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Leonard Read

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Leonard E. Read (September 26, 1898 – May 14, 1983) was the founder of the Foundation for Economic Education, which was the first modern libertarian think tank in the United States.

After a stint in the United States Army Air Service during World War I, Read started a grocery wholesale business in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which was initially successful but eventually went out of business. He moved to California where he started a new career in the tiny Burlingame Chamber of Commerce near San Francisco.

Read gradually moved up hierarchy of the United States Chamber of Commerce, finally becoming general manager of the Los Angeles branch, America's largest, in 1939.

During this period his views became progressively more libertarian. Apparently, it was in 1933, during a meeting with W. C. Mullendore, an executive with Southern California Edison, that Read was finally convinced that the New Deal was completely inefficient and morally bankrupt.

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