Author, founding member of Feminists for Free Expression
Joan Kennedy Taylor

Joan Kennedy Taylor (21 December 1926 – 29 October 2005) was an American journalist, author, editor, public intellectual and political activist. She is best known for her advocacy of individualist feminism and for her role in the development of the modern American libertarian movement.

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21 Dec 1926, in Manhattan, New York City


29 Oct 2005, in New York City

Awards Received

2005 Szasz Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Cause of Civil Liberties, granted by Center for Independent Thought, Thomas S. Szasz Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Cause of Civil Liberties, 2005


Association of Libertarian Feminists, National Coordinator, 1989-2005

Web Pages

Joan Kennedy Taylor (1926-2005)
Advocates for Self-Government


Book Review: Persuaded by Reason: Joan Kennedy Taylor and the Rebirth of American Individualism, by Sara Budzik, 6 Oct 2014
"... Joan herself having been a writer, editor, artist, and participant in the social movements that identified individualism with libertarian politics. ... With a country dealing with the Great Depression and World War II and Joan dealing with an overbearing mother and a tendency to argue with her teachers, both the young girl and the country she lived in were ready for change and independence in the 1950s."
Related Topic: Jeff Riggenbach
In Memoriam [PDF], by Jeff Riggenbach, ALF News, 2006
Biographical essay covering Joan Kennedy Taylor's varied career
"And all along, she was writing – for the Wall Street Journal, for the Washington Times, for Reason and Inquiry and Success and American Enterprise, and for scholarly publications like the Stanford Law & Policy Review, the CommLaw Conspectus: Journal of Communications Law and Policy, and the Journal of Information Ethics."
Joan Kennedy Taylor, by Jeff Riggenbach, 14 Jan 2011
Biographical essay, including a review of Taylor's book Reclaiming the Mainstream: Individualist Feminism Rediscovered; transcript of "The Libertarian Tradition" podcasts of 28 Dec 2010 and 12 Jan 2011
"Joan Kennedy Taylor first became involved in the libertarian movement in the early 1960s, when she was a student at the Nathaniel Branden Institute in New York City. As a student of Objectivism, she espoused the political views of Ayn Rand: the nonaggression principle, natural rights, a free market, and a state so minimal that it had no power to tax and had to raise its revenues by charging fees for its services or, perhaps, running a national lottery. ... She did show distinct signs of a strong interest in individualism when she was in her teens and twenties ..."
Libertarian Feminism: An Honorable Tradition, by Sharon Presley, 2 Dec 2014
Traces the feminist tradition from individualist anarchists in the 18th, 19th and early 20th century, to the creation in 1973 of the Association of Libertarian Feminists and on to present activism
"In 1992 libertarian feminist Joan Kennedy Taylor (1924-2005) published the book Reclaiming the Mainstream: Individualist Feminism Rediscovered, a history of individualist feminism in the US that showed that the feminist tradition in the US was largely individualist in the 19th century. Her book What to Do When You Don't Want to Call the Cops: A Non-Adversarial Approach to Sexual Harassment was published in 1999 with Cato sponsorship."
The Power of Persuasion, by Jeff Riggenbach, Mises Daily, 20 May 2011
Historical account of the Persuasion magazine, edited by Joan Kennedy Taylor between Sept 1964 and May 1968
"Sometime during the first year of the magazine's publication, Rand let Joan know that she admired her work on Persuasion. As Joan later recalled, 'She told me, "You're a good editor. ... I can tell that because [an editor of a small publication like Persuasion] might have just one or maybe two good writers, but all of your writers are good and that means the editor's good."' ... This was an opportunity. Joan saw it and took it. She established an independent corporation, Persuasion, Inc., and took over the magazine from the Metropolitan Young Republican Club."
The Story of Roy A. Childs Jr. (1949–1992), by Jeff Riggenbach, 21 Jan 2011
Biographical essay; transcript of "The Libertarian Tradition" podcast of 12 Jan 2011
"But where was there a female Randian who was knowledgeable about current issues and events, could write, and could be tolerant of Rothbardian anarchists? There was Joan Kennedy Taylor, of course. But she hadn't written anything on current issues and events in ten years. And would she be tolerant of the Rothbardians? Well, there could be no harm in trying. Childs tried and again got what he wanted. By the time of his first issue in July 1977, he had Joan Kennedy Taylor on his masthead as an associate editor along with the Rothbardians."


America's Overprotective Sexual Harassment Law, Investor's Business Daily, 6 Apr 2000
Childs, Roy A. (1949-1992), The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
Biographical essay
"Roy A. Childs, Jr., a self-taught writer and speaker, was a major influence in the libertarian movement during the 1960s and 1970s. He is perhaps best known for his work as editor of The Libertarian Review (1977–1981) and as the primary reviewer for Laissez Faire Books from 1984 to 1992. Apart from these positions, however, he also played a role in determining the direction of contemporary American libertarian thought and is credited with popularizing the anarcho-capitalist movement through his 'Open Letter to Ayn Rand,' published when he was 20 years old."
Related Topic: Roy Childs
Protecting Opinions That We Loathe, First Amendment Cyber-Tribune, Jan 1997
Argues against the 1996 CPPA (which was overturned in 2002 by the Supreme Court for being too broad)
"... the new so-called Child Pornography Prevention Act (CPPA) goes far beyond society's interest in punishing real abuse against real children and sets a dangerous precedent — it creates what can only be described as a 'thought crime.' ... This is the argument that has been used throughout our history to ban expressive material — that it may be used to incite wrongful actions. A dangerous argument, because, as Oliver Wendell Holmes once wrote, 'Every idea is an incitement.'"
Related Topic: Freedom of Speech
The New Witchcraft, 2002
Free Inquiry, Winter 2002


Persuaded by Reason: Joan Kennedy Taylor and the Rebirth of American Individualism
    by Jeff Riggenbach, 2014

Books Authored

Liberty Against Power: Essays by Roy A. Childs, Jr.
    by Roy Childs, Thomas Szasz (Foreword), Joan Kennedy Taylor (Editor), 1 Dec 1994
19 essays on political philosophy, policy analysis and book and music reviews; topics include capitalism, objectivism, libertarianism, property rights, the draft and the war on drugs
Related Topic: Liberty
What to Do When You Don't Want to Call the Cops: A Non-Adversarial Approach to Sexual Harassment, 1999

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Joan Kennedy Taylor" as of 31 May 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.