Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto” as Want to Read:
For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  2,110 ratings  ·  151 reviews
A classic that for over two decades has been hailed as the best general work on libertarianism available. Rothbard begins with a quick overview of its historical roots, and then goes on to define libertarianism as resting "upon one single axiom: that no man or group of men shall aggress upon the person or property of anyone else." He writes a withering critique of the chie ...more
Paperback, 338 pages
Published November 1st 1978 by Collier Books (first published 1973)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about For a New Liberty, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about For a New Liberty

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.33  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,110 ratings  ·  151 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto
Johhny Appleseed
Jan 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 18, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Noone
Recommended to Foppe 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 hath
Jakub Maly
Jul 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 26, 2021 rated it did not like it
a truly evil man who believed parents should have the right to starve their children and a 'free trade in children''! Libertarians bug the crap out of me with their self-righteousness when they actually totally amoral. And I am NOT a woke lefty! ...more
Nov 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Scott Templeman
Jan 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Void lon iXaarii
Sep 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 22, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Sean Rosenthal
Jun 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 28, 2019 rated it liked it
For a New Liberty, Murray Rothbard's classic anarcho-capitalist "manifesto," is an undeniable classic of libertarian literature. The broad vision Rothbard offers - of a society built on voluntary association and exchange, free from the coercion and violence of the state - doesn't need to be recapitulated here, since it can be found in the hundreds of online reviews this book has received, and in the thousands of posts in the libertarian blogosphere that reference it. I would, therefore, like to ...more
Jul 28, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Arttu Malek
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A solid and coherent criticism of statism and government in the XX century followed by actual concrete libertarian solution for each issue mentioned. The book is perfectly aligned with its own title. It is a manifesto. And as each manifesto it puts most of the effort into showcasing the best parts of the described subject and revealing the flaws of opposing regime. That means that some rough spots like the possibility of government restoration by a group of statists striving for power in the lib ...more
Kerry Baldwin
Sep 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I use this book for my Adult level online Socratic Seminar. It's very useful for introducing people to the fundamental problems face by this country, what the libertarian response is, and how to go about achieving it. Our final lesson discusses how libertarianism is a philosophy that takes into the corrupt and distorted nature of society. It doesn't rely on illusions of the goodness of man to function. It's interesting to me that libertarians are accused of being utopian - maybe this comes from ...more
Ron Cooney
Jun 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: econ, different

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
For my hundredth review on this website, I wanted to pick a special book. What better one than the one that transformed my entire way of thinking? It is not so much that I still follow Rothbard a hundred percent; I have moved away from him in some ways, but I have never abandoned him. I am still an anarchocapitalist, just one who is now also influenced by Thomism, Christianity, and reactionary and conservative thought generally. I don't fully subscribe to Rothbardianism anymore, but I still deep ...more
Mudiwa Mari
Jul 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is the closest book I have read which provides a clear framework on how a society organised around libertarian principles would function.

There is no scope for force/violence against innocent people as a means to keep society stable in peaceful existence.

There is a concise description of how classical liberal societies and their advocates have been subverted through out history
Shane Hawk
Rothbard was a prolific writer and master of concision. For A New Liberty feels a little dated, yet it was prescient. He laid intellectual groundwork for the liberal-society thought experiment.
Petko Bossakov
Mar 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Daniel Moss
Rothbard's arguments in favor of abortion aren't acceptable to me but outside of that - this book absolutely nails down the rules that should lay the foundation for a pluralistic and civil society. ...more
That was a great read. I really liked things like pleasant style, clarity and solid and coherent logical arguments that were not limited to an abstract thesis, but were elegantly supported by contemporary and historical facts. Things like a system of private roads, large stateless societies and other libertarian wishes (which I thought that are supported by anarcho-capitalists, because of a priori assumption that they will be good) apparently did exist in a past, working well.

I was already a mi
T.Z. Barry
Apr 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book will change the way you look at the world, especially government, and make you question its very existence. Rothbard systematically explains how the State is not needed—and is actually detrimental—to the areas of society where most people assume it is most essential such as education, police, military, defense, and the courts. In each case, free-market competition in the private sector will provide those services at lower cost and higher quality. “But what about the roads?” Yeah, he an ...more
Michael Jones

I do not necessarily agree with Rothbard’s ethics-- he ends up with some kind of natural law interpretation that can fall flat in places.

But that having been said, he does provide a fairly cogent picture of how we could govern ourselves locally by the use of the free market to provide many of the services which the government now imposes.

The eye-opening point is that from what other entity or person would we ever allow them to conscript our sons to be killed while they go and murder thousands to
Jun 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
John Boettcher
Aug 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Yeah, I know what king of guy wrote this. But still, I didn't even manage to read it all as it's almost insulting. The author sound very very patriotic to be a supposed anarchist and relly takes a lot of effort in his process of cgerry picking demostrating how the building of the great nation America is, is grounded solely on great Libertarian values, now under attack by evil statists. No mention of slavery, no mention of genocide, no mention of inequalities-by-birth ( And it makes sense if you ...more
Jun 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Alan Hughes
May 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy, politics
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
Warren Norred
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was the seminal book for an analytic approach to government that assisted me to examine assumptions and really dig into the 'why' of certain programs and what other options might exist. A great primer on the subject! ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Abortion 1 15 May 28, 2015 02:21AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Law
  • Liberalism: The Classical Tradition
  • Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest & Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics
  • Defending the Undefendable
  • Democracy: The God That Failed
  • The Road to Serfdom
  • Human Action: A Treatise on Economics
  • The New Right: A Journey to the Fringe of American Politics
  • No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority
  • The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism
  • End the Fed
  • A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism: Economics, Politics, and Ethics
  • The Anti-capitalistic Mentality
  • A Short History of Man: Progress and Decline
  • The Machiavellians: Defenders of Freedom
  • The Revolution: A Manifesto
  • La Tiranía de la igualdad: Por qué el proyecto de la izquierda destruye nuestras libertades y arruina nuestro progreso
  • Planned Chaos
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Murray Newton Rothbard was an influential American historian, natural law theorist 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".

In the 1970s, he assisted Charles Koch and Ed Crane to fo

Related Articles

  Luvvie Ajayi Jones—author, cultural critic, digital entrepreneur—might be best described as a professional truthteller. Her crazily popular...
53 likes · 0 comments
“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?” 25 likes
“It is infinitely better to rely on the pursuit of economic interest by landowners or street companies than to depend on the dubious “altruism” of bureaucrats and government officials.” 7 likes
More quotes…