John Allison will retire from his position as president of the Cato Institute on April 1.
Now, one of the promises that he gave at OCON in 2012 to sell Ayn Rand Institute supporters on this radical about-face on libertarianism was that Allison would be succeeded by an Objectivist. He said, in fact, “I’ll stay a couple years at least and try to groom a good O[bjectiv]ist successor while bringing some positive change to the organization.”
As it happens, an investment banker with no known philosophic or political views — Peter Goettler — will take over as president of Cato.
Of course, I didn’t expect an Objectivist to succeed Allison, not after Allison caved so completely under pressure from libertarian intellectuals shortly after taking the job. Then, he said:
In fact, now that I have a deeper understanding about Cato, I believe almost all the name calling between libertarians and objectivists is irrational. I have come to appreciate that all objectivists are libertarians, but not all libertarians are objectivists. I respect this distinction, (although I consider anarchy to be dangerous).
Such a compromise on principles was inevitable, in my view, and why he never should have accepted the position. So, just as expected, Cato didn’t change one iota during Allison’s tenure, not even in its periodic advocacy of anarchism. It certainly didn’t change in the grand way that his most ardent defenders claimed would surely happen.
I’m so glad that these Objectivist leaders and luminaries are doing such a great job of transforming the culture. After all, if they don’t succeed, we’re toast!