Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Who Is John Hospers?

John Hospers died at age 93 in Los Angeles, Calif., on June 12. He was the first Libertarian party candidate for president of the United States and got one electoral vote in 1972 when a renegade elector from Virginia, who had been committed to Richard Nixon, instead voted for Hospers and his running mate, vicepresidential candidate Theodora "Toni" Nathan, the first woman to receive an electoral vote.

Hospers was at one time head of the philosophy department at the University of Southern California and the author of the textbooks "Meaning and Truth in the Arts," "Introduction to Philosophical Analysis," and "Human Conduct." He had befriended Ayn Rand, author of "Atlas Shrugged," in 1960, but the two eventually had a falling out.

My favorite story from his presidential campaign (he was on the ballot in only two or three states) is about his reply to a reporter who asked, "If elected, what will you do for me?"

Never one to lose sight of his libertarian message, Hospers replied, "I'll leave you alone."

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