Libertarian History/Philosophy

John Blundell, R.I.P.

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John Blundell, among the most important leaders and administrators of the modern organized libertarian movement in both his native U.K. and the United States, has died at age 61.

Blundell ran vital libertarian organizations on both sides of the Atlantic: The Institute for Humane Studies in the U.S. from 1988-91, and the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in the U.K. from 1993-2009. He also helmed an organization designed for worldwide influence, the Atlas Economic Research Foundation from 1987-91.

Blundell was also a scholar and biographer of Margaret Thatcher, the British politician whose market bonafides were to a large degree informed by and propped up by the work of the IEA in promoting and spreading research and journalism of a free-market bent in the U.K. Blundell appreciated the impact of popular culture as well as scholarship, writing comic book bios of both Ayn Rand and Thatcher. His last book was a study and celebration of the role of women in the spread of libertarian ideas, Ladies for Liberty.

There's an informative and warm obituary for Blundell from the Atlas Network, which helps seed and guide free-market think tanks and organizations internationally, which Blundell, as stated above, ran (under its earlier name) and stayed involved with 'til the end of his life.

Blundell was a good friend of Reason and the Reason Foundation and often stressed the vital influence of the work of Reason's Robert Poole in spreading the ideas of the denationalization of government property and functions in the Thatcher years.

Blundell wrote an important volume summing up his thoughts and observations on the strategies, institutions, and leading figures of the modern libertarian movement. He called it Waging the War of Ideas. He always understood it was a long war, and I hope he knew how vital his contributions were to the considerable progress that has been made since he joined it. Generations of libertarian-minded scholars, journalists, and publicists certainly know it.

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