Friday, March 25, 2016

Tibor R. Machan, 1939-2016


Tibor R. Machan, 2006Overnight, my Facebook feed started displaying notices that Tibor Machan has died. Assuming those notices are true -- and I have no particular reason to believe they aren't, even though I've been unable to confirm them via news stories, etc. -- the world is a little less bright and a little less wise this morning.

I don't remember when I first "met" Dr. Machan (yes, Dr. -- he always told me I didn't have to call him that, but he did earn a Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of California -- Santa Barbara), but he was one of the first libertarian philosophers I noticed after my youthful infatuation with Ayn Rand. We corresponded on and off for years, usually when one of us felt the need to disagree with the other and hash some topic out (one of the great things about him was that he took time to do that with me and, I assume, others). I hosted his blog from 2009-2014, although near the end of that time he had started migrating his new essays elsewhere for reasons he never mentioned. He contributed generously to Rational Review News Digest.

His life story is insanely inspirational -- he was born in Hungary just before the outbreak of World War II. When he was 14, his father (who, IIRC, leaned hard right, maybe even to the extent of collaborating with the Nazis during the war) hired a smuggler to get him out of the country; he arrived in the US at 17. Within a decade, he had a college degree. Within a decade-and-a-half he had three college degrees and went in with some others to buy a libertarian newsletter called Reason, which he edited for two years.

And that was just for starters.

If you never bothered to acquaint yourself with Tibor R. Machan while he was alive, you missed out. But all is not lost. He wrote, edited or otherwise contributed to a stack of worthwhile books and he has essays scattered all over the web.

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