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What is a libertarian?

A libertarian is someone who beleives that the government is not a be-all-end-all, but rather a necessary evil. If all people agreed to live and let live and survive by their own hand and through volitional trade with others, only dealing honestly and without the use of force, government would not be necessary. However, facing the reality that all it would take is one person to infringe on the rights of others for this system (anarchy) to fall apart, libertarians recognize the need for government as a means of collective self-defense against those who would deal with others through force or fraud (dishonest means).

How does a libertarian (small-l) differ from a Libertarian (big-L)?

A big-L Libertarian is a member of the Libertarian Party (, while a small-l libertarian is someone who believes in libertarian principles. This is not unlike someone who believes in republican principles could be described as a republican though not necessarily be a member or even supporter of the Republican Party or someone who believes in democratic principles is not necessarily a Democrat.

What books do you suggest reading?

Here is a good starter list:

* Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
This is a work of fiction but presents the libertarian views quite well. Many consider it to be the "Bible" of the libertarian movement.

* Capitalism and Freedom by Milton Friedman
This collection of speeches given by the Nobel Prize winner and first published over 40 years ago provides a good insight into some the basis of many freedoms

* Free to Choose: A Personal Statement by Milton and Rose Friedman
The classic inquiry into the relationship between freedom and economics, it is a more general treatment of many of the same issues presented in Capitalism and Freedom.

* The Road to Serfdom by F. A. Hayek
Published originally in World War II Britain, this book details the socialist movement and the inevitable end if not reversed by using historical examples, of which there were pleanty even in the 1940s.

* Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt
This book gives a two page lesson in economics followed by multiple examples illustrating how many of the problems with government activity and its failures come from ignoring this one lesson.

* Economics for Real People by Gene Callahan
This book is designed to introduce people to basic principles of economics through thinking, rather than numbers, charts, and equations. It describes how individual freedom in inherently tied to economic prosperity.

* The Vision of the Anointed by Thomas Sowell
An excellent book looking at the world through the eyes of collectivists - those who oppose libertarian principles and helping freedom loving people to understand how they twist and misrepresent their positions to sound like the opposite of what they actually are, and to spin all outcomes of their programs as either successes.

* Basic Economics by Thomas Sowell
A good compainion book to Economics for Real People. It goes into much more detail with more examples than Callahan's book, but takes a similar approach.

* For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto by Murray Rothbard
It's definitely on the extreme side of libertarianism, but he was definitely one of the key players. While some of the material is quite radical, there is plenty of good reading.

* Lost Rights: The Destruction of American Liberty by James Bovard
Detailed actual stories of how our government is bloated and the effects it has had on Americans in terms of loss of private property and loss of freedom.

* Give Me a Break: How I Exposed Hucksters, Cheats, and Scam Artists and Became the Scourge of the Liberal Media... by John Stossel
An explaination of how ambitious bureaucrats, intellectually lazy reporters, and greedy lawyers make your life worse even as they claim to protect your interests.

* Healing Our World by Mary Ruwart
A great primer on the concepts. It tackles a variety of subjects in a clean and clear manner.

* The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein
This work of fiction is a story that explores libertarian ideas via a gripping story of a prison colony fighting a war of independence and pondering a new government.

* The Probability Broach by L. Neil Smith
Another work of fiction, this one explores libertarian ideas via a thin veneer of plot. In it a policeman is accidentally transported to a parallel universe where (during the American revolution) George Washington is killed for proposing taxes and the Whiskey Rebellion succeeded.

Website about/for Libertarians

There are many websites for libertarians. Here are some of our favorites:

Libertarian Party -
Neil Boortz -
Ludwig von Mises Institute -
The Cato Institute -
Reason OnLine -
Hoover Institution -

To find out if you are a libertarian, take the World's Smallest Political Quiz at .

Our Favorite Quotes

* I swear-by my life and my love of it-that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine. -- John Galt in Atlas Shrugged

* To tax the community for the advantage of a class is not protection: it is plunder. -- Benjamin Disraeli

* Liberty not only means that the individual has both the opportunity and the burden of choice; it also means that he must bear the consequences of his actions... Liberty and responsibility are inseparable. -- Friederich Hayek

* It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our necessities but of their advantages. -- Adam Smith

* Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage's whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men. -- Ayn Rand

* To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it. --Thomas Jefferson

* Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. -- Lord Acton

* I will never depend on so slender a protection as the possibility of being represented by virtuous men. -- Patrick Henry

* I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on the objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents. -- James Madison

* The attempt to realize equality endangers freedom and, if freedom is lost, there will not even be equality among the unfree. -- Karl Popper

* The U.S. Constitution doesn't guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it. You have to catch up with it yourself. -- Benjamin Franklin

* It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself. -- Thomas Jefferson

* Nothing appeals to intellectuals more than the feeling that they represent 'the people.' Nothing, as a rule, is further from the truth. -- Paul Johnson

* There is mercy which is weakness, and even treason against the common good. -- George Eliot

* Diplomacy without arms is like music without instruments. -- Frederick the Great

* War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature, and has no chance of being free unless made or kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. -- John Stuart Mill

* No one can transfer more right to another than he has himself. -- Broom's Legal Maxims

* The king cannot confer a favor on one subject which occasions injury and loss to others. -- Broom's Legal Maxims

* The worst crime against working people, is a company which fails to make a profit. -- Samuel Gompers

* It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong. -- Thomas Sowell

* The criterion of truth is that it works even if nobody is prepared to acknowledge it. -- Ludwig von Mises

* The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities. -- Ayn Rand

* No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another, and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him. - Thomas Jefferson

* How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg. -- Abraham Lincoln

* A minority of 1 who is right, is still right. -- Andrew Jackson

* Si vis pacem, para bellum (If you want peace, prepare for war.) -- Vegetius (Flavius Vegetius Renatus) AD:379-95.

* To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace. - George Washington

* Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclination, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.

* Nobody spends somebody else's money as carefully as he spends his own.

* Government has nothing to give anybody except what it first takes from somebody.

* A government that is big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have.

* An armed man is a citizen. An unarmed man is a subject.

* If a group of people is free, those people will not earn equal incomes. Conversely, show me a group of people that has equal incomes, and I will show you people who are not free.

* A government that robs Peter to pay Paul, can always count on the support of Paul.

* They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. -- Benjamin Franklin

* He who makes an assertion without knowing whether it is true or false is guilty of falsehood, and the accidental truth of the assertion does not justify or excuse him. -- Abraham Lincoln

* A democracy is a system where two wolves and a sheep decide what to have for dinner.

* The history of the 20th century was of the abandonment of what works in favor of what sounds good.
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