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For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto Paperback – Large Print, January 1, 2006

4.6 out of 5 stars 109 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Scientific American

And always, reading Rothbard is a mindstretching intellectual adventure. For not only is he a brilliant scholar; he never flinches at taking the libertarian creed to it logical conclusions, no matter how controversial those conclusions may sometimes be.

Rothbard also maps out a strategy for achieving liberty, delving into ethics, tactics, education, abolitionism vs. gradualism, historical antecedents, and other crucial but generally neglected points. For A New Liberty ends on an upbeat, inspiring note, as Rothbard explains why he believes liberty will ultimately triumph over the forces of statism and collectivism.

For A New Liberty gives the reader the invigorating feeling of contact with a truly original, razor-sharp mind. It's a seminal work, rich in insights and novel arguments. And it's written in a lively, vigorous style that makes most other political writing seem dreadfully dull and stodgy by comparison.

How important is For A New Liberty? Let's put it this way: every serious libertarian--indeed, anyone who is at all interested in libertarianism--must be familiar with this book. It is that essential. If a copy of For A New Liberty--preferably worn with wear from repeated readings--is not on your bookshelf, or your friends' bookshelves, remedy that grave omission now. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Here again, Rothbard draws his argument from American history. He shows how dangerous it was for the US Constitution to entrust the Supreme Court with the job of policing the government for infractions against the Constitution. What it ended up doing, of course, was ratifying egregious violations of the Constitution, with full knowledge that there was no higher court to which the people themselves could appeal.

Rothbard isn t satisfied to make his case on this abstract level. He shows that the most pressing problems of society are wrapped up in government operations. Whether it is medical issues, the price of oil, the disaster of education, conflicts over religion, police corruption, or the scandal of war, the issues that are tearing us apart are invariably the result of government intervention into the sector. When markets are in full control whether markets for computer technology and software, or for cell phones we find not conflict but cooperation and progress.

And so Rothbard demonstrates the failure of government and the triumph of markets in a host of areas: personal liberties, education, welfare, inflation and the business cycle, monopoly and regulation, streets and roads, environmentalism and economic growth, and even police, courts, and law. Nor does he neglect the hugely important areas of trade, war, and foreign policy. He shows that states that are aggressive abroad do not maintain liberty at home. He also pioneers a theory of peace in absence of the state.

This book is generous with detail on the whole of American history, from the banking debates of the 19th century, through the welfare debate of the 1960s and the controversies over environmental regulation in the 1970s. He shows that the state creates social and economic problems and then further intervenes to make these problems worse then ever while increasing its power at the expense of everyone else. He is particularly good at highlighting who really benefits from government regulation: usually it is the largest corporations who are attempting to rig the game in their favor.

The anticipated effect of this book on both liberals and conservatives, the Left and the Right, is to force a rethinking of the typical categories. It asks that all sides face their hypocrisies: the Left favors freedom of speech but cares nothing for the private property that guarantees such freedom. The Right demands lower taxes but wages culture wars and real wars that grant government more power to take liberty and property from the American family.

As you can see, this is a radical and challenging book. We are given not only the big picture or a series of small studies but both at once, fully integrated into an analytical whole. Once you are exposed to the complete picture and For a New Liberty has been the leading means of exposure for more than a quarter of a century you cannot forget it. It becomes the indispensable lens through which to interpret events in the real world with the greatest possible clarity.

This book more than any other explains why Rothbard seems to grow in stature every year (his influence has vastly risen since his death), why the state continues to regard libertarian ideas as the gravest threat to its power, and why Rothbardianism has so many enemies on the left, right, and center.

Quite simply, the science of liberty that he brought into clear relief is as thrilling in the hope it creates for a free world as it is unforgiving of the error of power. Its logical and moral consistency, together with its empirical-explanato --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (January 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1478280719
  • ISBN-13: 978-1478280712
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,056 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If you're looking for an introduction to libertarian thought, this is THE book to read.

Here, free-market economist and radical for liberty Murray Newton Rothbard tackles all the major issues: the philosophical basis of libertarianism, the history of classical liberalism, the failures of government to preserve basic liberties, and the ways in which a free-market economy handily solves problems that seem forever beyond the reach of government.

Rothbard is also one of few libertarians to face the issue of pollution head-on. You'll search Ayn Rand's works in vain for any "pollution solution"; she was apparently content to believe the problem didn't really exist, a practice to some extent continued by her disciple George Reisman in his mostly brilliant treatise _Capitalism_. But Rothbard doesn't duck the issue: demonstrable pollution is an invasion of property rights and should be outlawed.

Nor is Rothbard a friend of "corporate capitalism." Again unlike Rand, who regarded "big business" as "America's most persecuted minority," Rothbard lambastes big business for its constant seeking of government favors and its use of clout to secure protectionist legislation -- including "limited liability."

All in all, this book is a treat. If you haven't read it yet, I envy you. Pick up a copy of this consistent, principled defense of liberty at once.
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Format: Hardcover
I'd been starting up my reading habits again in the past few months, but two of the books I had started were put on hold this week, when on Sunday the 4th, I picked up a book by Murray N. Rothbard entitled For a New Liberty.

The radical enthusiasm of the book is so exciting, I literally read all 419 pages in a personal record of 5 days. In the book, Rothbard hones in all the pieces connecting the modern Libertarian movement (as of 1972 when the book was first published at least) to his new Anarcho-capitalist approach, and the most striking thing was the consistency of the logic. It's solid. That's not to say that it shouldn't open to scrutiny, but that's precisely what Rothbard expects, and it gets me eager to catch up on the 35+ years of scholarship that's followed his manifesto, as well as specific predecessors that he used as examples.

The most important and most amazing parts of his book are how he explains most of the aggression and economic woes that we're experiencing today. It's not that he's a magician with a window into the future. It's that he understands the ultimate unattainable utopianism of supporters of stateism. From government bailouts to war quagmires like Iraq and Afghanistan, Rothbard not only predicts them, but explains why they are occurring, and the inevitable failure that can come from them, because it's the only logical conclusion.

The concepts espoused in For a New Liberty are gathered and encapsulated in virtual perfection by Rothbard, to expose a new generation of libery-minded individuals to the world that could be. It is so fierce, unapologetic and unrelenting in its logic, that this book, more than any I've ever read, makes me want to hold it as tight to my breast as possible, while raising my other arm and proclaiming Vive La Liberte!
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Format: Paperback
Among all the available introductions to libertarian thought, I think Murray Rothbard's _For a New Liberty_ is the best. In it, Rothbard sets out the principles of anarchocapitalism, a system of political-economy where property rights are sacrosanct and no government exists. This is important because most libertarians support some degree of government is necessary in order to preserve a person's right to self-ownership and property.
However, Rothbard argues that the very existence of the State violates man's rights and is incompatible with freedom, even in a democratic society. This is an problem many libertarian scholars have struggled with in attempting to justify limited government. Rothbard faces no such inconsistency.
First, Rothbard introduces the concept of man's rights, establishing that the only valid right can be the right to self-ownership and ownership of one's property. With these principles -- along with the traditional libertarian non-aggression axiom -- Rothbard offers meaningful solutions to the reams of problems in today's society. He makes a forceful case that our problems would be easily solved following principles of the free market, private property, and non-aggression. Education, welfare, free speech, pollution, crime...Rothbard tackles numerous issues with great insight and clarity. In my opinion, the only significant issue he doesn't really explore is healthcare, but hey...it's a short book. (For an excellent libertarian exploration of the healthcare issue [among MANY other things], see Dr. Mary J. Ruwart's definitive _Healing Our World_. Amazon sells it.)
Rothbard introduces many ideas in this book that would be dubbed "radical" by most -- the abolishment of government police services, courts, and national defense being the most obvious.
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Format: Hardcover
You can't go wrong with Murray Rothbard but this book is just slightly dated. The Ethics of Liberty is timeless and fundamental. It can radically shake you into a stronger foundation for your advocacy of Freedom.
All of the issues raised in "For a New Liberty" are still with us. I am saddened that the Libertarian Party no longer follows Rothbard's theoretical purity. Theories like his, if used, have real-world applications that repay the practician.
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