Professor of philosophy, 1972 Libertarian Presidential candidate
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  • John Hospers

    John Hospers (9 June 1918 – 12 June 2011) was an American philosopher and political activist. Hospers was interested in Objectivism and was once a friend of Ayn Rand, though she later broke with him. In 1972 Hospers became the first presidential candidate of the Libertarian Party, and was the only minor party candidate to receive an electoral vote in that year's U.S. presidential election.


    Hospers, John (1918-2011), by David Boaz, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Biographical essay
    "John Hospers is a philosopher and the first presidential nominee of the U.S. Libertarian Party. Hospers is best known to philosophers for his work in aesthetics, especially his book Understanding the Arts. ... In New York, he became acquainted with Ayn Rand and helped introduce her work to professional philosophers as editor of The Personalist and The Monist. In 1971, he published a comprehensive work, Libertarianism: A Political Philosophy for Tomorrow. That book and his academic stature made him the first presidential candidate of the fledgling Libertarian Party in 1972."
    Related Topic: Libertarian Party

    Images - John Hospers
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    Advocates for Self-Government, Board of Advisors
    University of Southern California, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy

    Web Pages

    Advocates for Self-Government - Libertarian Education: John Hospers - Libertarian
    Includes photograph, biography by Bill Winter and quote
    "John Hospers has two significant 'firsts' by his name: he was the first presidential candidate of the Libertarian Party, and his book Libertarianism was one of the first full-length studies of the modern libertarian philosophy. ... In 1961, Hospers was introduced to novelist Ayn Rand. The meeting blossomed into friendship, and the two spent many evenings in philosophical conversation. Hospers later recalled those talks as 'among the most intellectually exhilarating of my life.' ... In 2002, an hour-long video about his life, work, and philosophy was released by the Liberty Fund of Indianapolis as part of its Classics of Liberty series."
    Libertarian Party: Campaign 2000: Presidential Campaign
    Includes introduction, look back at previous presidential campaigns and basic information and links for the nominees: Harry Browne and Art Olivier
    "John Hospers and Theodora 'Tonie' Nathan made history when, in 1972, they were nominated as the Libertarian Party's first presidential and vice-presidential candidates. Although the Hospers-Nathan ticket only made the ballot in two states and received less than 3,000 votes, they were the first and only Libertarians to receive an electoral college vote. Hospers, a professor of philosophy at USC, also authored Libertarianism, one of the Libertarian movement's great defining books in its early years."
    Libertarian Party: History: Presidential & Vice-Presidential Candidates
    "1972: Hospers/Nathan
    Presidential Candidate: John Hospers
    Vice Presidential Candidate: Theodora (Tonie) Nathan
    On the ballot: 2 states
    Votes: 3,907"
    Our Campaigns - Candidate - John Hospers
    Includes photograph, biographical details and information essay, links to races and results, endorsements given and news items
    "John Hospers (born 9 June 1918) was the first presidential candidate of the United States Libertarian Party, running in the 1972 presidential election. He has also been an educator, a magazine edior, and a prolific writer. ... Recognizing that Rand's ethical system could also be supported by others unfamiliar with Objectivist epistemology and metaphysics, he codified a somewhat broader common principle that opposes the initiation of physical force (see non-aggression principle); this formulation later became the certification statement (or 'pledge') required for membership in the United States Libertarian Party."


    An open reply to John Hospers, by Brad Spangler, Rational Review, 25 Oct 2004
    Response to a Hospers email endorsing George W. Bush over John Kerry or Michael Badnarik; includes the text of the email, dated 22 Oct 2004, after the reply to let "the reader make up their own mind"
    "I ... received a forwarded email from a notable man recently, one worthy of great respect -- Dr. John Hospers ... It is with no small amount of trepidation that I write a rebuttal to the sincere plea of a beloved Libertarian Elder Statesman. ... Notable also is where Hospers' criticism of the Democratic Party stumbles, although it is mostly dead on. In cataloging the horrors the Democratic Party is filled with, he cites anti-Semitism. ... when John Hospers talks about potential Democratic electoral funny-business ... he conspicuously fails to mention that there are equivalent concerns relating to the GOP."
    Related Topic: Michael Badnarik
    Begrudging Another Battle of Ballot-Boxing, by Kenneth R. Gregg, 23 Nov 2006
    Explains how those seeking power through politics are led to compromise, even if they are members of a group espousing principles over expediency, and urges others not to ballot-box but instead vote in the marketplace and the social realm
    "When John Hospers arrived at the Los Angeles Airport from the first Libertarian Party Convention in Colorado, June, 1972, I was there waiting for a friend of mine ... When I saw Dr. Hospers (we had met previously at a USC Conference), I asked him ... what fool had received the LP Convention nomination as their presidential candidate. He looked at me somewhat oddly and mumbled to me as he passed on. I discovered later that he was the Grand Elector."
    Hero of the Day - John Hospers (2), The Daily Objectivist, 2000
    Reworded version of the other "Hero of the Day" article on Hospers, with a different excerpt from his Full Context interview
    "Their largest area of 'intelligent agreement' seemed to be in aesthetics (Hospers has authored a text on the subject, Understanding the Arts). ... He had more questions when it came to ethics and epistemology. Indeed, it is clear from the electric correspondence that passed between them, some of it published in The Letters of Ayn Rand, that he played a crucial role in her intellectual development. Many of her letters—answering objections raised by Hospers—are virtually first drafts of later essays. His impact on Rand's thought has still not been adequately credited by scholars of her work."
    John Hospers - Hero of the Day, The Daily Objectivist, 2000
    Highlights of Hospers "Memories of Ayn Rand", followed by two excerpts from his Full Context interview
    "John Hospers has lived a somewhat quieter life than a philosophical action hero like Jack Wheeler. ... But only Dr. John Hospers can lay claim to the most exhilarating, daring, and death-defying adventure of all: sustained and critical philosophical discourse with novelist-philosopher Ayn Rand. When Hospers met Rand in 1961, he was suffering from philosophical 'tired blood.' Their brief friendship revitalized him. 'She renewed my confidence in my profession,' Hospers would tell the international Objectivist newsletter Full Context. 'A confidence that has continued to this day.'"
    Related Topics: Objectivism, Ayn Rand
    The 1977 Libertarian Party National Convention, by Tom Avery, Tom G. Palmer, Libertarian Review, Oct 1977
    Recounts the main events of the convention, highlighting several of the speakers and their messages
    "One of the highlights of the afternoon was a talk by Prof. John Hospers, professor of Philosophy at USC, 1976 LP candidate for President, and author of the highly acclaimed work Libertarianism. Prof. Hospers gave a moving analysis of 'Libertarianism and the Arts,' stressing the power of art to communicate moral and political situations and ideals. Hospers read a few stirring passages from the novels of Alexander Solzhenitsyn to drive home his point. The audience gave Dr. Hospers a warm standing ovation."
    This Is The Movement You Have Chosen [PDF], by Murray Rothbard, The Libertarian Forum, Apr 1984
    Reports on media coverage of the 1983 Libertarian Party presidential convention and comments on goings-on in the Crane Machine (CM), i.e., Ed Crane and Cato Institute
    "Meanwhile ... Professor John Hospers, hero of the LP's small ultra-right wing, has slithered his way out of the Libertarian Party and into the ranks of the Republicans. Hospers now supports Ronnie Reagan for re-election, and laments that the LP has been taken over by backers of unilateral disarmament. (See the USC Daily Trojan, Oct. 21, 1983). Since the LP's platform is still solidly pro-multilateral disarmament, and hasn't changed on the issue in many years, and since the unilateral disarmamentists have always been in a minority, one wonders what world John Hospers has been inhabiting in recent years."


    A Libertarian Argument Against Opening Borders, The Journal of Libertarian Studies, 1998
    Written for a JLS symposium issue on immigration, argues against open borders mostly from a conservative viewpoint, for example, citing approvingly Peter Brimelow, National Review and Irving Kristol
    "The main obstacle that confronts the 'open borders' policy is that many people enter the United States in order to collect the free benefits that it has to offer: food stamps, welfare payments, free medical care, and so on. ... Some Californians say that we need immigrants to do the menial labor, such as picking strawberries. Do they really mean that without immigrants, strawberries would not get picked? In the absence of ultra-cheap labor, strawberries might well cost more, but the activity would continue as long as people had a taste for strawberries at a non-prohibitive price."
    Libertarianism and Legal Paternalism [PDF], The Journal of Libertarian Studies, 1980
    Discusses laws "designed to protect people from themselves" arguing that in general such laws are illegitimate
    "... philosopher and legislator Jeremy Bentham divided all laws into three kinds: (1) laws designed to protect you from harm caused by other people; (2) laws designed to protect you from harm caused by yourself; and (3) laws requiring you to help and assist others. ... Bentham argued persuasively against [the third kind of] laws ... but he also condemned laws of the second kind, and it is these I propose to discuss in this paper. Legislation designed to protect people from themselves is called 'paternal legislation,' and the view that such laws are legitimate and ought to be passed is called 'legal paternalism.'"
    Libertarian Thoughts Reborn, 23 Aug 2003
    Part of Walter Block's autobiography series; starts off with his grandparents, early life in Iowa, skepticism, astronomy, teaching at Columbia University and University of Minnesota, interacting with Ayn Rand, the 1972 LP nomination and parting thoughts
    "I was somewhat overwhelmed when I got the nomination: there were people there far better known in libertarian circles ... at the convention. But the outcome, I think, was the result of the fact that my book had already been trumpeted as a kind of 'textbook of libertarianism'. I was a little bit thrilled, and a little bit terrorized. One day I was a college professor, and the next day a candidate for the nation's highest office. ... Ayn Rand had said to me: 'if you believe in freedom, why don't you do something about it?' Here, suddenly, was an unexpected chance to do something, however small."


    Interview with John Hospers, by John Hospers, Karen Minto, Full Context, Jun 1998
    Topics discussed include: intellectual influences, respected philosophers, determinism, David Kelley, Ayn Rand, philosophy and Objectivism in universities, the Sense of Life documentary and Atlas Shrugged
    "I was born and raised in a small Dutch town near Des Moines, Iowa, settled by the Dutch in 1847. The first language I learned was Dutch, and almost everyone in the town spoke it, as well as English. The Dutch Reformed Church dominated the life of the town, though there was no religious training in the public schools. People were very industrious and hard-working. I don't think anyone in the town was on welfare, and the average income of families was the highest in the state. There were tulip gardens all over the place, and every year in May they'd have an annual tulip festival—everyone in Dutch costume, scrubbing the streets, singing Dutch songs—the whole bit."


    John Hospers: From 1776 to 1984, 12 Jul 1984
    Hospers compares the American Revolution to the scenes in Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, as well as the year this talk was given and Huxley's Brave New Wold; presented at the Libertarian International conference in London

    The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "John Hospers" as of 23 Jul 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.