Libertarianism: A Primer

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, 1997 - Philosophy - 314 pages
18 Reviews
Tens of millions of Americans, from Generation X-ers to baby boomers and beyond, are rediscovering libertarianism, a visionary alternative to the tired party orthodoxies of left and right. In 1995 a Gallup poll found that 52 percent of Americans said "the federal government has become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens." Later that year, "The Wall Street Journal" concurred, saying: "Because of their growing disdain for government, more and more Americans appear to be drifting-- often unwittingly-- toward a libertarian philosophy."

Libertarianism is hardly new, but its framework for liberty under law and economic progress makes it especially suited for the dynamic new era we are now entering. In the United States, the bureaucratic leviathan is newly threatened by a resurgence of the libertarian ideas upon which the country was founded. We are witnessing a breakdown of all the cherished beliefs of the welfare-warfare state. Americans have seen the failure of big government. Now, in the 1990s, we are ready to apply the lessons of this century to make the next one the century not of the state but of the free individual.

David Boaz presents the essential guidebook to the libertarian perspective, detailing its roots, central tenets, solutions to contemporary policy dilemmas, and future in American politics. He confronts head-on the tough questions frequently posed to libertarians: What about inequality? Who protects the environment? What ties people together if they are essentially self-interested? A concluding section, "Are You a Libertarian?" gives readers a chance to explore the substance of their own beliefs. "Libertarianism" is must reading for understanding one of the most exciting and hopeful movements of our time.

  

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Review: Libertarianism: A Primer

User Review  - George - Goodreads

A terrific introduction to the political philosophy of libertarianism. Read full review

Review: Libertarianism: A Primer

User Review  - Ahonsi - Goodreads

Murray Rothbard's For a New Liberty appears to be the better introduction to libertarianism. Had I not read that book first, then Boaz's probably won't have been so sleep-inducing. Read full review

Contents

Chapter 1THE COMING LIBERTARIAN AGE
Chapter 2THE ROOTS OF LIBERTARIANISM
Chapter 3WHAT RIGHTS DO WE HAVE?
Chapter 4THE DIGNITY OF THE INDIVIDUAL
Chapter 5PLURALISM AND TOLERATION
Chapter 6LAW AND THE CONSTITUTION
Chapter 7CIVIL SOCIETY
Chapter 8THE MARKET PROCESS
Chapter 10CONTEMPORARY ISSUES
Chapter 11THE OBSOLETE STATE
Chapter 12THE LIBERTARIAN FUTURE
AppendixARE YOU A LIBERTARIAN?
FOR FURTHER READING
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
INDEX
Copyright

Chapter 9WHAT BIG GOVERNMENT IS ALL ABOUT

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1997)

David Boaz is the executive vice president of the Cato Institute and has played a key role in the development of the Cato Institute and the libertarian movement. He is a provocative commentator and a leading authority on a wide range of domestic issues. He is the former editor of New Guard magazine and was executive director of the Council for a Competitive Economy prior to joining Cato in 1981. He is the author of "The Politics of Freedom" and "Libertarianism: A Primer"; the editor of "The Libertarian Reader"; and coeditor of the "Cato Handbook for Policymakers". His articles have been published in the "Wall Street Journal", the "New York Times", the "Washington Post", the "Los Angeles Times", "National Review", and "Slate", and he is a frequent guest on national television and radio shows.

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