In mainstream discussions of who the “best” U.S. Presidents have been, we usually hear the same few names over and over. The names “Lincoln” and “Roosevelt” are often found towards the top of the list. Typically those Presidents seen as having been the “best” are those who have served to expand the role of government the most, and those two certainly fit the bill.
Libertarians who view government as Murray Rothbard did – as a “gang of thieves writ large” – would logically judge Presidents in the opposite manner. Judging Presidents from this viewpoint is somewhat like judging serial killers. The “best” President, from a libertarian point of view, would be the one who either decreased the size of government or expanded it the least, just as the “best” serial killer would probably have to be the one that killed the least amount of people.
So who did “Mr. Libertarian” view as the “best” – aka “least bad” U.S. President, from the libertarian viewpoint? Luckily for our readers, we have this clip from the Q&A portion of 1989 Murray Rothbard speech entitled “The Current State of World Affairs”, where Murray answers this very question!
Van Buren is not appreciated very much by history - mostly associated with the “Panic of 1837″ and the recession that accompanied it. He was voted out of office after four years, and is nary more than a mention in most history books. After all, he didn’t do anything “great” – no wars, no bank bailouts – what a loser! This is the very reason Rothbard saw him as the “best” – aka “least bad” – U.S. President.
And if that weren’t enough to make Van Buren the ‘best” President, he also inspired the Van Buren Boys!
Check out our past editions of Mondays with Murray!
610/13 – Rothbard on State Surveillance
5/27/13 – Rothbard on America’s “Two Just Wars”
5/20/13 – Do Animals Have “Rights”
5/13/13 – A Further Insight on IP
5/6/13 - The Boston Lockdown
4/29/13 – The Problem with Empirical Studies
4/22/13 – The Real Story of the Whiskey Rebellion
4/15/13 – What is an Entrepreneur?
4/8/13 – Rothbard on Intellectual Property
3/11/13 – Rothbard on Lysander Spooner
3/4/13 – Rothbard on Statism
2/25/13 – Rothbard on John Bolton and Ann Coulter
2/18/13 – Rothbard vs. Krugman on $9 Minimum Wage
2/11/13 – Time To Hoard Nickels
2/4/13 - The Death of Keynesian Economics
1/28/13 – Competition and Monopoly
1/21/13 – Rothbard Down The Memory Hole?
1/14/13 – We Are Not The Government
1//7/13 – Why Does Someone Become A Statist?
12/10/12 – Rothbard on Conspiracy Theory
12/3/12 – Rothbard on Secession
11/26/12 – Rothbard on the Drug War
11/19/12 – Rothbard on the Euro Crisis
11/12/12 – Rothbard on the Lions of Liberty
11/5/12 – Rothbard on Voting and Gas Lines
10/29/12 – Mythbusting the “Free Market Cartel”
10/22/12 – Rothbard on the Two Party Charade
10/15/12 – Rothbard on Private Roads
10/8/12 – Rothbard on Private Law
10/1/12 – Rothbard on Ron Paul
9/24/12 – Rothbard on Quantitative Easing