Liberty Literature: The Ethics of Liberty by Murray Rothbard

Today marks the first day of my vacation at Defcon. I’m not dump enough to access a network of any kind while at Defcon so I’ve pre-written some posts for your enjoyment. You’re not going to get my usual smart ass remarks about the news of the day but you will get something of value. Every day of my vacation will doing a segment which I’m calling Liberty Literature. Liberty Literature is where I recommend books that I’ve read dealing with the broad topic of liberty.

Personal liberty is a very important topic to me and many gunnies. It’s not because we’re selfish, wanting a liberty based society is the least selfish thing anybody could want. Instead of asking the government to use its monopoly on the use of violence to make others comply with our demands we advocate everybody be allowed to make their own choices in life. It would be great if more people came to this realization which is why I’m posting books that have greatly shaped my political views.

I’m going to start with the book that has influenced my political and ethical views more than any other, The Ethics of Liberty by Murray Rothbard. A free (legally) copy of it can be found here.

The Ethics of Liberty explains the very concept of liberty itself. Starting from the use of reason and natural law to explain every person’s right to self-ownership Rothbard expands and explains how the right to self and property are absolute. Further he explains how a completely voluntary society could work including how a free market would make it possible. This book is an eye opener and I highly recommend everybody read it.

Many topics are covered in this title including criminality and punishment, the rights of children, lifeboat situations, and the theory of contracts.