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.