Summertime Reading List — Libertarian Edition

It’s finally summer! Which means that we students have slightly more free time for pleasure reading. So why not spend that precious time learning more about liberty?

So here is “Aly’s Libertarian Must-Reads of 2014” (in no particular order):

1. Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal by Ayn Rand

This is a collection of essays written by Rand or other Rand-inspired authors focusing on the moral nature of capitalism. It goes beyond arguing that capitalism is merely an economic function, but provides a moral defense of laissez-faire economies that completely severs the market from government.

I would particularly recommend this collection to all of you econ majors. I often feel that economics curricula speed through the morality aspect of the subject. It may just be the philosophy major in me, but morality is an essential piece of the freedom puzzle.

2. Anarchy, State, and Utopia by Robert Nozick

This is one of my favorites. Nozick outlines perfectly what a limited state should look like. His minimalistic approach addresses four responsibilities of government: to protect against force, fraud, and theft, and to uphold contracts. Simple and to the point.

3. On Liberty by John Stuart Mill

Super easy, quick read for a pretty deep philosophical book. Mill really delves into the role of government, and the fragile relationship between liberty and authority.

I would especially recommend this to all of our drug policy nerds out there. Although it discusses the role of government as it is applicable to many areas of interest, the section “Applications” outlines the most solid argument for substance decriminalization/legalization that I have ever come across.

4. The Law by Frederic Bastiat

If you haven’t read this yet, log onto Amazon and order a copy immediately. The Law is a ridiculously short read that succinctly explains why an extremely limited government is required to defend man’s natural rights to life, liberty, and property.

5. Anthem by Ayn Rand

The only fiction piece on this list! A 100-page novella, Anthem describes a futuristic society that has lost the meaning of the word “I” and individual identity. Highly recommended for fellow lovers of dystopian novels!

6. Free to Choose by Milton Friedman

A major component of liberty is economic freedom. Friedman, one of the seminal economists of the 20th century, argues that a government, waving the banner of good intentions, restricts prosperity, and limits not only economic success but overall well-being. Friedman is especially a great starting place for those who are new to studying economics!

7. Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt

Why believe in free markets? Hazlitt offers a clear and complete answer, pulling influence from many top supporters of free markets, in particular Frederic Bastiat.

HONORABLE MENTION: Watch Ron Paul’s farewell address to Congress. Dr. Paul is one of the few strong advocates for true liberty, and addresses many of his concerns in this speech:

Content published on the Young Americans for Liberty blog is only representative of the opinions and research of the individual authors. It does not necessarily reflect the views, goals, or membership of YAL.

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