Wikipedia's Libertarian Founder and Philosophy

Tim Bertram
Sep 7, 2011 at 3:40 PM

If you needed another reason to love and appreciate Wikipedia as a college student or anyone else for that matter, you now have it:  Jimmy Wales, the founder, is a self-identified libertarian and objectivist.  

But it gets even better -- according to Wales in his interview with Reason Magazine, F. A. Hayek's essay The Use of Knowledge in Society is a key part of the Wikipedia project.  Wales said, "One can't understand my ideas about Wikipedia without understanding Hayek."  Having instant access to information around the globe has without a doubt benefited our society in many ways that Hayek could not have imagined.  

Another quote from his interview in Reason Magazine also helped sum up the philosophy behind Wikipedia: "Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge.  That's what we are doing."  It's a bold vision, but Wales has had a tremendous amount of success getting there.  

It is also important to point out that Wikipedia is a free resource to everyone, not a for-profit encyclopedia.  Libertarians often are often harassed for not caring for the poor because of their strong beliefs against government welfare, but here we have a case where this stereotype is proven to be false.  Wikipedia is entirely run on donations and uses no ads for revenue, yet provides great services for millions.  It's a perfect example of what charity and free services can do in a free society.  

There is a lot more to learn about Wikipedia which I find to be very fascinating, but be happy to know that Hayek and Ayn Rand's ideas are being put to use by every college student in America -- even if they do not know it.   

A Randian Objectivist or a lowercase objectivist?

aheram's picture

A Randian, I don't know the extent to which he is an Objectivist but from what I have read he subscribes to the philosophy.  

bertramt's picture