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Libertarianism: A Primer

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  1,470 ratings  ·  103 reviews
Tens of millions of Americans, from Generation X-ers to baby boomers and beyond, are rediscovering libertarianism, a visionary alternative to the tired party orthodoxies of left and right. In 1995 a Gallup poll found that 52 percent of Americans said "the federal government has become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ord ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published February 4th 1998 by Free Press (first published 1997)
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Oct 14, 2019 rated it did not like it
Libertarianism i just psycopathic. In a way it like Nazism. Nazism believed in the exterminating people based on race or DNA. ie Jews, Gypsies, Poles etc Libertarianism aims to exterminate people based on ability and economically productiveness. Libertarians aim to exterminate all those who are not ‘economcally productive’. If you not earning money a libertarian wil say you are not human but a ‘consuming animal’.
Patrick Peterson
Mar 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: libertarians, folks curious about libertarians, people who want to change the world for the better
Recommended to Patrick by: David Boaz - longtime friend
Very good.
For both newbies to libertarian ideas as well as folks like me who have been in & around the libertarian movement for many, many years.

Great background on what the ideas are all about. Who are the key people. Why the ideas and movement is so important. What the ideas promise for beneficial changes in the world. What vast improvements have already taken place in the world as a result of libertarian ideas being adopted.

Highly recommended.

I co-hosted with the Federalist Society of Silicon
TR Peterson
The Cato Insitute's David Boaz has written an engaging and thought provoking book with The Libertarian Mind yet his logic and arguments fail to convince in the end. It would be perhaps unfair to blame Boaz for this as he does earnestly try to explain the general Libertarian position. In fact he doesn't do too badly when looking at issues around personal freedom. His explanation of why government should be less involved in the personal lives of its citizens seem to be commonsense nowadays - somet ...more
Apr 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Superlative analysis of human rights, the politico entities (specifically their labels) and those descriptions and systems of law and governmental hierarchies that seek to control human individuals and economics of groups.

Boaz uses bases of exquisite and historical definition in an exact sense. His writing is not equivocal as current politico trends are using these redefined categories. His labeling (charting yet)and exact definition skills are 6 star. Far left Communism and far right Fascism h
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this book riveting. Libertarianism --not conservative, not liberal. Somewhere else--. I came to the read neutral, and I leave fairly neutral, but the read has given me much to think about. Individual liberty versus power of the state. I became interested in Libertarianism when I read Joel Salatin's Book _Folks This Ain't Normal_. If you are interested in Libertarianism, I highly recommend this book as it covers both the historical perspective and also the possible role of Libertarian tho ...more
Athan Tolis
Jan 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: politics
I was given this book by somebody who loved it and I promised to read it.

I must confess that I approached it with prejudice. I've never met a poor libertarian, my prejudice is that libertarianism is a philosophy of convenience for the rich. The way I see it, the minority of people who pay tax directly (we all do indirectly) need to feel good about something. And this is a philosophy that helps them stand for a set of ideas, rather than merely be indignant about being "soaked" on tax.

I was so pre
Feb 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: polisci majors, violent partisans, moderates
Shelves: 2017
Boy oh boy did I get some colorful commentary while reading this book. The Libertarian Mind: A Manifesto for Freedom by David Boaz is book that shouts "Look at me! I have things to say!" and does a pretty good job of conveying the message. Boaz uses fairly simple language and peppers the text with constant references to both past and contemporary people, events and ideas which makes it much more exciting and readable as a result. One of the issues I did have with the book was a lack of sources f ...more
Charlie Gers
Aug 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Libertarianism isn't just a political philosophy, it was the philosophy upon which the Founding Fathers battled for. It is the philosophy for lower taxes to increase economic growth; it is the philosophy that let's individuals determine their own decisions as long as it does not interfere with the individual rights of others; it is the philosophy that advocates against big, coercive, government, which keeps expanding day by day. Liberals reject economic freedom while conservatives reject social ...more
Fredrick Danysh
The Libertarian Mind is a basic examination of what the Libertarian political beliefs are and what they stand for. It compares freedom against restrictive government. This free advance review proof is any excellent read for anyone interested in political theory or liberty.
Feb 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people exploring political philosophy
If you're looking for a well-written introduction to libertarianism this is your book.
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great introductory read on libertarianism. Not difficult to read or abstract at all, the author goes through the history of liberty and the rise of classical liberalism. He explains thoroughly the rights of individuals, the current state of political parties, civil society, free market, and big government in a true libertarian nature. He proposes that a lot of libertarian ideas can be the solution to the complex, contemporary issues that societies are facing. I would highly recommend t ...more
May 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
A must-read for any libertarian or anyone who describes themself as "conservative on economic issues, but against social control." Quite different from Murray's book (released also in 1997), Boaz concentrates on the development of the libertarian thought and then on practical issues. Boaz does a great job of tearing apart anyone's claim that we should all be equal, showing that the equality would unbalance itself very quickly. With the exception of equality of rights, libertarians realize that e ...more
José Fernández
Jul 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everybody!
Many people, who want to know about libertarianism, asks me what book to read. I often have to decide between “The Law", “Atlas Shrugged", ”Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest & Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics", etc. From now on, “The Libertarian Mind” will be the book I’ll recommend as the first book to introduce libertarianism. I think David Boaz is much underrated as a libertarian intellectual and thinker.

Muchas personas, que desean conocer sobre los principios del liberalismo, me
Andrew Price
Oct 24, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
Pretty much an introduction to "libertarian" ideas, which was nothing new to me. And when I say "libertarian," I should note the common usage of the phrase as it's come to be known. I was very frustrated that little talk was given to the original meaning of the term, and although origins were discussed, (classical liberals Adam Smith and John Locke were mentioned) the libertarian socialists of the 19th century were not. The first time the word was used was in a work published by a libertarian co ...more
Feb 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Boaz is the Executive Vice President for the Cato Institute, a Libertarian think-tank. The most important thing I can say about this book, is that if you are interested in Libertarianism - read this book. It is a clear, easy-to-understand articulation of the Libertarian philosophy. If you are reading about Libertarianism and you don't start with this book, you should at least add it as next up on your reading list.
Chaz Ricks
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an excellent book! I really wish there was a book like this for each political party/ affiliation. I would listen to them all! As I listened to it through audible, I did grow tired of the readers voice at times. But it fit the tone of the book.
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I definitely like this book. It addresses a lot of interesting questions about personal choices and individual liberty as well as the emphasis on personal responsibility and the role of voluntarism in a free society. Some of the information was general but I appreciate the author pursuing the course of big picture ideas and covering many of them instead of writing a lot about few subjects. This is a good read for people who do not know much about Libertarianism and want to understand it better. ...more
Peter Gyongyosi
This book is Mr. Boaz's love letter to the free market, and a fairly amusing one at that. I say this despite the fact that I don't agree with a lot of his points and some even made me laugh out loud out in astonishment: my favourites were the offhand remark that the child laborers of the Dickensian era were better off because at least they had jobs or the suggestion that laissez-faire traffic planning works much better than a designed one (which got me thinking about rush hour in Los Angeles v. ...more
Nov 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Boaz puts forward a refreshingly positive vision for Classical Liberalism / Libertarianism, one that says "yes" to human potential, creativity, and even society. This is a nice contrast to most "libertarian" commentary that I find that seems to just not like other people.

Boaz argues that other people, communities, and society are inherently creative, and that by allowing that know-how to grow and get connected with others, communities can solve their problems and change the world for the better.
Kooper Underwood
Mar 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Boaz delivers a compelling argument in this book but I would describe it more as an introduction to the philosophy of libertarianism rather than a deep dive into the subject. Although this book covers many topics, it rarely addresses the critics of libertarian thought on certain subjects. I got the feeling that I was being spoonfed the pros of libertarianism and only being slightly exposed to the cons. I found this especially true in the part of the book that addresses environmental issues. I al ...more
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book bits at a time because there's a lot of detail to consider. I am grateful I read this book because of the questions it raised about how I view the political system and my freedoms as an American citizen. I found things that resonated with views I already held, other things that challenged my views, and several things I can honestly say I'll be thinking about differently from now on. I would recommend this book to "possible" libertarians and to anyone who wishes to read things th ...more
Malin Friess
Nov 06, 2011 rated it liked it
I give Libertarianism the book 3 stars. It wasn't nearly as entertaining as hearing Dr. Ron Paul go on about the nasty Federal Reserve, shutting down the Dept of Education, or going back on the gold standard, legalizing pornography and marijuana, or how building a fence in Texas is dangerous because it might be keeping American's in. We will leave it up to the straw poll and the people of Iowa to decide...
Josh Waters
Feb 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic Overview of The Love of Liberty

This book is a great overview of Libertarianism and how this view improves everyone's lives. Hitting almost every issue and topic you can think of, the author clearly articulated the arguments, logic, pragmatism and benefits of a Libertarian viewpoint of individual liberty and respect for others. Great read, learned a lot, and am now better equipped to defend and advocate for the Liberty movement.
Gabriel Galvão
Jan 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Fine book. For non-Americans it might be uninteresting at times. The lack of distinction between both the natural-rights libertarians and the consequentialist ones annoyed me (the book portraits pretty much the natural-rights flavor of libertarianism). Other than that, an easy, interesting read, overall.
Dale Duncan
Feb 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent treatise on how far we've roamed from the libertarian ideas of the founders in our country. Boaz lays out in easy-to-understand style the downsides of state power and a means toward achieving the kind of freedom that would benefit all. It's no wonder the books is attracting critics from the right and the left.
Susan Janke
Jan 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book I read about Libertarianism, and I believe I made a great choice in books. I found the book interesting and thorough. While I don't agree with every aspect of this political theory, I do believe there is much more to be gained by insisting on personal responsibility. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in learning more about this philosophy.
Sep 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Boaz's has updated his previous Libertarianism: A Primer. I enjoyed the original and appreciated the update covering the last two Presidential administrations, 9/11, the financial crisis, and Uber. The arguments are straightforward, and the writing is superlatively simple. The timing for this book is also perfect, relative to the current election with two highlight authoritarianist candidates.
Sep 19, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A friend who is also looking for a third option to the 2016 Presidential election sent me this book. While this did clarify some basic views of the Libertarian, I found most of the counterarguments for libertarianism simplistic, flawed, or avoided completely. The book didn't turn me off of this political theory, but it didn't relieve any doubts I had either.
Oct 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good introduction to libertarianism. I especially enjoyed the explanations with the graphs as to the differences between big government and small. Articulating the tyranny vs Anarchy argument is key in understanding the U.S. Government and how it came to be. However, it was relatively long and for a general appeal to the masses it could be cut back to make it more approachable.
Dec 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent read for anyone interested in politics, political behavior, and political ideology. As a libertarian, it strengthened my belief system and offered libertarian alternatives to contemporary topics. Worth the read!
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“Libertarianism is the view that each person has the right to live his life in any way he chooses so long as he respects the equal rights of others. Libertarians defend each person's right to life, liberty, and property - rights that people possess naturally, before governments are created. In the libertarian view, all human relationships should voluntary; the only actions that should be forbidden by law are those that involve the initiation of force against those who have themselves used force - actions like murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping, and fraud. ” 11 likes
“It’s the exercise of power, not the exercise of freedom, that requires justification.” 8 likes
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