Author Archives: rothbarddotcom

Review of Liberty: A Path to its Recovery

liberty_aptirF. A. Harper’s book Liberty: A Path to its Recovery is an attempt to define liberty and a call to reverse the growth of government. Published in 1949, the evils of the state that Harper refers to may seem quaint compared to the economic havoc wreaked by modern governments, but the general principles still apply.

Harper says that, “Liberty exists when a person is free to do whatever he desires, according to his wisdom and conscience.” This is a good definition for freedom, which is often conflated with liberty. Actually, Harper’s discussion of liberty is much more instructive than his actual definition, as he digs into the fact that liberty is related to how people interact and that people who live in solitude have complete liberty:

“If he is prohibited from doing this, by another person or by any combination of persons who are not direct parties to the deal, his liberty is thereby transgressed. And further, it makes no difference, so far as liberty is concerned, under what name the act of prohibition is paraded; or whether it is by a corporation, a cooperative, a labor union, a trade union, the government, or what not.”

Despite the flavor of anarchy in the above quote, Harper explicitly calls for limited government. He simply assumes that limited government produces the “optimal” level of liberty without Continue reading

Murray Rothbard: Dragon Slayer

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Murray Rothbard depicted as a dragon slayer in the April 18th, 1993 edition of the Las Vegas Review-Journal

After reading about this image in Joseph Becker’s article, “Memories of Rothbard at UNLV“, I really wanted to see it. First I looked for it on search engines, but it was nowhere to be found. After that I tried to find a copy of the newspaper that Becker cited in online databases, but all I found was the text of the articles. Frustrated, I checked the LVRJ website, which said to look for copies in the Clark County Library. Their website referred me to another online database that I could not access remotely.

Fortunately, a friend came to the rescue. She volunteered to go to Nevada and manually search through the library’s microfiche archive. She found the original newspaper images and sent them along. Thanks to her, now ancaps everywhere can enjoy this piece of anarcho-capitalist history.

The full text of the related article is below. Continue reading

Libertarian Strategy: Reply to Mr. Katz

Murray Rothbard was a prolific writer. Thanks to the Mises Institute, much of his work can be found online, but there are still many articles that anarcho-capitalists have never read because only physical copies exist. For one such article, that changes today.

Simon Franek sends along this article that he found in the FEE archive. It is from the May 1973 edition of New Libertarian Notes. Click the image below for the PDF.

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Defense Distributed

cody_wilsonCody Wilson found a way around government’s attempt to control guns: make your own. He started Defense Distributed to spread information about how to make guns in the comfort of your own home.

This is not a new idea. Hoplophiles have been making their own guns for decades using pre-manufactured 80% receivers. With these, all you have to do is drill some holes, purchase the other parts of the gun, and you are suddenly and surreptitiously the proud owner of a functional firearm. Wilson’s innovation was to make it easy for anyone to do using 3D printing technology.

Now, 3D printed guns are Continue reading

Review of Libertarian Quandaries

libertarian_quandriesJakub Wisniewski‘s book Libertarian Quandries is a thoughtful and accurate account of the libertarian ethical system. Though the language is a bit academic at times, the chapters are short and pithy. This makes the book an excellent choice for those who are familiar with libertarianism and want to take their understanding and arguments to the next level.

Wisniewski addresses a wide range of objections to libertarianism, be they economic, ethical, or simply a question of what is practical. Similarly, he mounts a calm but relentless attack on arguments in favor of government. Ancaps will appreciate his consistent anarchist message, while libertarians who are still holding on the idea of limited government will find some interesting food for thought.

That said, there are a few things that call for clarification: Continue reading

Review of Ethics: A Very Short Introduction

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In his book, Ethics: A Very Short Introduction, Simon Blackburn takes the reader on a semi-structured tour of various ethical topics. He tackles a variety of bad ideas that have made their way into the ethical arena and spends the majority of the book focused on putting them down. Blackburn mostly refrains, however, from developing or advocating any particular ethical theory.

Surprisingly, given the title, the book is not overly friendly to the uninitiated. The reader is often expected to already be familiar with major ideas, figures, and schools of thought in ethics and philosophy. While in the beginning Blackburn does do a good job explicitly motivating why ethical systems are important, by spending the bulk of the work on focused on flawed systems, the book might be discouraging to individuals looking for an ethical system to live by. Blackburn does drop a few hints at what he thinks a good ethic might look like, but sadly it seems to be some sort of democratic socialism.

The book is structured into three sections. The first Continue reading