Sociology Index

Libertarianism

Libertarianism is a term used by political philosophies which seek to promote individual liberty and seek to minimize or abolish the state. Libertarianism is the view that each person has the right to live his life in any way he chooses so long as he respects the equal rights of others. Left-libertarianism endorses full self-ownership, but differs on unappropriated natural resources. Left-libertarianism holds that unappropriated natural resources belong to everyone and must be distributed in some egalitarian manner. Right-libertarianism holds that unappropriated natural resources may be appropriated by individuals.

Leonard Read rejected the concepts of left libertarianism and right libertarianism, calling them authoritarian. Libertarian socialism is often used as a synonym for non-individualist anarchism or socialist anarchism, to delineate it from individualist libertarianism. People who do not use "libertarianism" as a synonym for anarchism but use it to refer to individualistic free-market economics philosophy only, refer to free-market anarchism as "libertarian anarchism." Libertarianism is also synonymous with classical liberalism. The word libertarian is an antonym of authoritarian. Till recently the term libertarianism was often used as a synonym for anarchism.

Books on Libertarianism

A History of Libertarianism by David Boaz
In this excerpt from Libertarianism: A Primer, Boaz tells the history of the movement for liberty, from Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu through the 20th century. The first known libertarian may have been the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, who lived around the sixth century B.C. and is best known as the author of the Tao Te Ching. Lao Tzu advised, “Without law or compulsion, men would dwell in harmony.”

The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism by Ronald Hamowy (Editor).
As a continuation of the older tradition of classical liberalism, libertarian thinking draws on a rich body of thought and scholarship. Contemporary libertarian scholars are continuing that tradition by making substantial contributions to such fields as philosophy, jurisprudence, economics, evolutionary psychology, political theory, and history, in both academia and politics. With more than 300 A-to-Z signed entries written by top scholars, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism is purposed to be a useful compilation of and introduction to libertarian scholarship. The Encyclopedia starts with an introductory essay offering an extensive historical and thematic overview of key thinkers, events, and publications in the development of libertarian thought.

Libertarianism: A Primer by David Boaz. Simon and Schuster, 1997.
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."

The Libertarian Mind: A Manifesto for Freedom Hardcover – February 10, 2015 by David Boaz.
A revised, updated, and retitled edition of David Boaz’s classic book Libertarianism: A Primer, which was praised as uniting “history, philosophy, economics and law—spiced with just the right anecdotes—to bring alive a vital tradition of American political thought that deserves to be honored today” (Richard A. Epstein, University of Chicago).

The Libertarian Reader: Classic and Contemporary Writings from Lao Tzu.  David Boaz. Simon and Schuster, 19-Jan-2010.
The first collection of seminal writings on a movement that is rapidly changing the face of American politics, The Libertarian Reader links some of the most fertile minds of our time to a centuries-old commitment to freedom, self-determination, and opposition to intrusive government. A movement that today counts among its supporters Steve Forbes, Nat Hentoff, and P.J. O'Rourke, libertarianism joins a continuous thread of political reason running throughout history.

Libertarianism: A Political Philosophy for Tomorrow – October 13, 2013 by John Hospers.
The Original Book that Inspired the Worldwide Political Movement John Hospers on What Libertarianism Is: 1) No one is anyone else's master, and no one is anyone else's slave. 2) Other people's lives are not yours to dispose of. 3) No human being should be a non-voluntary mortgage on the life of another. Dr. Hospers sees these as three versions of the same absolute right of personal liberty. In other words, assuming we are talking about mentally-able individuals, no person can make their life better by reducing the liberty of another person. For the same reason that slavery is wrong, it is equally wrong to involuntarily deprive others of their time or money. The basic human rights of life and liberty cannot exist without a right to property.

Libertarianism Defended Paperback – Import, 28 Sep 2006 by Tibor R. Machan.
Ever since the publication in 1974 of Robert Nozick's Anarchy, State, and Utopia, libertarianism has been much discussed within political philosophy, science and economy circles. Yet libertarianism has been so strongly identified with Nozick's version of it that little attention has been devoted to other than Nozick's ideas and arguments. While Nozick's version of libertarianism has preoccupied the academic discussion Nozick himself did not respond to the many criticisms raised and yet other defenders of libertarianism have not remained silent. Jan Narveson, Loren Lomasky, Eric Mack, Douglas Rasmussen, Douglas Den Uyl and many others have contributed impressive arguments of their own in support of the libertarian idea that a political system is just when it successfully secures the rights of individuals understood within the Lockean classical liberal tradition. In this book Tibor R. Machan analyses the state of the debate on libertarianism post Nozick.

Real Libertarianism Assessed: Political Theory After Van Parijs Hardcover – 26 Nov 2002 by Andrew Reeve (Editor), Andrew Williams (Editor).
In 1995, Philippe Van Parijs published Real Freedom For All: What (If Anything) is Wrong With Capitalism? His book provided not only an original argument for radical social change in the form of unconditional basic income, but also a rigorous examination of a host of issues central to contemporary political philosophy, normative economics and social theory. Those issues include the relationship between freedom and equality, the nature of resource egalitarianism, the moral significance of exploitation and reciprocity, the value of democracy and the demands of cosmopolitanism. The book was described by the American Political Science Review as "required reading for most political theorists and their graduate students" and in 2001 its author was awarded the Francqui Prize for academic achievement.

Liberatio: Hedonistic Libertarianism Paperback – January 9, 2009 by Jason Licht (Author). Welcome to a brave new world!
It has been the job of every government known to man to manipulate and program its citizens to be obedient, mindless robots, ready to live and die for the state at any cost. Patriotism is the motto when the state and the collective mind are one and no brain cell is wasted on critical thinking. Liberatio is a manifesto for the dawn of a new age, where governmental oppression is replaced by freethinking, where a herd mentality and conformity are replaced by individualism, and where submission to authority is replaced by personal strength. This book unapologetically lashes out at all governmental and religious establishments that cripple individual freedom. Nothing is holy and everything is questioned in this anti-government, anti-totalitarianism, anti-tax, anti-military, anti-police, anti-religion, anti-war, anti-work, anti-school, anti-conformity, anti-submission, anti-nationalistic, anti-patriotic, pro-drugs, pro-prostitution, pro-libertarian, pro-hedonism, pro-individual manifesto that will open the eyes of those who have served as slaves for too long and who are in desperate need of an awakening. It is time to reclaim your own mind.