Video Guides to Libertarianism

January/​February 2016 • Policy Report

“It’s not easy to define freedom,” Cato’s executive vice president David Boaz writes in The Libertarian Mind. Some may find it equally difficult to define “libertarianism” — a rich philosophy that boasts thinkers from John Stuart Mill to Ayn Rand and Robert Nozick. Boaz’s The Libertarian Mind and The Libertarian Reader both offer primers in libertarian thought — and now, from Lib​er​tar​i​an​ism​.org, comes one more way to encounter the basic ideas of liberty. The site’s new online video courses are an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the history and principles of libertarian philosophy, economics, and public policy.

The guides feature short video lectures you can watch online, or download and listen to on the go. They also incorporate reading lists, essays, and other online materials to further your studies. The course can be taken at any pace, whether you are a student of political science or a novice to the ideas of liberty. And, while the lectures are designed as a sequential course, each individual lecture also stands on its own for those just interested in brushing up on a particular aspect of libertarian thought.

David Boaz presents the first guide, Introduction to Libertarianism. In a series of short lectures, he introduces the foundational ideas of libertarianism. He traces the history of libertarian ideas, from ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, to the Bible, to Thomas Jefferson and Milton Friedman. In just a few hours, the guide provides a substantive overview of all the essential concepts of libertarianism, including rights, individual liberty, and how markets work. “My colleagues at Lib​er​tar​i​an​ism​.org and I have tried to create the best available introduction to libertarianism here in 2015,” he writes.

Upcoming guides will feature Howard Baetjer, the author of Free Our Markets, on the foundational concepts of economics; Jason Brennan of Georgetown University on an Introduction to Political Philosophy; and Jeff Miron of Harvard’s Economics Department on libertarian public policy.

Download the Policy Report Article