Dusting off Tucker (Benjamin, not Jeffrey)
MAY 13, 2014 by LAWRENCE W. REED
The literature of liberty, free markets, and individualism is immensely rich and getting richer with each passing year. Today's great minds are building on yesterday's greats. Taken as a whole, liberty’s library constitutes a most incredible collection of inspiration and insight into the boundless potential of human society. The only sad thing about it all is the extent to which those of an anti-liberty, statist perspective won’t tell their acolytes about it. Have you ever noticed how well “our side” knows Marx and Keynes while those on the other only think they know Hayek, Mises, Friedman, or even Smith?
Among the great thinkers of barely a century ago was Benjamin Ricketson Tucker. Critic of corporate welfare and a welfare state of any kind, Tucker edited and published a remarkable journal called Liberty from 1881 to 1908. It featured the bylines of many other great minds as well. Tucker was a fascinating advocate of “individualist anarchism,” which he also called “unterrified Jeffersonianism.”
In September 2013, the Foundation for Economic Education cosponsored a conference in the Czech Republic. Our partner in the effort was CEVRO, a private college in Prague devoted to advancing liberty ideas. Among the students in attendance was Lukáš Nikodym. He approached me afterward with a project he and his brother Tomas were contemplating: an online book of selected articles from Tucker’s old journal. “Will you write the foreword?” Lukáš asked. I hesitated not a second.
The book is now available, and I commend it to our readers, along with these related materials:
- “The Individualist Anarchists: An Anthology of Liberty" (1881-1908)” by Greg Pavlik
- “Forgotten Critic of Corporatism” by Sheldon Richman
- Liberty Fund’s Online Library of Liberty