John Ridpath

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John B. Ridpath
Born1936 (age 81–82)
FieldEconomics, intellectual history
School or
Alma materUniversity of Toronto (BS, MBA)
University of Virginia (PhD)
InfluencesAyn Rand

John B. Ridpath (/ˈrɪdpæθ/; born 1936) is a Canadian intellectual historian. He is an Objectivist and a retired associate professor of economics and intellectual history at York University in Toronto. He also taught courses at Duke University.[1]


Ridpath attended Toronto's Upper Canada College (Head Prefect, 1955) and then later the University of Toronto, from which he received both an undergraduate degree in Engineering and an MBA, while also setting Canadian national swimming records and captaining the University of Toronto swim team. Although he obtained his doctorate in economics from the University of Virginia (1974), he works in the area of intellectual history, focusing on the power of philosophical ideas in Western social history. As an academic, despite receiving an award by the Ontario Council of University Faculty Associations for outstanding contribution to university teaching,[2] he was nearly terminated in the early 1970s for his radical outspoken views and his avowed disdain of much of York University's faculty. However, with support from Nobel laureate Friedrich von Hayek, he was promoted rather than fired. Upon his retirement in 2001 he was named professor of the year by the university and honoured with a nomination for Canadian professor of the year.

He served on the board of directors of the Ayn Rand Institute from 1994 until his retirement in 2011, and his writing has appeared in academic publications and in The Intellectual Activist. He is an expert on the history of the founding of the United States and on its Founding Fathers. During his career he has defended the morality of capitalism against socialism in debates on college campuses across North America including Yale University, Harvard University, the University of Chicago, UCLA and Berkeley, and notably against former premier of Ontario Bob Rae. He continues to lecture in Europe and North America.

He has three children and has lived in Toronto since 1967. He has been a lifelong summer resident of Canoe Lake in Ontario's Algonquin Provincial Park.


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