This is a great book for anyone trying to understand the basis of what a libertarian is. I'll agree with the other reviews and say that he did not write about the entire spectrum of views, as there are many different types of libertarians. But I'd say this is a great starting point for anyone trying to understand.
This book is written in a question and answer style. Definitely helpful. I'd fully recommend.
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Libertarianism: What Everyone Needs to Know® Paperback – 31 January 2013
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a highly accessible primer to libertarian thought ... Recommended. ― R.J. Meagher, CHOICE
About the Author
Jason Brennan is Assistant Professor of Ethics, Economics, and Public Policy at Georgetown University. He is the author of The Ethics of Voting and co-author of A Brief History of Liberty. He also writes for the popular blog Bleeding Heart Libertarians.
- Language : English
- Paperback : 232 pages
- ISBN-10 : 019993391X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0199933914
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Amazon.com: 23 reviews
Helpful, Concise, Well Written12 December 2016 - Published on Amazon.com
A Great Condensed, Straightforward Intro. to Libertarianism17 April 2014 - Published on Amazon.com
In Libertarianism: What Everyone Needs to Know, Jason Brennan offers a clear, straightforward, and readable introduction to the libertarian political perspective, carefully acknowledging along the way the range of differing opinions held by libertarians on key issues (with an exception, see below). The book is written in an easily referenceable question-and-answer format, and is divided by topic. The chapters and even individual questions can be consulted in any order, independently of the rest of the book. To this end, in the course of answering a particular question, Brennan helpfully cites other places in the book that give a more in-depth look at something perhaps only briefly mentioned. The author can be commended as well for often introducing anti-libertarian perspectives or objections without providing any direct libertarian rebuttal. In this way, the book serves to familiarize the reader with both the libertarian viewpoint on various political, social, and economic topics as well as common rejoinders or alternative takes from non- or anti-libertarians. Brennan deftly wields thought experiments and examples to illustrate how otherwise abstract ideas can be practically applied. On the negative side, I would like to have seen footnotes with explicit references included throughout the book. For example, Brennan cites many studies, statistics, and ideas directly, and although he sometimes gives the reader enough information to go off of in their own search, the sheer number of such instances leaves this reader desiring the inclusion of footnotes to assist in locating these. However, Brennan provides an excellent selection of texts and articles for further reading at the end of the book, divided into specific subcategories. Additionally, a helpful glossary of terms often employed in political philosophy can be found at the back of the book. The only critique I might give content-wise has to do with the matter-of-fact way that Brennan writes of libertarians as advocates for women's abortion rights. As I understand it, libertarians are nearly as divided as the country as a whole on the issue of abortion choice. In any case, at least a passing mention of a broadly "pro-life" libertarian perspective (cf. the website "Libertarians for Life" at l4l.org) could have been included. Despite this little nitpick of mine, the book is a solid presentation of libertarianism, and one that is much needed given the typical straw-manning that occurs in both ordinary and even professional political discourse. Thus, Brennan's distinction between classical liberal, hard libertarian, and neoclassical liberal perspectives is useful in addition to his general way of dispensing with caricatures along the way. I would highly recommend this book to any non-libertarians who are interested in truly understanding the position as well as anyone who has newly identified themselves with libertarianism.
9 people found this helpful
Solid Q&A Approach to Modern Libertarianism17 March 2013 - Published on Amazon.com
Brennan's Q&A format, taking the reader through the history, foundational beliefs and modern application and issues of the Libertarian movement is well written and relatively easy to digest. He looks at Libertarianism in light of the 2008 and forward US political and international climate, and the contemporary and relevant cites and examples will resonate with most readers. The book covers the Libertarian positions on "What" it is, Human Nature, Ethics, Government & Democracy, Civil Rights, Economic Freedom, Social Justice and Contemporary Issues. If you are interested in understanding the basis of Liberal thought in modern America, pick up this easy to read book.
3 people found this helpful
a great resource21 September 2015 - Published on Amazon.com
If you want to know about Libertarianism this IS the book to have on your shelf. You'll end up learning about your own beliefs while reading. Detailed, insightful, the contents cover every topic you can think of. Though, more of a resource book than a sit and read straight through.
2 people found this helpful
pคuł รყЪяคหdყ (หεσcuЪε™)
Decent20 July 2020 - Published on Amazon.com
I was hoping to get more of an insight as to what makes a typical Libertarian tick... so to speak. It wasn't a bad read though.