6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Ideal introduction to libertarian thought., 26 Mar. 2004
Most people today think that the government is both good and necessary. Rothbard demolishes both these propositions.
Rothbard first outlines the classical liberal theory of human rights,that each person is an end in himself with a right to their life, liberty and property which trumps any claim about the "good of society". He then shows how governments, which are supposedly set up to protect these rights, have always and everywhere been their chief violators.
By insisting that the government be subject to the same moral standards as individuals Rothbard shows that warfare is murder, conscription is slavery and taxation is robbery.
Having proven the immorality of the state Rothbard then goes on to show how unnecessary it is, and indeed how much better off we'd all be without it. He shows how private charity would provide for the poor (not that there'd be many) in a free market society better than the "welfare-warfare state" forever dispelling the myth that socialism is the best way to relieve poverty (and that socialism in fact causes and perpetuates the misery it is supposed to cure).
He also demonstrates how protection from crime could be supplied more effectively and more morally by private security and courts than is currently supplied by the government monopoly of these services.
For a new liberty explains how all manner of services might be provided without coercive government including schooling, roads, environmental protection and economic stability.
Rothbard has a tremendous talent for destroying many of your preconceptions and will forever change the way you look at society and the state, at every point demonstrating an extraordinary depth of scholarship and clarity of thought which will leave you wondering how you didn't "get it" before.
If you believe in free markets and civil liberties this book is for you. If you're a socialist you'd also benefit from this book as it is the best guides for understanding what it is you oppose. (Rothbard is to libertarianism what Marx is to communism) If you've never heard of libertarianism and you want to know what it's all about this is the perfect introduction by the man who more than anyone else helped launch the modern libertarian movement.