Libertarianism is the belief that each person has the right to live his life as he chooses so long as he respects the equal rights of others. Libertarians defend each person’s right to life, liberty, and property. In the libertarian view, voluntary agreement is the gold standard of human relationships. If there is no good reason to forbid something (a good reason being that it violates the rights of others), it should be allowed. Force should be reserved for prohibiting or punishing those who themselves use force, such as murderers, robbers, rapists, kidnappers, and defrauders (who practice a kind of theft). Most people live their own lives by that code of ethics. Libertarians believe that that code should be applied consistently, even to the actions of governments, which should be restricted to protecting people from violations of their rights. Governments should not use their powers to censor speech, conscript the young, prohibit voluntary exchanges, steal or “redistribute” property, or interfere in the lives of individuals who are otherwise minding their own business.

More on Libertarianism

Commentary

Libertarians and the Struggle for Women’s Rights

By David Boaz. Huffington Post. March 23, 2015.

Nation’s Libertarian Roots

By David Boaz. philly.com. February 15, 2015.

Black History Is American History

By David Boaz. Huffington Post. February 11, 2015.

Cato Studies

Policy Priorities for the 114th Congress

By Cato Institute. White Paper. February 4, 2015.

Libertarianism and Federalism

By Ilya Somin. Policy Analysis No. 751. June 30, 2014.

Libertarian Roots of the Tea Party

By David Kirby and Emily McClintock Ekins. Policy Analysis No. 705. August 6, 2012.

Articles

On the Origins of the Modern Libertarian Legal Movement

Roger Pilon. Chapman Law Review. Vol. 16. No. 2. 2013.

Introduction

Roger Pilon. American Conservative Thought in the Twentieth Century. 2011.

A Faint-Hearted Libertarian at Best: The Sweet Mystery of Anthony Kennedy

Ilya Shapiro. Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. Vol. 33. No. 1. Winter 2011.

Cato Reviews & Journals

Bootleggers, Baptists, and E-Cigs

Jonathan H. Adler, Roger E. Meiners, Andrew P. Morriss, & Bruce Yandle. Regulation. Spring 2015.

The Best and Worst of America’s Governors

Policy Report. January/February 2015.

A Manifesto for Freedom

Policy Report. January/February 2015.

Events

The Libertarian Mind: A Manifesto for Freedom

Featuring David Boaz and Caleb O. Brown. March 19, 2015. Sponsor E-Briefing.

Reddit iAMA with David Boaz, Cato Institute EVP and author of The Libertarian Mind: A Manifesto for Freedom

Featuring David Boaz. February 10, 2015. Special Event.

The Libertarian State of the Union

Featuring Mark A. Calabria, Chris Edwards, Julian Sanchez, & Daniel J. Ikenson. February 6, 2015. Capitol Hill Briefing.

Downsizing the Federal Government

Five Types of Spending

By Chris Edwards. March 2014.