Favorite Presidents

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    I recently watched a video where Ron Paul was asked which presidents in history his views most closely relates to. Ron did not have a decided answer to the question, almost skirted the question to suggest that his views were something new and revolutionary.

    My question is this, which presidents in history do any of you think most closely relate to libertarianism? If you feel there aren’t any than which do you feel best supported liberty, or were your favorite?


    A lot of people try to be cute and answer “William Henry Harrison, because he died before he could do anything,” but IMO the question should be limited to Presidents who have a record to scrutinize (“well that would include William Henry, because he has a record of dying in office!” – you know what I mean).

    A related “cute” answer is “I don’t have a favorite and neither should you, all these guys are criminals, it’s like asking who your favorite Mafia Don is” (It’s Lucky Luciano, btw). IMO if that’s your answer you can skip this question as “not relevant to your interests.”

    Anyhow I’ll answer it this way: I know there’s a sort of mini-boomlet for Coolidge now, but that shouldn’t detract. IMO he’s the last fairly good Republican President, and Cleavland is the last fairly good Democratic President (see? I can be bipartisan! Yippie!); sure they did some things that one can be critical of (no one is perfect), especially from an anarcho-libertarian standpoint (whose perspective is that no decent person should aspire to such an office in the first place), but they were basically concientious constitutionalists.

    Now, as for what my “cute” answer might be, another method of selecting a “favorite President” could be to pick the most brazen reprobate available, the one who most nakedly ruled contrary to the integrity of the office, who stole everything that wasn’t nailed down and openly favored his cronies and supporters, lavishing them with bounties and used his office to blatantly crush his enemies. In other words, the one who most readily serves as an illustrative example. But here there are so many contenders that it’s hard to crown just one without feeling like slighting another for whom a good case can be made.

    But if I was forced at gunpoint to choose right now from that deck full of jokers, I suppose I’d pick a man admired by “left and right” alike, Teddy Roosevelt, a man who forged new paths in all of these things and got away with it, grinning that big, shit-eating grin of his. (Counterargument: “but he didn’t build his legacy of Presidential greatness atop a pyramid of bodies, blown apart in wars started during his term, howevermuch he might have seemed like he wanted to, his reign was actually relatively peaceful.” To which all I can say is: I told you it’s a hard choice…)


    Clearly, the best presidents were:

    Kim Il Sung, President of North Korea (1972-1994)
    Idi Amin, President of Uganda (1971-79)
    Nicolae Ceausescu, President of Romania (1974-89)
    Adolf Hitler, President of Germany (1934-45)
    Jean-Bédel Bokassa, President of Central Africa (1966-76)
    Francois Duvalier, President of Haiti (1957-71)
    Francisco Macías Nguema, President of Equatorial Guinea (1968-79)


    The last good one by libertarian standards was probably Coolidge. As for a Ron Paul comparison, perhaps Robert A. Taft? Taft never got the GOP nomination (like Ron) but their views seem pretty similar (non-interventionism, free markets).


    My favorite is Tyler. I also have high opinions of Van Buren (solely as president), Jefferson, Madison (particularly as war president), Coolidge, and Cleveland. Dr. McClanahan has told me that he agrees about Tyler. I have a good opinion of Reagan too–alone among presidents in my lifetime.

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