The Ethics of Liberty

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NYU Press, 2002 - Political Science - 308 pages

In recent years, libertarian impulses have increasingly influenced national and economic debates, from welfare reform to efforts to curtail affirmative action. Murray N. Rothbard's classic The Ethics of Liberty stands as one of the most rigorous and philosophically sophisticated expositions of the libertarian political position.
What distinguishes Rothbard's book is the manner in which it roots the case for freedom in the concept of natural rights and applies it to a host of practical problems. An economist by profession, Rothbard here proves himself equally at home with philosophy. And while his conclusions are radical—that a social order that strictly adheres to the rights of private property must exclude the institutionalized violence inherent in the state—his applications of libertarian principles prove surprisingly practical for a host of social dilemmas, solutions to which have eluded alternative traditions.
The Ethics of Liberty authoritatively established the anarcho-capitalist economic system as the most viable and the only principled option for a social order based on freedom. This edition is newly indexed and includes a new introduction that takes special note of the Robert Nozick-Rothbard controversies.

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User Review  - ewalrath - LibraryThing

This was my favorite of the books I read for my capitolo-anarchist symposium. Rothbard is considered very weak, almost a dandy of the field, but for a bleeding heart libertarian, he's the closest they get to me. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ServusLibri - LibraryThing

The book is a collection of topical essays, organized or presented in five parts. The first three parts deliver Rothbard's views on natural law, on various topics or ethical issues related to society ... Read full review

Contents

INTRODUCTION
xi
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
xlv
PREFACE
xlvii
INTRODUCTION NATURAL
1
Natural Law and Reason
3
Natural Law as Science
9
Natural Law versus Positive Law
17
Natural Law and Natural Rights
21
Children and Rights
97
Human Rights As Property Rights
113
Knowledge True and False
121
Bribery
129
The Boycott
131
Property Rights and the Theory of Contracts
133
Lifeboat Situations
149
The Rights of Animals
155

The Task of Political Philosophy
25
A THEORY OF LIBERTY
27
A Crusoe Social Philosophy
29
Voluntary Exchange
35
Ownership and Aggression
45
Property and Criminality
51
The Problem of Land Theft
63
Land Monopoly Past and Present
69
SelfDefense
77
Punishment and Proportionality
85
THE STATE VERSUS LIBERTY
159
The Nature of the State
161
The Inner Contradictions of the State
175
The Moral Status of Relations to the State
183
On Relations Between States
189
MODERN ALTERNATIVE THEORIES OF LIBERTY
199
Toward a Theory of Strategy for Liberty
257
BIBLIOGRAPHY
275
INDEX
295
Copyright

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About the author (2002)

The author of numerous books, the late Murray N. Rothbard (1926-1995) was the S. J. Hall Distinguished Professor of Economics at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and Academic Vice President of the Ludwig von Mises Institute.

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