Facebook: Philosophers as Profile Month 2021 (I)

Philosophers as Profile Pictures Month is an annual event in which we get to show off all the useless knowledge we gained through our humanities education. It’s also a chance to introduce people to lesser known philosophers/quotes and spur discussion! Participate by changing your profile picture to a philosopher (and one of their quotes) you especially like and post the photo/quote here in the event. Feel free to change your philosopher as many times as you want for the month of December!”

For my first profile pic of December 2021, I have chosen Don Lavoie (1951-2001).

Don Lavoie

There are important lessons … to be learned from both the successes and the failures of the twentieth century’s revolutionary movements. The triumphs of these popular revolutions seem … to be evidence of the power of ideology, while the reversals are evidence of the weakness of most of the particular ideologies that have driven these revolutions. They have generally striven to drive the current oppressors out of power, only to replace them with new rulers. If an ideology is found … that can transcend this mere replacement of rulers, aiming instead at a society without need for rule of some of its members by others, but in which, in some sense, the people can democratically rule themselves, then the triumph might be secured.

— Don Lavoie, National Economic Planning: What is Left? (1985, pp. 233-34)

In the Facebook discussions that followed, I added the following:

Don was one of my very dearest friends and one of the most intellectually challenging people I’ve ever met. We followed parallel trajectories in many ways: He had an Austrian-school advisor (Israel Kirzner) and a Marxist economist (James Becker) on his dissertation committee; I had a Marxist advisor (Bertell Ollman) and an Austrian economist (Mario Rizzo) on my dissertation committee.

On a personal level, Don was one of the most enthusiastic supporters of my work on the integration of dialectical method and libertarian social analysis. He was also the first professor to integrate one of my books (Marx, Hayek, and Utopia) into his curriculum (his course “Comparative Socio-Economic Systems”, in 1999).

I look forward to digitizing and uploading onto my YouTube channel some of his many lectures given before the NYU chapter of Students for a Libertarian Society. The lectures are on immigration, US Foreign Policy, and a discussion on Marxism vs. anarcho-libertarianism with Bertell Ollman (my mentor), all having taken place at New York University.

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