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For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto

4.32 of 5 stars 4.32  ·  rating details  ·  1,040 ratings  ·  82 reviews
For A New Liberty is Rothbard's introduction to libertarianism, his Libertarian Manifesto. It is Rothbard in top form--a libertarian classic that for more than two decades has been hailed as the best general work on libertarianism available.

For a start, For A New Liberty is an exciting, exhilarating read. It begins with a fast overview of the historical roots of libertari
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Published 2006 by Ludwig von Mises Institute (first published 1973)
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Robert Taylor
The level of radical thought in this 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) 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 scholarsh ...more
Heather
Jul 12, 2010 Heather rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who is sick of government
Wow! What an amazing book. I considered myself a "minarchist" Libertarian, with the belief that there was some use and justification for minimal government. Thanks to Rothbard's excellent treatise, I'm now reconsidering that. It's definitely thought provoking and he puts forth excellent arguments why government cannot be trusted with anything - no matter what limits are imposed on them. I'm still not sure how we can get to the full Libertarian society he envisions - or if it's even feasible - bu ...more
0spinboson
Oct 18, 2011 0spinboson rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Noone
Recommended to 0spinboson by: required reading
A facile argument that attempts to borrow authority from Locke and the natural rights tradition.
Interestingly, what is wrong about this book is fairly easily summarized. On p.38, he quotes from one of Locke's treatises on government:

. . . every man has a property in his own person. This nobody has any right to but himself. The labour of his body and the work of his hands, we may say, are properly his. Whatsoever, then, he removes out of the state that nature hath provided and left it in, he hat
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Jakub Maly
Words like liberal, conservative, left and right were twisted, distorted and deformed in such a manner that their meaning is kind of lost. Rothbard explains the values of libertarianism - so in this book you will find not only Rothbard's views on money, banking, FED and gold standard - which are leading topics of the majority of his work - but also on many other fields of the organization of a human society.



Rothbard defends liberty, property rights and gives a thorough description of functionin
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Mike Fox
Truth is a very powerful thing. Murray Rothbard is a treasure to all mankind for enshrining this truth with the logical brilliance of his words. I have little doubt that this idea will eventually be implemented although I seriously doubt it will happen in my lifetime. But I hope my progeny will one day live in such a world.

It starts with the non-aggression axiom that no person or group of people may aggress against the person or property of anyone else. All natural rights are therefore derived
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Void lon iXaarii
Though I was familiar with some of the libertarian views before starting the book, I had doubts about the feasibility of others... doubts which this book managed to address, and much more than that. The author describes in a rigorous and logical way a world which is even more amazing than I could imagine. I was very very impressed by this book. I also liked that the focus was not on complaining on how twisted our present state is, but on presenting the solution... and a fantastic one at that. On ...more
Scott Templeman
Had been debating a foray into this book for a while, as I have saturated myself thoroughly with Libertarian reading the past few years and really wondered if I wasn't going to just rehash ideas I am well familiar with. That being said I was floored by this book. While I was certainly part of the choir being preached to, Rothbard has an incredible ability to make you reanalyze seemingly mundane standards and precedents and recognize now-glaring inconsistencies in logic/philosophy. His rhetoric i ...more
Sean Rosenthal
Interesting Quotes:

"The libertarian insists that whether or not such practices are supported by the majority of
the population is not germane to their nature: that, regardless of popular sanction, War is Mass Murder, Conscription is Slavery, and Taxation is Robbery. The libertarian, in short, is almost completely the child in the fable, pointing out insistently that the emperor has no clothes . . . The libertarian therefore considers one of his prime educational tasks is to spread the demystific
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Daniel
An ideal read for the minarchist, or for those who have begun to consider the questions of principle addressed in other works of libertarianism and anarchism and would like a picture of the broad implications of such ideas. Rothbard is comprehensive, and the chapters devoted to particular issues are especially valuable for both those who feel vaguely uncertain of the feasibility of real freedom, and for those who consider any of these areas—roads, police, warfare, welfare—as sticking points for ...more
Kashiari
That was a great read. I really liked things like pleasant style, clarity and solid and coherent logical arguments that were not limited to abstract thesis, but were elegantly supported by contemporary and historical facts. Things like system of private roads, large stateless societies and other libertarian wishes (which I thought that are supported by anarcho-capitalits, because of a priori assumption that they will be good) apparently did exist in a past, working well. I was already a minarchi ...more
Jeremy


This book is mind-blowing. It’s like reading something completely, refreshingly new and yet innately familiar and comfortable. Rothbard is an expansively knowledgeable historian, a clear and concise economist, and a hopeful yet practical political philosopher. As I read, I was conflicted because half of me wanted to read slowly and savor each page, but the other half wanted to rush through and devour all the exciting information. This is one of those rare books you come across that just might ch
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Clinton
For A New Liberty systematically exemplifies the philosophical theory of libertarianism while categorically denouncing the destructive violent and coercive nature of government. The existence of government is preposterous given it is the only entity that enjoys the monopolistic legal use of violence and coercion and obtain revenue without voluntary exchange by some arbitrary decree. Rothbard brilliantly chronicles the nascent of libertarianism while in addition to explaining the philosophy of th ...more
John
Typical Libertarian manifesto. Though in the solutions sections he never really did tell us how libertarians will take over the government and make it into what he thinks government should be.

A couple of problems with some of his more interesting proposals.

The police officers and the streets would be a disaster if people were allowed to each own their own street and their own police and their own courts and their own bridges...I'm a republican and happy that we have government to handle things
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J
Mar 25, 2014 J rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in anything related to politics
Pretty good as far as manifestos go. It felt really formulaic and dry, but managed to avoid that nagging, almost cultish creepiness that most manifestos seem to radiate. All things considered, I'd say it's a great introduction to Rothbardian libertarianism, or in other words, the "controversial" """""""anarcho""""""-capitalism". While I have my reservations of it's practicality and possibility here and there, the scorn and blind hatred levied against it by advocates of other political philosophi ...more
Ron C
If you're interested in Libertarianism, or in Libertarian thought, you do yourself a disservice by not reading this. While I don't agree with every word uttered by Rothbard, he makes a compelling and incisive argument against big government.

For me, this book gave me a lot to think on and evaluate within my own views. He paints a picture of a purely Libertarian society, which allows the reader to understand the virtues and challenges it would face. The passion which he feels for liberty is tangib
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John Boettcher
One of the best, all-time books on the malevolence of the state, the government, what it stands for, and what it takes away from our freedom. It is extremely hard to argue with any of the thoughts and logic laid out in this book. No matter what your political stance is, this book will challenge those ideas in a fundamental way.

The book is not easy to read in that it makes you ask the hard questions about your own belief systems, perhaps those very systems your parents have and you inherited fro
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Alex
For a New Liberty is the most deliberately apologetic libertarian literature I've encountered. Rothbard encourages a radical approach to living. One that casts aside violent, indoctrinating, enslaving, sacrosanct state worship and instead relies on the axiomatic libertarian ideals of self-ownership. He beautifully illustrates property rights and the importance of reputation in a free society. In one excruciatingly relevant chapter Rothbard discuses fiat currencies and their pitfalls and goes on ...more
Alan Hughes
I found this book quite a surprise. Usually I have found libertarian texts difficult to engage with and too American for a European reader. However, this text is quite different, lively and engaging, and very informative. Though still having an American focus when discussing current issues of state involvement in personal liberty this seems reasonable given the history described and the origin of the author. However, this is nicely counterbalanced by the description of the debt to the European t ...more
Heather
This is a MUST-READ! This book explains the only way to have a TRULY free society without the contradictions and hypocrisy of both the right and the left. I've said for years that the only real difference between the Republicans and Democrats is WHICH big corporations they are in bed with and WHICH of our liberties they want to strip from us. This book details the reasons for this.
The book was written in the late '70's, so some of the examples area dated, but the concepts still hold true. The o
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Robert
The best book on Individual liberty I have ever read...It finally cleared up the nature of government, its role in the destruction of human happiness, and why thinking government can help us solve our problems is magical thinking akin to believing in fairies, Gods, or that we can fly by standing in a bucket and pulling really hard on the handle. When we finally understand this, we start to see every action taken by government at any point in time to be the actions of a lunatic giving tugs on tha ...more
Kosmatos
Excellent. I wouldn't say it contains big ideas, it just tries to show how one small idea has been trampled on from all directions, but continues to survive, and is still well alive.
Charles Berteau
Review carried forward from "I'm Reading"

Read this a month or two ago. There's a great deal in this "Libertarian Manifesto" that I agree with - first and foremost the fact that the state is a coercive force and our freedoms have slowly eroded in the name of fixing problems, at the heart of which is often a previous state policy. Nevertheless, this book also establishes the boundaries of my Libertarian thinking - I believe there is much naivete in (only) private policing and courts, ownership of
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Jr Haseloff
Ugh. Now that's frustrating. Something that you can be so passionate about but it reads like a textbook. It's a shame.

Also, he makes the case for libertarianism and then goes many steps further and talks how the police depts and court systems could also be privatized. The argumentation for those was sketchy at best. The argumentation for no national self defense because at that point, we wouldn't be a Nation-state and, thus, no threat to the soviets anymore was not supported, conveniently optim
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Petko Bossakov
In this book, Murray Rothbard successfully busts the common myths about the legitimacy and necessity of the State. However, there are some points where I find that his extreme stances are weakly supported by logic.

He attempts to define all human relationships based on a single axiom: voluntary, non-violent interaction. While in the general case that's perfectly valid, Rothbard is sometimes taking this to unhealthy extremes. For example, when discussing abortion, he puts the relationship between
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Chad Perrin
This book begins with a philosophical analysis of property, ethics, and political science. It uses this as the justification and basis of the rest of the book, which breaks down many of the major areas of our lives where our centralized governments (at least nominally) provide services and organize society. For each of those areas, it points out where government either does more harm than good or, at best, seems to come out benefit-neutral, but does so only at the cost of violated individual rig ...more
Jash Comstock
A great classic Rothbardian work. Though I'm not an anarchist, I can appreciate several of the arguments Rothbard raises. His defense of individual rights is brilliant, and while I don't follow his argument against the state to his stateless conclusion I can appreciate his thorough revelation of the inherent entropic and monopolizing nature of the state.
I felt Rothbard was rather demeaning when he assumed that anarcho-capitalism is the only true libertarianism. But libertarians are notoriously
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Mariano
I found it really interesting and with a lot of ideas that -on first though- looked like crazy (as in radical) stuff. Probably too right-wing for my tastes (I have read somewhere that left-wing libertarians exist so I will definitely check them before making conclusions). I would like to read an updated version of Rothbard's ideas (written by somebody else of course) corresponding to the current affairs of US and, most important, I would love to read libertarianism analysis of countries like Arg ...more
Jeff Dumas
This book will make you think. It very well might make you change some long held positions. And it is a must read for anyone interested in political thought or economics. I saw one review mocking this book. I find it hard to believe that any serious person could read it and mock it, what I don't find hard to conceive is a person who has NOT read it mocking it. Who doesn't want you to read it? Thought police. Trust me, it's dangerous.
Michael Ayres
Masterful

The words woven into this unmatched manifesto on liberty and libertarianism are truly stimulating, and provides a coherent, detailed analysis of liberty vs. the state. Perfectly written for those both familiar and unfamiliar with libertarianism. No punches are pulled, but the intellectually fair approach to all areas of analysis remains in tune with the subject ideology.
Ethanml
The best introduction and overview of the totality of Libertarian thought. If you even consider yourself a libertarian you have to read this book, even if you are not a full anarcho-capitalist.
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Abortion 2 9 May 28, 2015 02:21AM  
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Murray Newton Rothbard was an influential American historian, natural law theorist, Aristotelian and economist of the Austrian School who helped define modern libertarianism. Rothbard took the Austrian School's emphasis on spontaneous order and condemnation of central planning to an individualist anarchist conclusion, which he termed "anarcho-capitalism".

Source: Wikipedia
More about Murray N. Rothbard...
What Has Government Done to Our Money? and The Case for the 100 Percent Gold Dollar The Ethics of Liberty Anatomy of the State The Case Against the Fed America's Great Depression

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“And, indeed, what is the State anyway but organized banditry? What is taxation but theft on a gigantic, unchecked, scale? What is war but mass murder on a scale impossible by private police forces? What is conscription but mass enslavement? Can anyone envision a private police force getting away with a tiny fraction of what States get away with, and do habitually, year after year, century after century?” 5 likes
“if consumer demand should increase for the goods or services of any private business, the private firm is delighted; it woos and welcomes the new business and expands its operations eagerly to fill the new orders. Government, in contrast, generally meets this situation by sourly urging or even ordering consumers to “buy” less, and allows shortages to develop, along with deterioration in the quality of its service. Thus, the increased consumer use of government streets in the cities is met by aggravated traffic congestion and by continuing denunciations and threats against people who drive their own cars. The New York City administration, for example, is continually threatening to outlaw the use of private cars in Manhattan, where congestion has been most troublesome. It is only government, of course, that would ever think of bludgeoning consumers in this way; it is only government that has the audacity to “solve” traffic congestion by forcing private cars (or trucks or taxis or whatever) off the road. According to this principle, of course, the “ideal” solution to traffic congestion is simply to outlaw all vehicles! But this sort of attitude toward the consumer is not confined to traffic on the streets. New York City, for example, has suffered periodically from a water “shortage.” Here is a situation where, for many years, the city government has had a compulsory monopoly of the supply of water to its citizens. Failing to supply enough water, and failing to price that water in such a way as to clear the market, to equate supply and demand (which private enterprise does automatically), New York’s response to water shortages has always been to blame not itself, but the consumer, whose sin has been to use “too much” water. The city administration could only react by outlawing the sprinkling of lawns, restricting use of water, and demanding that people drink less water. In this way, government transfers its own failings to the scapegoat user, who is threatened and bludgeoned instead of being served well and efficiently. There has been similar response by government to the ever-accelerating crime problem in New York City. Instead of providing efficient police protection, the city’s reaction has been to force the innocent citizen to stay out of crime-prone areas. Thus, after Central Park in Manhattan became a notorious center for muggings and other crime in the night hours, New York City’s “solution” to the problem was to impose a curfew, banning use of the park in those hours. In short, if an innocent citizen wants to stay in Central Park at night, it is he who is arrested for disobeying the curfew; it is, of course, easier to arrest him than to rid the park of crime. In short, while the long-held motto of private enterprise is that “the customer is always right,” the implicit maxim of government operation is that the customer is always to be blamed.” 1 likes
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