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Most libertarian US presidents

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sirmonty posted on Tue, Jan 27 2009 9:43 AM

Out of curiosity, who does Mises.org think are the 5 most libertarian presidents the US has ever had?

 

Obviously, none of them were 100%, but if you had to choose, who would they be?

 

EDIT:  Also, who do you feel are the top 5 least libertarian?

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Solomon replied on Tue, Jan 27 2009 12:52 PM

Perhaps my memory doesn't serve as well as it used to, but I recall at least three other threads with "best/worst US presidents" as a topic in this forum.

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Byzantine:

One more:  Lyndon Baines Johnson.

Vietnam:  pointless, stupid war that wiped out a whole cohort of young men and gave the Marxists their cause celebre.

Great Society:  absolutely destroyed the black family, unprecedented usurpation of private property rights.

I agree he was a terrible president, but I'm curious:  How did the Great Society destroy the black family?

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After some thought, here are mine and some thoughts on some of the others:

1.  Thomas Jefferson - a no brainer.  Sure, some times he was talk and no action (his critique of the social contract, but taking it nowhere), but he is so central to classical liberal (and by extension - libertarian) thought that he would also be included in my top 10 American libertarians.  Amusingly, during the 30s he was re-imagined as a proto-New Dealer of all things, and thats probably why he was put on the nickel in 1938.

2. Grover Cleveland - Probably by and large the best a president will ever get in post-War Between the States days.  Vetoed the GOP's porky pension extensions to Union veterans (meanwhile, Confederate veterans had to pay the taxes to fund the pensions, but got no pensions themselves), denounced the Hawaiian imperialism, and strengthened the Gold Standard.

3. James Monroe - A surprise to some, considering the so called Monroe Doctrine, but I credit him with the wise course taken during the Panic of 1819 that helped it end quickly.

4. John Tyler - The often-forgotten Virginian called 'his accidency' due to the death of his running mate WH Harrison.  Although a Whig, he stopped the recharter of the Bank of the United States dead in its tracks.   His rather free market policies caused the Whig Party to expel him.  During his elder years, he entered politics again as a Confederate States Representative for Virginia.  

5. Calvin Coolidge - Although a protectionist,  during his presidency the GOP began to adopt a more free market stance.  He completed the Washington Naval Treaty pursued by Harding,  a great 'isolationist' peace treaty.  However, even though he opposed Prohibition, it was still enforced brutally.

Some of you mentioned Andrew Jackson.  While he had some good qualities, one shant forget the 'Force Bill' that was used to threaten his own Vice President, John Calhoun.  Calhoun and the South Carolina state house wisely nullified the Tariff of Abominations that would crush the South economically.   Even though Jackson himself was a Southerner, he denounced what was basically the Southern position on free trade.

And my own 'worst list' looks much like everyone elses:

1. Lincoln - A war criminal, rank protectionist, and corporatist, now used as disgusting symbol for state worship at his own pagan temple.

2. FDR - In my opinion, after the New Deal the US government will never get smaller again.  Also the father of gun control (National Firearm Act of 1934) Thanks Roosevelt.

3. Wilson - need I say more?

4. LBJ -  Helping to destroy the black family and making the welfare state permanent.  Also gave us the Gun Control Act of 1968.

5. GWB.

 

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Andrew replied on Tue, Jan 27 2009 6:27 PM

I'd buy worst president derivatives on Obama. If he doesn't make them illegal by then anyway.

Who do you think would be the worst president to never have been? My money is on Hamilton or Clay.

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If Pro is the opposite of Con. What is the opposite of Progress?

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Sage replied on Tue, Jan 27 2009 6:30 PM

William Henry Harrison - he served only 32 days in office.

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Andrew replied on Tue, Jan 27 2009 6:35 PM

Sage:

William Henry Harrison - he served only 32 days in office.

Did not have enough time to screw things up.

Democracy is nothing more than replacing bullets with ballots

 

If Pro is the opposite of Con. What is the opposite of Progress?

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Andrew:
I'd buy worst president derivatives on Obama.

Considering the fact the two presidents he's aspiring to be ike are unanimously already on the terribe president list, its a great investment.

Abstract liberty, like other mere abstractions, is not to be found.

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liberty student:

I just wanted to make sure Cal got on the list.  I'm a big fan.  Smile

Harding is greater than Cal, by far.  :)

As a side note, everytime someone says Barack Obama is the first black president I remind them that Harding was alleged by the dixiecrats to be part black and likely was.

 

 

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How has no one mentioned John Adams...?

Alien and Sedition Acts?

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nibbler491:

How has no one mentioned John Adams...?

Alien and Sedition Acts?

Though in no way is he inculpable for that legislation, it was more the federalists in Congress that truly wanted it, Adams was more a less a coward who didn't want to stand up to his own party.

 

Abstract liberty, like other mere abstractions, is not to be found.

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laminustacitus:
Though in no way is he inculpable for that legislation, it was more the federalists in Congress that truly wanted it, Adams was more a less a coward who didn't want to stand up to his own party.

On that issue yes, but to be fair, in general Adams stood up bravely to his party (most notably concerning their clamoring for war with France) to such an extent that Hamilton wrote a vicious tract against him and the powerful "high Federalists" became utterly exasperated with his presidency.

I recommend McCullough's book on Adams.

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Hard to pick because no one has been truly libertarian in totality yet, but i guess

Best:

1. Jefferson - yes, his presidency was by and large mild, but how can any libertarian not like Jefferson.  He's my greatest president mostly because I think he was the greatest of all the founding fathers.

2. Coolidge - anyone who can be small government minded is going to be up there, he gets two mostly because he was so laissez faire.  Yes, he liked tarriffs, but honestly they aren't the worst thing that could happen and compared to every president after him he has the best record.

3. Van Buren - same reasons, small government, etc

4. Harding - managed the 1920 recession excellently, showed the 20th century exactly what should be done in recessions, little bit too much scandal though

5. Washington - I only put him here because he voluntarily limited himself to two terms setting he standard until the constitution was amended

Worst:

1. Lincoln - duh, set the stage for tyranny in America, a murderer, theif, and all around despot.  The antithesis to Jefferson.

2. FDR - nearly as tyrannical as Lincoln, stealing gold, guns, and unprecedented amounts of the citizenry's money.  If it wasn't for this guy then the 20th century would never have embraced government centralization so happily and totally.

3. Wilson - Same, suspended habeus corpus, censored free speech, set the stage for the UN, founding father of a one world government

4. Lyndon B Johnson - Medicare, Medicaid, Vietnam, i mean, this guy was awful.  Plus, he killed Kennedy...jk   : )

5. G Dubya Jr. - nuff said

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Best: 1.Thomas Jefferson - without him there would be no liberty in the whole world 2.Abraham Lincoln - abolished slavery 3.John Kennedy - Silver Certificates to End the FED, Anti-Communist, Ordered the Report from Iron Mountain asking what would be if there would be world wide Peace. Worst: 1.Woodrow Wilson - FED, Income Tax, Senator Election, World War1 and its consequences 2.Theodore Roosevelt(deviously helped Woodrow Wilson get elected in 1912, called Thomas Paine a "filthy little atheist", National Parks) LBJ, FDR, GWB, Obama, Truman, Clinton, many others
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