Brett Williams's Reviews > The Ethics of Liberty

The Ethics of Liberty by Murray N. Rothbard
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review

it was ok

Murray Rothbard’s not-so-excellent Libertarian adventure

Rothbard provides a few interesting crumbs to nibble on and understandably opposes excess State control, but he’ll serve no meals for the philosophically hungry. Instead, the reader ingests a pungent mix of purist fanaticism and immoral lunacy. Such as, “The parent may not murder or mutilate the child,” writes Rothbard, “But the parent should have the legal right not to feed the child, i.e. to let the child die.” And this applies to any child, because to do otherwise is coercion on the body of the parent. There will be no moral expectations (though he claims this is another matter), no belonging, no virtues, responsibility or duty levied on Rothbard’s Man because all such community-based notions are persecution of the sacred individual. His conclusions are so wrong, in part because his foundational definition of the human is so blatantly errant. While asking “how must we behave,” implying we are not alone in the universe, his political philosophy constantly implies – in Libertarian fashion – we are quite alone in the universe. In his crosshairs are the State (naturally invented for protection and organization in a world of more than one), and laws (generally as implementations of justice and order in a world of more than one). Not only is his model impossible to implement in the real world, it would be a disaster to try. Rand Paul should burn his copy of this occasionally self-contradictory, and frequently repellent text.
4 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Ethics of Liberty.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

May 8, 2015 – Started Reading
May 8, 2015 – Shelved
August 10, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-1 of 1 (1 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

Alex That you don't believe humans should be allowed to kill, enslave or steal from each other does not mean you believe that each individual lives in a vacuum. It actually means the complete opposite. Why discuss how humans should interact if they were never expected to interact?

back to top