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.

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By Timothy Sandefur. Ricochet. February 27, 2018.

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By Ryan Bourne. Medium. February 19, 2018.

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By Ilya Somin. Reason. January 30, 2018.

Cato Studies

Options for Federal Privatization and Reform Lessons from Abroad

By Chris Edwards. Policy Analysis No. 794. June 28, 2016.

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By Donghua Chen, Dequan Jiang, Alexander Ljungqvist, Haitian Lu, & Mingming Zhou. Research Briefs in Economic Policy No. 28. June 17, 2015.

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


Connoisseurs of Liberty

Cato's Letter. George F. Will. Vol. 15. No. 3. Summer 2017.

Defending Liberty in Congress

Cato's Letter. Rep. Justin Amash. Vol. 14. No. 4. Fall 2016.

How I Became a Libertarian

Cato's Letter. Penn Jillette. Vol. 14. No. 2. Spring 2016.

Cato Reviews & Journals

To Be Governed…

Policy Report. May/June 2018.

Cato Studies

Policy Report. May/June 2018.

A Documentary History of Liberty and Power

Policy Report. May/June 2018.


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An Optimistic Assessment of the Future of Liberty

By Edward H. Crane. September 1, 1999.

Downsizing the Federal Government

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By Chris Edwards. March 2014.