Appendix II. My Competition

The following books, articles, periodicals, and organizations may be of interest to those who wish to pursue the subject matter of this book a little further. I take no responsibility for the views of these authors and they take none for mine. There may be two libertarians somewhere who agree with each other on everything, but I am not one of them.

Most are books and articles that I have read, although in some cases I list a book I have not read by an author whose work I know. Several books, mostly on history, are included on the recommendation of Jeffrey Rogers Hummel, who helped update the references for the second edition; they are identified by his initials. He is also responsible for many of the descriptions of libertarian magazines and organizations.


Poul Anderson, ‘No Truce with Kings’, in Time and Stars (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1964). A libertarian novelette that plays fair. The bad guys are good guys too. But wrong. You are halfway through the story before you realize which side the author is on.

Robert A. Heinlein, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (New York: Putnam, 1966). Most of his books contain interesting ideas. This one is set in a plausible anarcho-capitalist society and was one of the sources from which my ideas on the subjectdeveloped. A discussion of all the good things about this book would require a long article; some day I may write it.

C. M. Kornbluth, The Syndic (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1955). A book about an attractive libertarian society run by organized crime caught in the stability problem. It is threatened by external enemies and apparently doomed to eventualcollapse; any energetic attempt to defend it will make it no longer worth defending.

Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, Oath of Fealty. (New York: Pocket Books, 1981). Both the authors of this book have some libertarian sympathies, neither is an orthodox libertarian. It is set in the near future and centers around a privately owned arcology, a building the size of a small city providing its own substitutes for governmental services. A central point of the book, one which should be of interest to anarcho-capitalists, is that people protected by a private organization instead of agovernment will feel for that private organization the same sort of loyalty and patriotism that people now feel for their nation. The arcology is “us,” the government of the city of Los Angeles is “them.”

Niven and Pournelle have jointly written several other good books that have nothing much to do with libertarianism; I particularly recommend The Mote in God’s Eye and Inferno. ‘Cloak of Anarchy’, in Niven’s collection Tales of Known Space(New York: Ballantine, 1975), is an anti-anarchist story that anarchists should read and think about.

H. Beam Piper and John Joseph McGuire, Lone Star Planet (aka A Planet for Texans). A lot of fun. Set on a planet one of whose central institutions is obviously inspired by a Mencken essay.

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (New York: Random House, 1957). The Fountainhead (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1943). Anthem, rev. ed., (Los Angeles: Pamphleteers, 1946). Rand’s novels upset some people because the heroes are all handsome andthe villains nauseating, with names to match. She did it on purpose; she did not believe art should be realistic and wrote The Romantic Manifesto (New York: World Publishing, 1969) to prove it. When someone told her that her work was not in the mainstream of American literature, she is supposed to have replied that “the mainstream of American literature is a stagnant swamp.”

Eric Frank Russell, The Great Explosion (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1962). Bureaucrats from Earth are Putting The Universe Back Together. One of their failures involves an intriguing anarcho-pacifist society. This story may have originated MYOB (for ‘Mind Your Own Business’).

J. Neil Schulman, Alongside Night (New York: Avon, 1987), The Rainbow Cadenza (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1983). Two explicitly libertarian novels. The first describes a libertarian revolt in the near future, the second a society with a male-to-female ratio of ten to one where women are drafted into a prostitution corps. The first has now been made into a movie, in which I got to play a bit part.

L. Neil Smith, The Probability Broach (New York: Ballantine, 1980), The Venus Belt (New York: Ballantine, 1980) and lots more that I have not yet read. His books are sometimes fun; my main reservation is that the good guys are too obviously in the right and win too easily.

Vernor Vinge, True Names (New York: Bluejay, 1984), The Peace War (New York: Bluejay, 1984; Ultramarine, 1984), Marooned in Realtime (New York: Bluejay, 1986; Baen, 1987). These are science fiction novels by a libertarian with interesting ideas. The historical background for the last of the three, which is set in the very far future, includes an anarcho-capitalist society along the general lines described in Part III of this book.

The story The Ungoverned’, included in the book True Names and Other Dangers (New York: Baen, 1987), is set after The Peace War and before Marooned in Realtime. It portrays an anarcho-capitalist society under attack by an adjacent state. One of the best things about the story is the way in which both anarchists and statists take their own institutions entirely for granted. The failure of the attack is in part a result of its leaders misinterpreting what they run into because they insist on viewing the anarcho-capitalist society as something between a rival state and a collection of gangsters.


Armen A. Alchian and William R. Allen, University Economics: Elements of Inquiry, 3rd ed., (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1972). A good unconventional economics text, entertainingly written.

Robert Frank, Passions Within Reason: The Strategic Role of the Emotions. An interesting discussion of how emotions fit into the economist’s model of rational behavior by an original economist with whom I quite often disagree. (Norton 1988)

Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962). This is a modern libertarian classic and well worth reading.

Milton and Rose Friedman, Free to Choose: A Personal Statement (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1980). The Tyranny of the Status Quo (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1983). The first of these is the case for a free society from as lightly more moderate position than mine. The second is largely an explanation of why it is so hard to change the existing situation, even when a candidate like Reagan or Thatcher is apparently elected for the purpose of doing so.

Henry Hazlitt, Economics in One Lesson (New York: Harper, 1946). This is reputed to be a good short introduction to economics; I have not read it.

Henry Hazlitt, Time Will Run Back: A Novel about the Rediscovery of Capitalism, rev. ed., (New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House, 1966). The rediscovery of capitalism in a future communist world. It pretends to be a novel. Ignore that and you will find it anabsorbing explanation of why socialism cannot work as well as capitalism and what happens when it tries.

Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow (Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2011). The central assumption of economics is rationality, that individuals tend to take the actions that best achieve their objectives. Part of the defense of that assumption in my Price Theory was to argue that while it was not a perfect description of human behavior, it was the best description possible, since with no theory of irrationality we had no way to predict deviations from rational action.

Kahneman has a theory of irrationality. His book can be seen either as a critique of the rationality assumption or as an expanded version of it, one that includes in the constraints the individual decision maker must deal with the limited processing power of the human brain. He is a psychologist who received a Nobel prize in economics and, in my view, deserved it.

Alfred Marshall, Principles of Economics, 8th ed. (London: Macmillan, 1946). This is the book that, more than any other, created modern economics; it was first published in the 1890s and is still well worth reading. The approach to understandingeconomic efficiency that I use is borrowed, with minor modifications, from Book III, Chapter 6.

Ludwig von Mises, Human Action: A Treatise on Economics, 3rd ed., (Chicago: Regnery, 1963). Much is made in libertarian circles of the division between Austrian’ and ‘Chicago’ schools of economic theory, largely by people who understand neither. I am classified as ‘Chicago’. This is the magnum opus of one of the leading Austrians. His 1927 Liberalism  is described to me as is short, accessible, and possibly more directly related to the topic of this book. I have not read it.

S. Peltzman, “An Evaluation of Consumer Protection Legislation: 1962 Drug Amendments.” Journal of Political Economy September/October 1973. This is a classic example of the use of economics and statistics to measure the effect of government regulation. Peltzman’s conclusion was that the legislation he was looking at reduced the rate of introduction of new drugs by about half while having no detectable effect on their average quality.

Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776; reprint ed., New York: Modern Library, 1937). Usually referred to simply as The Wealth of Nations, this is arguably the most influential libertarian book everwritten. Webbed.

George J. Stigler, “Competition in the United States,” in Five Lectures on Economic Problems (Longmans, Green and Co., London 1949)

Oliver Williamson, Markets and Hierarchies: Analysis and Antitrust Implications (The Free Press, New York, 1975). This contains, among other interesting things, a discussion of problems with the sort of agoric economic arrangements that were described in Chapter 35 and attempted more than a century ago. Like it or not, there are reasons why hierarchic firms exist.

Law and Economics

Gary S. Becker and George J. Stigler, “Law Enforcement, Malfeasance, and Compensation of Enforcers,” Journal of Legal Studies, 3 (January 1974), 1-18. This article, by two eminent economists, introduced the idea of having criminal offenses privately prosecuted into the law and economics literature.

Michelle Boldrin and David Levine, Against Intellectual Monopoly (Cambridge University Press: 2010). An interesting book arguing against intellectual property.

Jesse Byock, Feud in the Icelandic Saga (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982). Byock is a historian. While his perspective on the Icelandic system is quite different from mine, his conclusions are similar.

R. H. Coase, ‘The Problem of Social Cost’, Journal of Law and Economics, 3 (October 1960). This is the article that originated the Coase Theorem and revolutionized the economic analysis of legal rules, in particular rules dealing with externalities.

Richard Epstein, Takings: Private Property and the Power of Eminent Domain (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1985). Richard Epstein is both a prominent legal scholar and a libertarian. This book argues that the takings clause of theConstitution (“nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation”), properly interpreted, imposes stringent constraints on what the government is permitted to do. A city government that zones my block as single-family residences only is taking from me one of the bundle of rights that make up my ownership of my house—the right to rent out part of it. Under Epstein’s interpretation of the Constitution, it can do so only if it is willing to compensate me for the loss(“just compensation”) and only if the benefits of the law are distributed very widely (“for public use”). Since most such government interventions are intended to benefit one group at the expense of another and politically profitable only for that reason, most of what government now does is, by Epstein’s interpretation, unconstitutional. A government bound by his constraints would do very much less than our government presently does.

Part of what makes this book interesting is the intelligence of the author and the sophistication of the argument. He is not merely asserting a constitutional interpretation; he is interweaving lines of argument based on constitutional theory, public choice economics, and political philosophy, in order to support and explain his conclusion.

A critique of Epstein for not going far enough is Jeffrey Rogers Hummel, ‘Epstein’s Takings Doctrine and the Public- Good Problem’, Texas Law Review, 65 (May 1987), 1233-1242.

I once heard a Democratic senator, questioning a Supreme Court nominee, ask if he agreed with Epstein’s view, with the clear implication that if he did he ought not to be confirmed.

Richard A. Posner, Economic Analysis of Law 3rd edn. (Boston: Little, Brown, 1986). This is a treatise masquerading as a textbook; the first edition helped create the modern economic analysis of law.

My sketch of the economic analysis of law in Chapter 43 is limited in at least two ways. It ignores many of the complications one would face in constructing a real law code. It also focuses on the question of what legal rules are economically efficient while ignoring two other questions of importance: what economics tells us about the consequences of the laws we actually have and what economics tells us about what kind of laws we can expect to have.

Posner approaches the subject from a different angle. He argues that there are reasons to expect the common law, the system of legal rules generated not by the legislature but by the accumulation of court decisions, to be economically efficient, and he claims to show that much of the common law in fact is efficient. His Economic Analysis of Law and my Law’s Order go into the question of efficient legal rules in much more depth than the discussion in this book.

William Miller, ‘Avoiding Legal Judgement: The Submission of Disputes to Arbitration in Medieval Iceland’, The American Journal of Legal History, 28 (1984). ‘Gift, Sale, Payment, Raid: Case Studies in the Negotiation and Classification ofExchange in Medieval Iceland’, Speculum, 61 (1986). Miller is a law professor who has written extensively on Medieval Iceland. He writes as a legal scholar not an economist, and his conclusions are not always the same as mine.

Public Policy

Martin Anderson, The Federal Bulldozer: A Critical Analysis of Urban Renewal, 1949-1962 (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1964). The book that showed what urban renewal does to, not for, the poor.

Leslie Chapman, Your Disobedient Servant (London: Chatto and Windus, 1978). A fascinating first-hand account of the mechanics of Friedman’s first law—why things cost twice as much when governments do them. The author was a British bureaucrat who tried to reduce the costs of his part of the bureaucracy by modest measures such as not heating buildings that nobody occupied. He succeeded technically, reducing costs by about 35% with no reduction in output, but failed politically; he is no longer a bureaucrat.

Ronald Hamowy, ed., Dealing with Drugs: Consequences of Government Control (Lexington: Heath, 1987). (JRH)

Charles Murray, Losing Ground: American Social Policy 1950-1980. (New York: Basic Books, 1984). This is a persuasive and controversial book. It argues that the liberal reforms of the Kennedy and Johnson era, especially in welfare and education, had the opposite of their intended effect. While there has been some serious criticism of the author’s statistics, the book remains interesting both as a history of what happened and an explanation of why.

Robert Poole, ed., Instead of Regulation: Alternatives to Federal Regulatory Agencies (Lexington, MA: Heath, 1982). Poole is the editor of Reason magazine and one of the few libertarians I usually find myself agreeing with.

Julian Simon, The Ultimate Resource (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981). One of the most powerful ideas of recent decades has been the myth of overpopulation, according to which we are on the edge of running out of everything with catastrophic results. Julian Simon wrote the best refutation I know of. While I think he occasionally overstates his case—his “ultimate resource” is people, and he seems to believe that the overpopulation scenario is not only false at the moment butvirtually impossible—he does a very good job of answering the popular arguments on the other side. In particular, he shows overwhelming evidence that things are getting better, not worse— nutrition, for instance, in the underdeveloped as well as the developed world has been steadily improving—and explains why the simple arguments for imminent catastrophe are wrong.

Thomas Sowell, Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality? (New York: Morrow, 1984). (JRH)

Richard L. Stroup and John Baden, Natural Resources: Bureaucratic Myths and Environmental Management (San Francisco: Pacific Institute for Public Policy Research, 1983). Baden and Stroup, ed., Bureaucracy v. Environment: The Environmental Cost of Bureaucratic Governance (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1981). (JRH)

Walter E. Williams, The State Against Blacks (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1982). (JRH)


T. Anderson and E J. Hill, ‘An American Experiment in Anarcho-Capitalism: The Not So Wild, Wild West’, The Journal of Libertarian Studies, Volume III, Number 1,1979. Anderson and Hill discuss the history of the American west as an exampleof something close to anarcho-capitalism; the theory of anarcho-capitalism they test is drawn from Part III of this book. They describe a variety of private institutions by which individual rights were effectively enforced in a society with little or no government. Their conclusion is that the system worked more or less as I predict and was much less violent than western books and movies suggest. According to their account, only two of the cattle towns ever had as many as five killings in a year. The average (for five towns over 15 years) was 1.5 homicides per year.

T. S. Ashton, The Industrial Revolution, 1760-1830 (London: Oxford University Press, 1948). E A. Hayek, ed., Capitalism and the Historians (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954). Both of these books describe what really happened duringthe Industrial Revolution and how it got (mis)reported by historians.

Carlo Cippola, Money, Prices and Civilization in the Mediterranean World, Fifth to Seventeenth Century, (Gordian Press, 1967). The chapter on “The Dollars of the Middle Ages” is the source for the reference to competing government monies in Chapter 46. Lots of other interesting stuff too.

Ronald Coase and Ning Wang, How China Became Capitalist, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012). By the authors’ account, China went from socialism to capitalism, from economic stagnation to rapid growth, not because the leadership planned it that way but because the leadership had enough sense not to stop changes that worked—even when they were inconsistent with theory and technically illegal. A real world version of Chapter 23.

Ross D. Eckert and George W. Hilton, ‘The Jitneys’, Journal of Law and Economics XV (October 1972), pp. 293-325. This article is the historical background for Chapter 16. It describes the brief flourishing of jitneys in America and how the trolley companies, unable to win on the economic market, succeeded in legislating the jitneys out of existence.

Arthur A. Ekirch, Jr., The Decline of American Liberalism, rev. ed., (New York: Atheneum, 1980). The author uses “liberalism” not in its modern sense of democratic socialism in dilute solution but in its old sense of support for freedom—roughlyspeaking, libertarianism. His book is an overview of the rise and fall of classical liberal views in the U.S. (JRH).

Milton Friedman and Anna Jacobson Schwartz, The Great Contraction, 1929-1933 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1965). How government mismanagement, not some inherent instability in the free enterprise system, caused the GreatDepression. This is part of a longer and much more technical work called A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1957 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1963).

Robert Higgs, Crisis and Leviathan: Critical Episodes in the Growth of American Government (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987). The author argues that the growth of the U.S. government resulted from opportunistic exploitation of crises such as wars and depressions. (JRH)

Jonathan R. T. Hughes, The Government Habit: Economic Controls from Colonial Times to the Present (New York: Basic Books, 1977). (JRH)

Jeffrey Rogers Hummel,  Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men: A History of the American Civil War (Open Court, 1996). A history of the Civil War by a libertarian historian and economist with a low opinion of both the Union and Confederate governments.

Gabriel Kolko, Railroads and Regulation, 1877-1916 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1965). The Triumph of Conservatism: A Reinterpretation of American History, 1900-1916 (New York: Glencoe Press, 1963). Kolko is a socialist historian who argues, with extensive evidence, that at the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth, capitalism was working for everybody except the capitalists, who thought they could make more money by getting the government to intervene in their favor.

James J. Martin, Men Against the State: The Expositors of Individualist Anarchism in America, 1827-1908 (De Kalb, IL: Adrian Allen, 1953). (JRH)

John S. McGee, ‘Predatory Price Cutting: The Standard Oil (N.J.) Case’, Journal of Law and Economics, 1 (October 1958), 137-69. The classic article showing that the standard textbook account of how Rockefeller established his monopoly is mostly myth.

Sheilagh C. Ogilvie, ‘Coming of Age in a Corporate Society: Capitalism, Pietism and Family Authority in Rural Wurttemberg, 1590-1740’, Continuity and Change 1 (3), 1986, 279-331. This is a fascinating article by a libertarian historian, describing how and why liberty was restricted in a pre-industrial society. One particularly interesting point is the causal relation between a welfare state and restrictions on individual liberty. In modern America, an important argument for limiting immigration is the fear that immigrants will go on welfare, a problem that did not exist at the time when we had unrestricted immigration. In seventeenth-century Wurttemberg, where welfare was provided at the village level, one result was restriction on inter-village migration. Another was that citizens could be punished for letting their children go fishing when they should have been spending their time learning a trade.

James C. Scott, Seeing like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (Yale 1999). An interesting and original account of how states have found it necessary to alter the societies they rule in order to rule them, and the often unfortunate consequences. The author goes to some trouble to make it clear that he is not (horrors) a libertarian.

Thomas Sowell, Ethnic America: A History (New York: Basic Books, 1981).

Lawrence H. White, Free Banking in Britain: Theory, Experience, and Debate, 1800-1845, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984). The author describes the working of a system in which money was produced by private firms on acompetitive market.

William C. Wooldridge, Uncle Sam the Monopoly Man (New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House, 1970). The history of private production of such traditionally governmental services as delivering mail, building roads, and resolving disputes.

Libertarian Ideology

Walter Block, Defending the Undefendable: The Pimp, Prostitute, Scab, Slumlord, Libeler, Moneylender, and Other Scapegoats in the Rogue’s Gallery of American Society (New York: Fleet Press, 1976). This is a peculiar book. The author argues that a wide range of what are usually considered undesirable activities are not only permissible but admirable. In some cases he may be right. The book has too much feel of ‘I know the conclusion I want to reach, now let’s find some arguments for it’ to entirely suit my taste.

Karl Hess, ‘The Death of Polities’, Playboy 16 (March 1969), 102-04,178-185. Reprinted in Henry J. Silverman, ed., American Radical Thought: The Libertarian Tradition (Lexington: Heath, 1970), pp. 274-290.

Michael Huemer, The Problem of Political Authority: An Examination of the Right to Coerce and the Duty to Obey (Palgrave Macmillan 2012). An analysis and rebuttal of arguments for the claim that government coercion is morally legitimate, written by a libertarian philosopher.

Michael Huemer, Ethical Intuitionism. (Palgrave Macmillan 2008). The author explores and defends something close to the position on moral philosophy described in Chapter 61. Not really libertarian ideology, but I could not think of a better place to put it and Huemer is a libertarian thinker of whom I have a high opinion.

J. C. Lester, Escape from Leviathan: Liberty, Welfare and Anarchy Reconciled (St. Martin’s Press 2000). An intelligent attempt to solve some of the problems in libertarian moral philosophy that I raise in Chapter 41.

Robert Nozick, Anarchy, State and Utopia (New York: Basic Books, 1974).

David Osterfeld, Freedom, Society, and the State: An Investigation into the Possibility of Society Without Government (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1983). (JRH)

Ayn Rand and others, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal (New York: New American Library, 1966). The Virtue of Selfishness (New York: New American Library, 1964). Collections of essays and passages from Rand’s books. She had a complete philosophy to sell, of which libertarianism was a part. Many libertarians buy the whole package; that is how some of them became libertarians. I don’t and didn’t, but find much of value in her writing. Her hard-core disciples are hostile to the libertarian movement, presumably on the theory that heretics are worse than pagans.

Murray N. Rothbard, For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto, 2nd ed., (New York: Macmillan, 1978).

Murray N. Rothbard, ‘Law, Property Rights, and Air Pollution’, Cato Journal, Vol. 2, No. 1 (Spring 1982). This is an attempt by a prominent natural rights libertarian to deal with the sorts of problems raised in Chapter 41. I find his answers unsatisfactory, but you maywish to read the article and decide for yourself.

John T. Sanders, The Ethical Argument Against Government (Washington: University Press of America, 1980). By a political philosopher, for political philosophers, and probably not very accessible to anyone else, myself included.

Morris and Linda Tannehill, The Market for Liberty (Lansing, MI: Morris and Linda Tannehill, 1970). Webbed. Jerome Tuccille, Radical Libertarianism: A Right Wing Alternative (New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1970). Two early books arguing for anarcho-capitalism.

The Origins of Left-Libertarianism: An Anthology of Historical Writings and Left-Libertarianism and its Critics: The Contemporary Debate, both edited by Peter Vallentyne and Hillel Steiner (Palgrave 2000). Left-libertarianism in the sense used in these books largely consists of an attempt to derive an egalitarian entitlement that is consistent with libertarian self-ownership, funded by the value of unproduced resources. The most famous supporter of such an approach was the 19th century economist Henry George whose modern followers are sometimes described as geolibertarians.

Jarret B. Wollstein, Society Without Coercion: A New Concept of Social Organization (Silver Spring, MD: Society for Rational Individualism, 1969). Webbed. It was later issued along with the Tannehills’ book under the title Society Without Government (New York: Arno, 1972).

These books vary widely in orientation and intellectual level. Many cover the same sorts of issues as I do, especially in my third part. If I had found them entirely satisfactory, I might not have written this book.

The Libertarian Movement

Brian Doherty, Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement (Public Affairs, 2007). The best such history I know of.

Norman P. Barry, On Classical Liberalism and Libertarianism (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1987).

Henri Lepage, Tomorrow, Capitalism: The Economics of Economic Freedom (La Salle: Open Court, 1982).

Jerome Tuccille, It Usually Begins with Ayn Rand (New York: Stein & Day, 1971).

The books by Lepage and Barry are sympathetic surveys of libertarianism. Lepage writes as a journalist interested in ideas, Barry as a political philosopher. Tuccille’s book is in part a personal reminiscence and in part an inside account of the development of the modern libertarian movement. Barry is an intelligent and fair-minded scholar and Tuccille an entertaining reporter and storyteller. My main reservation about both is that the parts of their books dealing with the ideas and events I know most about are the parts I find least convincing.

Stephen L. Newman, Liberalism at Wits’ End: The Libertarian Revolt Against the Modern State (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1984). Newman demonstrates how difficult it is to understand and explain a set of ideas when you are absolutely certain that they are wrong. He makes a number of legitimate criticisms of libertarians and libertarianism. But when he finds what seems to him to be a fatal flaw in libertarian ideas he takes it as confirmation of what he already knew instead of trying to see if there is some way in which libertarians might deal with it.

Geoffrey Sampson, An End to Allegiance: Individual Freedom and the New Politics (London: Temple Smith, 1984). Sampson is a British libertarian (he prefers the term liberal). His book is a thoughtful explanation and critique of libertarian ideas, illuminated by a good many of his own insights.

Michael S. Berliner, ed., Letters of Ayn Rand (Dutton 1995). A first hand picture of an impressive and very odd person.

Barbara Branden, The Passion of Ayn Rand (New York: Doubleday, 1986). A sympathetic biography of Rand by someone who was close to her, interesting more as a portrayal of an extraordinary personality than as an explanation of her ideas.


Robert Axelrod, The Evolution of Cooperation (New York: Basic Books, 1984). A fascinating discussion, based on game theory and computer simulations, of how and why humans cooperate with each other.

Frederic Bastiat, The Law (1850; reprint ed., Irvington-on-Hudson, NY: Foundation for Economic Education, 1950). One of the classic presentations of the libertarian position, written when we were still called liberals. Bastiat is the author of,among other things, a petition from the candle-makers of France requesting protection against the unfair competition of the sun.

Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene (New York: Oxford University Press, 1976). An explanation of evolutionary biology and sociobiology—the economics of genes. One of the most interesting books I have read in recent years.

Diego Gambetta, The Sicilian Mafia: The Business of Private Protection. A fascinating account of the Mafia as it actually existed and exists in the real world.

Paul Goodman, People or Personnel: Decentralizing and the Mixed System (New York: Random House, 1965). Hard to classify. Paul Goodman was not the leftist some leftists think he was; he was a libertarian and an anarchist. His books are variable, with a lot of good ideas.

Daniel Greenberg, Free at Last: The Sudbury Valley School (Sudbury Valley School Press, 1995). A description and defense of unschooling, done in a school.

Friedrich A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1944). Hayek argued that a centrally planned economy must lead to totalitarianism.

Sonia Orwell and Ian Angus, eds., The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell. (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1968). Orwell is my favorite political essayist, a socialist with libertarian sympathies who recognized many of the problems with socialism but saw no better alternative. His willingness to discuss honestly the problems in his own position should be a model for all ideological writers.

Alvin Rabushka, Hong Kong: A Study in Economic Freedom (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979). (JRH)

David Skarbek, The Social Order of the Underworld: How Prison Gangs Govern the American Penal System. A fascinating description of a system of rights enforcement that arose spontaneously within the jails and prisons of modern America.

Thomas Sowell, The Vision of the Anointed: Self-congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy (BasicBooks, 1995). A depressingly convincing explanation of modern liberalism by an able and original thinker.

Lysander Spooner, No Treason: No. VI, The Constitution of No Authority (1870; reprint ed., Larkspur, CO: Pine Tree Press, 1966). Cited in Chapters 6 and 28.

Edward P. Stringham, ed., Anarchy and the Law: The Political Economy of Choice (Transaction Publishers, 2007). A collection of articles, including some of mine.

Thomas S. Szasz, The Manufacture of Madness: A Comparative Study of the Inquisition and the Mental Health Movement (New York: Harper and Row, 1970), The Myth of Mental Illness: Foundations of a Theory of Personal Conduct rev. ed. (New York: Harper and Row, 1974), Ceremonial Chemistry: The Ritual Persecution of Drugs, Addicts and Pushers, rev. ed., (Holmes Beach, FL: Learning Publications, 1985). Szasz was an interesting writer—a libertarian psychiatrist who profoundly distrusted the psychiatric profession and regarded mental illness as a misleading and dangerous metaphor. Here and elsewhere he argues against locking up innocent people just because you think they are crazy.

Anything written by H. L. Mencken. Rothbard called him the joyous libertarian. He was also one of the great essayists of the century. Mencken’s style is to Bill Buckley’s what Buckley’s is to mine.

Stuff Online

Slate Star Codex: A collection of essays that is arguably the best blog out there. The author is intelligent, reasonable, and puts an amazing amount of effort into his posts.

In Chapter 30 I imagined a world where everyone lived in house trailers—perfect mobility as a constraint on government. Replace housetrailers with giant rafts, floating communities, and you might, with a lot of luck, get a real world version of that idea.

Econlog: A blog where some people I think well of post.

Critiques of Libertarianism by someone more reasonable than critics usually are, if less reasonable than I might wish.

The site of Larry Lessig, who has not yet realized that he is a libertarian.

The site of Bryan Caplan, a libertarian and, more important, a good economist and original thinker. A professor who runs regular role playing games with his graduate students and has his old D&D map up in his office. As some of my friends might put it, he’s a hoot.

An interesting essay by Nozick attempting to explain the anti-capitalist bias of modern intellectuals.

The site of Eric Raymond, best known as a leading figure in the Open Source movement. He is also an articulate and interesting libertarian. Slightly crazy, like all the best people.

Power Kills: R.J. Rummel’s statistics of people murdered by their own governments.

A webbed exchange of views involving me and several other libertarians, centering on the attempt of the self labeled “Bleeding Heart Libertarians” to refocus the libertarian movement and criticisms thereof.


Cato Journal, 224 Second Street SE, Washington, DC 20003. A scholarly libertarian journal oriented toward public policy.

Critical Review, 532 Broadway, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10012. A high-theoretical quarterly aimed at both libertarian and non-libertarian intellectuals.

Free Life, 9 Poland Street, London W1V 3DG, England. A hard-core if infrequent libertarian magazine published in Britain.

The Freeman, 30 South Broadway, Irvington-on-Hudson, NY 10533. Published by the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), a venerable promoter of classical liberalism. This monthly publication is free upon request.

The Intellectual Activist: An Objectivist Review. Current events raked over from a Randian perspective.

Liberty. For many years Liberty, edited by the late Bill Bradford, written by libertarians for libertarians, was my favorite libertarian magazine. Its archive of past articles is the best primary source I know of for the history of modern libertarian ideas. It continues to be published as a free online magazine.

Reason, editorial offices: 2716 Ocean Park Boulevard, Suite 1062, Santa Monica, CA 90405; subscriptions: Box 27977, San Diego, CA 92128. This monthly magazine is one of the longest-operating libertarian publications. It is now devoted to outreach, containing mainly factual articles designed to persuade non-libertarians.

Reason Papers, Department of Philosophy, Auburn University, AL 36849. A scholarly libertarian journal that comes out about once a year.

The Voluntaryist. Combines libertarianism with principled pacifism and non-violent resistance. Opposes electoral politics on principle. Also runs historical articles on the American and British individualist anarchist tradition.

Organizations and Institutes

Advocates for Self-Government. A grass-roots, chapter-based libertarian organization.

Cato Institute. A large and active libertarian public policy institute.

The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). A libertarian organization that has been around for a very long time and is still active.

The Fraser Institute. A Canadian free market think tank.

The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. An organization founded by my parents to promote the idea of school vouchers. By the time you read this, “Friedman” may have been dropped from its title, due to my parents’ expressed reservations about organizations outliving their founders but continuing to act in their name.

The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Institute for Economic Affairs. An influential British free market think tank.

The Institute for Humane Studies. A libertarian organization that runs workshops, at some of which I have spoken, funds speakers, provides scholarships and engages in other educational activities.

Institute for Justice. A libertarian public interest law firm that litigates against a wide range of government infringements on individual freedom. The only organization to which I regularly contribute money.

Libertarian Alliance. A British membership organization which combines internal debate with outreach. It split in two about thirty years ago due to internal conflicts, with both halves continuing to use the name. One has a web site.

Libertarian Futurist Society. For libertarian fans of science-fiction. It publishes a newsletter called Prometheus and sponsors the Prometheus Award, given to novels promoting liberty.

Libertarian Party. In recent years, the LP has been one of the most active libertarian organizations, running candidates for a variety of offices and getting a good deal of publicity.

Ludwig Von Mises Institute: A libertarian organization with a large presence online. They tend to follow the views of Rothbard and, perhaps as a result, to be critical of mine. A good source for free ebooks by authors they approve of.

National Taxpayers Union. A lobbying organization dedicated to reducing both taxation and government expenditures.

Property and Environment Research Center. A research foundation offering a libertarian approach to environmental issues.

Students for Liberty. A lively student libertarian organization that holds conferences at some of which I have spoken.

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