I found this fragment in some undated notes I was making for a blog post. I now have no idea for what context the following remarks were intended, so I thought I’d put them up on their own:
Say is made a disciple of Smith, and Hodgskin a disciple of Ricardo, though each was an independent thinker and quite critical of his supposed mentor. Spencer is dubbed a “Social Darwinist,” despite anticipating Darwin by several years. Bastiat is called a mere populariser, his original contributions overlooked; the individualist anarchists are treated as mere footnotes to Stirner, despite the fact that most of them (even Tucker) formed their views independently of Stirner. Rand is dismissed as a vulgariser of Nietzsche, while Rothbard, in a chronological reversal, has been described as a follower of Nozick.
Something tells me the historians who inspired this observation are the same who roll their eyes when a conservative type throws the term “Marxism” around willy-nilly. I am not cynical enough to think the historiographical treatment of libertarian thinkers is part of a conscious conspiracy, I simply think that historians tend not to view them as important enough to warrant thorough examination or explanation. Though I could be wrong, in college I met enough people who were smart enough to enter academia who hated the idea of a society lacking central direction, and if my sense of their personalities was correct, I have no doubt that they would lie, trusting that no one “important” would contradict them.