- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Free Press (February 4, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 068484768X
- ISBN-13: 978-0684847689
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 44 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,110,498 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Libertarianism: A Primer Paperback – February 4, 1998
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P.J. O'Rourke America is a country full of people who feel personal liberty and individual responsibility in their guts. This book puts those guts into words. America is also a country full of politicians, academics, and self-possessed elites who mistrust liberty and responsibility ot the bottom of their souls. This book plants a kick in that fundament.
William F. Weld Libertarianism: A Primer is a bracing shot of 100-proof libertarianism guaranteed to render mute the last defenders of big, paternalistic government. With plain-spoken eloquence, David Boaz unveils a vision of America that has at its core an abiding respect for personal liberty and freedom writ large.
Dave Barry I hope everybody reads this book. My only concern is that, if we ever do wise up and dump the federal government, I'll lose my biggest source of comic material.
About the Author
David Boaz is executive vice president of the Cato Institute. He is the author of Libertarianism: A Primer (an updated edition to be released in 2015 called The Libertarian Mind), and his articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times. He lives in the Washington, DC, area.
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Libertarianism espouses the freedom of the individual, harkening back to the bedrock philosophy of this country's founders. Boaz describes Republicans as your father - always telling you what to do because he knows best; and Democrats as your mother - wiping your nose and trying to do everything for you because you can't handle it. Libertarians, says Boaz, want to treat you as an adult.
Perhaps the best thing about this book is that it gives you a different perspective from which to look at today's most contentious issues. What you discover is that we assume a whole lot that we shouldn't - frequently what we assume in an argument about how the Government should handle something is that they should be handling it in the first place! Boaz and Libertarians argue that in all but a tiny handful of instances the answer is absolutely not.
Highly recommended for anyone who is frustrated with the current system and is looking for a more satisfying alternative, or for anyone who just wants another perspective on our system.
Libertarianism is most often the subject of ridicule and mockery. It's a great straw man for politicians, since they can say "Give me half your cash or the Libertarians will take away (insert govt agency)!"
Despite the ridicule, David Boaz gives an excellent defense of Libertarianism. The book could have been written yesterday, since the predictions and issues remain important till this day. He shows us life before social security, welfare, medicare and public education. Much of the social safety net was provided by family, community and other private organizations. Bad decisions were limited by personal accountability. Almost all of the elderly had access to healthcare. And before public education, much of society paid for the education they wanted. As it turns out, government came along and began "providing" these services once society had made them ubiquitous and cheap via voluntary exchange. Although society back then was far poorer, it still managed to provide for those in need.
How can Boaz be so confident that society will rise up and provide these services without a gun to their collective head? Because government has inflated the costs through its inefficiencies. If Americans took home more of their own pay, in our current age of great material wealth, they could provide (or demand) these services for a fraction of the cost.
The book does not go so deep into any one subject that the casual reader will become very bored. Boaz is persuasive, humorous and positive about America's Libertarian future. I doubt even the most ardent government supporter could read this book without agreeing with much of the author's conclusions.
Overall, this is a great book for those who are curious, opposed or in favor of Libertarianism.
A favorite quote from the book: "As government controls more of society, who controls government becomes more important."
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