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Greatest libertarians

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Eugene Posted: Fri, Feb 17 2012 4:49 PM

My list:

 

 

1. John Locke
John Locke is the father of classical liberalism. His theory of natural rights, homesteading, individualism and property rights provide the foundation for the entire movement. He is definitely the greatest libertarian of all times.
 
2. Murray Rothbard
This genius of original thinking almost single handedly invented and matured the anarcho-capitalism political theory. His writings on economy, legal issues, history and philosophy are so extensive and so innovative, that his place as the greatest intellectual of the 20th century is guaranteed.
 
3. Adam Smith
Adam Smith provided the foundation of libertarian economics. He gave 19th century the sharpest defense for accumulation of wealth and for free trade. He successfully criticized mercantilism, and his influence on policy makers and the general public is unsurpassed by any other libertarian.
 
4. Ludwig Von Mises
Ludwig Von Mises's contribution to the philosophical basis for libertarian economy (praxeology), his theory on calculation problems of centrally planned economies, and his explanation of business cycles gives Ludwig Von-Mises a place as the greatest economist of the 20th century. But even more important was Mises's foundation of Austrian school of economics, the only school of economics in the 20th century that kept the fire of true libertarianism and didn't let it extinguish.
 
5. Milton Friedman
The achievement of Milton Friedman doesn't lie in development of economics. His achievement lies in making capitalism popular again in the late 20th century. His political activism as advisor to Reagan and his contribution in eliminating the draft in the United States were dwarfed by his ability to sway millions of people to free market economics and liberty principles.
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Wheylous replied on Fri, Feb 17 2012 5:01 PM

1) Believed in restrictions on the accumulation of property and believed in welfare

3) None of his ideas were new for his time. He also believed in absolute advantage

5) Alright, I'll give you some leeway here.

Also, 4 should come before 2.

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Also, 4 should come before 2.

!?!?

Rothbard should be #1 on that list.

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Neodoxy replied on Sat, Feb 18 2012 12:27 AM

 

"!?!?

Rothbard should be #1 on that list."

Who didn't see that coming? Not judgin, just sayin.

Why do you believe that Rothbard was the greatest libertarian?

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Bert replied on Sat, Feb 18 2012 12:36 AM

I give the benefit of doubt that someone who's really only read Rothbard would make such a dogmatic claim. Rothbard may be in the top 5, but not number 1.  There's too many libertarian activists and authors for even myself to make a list, especially one like this.  Bastiat?  Nock?  Read?  Chodorov?  Spooner?  Hoppe?  The list would take the form of core libertarian authors one needs to read from the past 100 years or so.  To be honest, this is something that Jeffrey Tucker should take on (I'm sure he can make a rather extensive list).

I had always been impressed by the fact that there are a surprising number of individuals who never use their minds if they can avoid it, and an equal number who do use their minds, but in an amazingly stupid way. - Carl Jung, Man and His Symbols
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The greatest libertarian is the guy who minded his own fucking business.

 

 

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Bert replied on Sat, Feb 18 2012 2:07 AM

I concur with your sentiment, but not sure how serious the statement is as I see your user name and avatar.

I had always been impressed by the fact that there are a surprising number of individuals who never use their minds if they can avoid it, and an equal number who do use their minds, but in an amazingly stupid way. - Carl Jung, Man and His Symbols
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Malachi replied on Sat, Feb 18 2012 12:34 PM
Ayn Rand should be #1 on that list, of course.

haha, dont stone me

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Ayn Rand does need to be on the list, as well as Nozick.  If you asked any non-libertarian to make the list, assuming they were at least educated, it would probably go:

  1. Rand
  2. Hayek
  3. Nozick
  4. Friedman
  5. Rothbard 

they said we would have an unfair fun advantage

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Lewis S. replied on Sat, Feb 18 2012 2:31 PM

I wouldn't argue with anyone putting Spooner on their list.

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My Buddy replied on Sat, Feb 18 2012 2:45 PM

Molinari and Bastiat ought to be up there

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Marko replied on Sat, Feb 18 2012 3:44 PM

Rothbard is #1 and then there isn't anyone after him for a very, very long time. And only then you have the distant second, third, etc.


Also Rand and Hayek for me don't even belong on a list of libertarians as such.

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Rothbard is #1 and then there isn't anyone after him for a very, very long time. And only then you have the distant second, third, etc.

QFT!

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Eugene replied on Sat, Feb 18 2012 3:49 PM

Okay, I revise my list and put Thomas Jefferson as #3, thus displacing Friedman.

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I'd have the list be based on tw othings, contributions and impact.

I would say that Rothbard's contributions and impact are both high, but he did not originate the theories.  He systamized Mises/Nock/Spooner/Locke et al.

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Eugene replied on Sat, Feb 18 2012 5:05 PM

What are you talking about? He basically invented anarcho-capitalism and showed how it can be practical.

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From my previous post

 

"He systamized Mises/Nock/Spooner/Locke et al."

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Eugene replied on Sat, Feb 18 2012 5:21 PM

 

My updated list.
 
 
1. John Locke
John Locke is the father of classical liberalism. His theory of natural rights, homesteading, individualism and property rights provide the foundation for the entire movement. He is definitely the greatest libertarian of all times.
 
2. Murray Rothbard
This genius of original thinking almost single handedly invented and matured the anarcho-capitalism political theory. His writings on economy, legal issues, history and philosophy are so extensive and so innovative, that his place as the greatest intellectual of the 20th century is guaranteed.
 
3. Thomas Jefferson
While Locke was the founder of liberalism, Thomas Jefferson was its first practitioner. The declaration of independence of the United States that he authored is a huge monument for limited and restrained government. Jefferson has contributed immensely to the successful and in fact the only implementation of libertarian ideals in a modern state. 
 
4. Adam Smith
Adam Smith provided the foundation of libertarian economics. He gave 19th century the sharpest defense for accumulation of wealth and for free trade. He successfully criticized mercantilism, and his influence on policy makers and the general public is unsurpassed by any other libertarian.
 
5. Ludwig Von Mises
Ludwig Von Mises's contribution to the philosophical basis for libertarian economy (praxeology), his theory on calculation problems of centrally planned economies, and his explanation of business cycles gives Ludwig Von-Mises a place as the greatest economist of the 20th century. But even more important was Mises's foundation of Austrian school of economics, the only school of economics in the 20th century that kept the fire of true libertarianism and didn't let it extinguish.
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Eugene replied on Sat, Feb 18 2012 5:21 PM

But neither of them was an anarchist!

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I totally think you should lose Adam Smith.  Statists cling to Smith for some of their basic economic arguments.  I'd use John Stuart Mill instead.

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1) Rothbard

2) Mises

3) Jefferson

4) Spooner

5) Locke

*honorable mentions: Friedman, Ron Paul, and Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged was the first book i ever fully read. The book help me, at the time, feel like there has to be true individualist other than myself.)

 

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Mill?  He was a statist if there ever was one.

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Oh c'mon, in the classical tradition, there aren't any better than Mill.  He's no Spooner, haha, but I don't mean to be in tier of "anarchist" as opposed to 'libertarian' or 'classical liberal.'

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Bert replied on Sat, Feb 18 2012 10:37 PM

I would say that Rothbard's contributions and impact are both high, but he did not originate the theories.  He systamized Mises/Nock/Spooner/Locke et al.

I feel if you're going to make a list like this it should be varied, and putting down the originators is something that needs to be taken into consideration.  As far as putting Rand...like 2 years ago I would have agreed, but besides her fiction I don't see much to offer once you get in depth with her.  I could completely disregard Objectivism and be fine with it, and I don't really see what Objectivism has to offer to the Austro-libertarian or anarcho-capitalist framework when you can find actual theorists who make good contributions.  (Well, she can be on the list, but not top 5.)

I had always been impressed by the fact that there are a surprising number of individuals who never use their minds if they can avoid it, and an equal number who do use their minds, but in an amazingly stupid way. - Carl Jung, Man and His Symbols
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Rodriguez replied on Sat, Feb 18 2012 11:56 PM

There is a big difference between ranking Libertarians and ranking Economists.  I feel some of you are attempting to do both.

Here's my list of Libertarians, which are more of a activist nature, and more influential, than the academic/philosopher type.

1.  Rothbard

2.  Paul, history will prove it...

3.  Jefferson

4.  Mises

5.  Rand

 

If we are speaking Libertarian Economists/Philosphers:

Bohm-Bawerk

Mises

Rothbard

Bastiat

 

Wieser

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