Mondays with Murray: Who Was the "Best" U.S. President?Submitted by Marc Clair on Mon, 06/17/2013 - 11:01
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!
Rothbard cites Martin Van Buren due to his pro-peace stance, his support for free market economics and desire for the complete separation of government from money. Rothbard appreciated Van Buren as one of the few politicians in history who was able to effectively maneuver politically while at the same time sticking to principles