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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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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.
This is just the first selection. Books could be written in response to any one of the fascinating readings in this book. It is a fabulous primer for those interested not just in the Libertarian party but also those interested in developing a coherent political philosophy of their own. A thoughtful reading of this book may or may not change your party affiliation but it will wake you up.
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 9 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 9 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 10 months ago by Dennis Mitchell
Some of great freedom writers throughout history are compiled in this novel.Published 10 months ago by Michael Muzzarelli
This is a comprehensive guide to the origins and development of Libertarian thought, philosophy, and policy.Published 13 months ago by ChazPhilip
Boaz is a master at explaining the Libertarian point of view. I have seen him on Stossel and other TV shows and just can't get enough of his insight. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Trent Goldsmith