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The Libertarian Reader: Classic and Contemporary Writings from Lao Tzu to Milton Friedman Paperback – February 4, 1998
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More About the Author
The earlier edition of "The Libertarian Mind," titled "Libertarianism: A Primer," was described by the Los Angeles Times as "a well-researched manifesto of libertarian ideas" and by Richard Epstein as "unit[ing] history, philosophy, economics and law--spiced with just the right anecdotes--to bring alive a vital tradition of American political thought." His other books include "The Politics of Freedom," the "Cato Handbook For Policymakers," "Liberating Schools," and "The Crisis in Drug Prohibition." His articles have been published in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, National Review, Slate, and the Encyclopedia Britannica.
He is a frequent guest on national television and radio shows and a popular speaker on college campuses and at corporate and community events.
Top Customer Reviews
I always wondered: why doesn't somebody take this collection of essays and put them into a book?
Well, David Boaz has apparently beaten me to it in his collection of libertarian thought and philosophy, The Libertarian Reader. Not only are many of my favorite essays here, but a couple more that I've never read before. (Apparently, Mr. Boaz has been collecting essays longer than I have.)
This book is essential for a number of reasons. For the curious, The Libertarian Reader offers an introduction to the ideas of free markets, private property rights, and individual rights and freedoms. For the veteran, The Libertarian Reader puts a nice hardbound cover on years of ideas, allowing people like me to throw away the old mangled binders of paper.
The essays in The Libertarian Reader are brief and concise. For people looking for a quick introduction to the libertarian thoughts, each individual essay can easily be read in 15-minute sittings. Some of the biggest names in history, literature and economics are included here, including Ayn Rand, Thomas Jefferson, John Stuart Mill, Frederick Douglas and Adam Smith.
Whether you're new to libertarian ideas, or an old veteran of liberty, The Libertarian Reader, and the companion book, Libertarianism: A Primer, also by David Boaz, are must reads for political junkies and lovers of freedom everywhere.
The book itself is a collection of short essays from a wide range of contributors to the libertarian tradition, from political economists and philosophers (such as Locke, Mill, and Adam Smith) to some perhaps more surprising sources (like the Old Testament and the Tao Teh Ching). These essays are grouped around broad themes - "individual rights", "free markets", "skepticism about power" - certainly a boon to students, but also an aid to the casual reader. Should a particular topic or thinker pique your interest, a lengthy essay called "The Literature of Liberty" catalogs the sources as it closes the book.
Whether reading this book will convince you to join the Libertarian Party, or send money to the Cato Institute, is a matter open to debate; indeed, some critics rightly point out elements of "big L" Libertarianism that are at odds with "small l" classical liberal thought. My own hope is that reading these essays will give you not only a better understanding of the founder's intent, but also a clearer vision of a better possible future - a freer, saner world. How we get there, if we get there, remains to be seen.
That it came out so late (1997) reflects libertarians' tendency to arrogance, underestimating the need to market their abstract product and educate the populace. The Cato Institute, of which Boaz is vice president, is now rapidly making up for lost time.
Nevertheless, it does have one sin: it is at once too broad and too narrow. Too broad because it covers too much ground and, at times, complex arguments are deprived of part of their explanatory power. Too narrow, because there are some significant omissions. In particular, I would have liked to see more examples of contemporary anarcho-capitalist theory (e.g., David Friedman).
Notwithstanding that qualm, I found this volume extremely helpful.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
From Adam Smith to Friedman, dozens of writings present the cornerstones of libertarianism: Life, Liberty and Property. Also useful are the recommended readingsPublished 3 months ago by Armando Alves
Interesting and informative as an individual trying to understand where politically i align myself this helped to solidify certain aspects of libertarianismPublished 4 months ago by Michael
Truly a mind-expanding book, with a very diverse series of libertarian readings. I wish this compendium was available when I was much younger. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Dennis Mitchell
Some of great freedom writers throughout history are compiled in this novel.Published 5 months ago by Michael Muzzarelli
This is a comprehensive guide to the origins and development of Libertarian thought, philosophy, and policy.Published 8 months ago by ChazPhilip
David Boaz provides an amazing collection of historical writings which explain the Libertarian themes of life, liberty, and property from diverse points of view. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Jose A. Tovar