Top 10 Radical American Thinkers
#10 - ROBERT ANTON WILSON [1932-2007]
ROBERT ANTON WILSON [1932-2007] Image

"Every war results from the struggle for markets and spheres of influence, and every war is sold to the public by professional liars and totally sincere religious maniacs, as a Holy Crusade to save God and Goodness from Satan and Evil."
Cosmic Trigger II: Down to Earth, 1991

#09 - LYSANDER SPOONER [1808-87]
LYSANDER SPOONER [1808-87] Image

"All governments, the worst on earth and the most tyrannical on earth, are free governments to that portion of the people who voluntarily support them."
An Essay on the Trial by Jury, 1852

#08 - HOWARD ZINN [1922-2010]
HOWARD ZINN [1922-2010] Image

"If those in charge of our society — politicians, corporate executives, and owners of press and television — can dominate our ideas, they will be secure in their power. They will not need soldiers patrolling the streets. We will control ourselves."
Declarations of Independence: Cross-Examining American Ideology, 1991

#07 - NOAM CHOMSKY [1928- ]
NOAM CHOMSKY [1928- ] Image

"The most effective way to restrict democracy is to transfer decision-making from the public arena to unaccountable institutions: kings and princes, priestly castes, military juntas, party dictatorships, or modern corporations."
Z Magazine, 1998

#06 - GORE VIDAL [1925- ]
GORE VIDAL [1925- ] Image

"It is difficult to find a reputable American historian who will acknowledge the crude fact that a Franklin Roosevelt, say, wanted to be President merely to wield power, to be famed and to be feared. To learn this simple fact one must wade through a sea of evasions: history as sociology, leaders as teachers, bland benevolence as a motive force, when, finally, power is an end to itself, and the instinctive urge to prevail the most important single human trait, the necessary force without which no city was built, no city destroyed."
Robert Graves and the Twelve Caesars, 1959

#05 - MALCOLM X [1925-65]
MALCOLM X [1925-65] Image

"Power never takes a back step — only in the face of more power."
Malcolm X Speaks, 1965

#04 - HENRY DAVID THOREAU [1817-62]

"All men recognize the right of revolution; that is, the right to refuse allegiance to, and to resist, the government, when its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable."
On the Duty of Civil Disobedience, 1849

#03 - THOMAS JEFFERSON [1743-1826]
THOMAS JEFFERSON [1743-1826] Image

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure."
—Letter to Colonel William S. Smith, 1787

#02 - THOMAS PAINE [1737-1809]
THOMAS PAINE [1737-1809] Image

"Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated."
The American Crisis, December 23, 1776

#01 - EMMA GOLDMAN [1869-1940]
EMMA GOLDMAN [1869-1940] Image

"Anarchy stands for the liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion; the liberation of the human body from the dominion of property; liberation from the shackles and restraints of government."
Anarchism, 1917

Top 10 Quotes Against Work

User Comments - Add a Comment
Thomas Paine - 2008-06-01 02:42:35
Tom Paine was NOT an American - he was born in Thetford England

[Editor's Note: Although Paine was born in England, he relocated to Pennsylvania in 1774 and became known as "The Father of the American Revolution." He joined the Continental Army, became Secretary of the Committee of Foreign Affairs in Congress, later worked as a clerk for the Pennsylvania Assembly and died in New York City in 1809. Also, in 1794, James Monroe, American Minister to France, secured Paine's release from a French prison, claiming him as an American citizen. For Paine's own thoughts about his American citizenship, visit Thomas Paine, Memorial to James Monroe.]
michael - 2008-06-03 03:44:39
Emma Goldman was not American either, though she was a genius and a courageous one at that. Im not sure exactly where she was born I believe Russia or the Ukraine, but being that she was deported (that was probably her mug shot for her deportation there) it would be hard for her to be an American. By the way the law that allowed her to be deported was one saying that anyone publicly in support of anarchism or its doctrines could be deported, and the last time i checked ( about five years ago) the law was still on the books ( i hope i was misinformed but i doubt it) still a good list none the less

[Editor's Note: Born in Lithuania, Goldman emigrated to the United States at the age of 16. In 1887, she was married briefly to Jacob A. Kersner, thereby gaining U.S. citizenship. In 1909, the U.S. Federal Court of Buffalo invalidated Kersner's citizenship. In 1919, Goldman was deported to Russia after serving two years in prison after being convicted of conspiracy against the draft laws.]
Cemore - 2008-06-16 03:04:50
Mark Twain should be on this list
Johnny - 2008-06-29 12:22:35
The 10 radical American were really just looking for their own self glorification, while damming others or the public which has no power to stand upon.
William Cringan - 2008-07-09 05:45:58
I didn't see Henry George on this list. Why? Have you not read his material?
shamir - 2008-07-09 18:15:33
what about this guy below WWW.AMERICANRADICALTHEFILM.COM
rachel - 2008-07-26 00:15:43
"Verily, poor as we are in democracy, how can we give of it to the world?" - Emma Goldman
Bob - 2008-08-05 18:51:00
How bout George Carlin? Just because he was a comedian doesn't mean that he didn't make insights as sharp as those above, and he influenced many more than most of them.
James - 2008-08-27 12:46:01

No John Brown! That's surprising, seeing as you include Thoreau and Spooner.

faded glory - 2008-09-06 20:48:48

Is American in such disillusion that its people did not know that the revolutionaries of the 1700's were born in England? Could it be that these are the same liberals that are trying to erase Thomas Jefferson from the history books because he owned slaves? or perhaps the same ones that are trying to change the pledge of alliegence to the US flag? Are you the ones who misinform your children about the popularity they can achieve from the clothes they wear instead of the actions they take? If you would take a moment out of your fantasy world and look into reality you would see the demise of the American society that you yourself have caused. this country was founded on the basic principles of life liberty and the pursuit of happiness and those are no longer taught. the us constitution is no longer emphasized in public schools. America's impending doom is coming fast because of the uneducated people lost in the desolation they call the future. "A nation that suppresses its history is doomed to fail." Gen. Robert E. Lee

J. - 2008-12-10 00:36:04

Henry Miller.

Todd Meyer - 2009-03-12 05:31:16

Ralph Waldo Emerson..leader of the transcendentalist act?

King George - 2009-03-16 07:52:37


Jim - 2009-04-13 01:20:47

Thoreau has a wicked awesome neck beard.

helyx chase - 2009-06-07 21:07:32

why are all but two of these white men?

modltb4 - 2009-07-30 02:05:00

...Terrence Mckenna, Terrence Mckenna, Terrence Mckenna

John - 2009-09-20 17:10:05

Forget Robert Anton Wilson. I met him. He was a condescending, egomaniac jerk.

Sam - 2009-10-13 21:02:32

F*ck Emma Goldman. She might have been a "radical" thinker, but she was a disgusting anti-human communist piece of filth. Where is Murray Newton Rothbard on this list? I say replace Goldman with Rothbard.

Emma Goldman? Fuck no - 2010-05-20 21:40:50

Put Jefferson twice. Fuck Emma Goldman.

Daniel - 2010-12-01 13:01:33

People who prattle on about the Constitution and all of that need to read the damned thing. Also, read the notes from the ratification conventions by state. It was and IS a doccument to protect privelidge and secure the opulent's power from the "uneducated and beastly herds of the people." In the framers eyes, "We the people" was very different from "the people." Most colonists did NOT want this contract with anti democractic power ratified which is why the framers met in secret with only wealthy aristocrats as represenatives.

Everyone - 2012-06-29 19:42:55

Why aren't I on this list!? Me first, me first, me first!

Boz Worth - 2012-06-30 15:32:18

Sad comment on quality of critical thinking in the US if this list be truly representative. Most of this is just mainstream liberal thought.

MT - 2012-07-01 06:37:08

What constituted Americans at the time of these people? They were all Americans as Washington was an American. Our doors were once open to them and we let them in. They are all as American as I am or as you are for that matter.

Anarchy, miss Ema? - 2012-07-02 17:03:00

I'd have one thing to say to Emma Goldman: clothes are property.

ryan - 2012-07-03 20:39:51

Zinn is now dead..

sojourn - 2012-07-16 03:08:18

Liberal propaganda. Idealist views without any legitimate thought.

cult fan - 2012-07-19 05:36:58

I would agree with the person who suggested George Carlin. I also would suggest salvador dali and probably bob dylan.

misanthropope - 2012-07-19 06:18:31

it's fundamentally inaccurate to call thomas paine a radical. he was the _archetype_ of the thinker that defined america. christ, the luminaries of the enlightenment are on record saying so.

bobsmith - 2012-08-23 07:24:49

Saul Alinsky should be on the list.

Mike - 2013-10-21 15:14:10

Malcolm X wasn't an American

Anonymous - 2013-12-24 10:27:50

No George Carlin makes your list wrong.

Bladewalker56 - 2014-01-02 03:47:41

FYI - Gore Vidal died on July 31, 2012 (aged 86) in Hollywood Hills, California.

Gun toting LIBERAL John Wayne wannabe RADICAL thinking AMERICAN - 2015-10-01 21:23:53

Not sure how people can get by today, what with all of the pigeon holing of thoughts and phrases as right or left Conservative or Liberal. I remember a time not so long ago that AMERICA was the label we ALL wore and proudly because we knew we had the BEST SCHOOLS. As long as we had the BEST schools everything else was naturally the best because we had creative and critical thinking people running the nations businesses and the nations governing. But today we do not have such critical thinking we have LABELERS. They are there to LABEL thoughts and ideas so the dullards don't have to think about what the thought means or if it makes sense or not they just look at the LABEL and decide from that in itself that it is either Good or Bad. Without our schools teaching our children the nation is growing weaker. It matters not if a child TESTS well if the child can not THINK well.

Mercurious - 2017-03-18 06:57:27

Before I say anything else, I must say Thank you 'Gun toting LIBERAL John Wayne wannabe RADICAL thinking AMERICAN'. Ok now that that is done... I personally have read works by 6 of the members of this list. I haven't necessarily agreed with what I believed each of their 'agendas' were, but I have found them all to be enlightening in some manner. I don't believe that most of the listed members themselves would make the claim of being wholly accurate in the meaning they ascribed to their observations of the world. I personally believe that nobody can rationally make that claim. In my own experience I have noticed that those that do, often seem to be the most likely to wish or act out ill will upon other people. But I digress... What I can say is that most of the authors above that I have read works of, led me to more knowledge that if I had followed the LABEL I would (sadly) not have bothered with. For instance, Aleister Crowley. If I had followed the usually LABEL of BAD associated with this man and his works, then I would have missed several treats. Some of his writing is both really clever and really funny. And of course, some of it is not. Robert Anton Wilson's book 'Prometheus Rising' led me to read many authors I might have otherwise skipped (or never heard of), and I have him to thank for several 'break-out' thoughts I no doubt later espoused as my own, but as one of his own tenets seemed to be that of questioning ones own assumptions and the conditions leading to them, I try to apply that equally when considering his assertions. I also try to remember that human beings aren't static objects, whereas a book is. So though the authors above may have refined or changed their minds since their works' publication/release, we as the reader are not privy to those changes and are therefore passing judgement on people whom may no longer hold the ideas for which we passing judgement on them. Oh dear, I am now in full digression mode...and lost my original reason (apart from the thanks) for wanting to comment. Perhaps I was under the misapprehension that I might bring something new to the conversation...who knows! It's lost now.