WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (May 2-8, 2011)

IN MEMORIAM

Richard Cornuelle, Libertarian Author, Dies at 84.” By Margalit Fox. New York Times. May 3, 2011. Richard Cornuelle, a libertarian writer whose best-known book, Reclaiming the American Dream, championed volunteerism as a means of addressing social problems like poverty, unemployment, delinquency and urban blight, died on April 26 at his home in Manhattan. He was 84. Published in 1965, Reclaiming the American Dream was Mr. Cornuelle’s first book. In it, he used the phrase “independent sector” to describe the network of existing voluntary associations — foundations, churches, labor unions, trade groups and fraternal organizations — that, he argued, could marshal their resources to solve a range of contemporary ills more efficiently than government could. The book received wide attention, as did Mr. Cornuelle (pronounced cornell), whose political ideology — neither undiluted conservatism nor undiluted liberalism — defied easy classification. He was perhaps most accurately described as a classical liberal in the 19th-century sense of the term, advocating the rights of individuals while seeking to limit the reach of government. In the 1950s, Mr. Cornuelle was vice president and editorial director of the Princeton Panel, a center for the study of American capitalism; he was later executive vice president of the National Association of Manufacturers. He helped found several nonprofit organizations, including United Student Aid Funds (now USA Funds), which guarantees student loans. His other books include De-Managing America: The Final Revolution (1975) and Healing America (1983). Though the news media of the 1960s often described Mr. Cornuelle as a conservative, he later bristled at the term, his wife said on Friday. In any case, he took pains throughout his life to articulate his personal construction of the word. As he told Life magazine in 1968, “The notion that a conservative is indifferent to human problems is part of a myth — the same myth that says the government is the only instrument that can solve social problems.”

Leave a Reply