Libertarianism: A Primer Hardcover – 15 Jan 1997
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P.J. O'Rourke America is a country full of people who feel personal liberty and individual responsibility in their guts. This book puts those guts into words. America is also a country full of politicians, academics, and self-possessed elites who mistrust liberty and responsibility ot the bottom of their souls. This book plants a kick in that fundament.
William F. Weld Libertarianism: A Primer is a bracing shot of 100-proof libertarianism guaranteed to render mute the last defenders of big, paternalistic government. With plain-spoken eloquence, David Boaz unveils a vision of America that has at its core an abiding respect for personal liberty and freedom writ large.
Dave Barry I hope everybody reads this book. My only concern is that, if we ever do wise up and dump the federal government, I'll lose my biggest source of comic material. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
David Boaz is executive vice president of the Cato Institute. He is the author of Libertarianism: A Primer (an updated edition to be released in 2015 called The Libertarian Mind), and his articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times. He lives in the Washington, DC, area. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
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 prejudiced about the whole thing, I bought a book by a Nobel Prize winning economist / historian / philosopher about the role of institutions (for example: the government) and read it first. I thought it would educate my mind on the subtleties of the issues I'd confront in any book about libertarianism and give me a bank of ideas to compare with as I'm reading.
I needn't have. David Boaz' "primer" is not an ambitious book. It never goes deep enough into issues that you could vehemently oppose. Equally, it does not build its arguments on an axiomatic basis; so you can't go through and look for errors in logic that isn't there. This is a presentation of a bunch of ideas. "Primer" is probably overselling it, much as it says so on the cover.
I am not exposed to philosophy, so I hate taking literally what "popular philosophy" books have to say. The history of the various ideas will inevitably be interpreted from the angle of the author and important thinkers will invariably be mixed with less important thinkers who are closer to the ideas of the author. If this author did so, he certainly did it without me noticing. It was fun to read what he had to say.
That said, he completely failed to change my mind on any of my prejudices. How do I know?Read more ›
A word to the Amazon editor who cites various questions as 'unanswered'... try picking up the book again and thinking for yourself a bit, eh? Do you REALLY think that people drive on the right *solely* because they fear tickets? Or might self-interest (and the interests of one's fenders) play a small role in that decision? Do you REALLY think governments are needed to force us to patronize libraries and parks? Or do you think that maybe, just maybe, people might be willing to voluntarily pay admissions or membership fees? The highway question is more complicated, naturally, but if one is intrigued by the libertarian philosophy there are further steps to take in answering the *very* hard questions (and Boaz recommends a few books for the skeptic).
Boaz really hits the nail on the head with his discussions on freedom of choice vs. government intervention. His discussions are brief, but to the point. He speaks in a persuasive way without being too negative or forceful in his arguments. I am a member of the Libertarian Party, so I already hold many of the same positions as the author. But I still found the book to be an enjoyable read and a good starting point for beginners who are looking for answers to satisfy their curious political minds.
After you finish reading this, loan it to a friend. And let the Libertarian revolution begin!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A thoroughly recommended and well-written first introduction to the principles of libertarianism.Published 9 months ago by Amazonreviewer151
_Libertarianism: A Primer_ is a remarkable piece of work: it is the longest "short order propaganda" pamphlet I've ever read. Read morePublished on 26 Feb. 1999
This book is a great introduction to Libertarianism for those who are new to the ideology or for those who are just curious. Read morePublished on 20 Nov. 1998
For those who feel as if their lives are increasingly being directed from above, this book is a vindication of such feelings, and an explanation of why it is true. Read morePublished on 23 Oct. 1997