America's Next Top Hayekian Public Intellectual

Greg Ransom is running a silly poll. It’s silly because I’m on it, and there are apparently 16 people — putting me somewhere between my heroes Vernon Smith and Douglass North — who think I’m tops. Eat it Taleb. The volume of voting seems to be low, so we could take this, sports fans. Thomas Sowell? Don Boudreaux? Russ Roberts? Who are these people? Have you ever seen Israel Kirzner in public? I can’t say that I have.

Update: My office wall:

Author: Will Wilkinson

Vice President for Research at the Niskanen Center

14 thoughts

  1. I'd like to see you in public. As I've said many times before, it would be nice to see an articulate and genuinely intelligent defender of free markets, choice, and all that jazz on one of these shows like Real Time or Maddow instead of the easy targets they get to represent the opposition in order to seem like intellectual giants themselves. I mean, come on … how hard can it be to outwit Pat Buchanan in a debate about the moral and logical virtues of SCHIP, even if you're on the “pro” side. You don't need to be a Rhodes Scholar, I'll tell you that much. Besides, they are essentially both economic isolationists. I'm telling you, that pair is less a real policy debate, and more like a political Statler and Waldorf.

  2. Doug North is awesome – I used to work in his office as a lowly undergrad. He was always nice to me and a peppery bastard to ignorant journalists who just wanted a quote from a Nobel laureate.

  3. I voted for you, Will, despite some of the others being more well-known. I did so not only because I enjoy your stuff, but because you are among the few libertarian (or Hayekian, in this case) thinkers who is willing to admit uncertainty, think carefully, and entertain ideas outside of the traditional libertarian cannon.Your commentary on NPR this morning was a perfect example. Ending with the observation that you're not sure what lessons to take from other country, but that the Great Depression isn't a valid model was intellectually honest (humble, even) and actually contributed something useful to the discussion.With that, I'll go ahead and switch off fanboy mode.

  4. Jesse Walker – Jesse Walker is books editor of Reason. He is the author of Rebels on the Air: An Alternative History of Radio in America (NYU Press) and The United States of Paranoia: A Conspiracy Theory (HarperCollins).
    Jesse Walker says:

    You know, if a bunch of us would all vote for Mark Levin, that would really fuck with people's heads.

  5. This must be “Hayek”, the man who railed against the welfare state in the minds of American Hayek fans, vs actual Hayek.Also Hayek was wrong, incremental moves toward stronger state control of the economy or a stronger regulatory state – these don't lead toward authoritarianism. Nice theory though!

  6. You're winning, Will.It's a shame that more people don't know about Vernon Smith. This is a Nobel winner whose experiments show, empirically, the power of markets.

  7. Douglass North is really a remarkable man his noble prize winning work is undoubtedly one of the best around. I just got to know him through an essay on noble prize winners. Their economics theories are really amazing.

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