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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More on Libertarianism

Commentary

What Feeds Big Government Isn’t Only Ideology

By Alberto Mingardi. The Wall Street Journal. February 4, 2019.

The Deceptive Lure of Carlsonomics

By Michael D. Tanner. National Review (Online). January 16, 2019.

Here’s the Libertarian Case for Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court Nomination

By Ilya Shapiro. The Federalist. July 29, 2018.

Cato Studies

How Markets Empower Women: Innovation and Market Participation Transform Women’s Lives for the Better

By Chelsea Follett. Policy Analysis No. 859. December 17, 2018.

Options for Federal Privatization and Reform Lessons from Abroad

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

State Capitalism vs. Private Enterprise

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

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

Guidance on Guidance

Richard A. Williams. Regulation. Winter 2018-2019.

Working Papers

Peter Van Doren and Ike Brannon. Regulation. Winter 2018-2019.

The Tragedy of Kabul Bank

Vern McKinley. Regulation. Winter 2018-2019.

Events

Cato Club 200 Retreat

Featuring . October 1, 2020 to October 4, 2020. Conference.

Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty Biennial Dinner

Featuring . May 20, 2020. Conference.

Cato Club 200 Retreat

Featuring . September 12, 2019 to September 15, 2019. Conference.

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.