Frank Chodorov

Aaron M. Penn

[Reprinted from comments posted to an online discussion group, November 1999]

The eleventh child of Russian immigrants on the Lower West Side of New York, he was named Fishel Chodorowsky but was "always known as Frank Chodorov."1 A 1907 graduate of Columbia University, he had a textile business, followed by a mail-order clothing business, which succumbed to the Great Depression. After this disaster, he went into saleswork, but came to be best known as a promoter of libertarian ideas.An important influence on Chodorov was the writings of Henry George, apostle of free trade, free markets, and – unfortunately, some would say – the "Single Tax" on land, which was supposed to alleviate the evils of rent and private land-ownership. Sometime in the 'teens he read George's Progress and Poverty, which had a profound impact on his world-outlook. In 1941 he wrote of George: "His is the philosophy of free enterprise, free trade, free men."2 Another important mentor to Chodorov was the renowned essayist Albert Jay Nock, himself an extreme libertarian – I do not mean the word "extreme" as a criticism – and Georgist.