Realizing Freedom: Libertarian Theory, History, and Practice
(Cato Institute, 2009)
For more than 25 years, Tom Palmer has studied the history and theory of liberty and has worked tirelessly to bring liberty to countries around the world. This book ranges from the theory of justice to foreign policy, from the economics of public goods to gay rights in Russia. Palmer addresses the nature of freedom, law, rights, and justice; the morality of markets; and the institutional frameworks of free societies. He considers and criticizes the arguments of political theorists such as John Rawls and Cass Sunstein, as well as popular “myths of individualism,” which he concisely refutes. But theory doesn’t stand alone. Palmer studies and explains ordered liberty and connects abstract liberal rights to their historical roots. Drawing on his activism in countries ranging from eastern Europe in the late 1980s to Russia, China, and the Arab world today, he also takes on current events and concerns, from multiculturalism to struggles for free speech to the war in Iraq. It is hard to find a contemporary scholar with more knowledge of the theory and history of liberty, and at last his major writings are collected in one place. Author, blogger, and New York Times columnist Tyler Cowen will comment.