Remembering David Therax – Econlib

Today was David Therax’s birthday. David died, a month ago, on April 23rd. I have met David over the years and always found him attractive and kind, but he had a reputation for being a tough guy. I admired him for the think tank he created.

He was the founder and president of the Independent Institute. In the relatively small market of classical liberal / liberal think tanks, the Independent Institute wanted to be both scholarly and fundamentalist, a combination that sounds simple on paper – scholars should not be more independent in their thinking and writing than policy experts who have some connection to the world of politics. ? – It’s better than practice. But Therax came close, and he did so by sticking to one of the most traditional think tank activities: publishing serious books and publishing in one of the few public libertarian journals, Independent review. This is a very long term approach. Of course the Independent Institute has a blog and its social media activity: if you want to see these days alive, you can’t avoid these things. However, I realize that this is obviously of lesser importance than the long-term propagation of ideas.

The books published by the Independent Institute are noteworthy: their catalog includes some “classics”, at least within the boundaries of our movement (I think of Dominic Armentano). Distrust and exclusiveBruce Benson To serve and protectOf Dowd and Timberlake Money and the Nation StateExcellent Volunteer City Edited by Berto, Gordon and Tabarrok); Some provocative leaflets (such as Alvaro Vargas Loser) Che Guevara Myth) And a good number of titles that would deserve to be better known (our own Scott Sumner Midas paradox Or Immigration economy Edited by Ben Powell, for example). Independent reviews are even more remarkable. Its founding editor, Robert Higgs, is a notable (and much less valued) economic historian and has left his mark on the journal. Besides Crisis and LeviathanHiggs has written many important works, probably my favorite Depression, war, and the Cold War. Challenging the myth of conflict and prosperity, A real eye-opener. In many ways, he is that rare bird: a scholar who is both outspoken and strict.

His successor as editor Independent review (Chris Coyne, Mike Munger and Robert Hopples) are doing a great job. “Independent scholarship developed by an independent mind” sounds a bit like an advertising prank, but in this case a fair description.

His long-standing relationship with Higgs suggests that David had a clear vision for his think tank, that philosophy (if you like) should take it forward and that it should promote it – and maintain it for a while. 35 years. Not bad. His legacy is extremely relevant to classical liberals around the world.

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