People Who Have Been Trying To Control Your Life Since Reason Was Founded In 1968

 

 

In 2003, to celebrate 35 years of publishing a monthly magazine dedicated to Free Minds and Free Markets, reasonnamed “35 Heroes of Freedom”—innovators, economists, singers, anti-communists, pornographers, professional athletes, and even the occasional politician who contributed to making the world a freer place since 1968.

These weren’t necessarily the 35 best human beings to span the globe. Richard Nixon, for example, was selected for encouraging “cynicism about government” through his rampant abuses of power. And, well, let’s say Dennis Rodman hasn’t aged particularly well. But the list reflected the happy, unpredictable cacophony that has helped liberate the world one novel or deregulation or electric guitar at a time.

Our 45th anniversary has come along at a darker time. The post-9/11 lurch toward unchecked law enforcement power has now become a permanent feature of our bipartisan consensus, with a Democratic president now ordering assassinations of American teenagers and with millions of Americans unaware that the feds are combing through their telecommunications. Keynesians in Washington responded to the financial crisis of 2008 by ushering in a lost decade of government spending, sluggish growth, and the worst employment numbers since Jimmy Carter was president. And after an initially promising Arab Spring, whole swaths of the Middle East seem  poised for a long, sectarian, transnational war.

So it’s fitting that this time around we’re anointing reason’s 45 Enemies of Freedom. Again, these aren’t the worst human beings who bestrode the planet since 1968 (though Pol Pot and Osama bin Laden rank right down there). Some, like John McCain, are even genuine American heroes. What unites them is their active effort to control individuals rather than allow them free choice, to wield power recklessly rather than act on the recognition that the stuff inherently corrupts, and to popularize lies in a world that’s desperate for truth.

You’ll see some familiar names there (we can’t quit you, Tricky Dick!) and some others that deserve to be more notorious. But in our otherwise alphabetical list we’ll start with the man who nearly everyone on our staff nominated, a figure who embodies so much that is wrong with public policy and the political conversation in these United States.

 

1. Michael Bloomberg

 

 

Click here to read the whole list

Click here to cast your own vote for the biggest enemies of freedom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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