If you want to learn even more about libertarianism or the Libertarian Party, here are some recommendations to get you started.
Other Libertarian Websites
Here are some links to particularly good libertarian websites. Naturally, we don’t necessarily agree with every word on every site, but they’re all worth reading, and many of them are worth a daily visit.
If you’re looking for something more than you can imagine reading on your computer, there are some terrific books out there. At the top of the list is David Boaz’s excellent introduction, Libertarianism: A Primer. This book surveys both the political and economic foundations of libertarianism, concisely and powerfully.
Boaz’s book was first published in 1997, and for that reason it makes a nice contrast with Ron Paul’s 2008 contribution, Revolution: A Manifesto. Dr. Paul’s central thesis in this book (as elsewhere) is that we have departed from the principles of our nation’s founding in ways that systematically make us less free. It’s a great explanation of why we were on the wrong course long before the financial crisis of 2008 and long before President Obama took over. Dr. Paul published a more issue-oriented treatment in 2011, Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues that Affect Our Freedom. It’s also excellent.
Readers who are mostly interested in the economic case for smaller government will enjoy Henry Hazlitt’s 1946 classic, Economics in One Lesson. Hazlitt draws out the implications of one of the simplest and most important ideas in political economy, namely the fact that government largesse always involves tradeoffs and that it is important to pay attention not just to the things politicians promise to give us, but to the things we will not be able to provide for ourselves if we let them use private resources for their bright ideas.
If you want to read a prescient primary work by a Nobel laureate and prominent libertarian scholar (though he hated the word “libertarian” and preferred to call himself a “classical liberal”), try The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek. Hayek, an Austrian who experienced Europe’s descent into fascism first-hand, published this book in 1944 to connect the dots primarily for British readers who did not understand the way that centralized economic planning systematically tends toward the suppression of political freedom. Because The Road to Serfdom is primarily a critique of mid-20th-century thinking, some readers may prefer Hayek’s longer, more scholarly, and more constructive (yet still readable) Constitution of Liberty.
Another economist whose writings form a central part of the libertarian canon was Murray N. Rothbard. His For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto became an early (1973, revised in 1978) guide to the thinking of the founders of the Libertarian Party. Rothbard also wrote more narrowly within the field of economics (e.g., The Case Against the Fed), economic history (e.g., America’s Great Depression),and political history (Conceived in Liberty). Many of these works are available as a free pdf download from the Ludwig von Mises Institute.