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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/15173/i-chose-liberty/

I Chose Liberty

December 30, 2010 by

Walter Block leaned on 82 of the world’s most prominent libertarian thinkers and ask them to tell their life stories with an eye to intellectual development. The result is the most comprehensive collection of libertarian autobiographies ever published: I Chose Liberty. Their stories are thrilling and fascinating. They reveal their main influences, their experiences, their choices, and their ambitions.

There are some very interesting lessons here for everyone. We learn what gives rise to serious thought about liberty and what causes a person to dedicate a professional career or vocation to the cause. We also discover some interesting empirical information about the most influential libertarian writers.

Among those who contributed:

  • James C.W. Ahiakpor
  • D.T. Armentano
  • Charles W. Baird
  • Norman Barry
  • Toby Baxendale
  • James T. Bennett
  • Bruce L. Benson
  • David Bergland
  • Walter Block
  • Burton S. Blumert
  • Peter Boettke
  • Sam Bostaph
  • Hardy Bouillon
  • Bryan Caplan
  • Alejandro Chafuen
  • Brooks Colburn
  • Dan Cristian Comanescu
  • Roy Cordato
  • Jim Cox
  • Tyler Cowen
  • Dora de Ampuero
  • Karen De Coster
  • Thomas J. DiLorenzo
  • Michael Edelstein
  • Richard A. Epstein
  • Max Falque
  • Robert Formaini
  • Douglas E. French
  • Bettina Bien Greaves
  • James Gwartney
  • Roy Halliday
  • Ronald Hamowy
  • Ernest Hancock
  • John Hasnas
  • Randall G. Holcombe
  • John Hospers
  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Robert Klassen
  • Dan Klein
  • Peter Kurrild-Klitgaard
  • Robert Lawson
  • Leonard P. Liggio
  • Roderick T. Long
  • Alvin Lowi, Jr.
  • Heath MacCallum
  • Daniel McCarthy
  • Tibor R. Machan
  • Eric Mack
  • Jude Chua Soo Meng
  • Roberta Adelaide Modugno
  • Andrew P. Napolitano
  • Jan Narveson
  • David F. Nolan
  • Gary North
  • James Ostrowski
  • E.C. Pasour, Jr.
  • Ron Paul
  • Nando Pelusi
  • Lawrence W. Reed
  • George Reisman
  • Jeff Riggenbach
  • Llewellyn Rockwell, Jr.
  • Mary Ruwart
  • Joseph T. Salerno
  • James V. Schall
  • Ken Schoolland
  • Chris Matthew Sciabarra
  • Larry J. Sechrest
  • Jeremy Shearmur
  • Joseph Sobran
  • Robert Stewart
  • Alexander Tabarrok
  • Mark Thornton
  • Jerome Tuccille
  • Gordon Tullock
  • e Frank van Dun
  • Marc J. Victor
  • Peter Walters
  • Richard W. Wilcke
  • Anne Wortham
  • Steven Yates
  • Fernando Zanella


Ryno December 30, 2010 at 11:01 am

By my count, only 6 of the 82 are females. Why are not more females leading influences of libertarian thought?Any ideas? Is it a biological disposition for safety or something like that?

What concerns me is that if 1/2 of the population is by default not receptive to libertarianism, then our cause is even more difficult.

David Hayes December 30, 2010 at 2:01 pm

Nando Pelusi… Just at quick glance, whose name does this look like? Almost gave me a heart attack.

Ned Netterville December 30, 2010 at 2:07 pm

Missing: Carl Watner, editor of The Voluntaryist and author of several fine anarco-libertarian volumes.

Diogo December 30, 2010 at 2:21 pm

Is there a pdf. version available:

billwald December 30, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Someone save me the 20 bucks. Please define “liberty” in 20 words or less. Or finish the sentence “If I was more free I would . . . .” without referring to taxes, licenses, or smoking dope. Personally, I can do and do do anything my physical body and my wife permits.

bionic mosquito December 30, 2010 at 5:46 pm

““If I was more free I would . . . .” without referring to taxes, licenses, or smoking dope. ”

Let me translate: Excluding the things you are prevented from doing because you are not free, what things are you prevented from doing?

So, excluding keeping my wealth and disposing of it as I choose, having to ask permission to work or having my choices limited regarding whom I will work with, or doing what I want to my body…I am almost, kind of, a little free…I guess.

Is this a trick question?

Daniel Coleman December 30, 2010 at 8:03 pm

If I was more free I would be able to spend roughly 70% more of my income in the way that I choose.

(How is that so hard to comprehend?)

(postscript edit: this was meant as a reply to billwald, not “bionic mosquito”)

Reed December 30, 2010 at 9:54 pm

If I WERE freer…*

iawai December 31, 2010 at 12:08 pm

“without referring to taxes, licenses, or smoking dope”

Why not? It seems that those are pretty LARGE issues for someone who wants to choose his own path in life. Just because you have learned to live within your leash doesn’t mean that the leash is good for everyone.

Further, “taxes and licenses” are about the biggest issues libertarians must deal with, in addition to govt owned “public” property where the tragedy of the commons rears its ugly head on a daily basis; and socialized police, courts, and lawmakers that rely on us all to impart their short sighted and one-size-fits-all solutions, including banning cannabis, requiring licenses, and enforcing taxes.

Liberty: Not imposing on others your own worldview, values, or the costs of implementing such.

14 words – you happy now?

shane December 30, 2010 at 5:50 pm

“If I was more free I would:
1) not go broke every time I visit a pharmacy for drugs that cannot get you high and cannot be overdosed on and which I have been taking longer than most docs and pharms have been docs or pharmacists
2)Not miss my connecting flights while involuntarily performing sexual acts for people who are supposed to be protecting me
2-a) Not be prosecuted for offering to pay another to perform those same acts for me
3) Not pick up viruses and malwear every time I try to access information from government websites I paid for….involuntarily
4)Not be asked to prove that I am not drunk and don’t possess illegal drugs every time a traffick leech gets bored
5) Not be required to purchase consent from people who are supposedly mere extensions of myself before entering into contractual relationships with another. This is not merely a license/tax issue.
6)Not have to spend hours each day reading Mises.org, c4l, Lewrockwell.com, etc to get real information
7) Not be prosecuted for trying to sneak back into the USA after leaving without proper papers
8)Be able to purchase a toilet that completely removes waste in a single flush

Zeo285 December 30, 2010 at 6:29 pm

This sounds great! I’ts just a shame david gordon is’ent listed.

Stephan Kinsella December 30, 2010 at 8:24 pm

Also missing are Huelsmann, Hoppe, Jeff Tucker, Tim Virkkala. But you can’t have everything!

iawai December 31, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Any hope for a “I Chose Liberty: Blog”? It could give quotes from the book (or publish it in whole), and allow for those not in the book to leave their own stories. Moderators could direct the most popular people and stories to the front of the site. And best of all, non-”famous” libertarians might be able to share really good stories.

A Liberal in Lakeview December 31, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Why don’t you just go for it, iawai? There’s no need to wait for a savior to lead you to salvation, for no one saves another. So much the better if a “non-’famous’” libertarian, you perhaps, leads by his or her own example of starting the blog proposed.

Contact the compiler (Block) and the publisher (LvMI) to find out if copyright is claimed. Even if so, Stephan Kinsella or other attorney opposed to IP may be willing to give you advice on the matter, though of course not necessarily for free.

With your new blog you might also address the issue raised by Ryno, namely, the conspicuous underrepresentation of females, which I suspect is a product of self-selection by females.

Jim December 31, 2010 at 2:58 pm

I’d love to see you start your own blog of brainless insinuations and vague conversational dead-ends. You’ve got quite a library of material built up already, and you obviously have a talent for half-thoughts. Are you the guy that writes Mad-Libs?

A Liberal in Lakeview December 31, 2010 at 4:13 pm

Jim, wouldn’t you be more comfortable at, say, American Thinker?

Just be gentle with your keyboard on your way there, for you might have damaged it while banging out your vituperative response, your flurry of insults, your sneers, and your ironic demand, expressed with a cliche, that someone else do what you clearly are not willing to do yourself.

The article to which I linked is by Henry Percy, “a technical writer living in Arizona” who concludes his very brief remarks, ostensibly about “The Obamas’ Kwanzaa Message”, by musing that “the Left wonders why so many of us suspect – merely suspect – that our president is a Marxist.”

And yes, Jim. I am one who writes Mad-Libs. But not here.

Jim December 31, 2010 at 4:46 pm

Woah! You were holding out all this time. Save your best material for your blog, don’t waste it all on little ol’ me.

Also, what?

A Liberal in Lakeview January 4, 2011 at 5:59 pm

Indeed, Jim. A Liberal in Lakeview, not a leftist in Lakeview. No “classical” required. After all, what would a ‘nonclassical liberal’ be?

By the logic and intent employed with “classical liberal” it must be that leftists are counted among nonclassical liberals, which would be a silly way to describe an illiberal like the chardonnay socialist in the White House. Or the chardonnay socialists I spent a lot of time sailing with on Lake Michigan two summers ago. (FYI, the skipper is a thirtyish lawyer who used to work at Michelle Obama’s law firm pulling down over $200k and who claims that “Democrats are caring”, even though she doesn’t care enough to learn about the effects of her voting. You should have seen her swoon for Obama on the day we started talking about politics. Oh yes, dad bought her a 38′ Island Packet. That’s 38′ LOD with a full keel, cutter rigging, and two heads. Nice boat. A little slow, but it isn’t troubled the least by chop or 6′ swells.)

Anyhow, it’s just not the case that both I and the leftists are two different types of the same type of liberal, not even when lefty postures as an anarchist, as does Francois Tremblay, a “libertarian socialist” who informs his readers that “I censor the comment sections of my entries pretty heavily.”

What, oh what, else would Tremblay’s thinskinned libertarianism reveal about itself if the current crops of statists were dispersed by he and his ilk? Kevin Carson, a similar troubleseeker, can be found working as a “Research Associate” over at http://c4ss.org. And now I have strayed from the main topic, to which I will return later.

Say, whatever happened to “iawai”? (Pronounced “ee-uh-why”, I think.) He suggested that

It [the blog] could…

-give quotes from the book (or publish it in whole), and
-allow for those not in the book to leave their own stories.
-Moderators could direct the most popular people and stories to the front of the site. And best of all,
-non-”famous” libertarians might be able to share really good stories.

Maybe his post was a hit-and-run, but I don’t think so given his remark about liberty.

Liberty [is] Not imposing on others your own worldview, values, or the costs of implementing such.

14 words – you happy now?


It would seem that iawai is a multicultie but doesn’t even realize it.

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