David R. Henderson  

Alan Bock, RIP

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Alan Bock, a pro-freedom editorial writer for the Orange County Register, died yesterday. I first saw a blog post about his going to a hospice just yesterday. That was fast. Alan was 67: I had actually thought he was younger.

In his editorials over the years, Alan covered the waterfront, defending freedom wherever it was under attack, which means pretty much everywhere. Along the way, he found time to write books on some of the subjects he wrote on, not superficial books, but books that dug deep, the kind of books a good reporter writes. He wrote, for example, Ambush at Ruby Ridge: How Government Agents Set Randy Weaver Up and Took His Family Down and Waiting to Inhale: The Politics of Medical Marijuana.

Everyone I knew who came away from a conversation with him thought he was a nice guy. I first met Alan at a Sci-Fi convention in Santa Barbara on the July 4th weekend in 1970. I had just graduated from the University of Winnipeg and was on what a friend called "a libertarian pilgrimage," in which I hitchhiked across Canada and down the U.S. West Coast, carrying my sleeping bag and sleeping on the floors and couches of various libertarians, famous and not. Alan and his girl friend at the time, Sharon Presley, and I stayed with Tibor Machan at his lovely home in Santa Barbara. I wasn't into Sci-Fi--I'm still not--but when I met Sharon in San Francisco, she told me that that was the place to go if I wanted to meet a lot of libertarians. That's where I first met David Friedman.

I was at a Liberty Fund conference with Alan just four months ago in San Diego. He seemed healthy. In fact, he had the energy to do interviews with a number of the attendees. He interviewed Larry Korb, Ivan Eland, Doug Bandow, Michael Scheuer, Peter Mentzel, and me.

I will miss him.

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COMMENTS (4 to date)
David in OC writes:

The then Santa Ana Register was one of the few (maybe only?) West Coast newspapers that opposed the internment of US citizens of Japanese descent in 1942. I can't speak for their entire editorial history since then, but while other papers were extolling the growth of California's gov't. and spending, especially issuance of public debt for vanity projects like stem cells and high speed rail, the Register has remained nearly prophetic (and solitary) in its opposition. Here's hoping the bench is deep enough to replace Alan Bock.

Daniel Klein writes:

Oh no. Sad.

When at UC-Irvine I became friends with Alan. Really nice guy, gentle, composed, jovial. Always an easy and natural smile. He gave us at UCI a couple of good talks, advancing liberty, of course.

Richard A. writes:

Try to imagine if there was a major energy breakthrough so we no longer needed oil. I don't believe that this would lead to a reduction in military expenditures.

Don Boudreaux writes:

Omigosh. I had no idea. I never met Alan, but corresponded with him often. Suddenly - over the past few months - that correspondence mysteriously stopped. I wondered why. Now I know the awful reason. Thanks for this lovely post, David.

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