Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
What It Means to Be a Libertarian Paperback – December 29, 1997
"The Best 'Worst President'" by Mark Hannah and Bob Staake
A noted political commentator and renowned New Yorker illustrator team up to give Barack Obama the victory lap he deserves. Learn more
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Library Journal
--Patricia Hatch, Insurance Institute for Property Loss Reduction, Boston, Mass.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Libertarians, as Murray points out very quickly, differ in their opinions on specific issues as much as members of other political persuasions. But it's possible to distill one core belief that all libertarians share: the individual's freedom is central to human existence. Society works best when the individual retains the right to make as many choices in their life as possible. The archenemy of individual freedom is local, state, and national governments and their handmaidens bureaucracy, regulation, and spurious laws. Government, according to Murray, does have some important functions.Read more ›
Charles Murray, infamous co-author of The Bell Curve, writes with clarity, simplicity and understanding about libertarianism. He gives us a cost/benefit understanding of libertarianism, i.e., how much does the program cost vs. how much benefit (in relation to the program's non-existence) do we derive. The more centralization, the less benefit is generally derived and the more the cost is increased. As I said, clear, simple and insightful.
There's one problem - this is not always known as libertarianism. Murray tells us the libertarian rule of thumb is "The more local control, the bettter." No, that's anti-federalism, which tells us that government that is local is best. Libertarianism, by contrast, tells us that government that is minimal is best. A socialist town could please and anti-federalist but not a libertarian. By contrast, a large country with a small centralized government might do the opposite. I am both an anti-federalist AND a libertarian. Still, when reading Murray's book, beware of the difference as he doesn't explain it.
Despite that flaw, I highly reccomend this book to those who are not sure what libertarianism is, are curious whether they are libertarians themselves, or are new libertarians and want a good read with good clarification. A better read (in addition to or in place of) is "The Libertarian Reader" edited by David Boaz. A collection of essays, the reader accurately conveys the diversity of libertarian thinkers better than this book does.
It should be noted that I am not another libertarian shilling for a book that parrots my position. I am a conservative (there IS a difference between conservatism and libertarianism, though modern liberals can't see it) who read the book to better understand the uneasy alliance that we often have with our libertarian brethren.
Mr. Murray's book is not written from a purist's point of view. He does classify his philosophy as being a bit toward the classical liberal side, but his "thought experiments" show that true classical liberalism is is inseperably intertwined with modern libertarianism.
Contrary to the Amazon reviewer's comment that Murray has "lost his common sense," this book is oozing common sense. Murray, in part due to his succint explanations, shows that it is the statist approach that often lacks common sense.
Murray's arguments grow and branch out from one root assertion: people must be free to make their own decisions, even if those decisions bring harm upon themselves.
If you automatically reject that premise, then you will most likely find his arguments unpersuasive. If you automatically accept that premise, then you likely already agree with everything that follows.
If you aren't certain, then read the book, and give Murray the chance to make his case. He does so convincingly.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Charles Murray, using quick wit, summarizes our nation's fall from grace and offers what might help return our nation' government to its subordinate and rightfully limited role in... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Papajim
A concise, readable overview of libertarian thought. The book can serve as an introduction to someone exploring the topic and presents some of the most fundamental... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Jaroslav Tuček
Teaches independent thinking even if you might disagree with some statements. Upon thinking more I tend to agree with most ideas in the bookPublished 7 months ago by Alexandra Daneen
The ideas are excellently outlined and explained. The writer is exceptionally skilledPublished 12 months ago by Karin Hauschild
I'll say this openly-I do not identify as a Libertarian and so this review is about as honest as one can give it. Read morePublished 15 months ago by AltarEgo23
Charles Murray articulates the Libertarian doctrine that replacing individual responsibility with governmental responsibility has made the country less prosperous and less civil. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Amazon Customer
All of Charles Murray's books remind us about what we called "common sense" several decades ago...Published 20 months ago by Adam Weber
I wanted to know what being a Libertarian is all about. Not too many people I know about, follow this book tho. I guess it just doesn't work for the present times. Read morePublished on July 18, 2014 by Sandra J. Hoecker