effective slide show about Course 100 and freedom that Snelson had created and presented at a 1963 convention of FEI students, (2) Lowi’s firm opinion that Snelson would do a good job, and (3) the excellent performance of Snelson in two private lectures which amounted to an audition, given to an audience of just Andrew Galambos, his wife Suzanne, and Lowi.
Piet (later Peter) Bos was a student in one of Lowi’s presentations of Course 100. Mr. Bos was employed as an engineer with the same company that employed Lowi. In after-class discussions Bos suggested that insurance companies could replace the state in the vital rôle of security and protection of life and property which Course 100 pointed out the state did very poorly. In the above-mentioned 1963 convention of FEI students, Bos made a formal presentation of his idea that the insurance mechanism could replace the state.
According to Alvin Lowi, Charles (aka Chuck) Estes innovated an idea of restitution-based justice and a private, non-state justice system. Estes made a presentation of this idea at the 1963 FEI convention.
Snelson was an effective speaker with experience working in that capacity. Snelson had some conditions of his own to be satisfied before he would agree to give up his prior position as a speaker on the benefits of capitalism under the auspices of Coast Federal Savings and Loan Association of Los Angeles.
Snelson did not want to teach Course 100, but instead wanted to design a new basic course for FEI in which the lectures would be shorter in length and would include the following: the position advocated by Robert LeFevre that the state in any form was incompatible with human freedom; the ideas of Peter Bos regarding the insurance mechanism as a replacement for the state’s poor performance in protecting people from domestic and foreign attacks on property; and the Chuck Estes idea of restitution as the basis for justice in place of the laws of the political state in which offenders are subject to incarceration rather than being required to make restitution to victims of their misconduct.
Snelson asked for the consent of Galambos to use the term “Volitional Science” to describe what would become a new lecture series to be designated Course V-50. It was agreed by Galambos that Snelson should create this new course based on Course 100 with the foregoing modifications requested by Snelson, and that the new Course would be designated V-50, with the “V” standing for “Volition.”
The genesis of Course V-201
Galambos developed this course to foster a grand plan for encouraging, protecting, and rewarding innovators and discoverers. The American law of copyright and patent does not afford protection to someone who discovers a law of nature, such as an Isaac Newton or Albert Einstein. Yet it is such cosmological discoveries that underlie useful inventions that are accorded protection by the law of patents. Therefore, the law protects only the application, not the origination of the ideas that are among the highest achievements of humanity. Even where patent protection is available under the law it is of limited duration—and that was a major defect in Galambos’ view. The law of copyright also provides protection for authors that is also of limited duration and therefore inadequate in Galambos’ view.
This course was originally called F-201, with “F” standing for freedom. According to Alvin Lowi F-201 was first given in 1963 and consisted of ten to twelve lectures. Galambos innovated this course, but he had some inputs from others including the following. Alvin Lowi innovated the term “Prototype” to stand for a concept of primary property, i.e., what is commonly known as intellectual property, broader than just copyright and patent. Lowi innovated the term “natural estate” to stand for a perpetual estate in the property (including ideas) of a person. The idea of an individual’s “natural estate” was under discussion between Galambos and Lowi as far back as the late 1950s when both men were colleagues in the aerospace industry. Lowi taught a few lectures of Course F-201 as a substitute for Galambos. Starting in 1968 Jay Snelson taught V-201 while Galambos also continued to offer his own V-201 lectures live and through recorded presentation.
Alvin Lowi’s proposal to write Galambos’ book
By 1963-1964 Galambos had been talking to his colleagues and students about writing a book presenting the ideas of Course 100 and Course F-201. Since Galambos was very busy with his lectures, in or about 1964 Alvin Lowi proposed to write a book setting forth Galambos’ ideas and to print a limited edition of 100 serial-numbered copies of that book, all within one year. Lowi had obtained commitments for a total of $50,000 for production of such a book from around 20 to 25 individuals who were interested in seeing Galambos’ ideas perpetuated in book form. The purchasing power of $50,000 in 1964 was equivalent to a purchasing power of $375,000 in 2013. Galambos turned down this offer.