Many thanks to Wally Conger (2007-04-04) for pointing this out. The 1980 short documentary Karl Hess: Toward Liberty can now be watched in three parts on YouTube. It’s a fascinating and sympathetic look at Hess — once a Republican columnist and speechwriter for Barry Goldwater, who after 1964 became, by turns, a movement libertarian, anti-war radical, tax resister, anarchist revolutionary, and advocate of decentralism and what we might now call
sustainable technology. It’s also a great primer on many of the ideas behind individualist anarchism and left-libertarianism.
My favorite bit from the documentary comes in part 2. Hess says something really profound here which I want to say something about sometime soon. I don’t have all the words for it yet, but I think that this has a close connection — probably a much closer connection than even Hess himself realized — with the solution to the problem that he mentions in another of my favorite Hess quotations — this one from 1982 documentary Anarchism in America. I hope I’ll have more to say about this later, or maybe even sooner.
The ideological revolutions, the kind that we’ve mostly had lately, have as their purpose to seize power. It occurs to me that the really American revolution, would be to destroy power. See, I don’t think of society as some big thing… society is people together making culture, and I think the most crucial part of all the considerations about social matters, is scale: society, in fact, is neighborhoods, and I think it should be that in practice.
–Karl Hess, interviewed in Karl Hess: Toward Liberty (1980)