The Libertarian Tradition

Friedrich Hayek and American Science Fiction

Seeing a Hayekian angle in William Gibson's science fiction novel, Pattern Recognition, may lead more thinkers to Hayek's The Use of Knowledge in Society and his other work.
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Gary Chartier: The Conscience of an Anarchist

Chartier credits Rothbard more than Rand in shifting him from a statist to an anarchist. He deliberately does not use the L-word...
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Harry Browne and Andrew J. Galambos


Browne is known as the libertarian investment guru who wrote books like How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World. Galambos was the unknown libertarian, but those who met him and the students in his courses seemed profoundly effected by him and his Free Enterprise Institute.
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Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)

What Thoreau was defending here, in 1849, was essentially the same concept the English philosopher Herbert Spencer defended two years later, in his book Social Statics , as "the right to ignore the State."...
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Henry Hazlitt and the Rising Libertarian Generation

Part of the experience of reading Newsweek in the early 1960s was a weekly column called "Business Tides." It offered wide-ranging and insightful commentary on just about anything that had anything to do with the economy or with economics.
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Ira Levin (1929–2007)

Ira Levin died just over three years ago, on November 12, 2007, at the age of 78, the largely unsung author of one of the top half-dozen libertarian novels ever published in our language. This Perfect Day has been out of print in recent years, so largely unsung is it.
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Isabel Paterson: Early Libertarian


Autodidactic influential libertarian, Isabel Paterson is best known for The God of the Machine (1943). Ayn Rand contributed ideas to it but continued to learn from Paterson both politics and history. Rand rescued the book and promoted it.
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J.R.R. Tolkien as Libertarian


Tolkien's Lord of the Rings is thought to be the greatest work of the 20th century with 150 million readers. The book's thesis - Evil power cannot be defeated by power - is libertarian.
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James C. Scott: The Art of Not Being Governed

If Scott can excoriate most of his fellow historians for confounding "civilization" with "state-making," he himself can be excoriated for confounding statelessness with lack of government.
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Jane Jacobs (1916–2006)

Jacobs was a libertarian whether she knew it or not. The conclusions she drew were Misesian, just in a different way. Jacobs has also been compared to Hayek. Her The Death & Life of Great American Cities told essentially the same story as Hayek's The Use of Knowledge in Society.
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