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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A project of the Cato Institute, Libertarianism.org provides instant access to writings, multimedia programs, and research from the best contemporary and historical minds on individual liberty, limited government, economics, free markets, history, law, philosophy, political science, and more. The site includes online access to the Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, as well as free print and audio editions of Libertarianism.org’s library of books.

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Commentary

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Articles

Seeing the Statrix

Trevor Burrus. Capitol Research Center. October 18, 2018.

The Future History of Liberty

Cato's Letter. Jason Kuznicki. Vol. 16. No. 4. Fall 2018.

Connoisseurs of Liberty

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

Cato Reviews & Journals

Democracy and Truth: A Short History by Sophia Rosenfeld

Michael B. Levy. Cato Journal. Spring/Summer 2019.

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Cato Studies

Policy Report. March/April 2019.

Events

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Cato Institute Policy Perspectives 2019

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Speeches

An Optimistic Assessment of the Future of Liberty

By Edward H. Crane. September 1, 1999.

The Separation of Art and State

By David Boaz. May 3, 1995.

Reinventing Government

By Edward H. Crane. April 6, 1995.

Downsizing the Federal Government

Five Types of Spending

By Chris Edwards. March 2014.

Cato Unbound

Peace at Last

By Richard Thaler. April 2010.

The Argument Clinic

By Richard Thaler. April 2010.