Libertarianism: What Everyone Needs to Know

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, 2012 - Political Science - 213 pages
2 Reviews
Historically, Americans have seen libertarians as far outside the mainstream, but with the rise of the Tea Party movement, libertarian principles have risen to the forefront of Republican politics. But libertarianism is more than the philosophy of individual freedom and unfettered markets that Republicans have embraced. Indeed, as Jason Brennan points out, libertarianism is a quite different—and far richer—system of thought than most of us suspect. In this timely new entry in Oxford's acclaimed series What Everyone Needs to Know, Brennan offers a nuanced portrait of libertarianism, proceeding through a series of questions to illuminate the essential elements of libertarianism and the problems the philosophy addresses, including such topics as the Value of Liberty, Human Nature and Ethics, Economic Liberty, Civil Rights, Social Justice and the Poor, Government and Democracy, and Contemporary Politics. Brennan asks the most fundamental and challenging questions: What do Libertarians think liberty is? Do libertarians think everyone should be selfish? Are libertarians just out to protect the interests of big business? What do libertarians think we should do about racial injustice? What would libertarians do about pollution? Are Tea Party activists true libertarians? As he sheds light on libertarian beliefs, Brennan overturns numerous misconceptions. Libertarianism is not about simple-minded paranoia about government, he writes. Rather, it celebrates the ideal of peaceful cooperation among free and equal people. Libertarians believe that the rich always capture political power; they want to minimize the power available to them in order to protect the weak. Brennan argues that libertarians are, in fact, animated by benevolence and a deep concern for the poor. Clear, concise, and incisively written, this volume explains a vitally important philosophy in American history—and a potent force in contemporary politics.
  

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Review: Libertarianism: What Everyone Needs to Know

User Review  - Miles - Goodreads

In Libertarianism: What Everyone Needs to Know, Jason Brennan offers a clear, straightforward, and readable introduction to the libertarian political perspective, carefully acknowledging along the way ... Read full review

Review: Libertarianism: What Everyone Needs to Know

User Review  - Andrew Choi - Goodreads

I read this bc the author was on the CSPAN Q&A podcast. this book did a good job of explaining libertarianism in simple terms. The 100 or so questions covered most of the basic issues one might have. As a bonus, you can just skip the sections that don't really interest you. Read full review

Contents

1 The Basics of Libertarianism
1
2 The Nature and Value of Liberty
26
3 Human Nature and Ethics
42
4 Government and Democracy
54
5 Civil Rights
81
6 Economic Freedom
105
7 Social Justice and the Poor
129
8 Contemporary Problems
150
Yesterday Today and Tomorrow
172
GLOSSARY
185
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER READING
191
INDEX
199
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Jason Brennan is Assistant Professor of Ethics, Economics, and Public Policy at Georgetown University. He is the author of The Ethics of Voting (Princeton University Press, 2011) and co-author of A Brief History of Liberty (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010). He also writes for the popular blog Bleeding Heart Libertarians.

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