R. W. Bradford
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During the 1970s he developed a prosperous precious metals and numismatic business in Lansing, Michigan, Liberty Coin Service. He partially retired in 1980, moving to Port Townsend, Washington with his wife.
For Liberty, which he started in 1987, he wrote under his own name as well as several pseudonyms: as "Chester Alan Arthur" he engaged in political reportage and commentary, and as "Ethan O. Waters" he wrote deliberately provocative philosophical criticism and essays. ("Ethan O. Waters" was an anagram for "Owen Hatteras", a pseudonym used by H. L. Mencken, a writer and editor much admired by Bradford.) Liberty magazine has been one of the longest-running libertarian journals ever published, and along with Reason magazine can be considered a giant in libertarian media.
Bradford favored a pragmatic approach to libertarian philosophy, grounding his limited government beliefs in a view of individual rights as social constructs, rather than a result of natural law. This approach differentiated Bradford from many other libertarian writers such as Ayn Rand. Bradford, however, was extremely tolerant of differences of opinion, and often published articles and essays by those with whom he disagreed. Many libertarian writers found a home at Liberty magazine, and the monthly continues to be edited and published by his good friend, Stephen Cox, and Bradford's widow, Kathy.
In later years, Bradford became notable for his published criticisms of the Libertarian Party, whom he viewed as excessively didactic and electorally ineffective. He also reported upon what he viewed as financial mismanagement and cronyism by Libertarian Party officials. His criticism of the Libertarian Party's misuse of funds and ineffectual strategies often came into conflict with other libertarians, but his expose of financial mismanagement and cronyism is credited, along with the honest campaign of Michael Badnarik, with saving the Libertarian Party from disaster.
Bradford was highly critical of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Nonetheless, he solicited and published articles from advocates of the war, as well as critics.
- Official site of Liberty magazine
- 'Cutting the Gordian Knot' Article on libertarianism by R. W. Bradford
- Liberty Coin Service
- Reflection on working with Bradford, by Brian Doherty
- Memoir of Bradford, by Jesse Walker
- Memoir of Bradford and Liberty, by Timothy Virkkala