Two Libertarian Reading Lists

In a recent post at, Robert Wenzel offered a “30 day reading list” designed to introduce the basic tenets of libertarianism by offering a daily article to read for a month. And so that led Robert Taylor offered his own list at his blog and here it is:

… And with that out of the way, here is a list of articles, short books, and long essays that I think provide a great summary of libertarianism.

Libertarian Philosophy/Ethics:

The Non-Aggression Axiom of Libertarianism, by Walter Block

The Philosophy of Ownership, by Robert Levefre

Rothbardian Ethics, by Hans-Hermann Hoppe

If Men Were Angels, by Robert Higgs

Proving Libertarian Morality, by Stefan Molyneux

The State, by Franz Oppenheimer

No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority, by Lysander Spooner

The Law, by Frederic Bastiat

Ending Tyranny Without Violence, by Murray Rothbard

How and Why the State Destroys Society, by Frank Chodorov

Entwined intimately with libertarian philosophy is a defense of the market economy, again based not on practical reasons (though markets have shown to be the most effective way of decreasing poverty and increasing standards of living), but because it is a natural extension of individual liberty and property ownership. Libertarians embrace the market because it provides individuals the opportunity to maximize their interests by engaging in mutually-beneficial trade with another, provides order through the profit-and-loss/price signals, and reject state intervention because it tends to harm this unbelievably complex and decentralized coordination that markets create.


Economics in One Lesson, by Henry Hazlitt

Planned Chaos, Ludwig von Mises

What Has Government Done to Our Money?, by Murray Rothbard

An Introduction to Austrian Economics, by Thomas C. Taylor

An Introduction to Economic Reasoning, by David Gordon

Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics, by George Reisman

No, the Free Market Did Not Cause the Financial Crisis, by Thomas Woods

Recession and Recovery, by Robert Higgs

There are, of course, many objections raised to libertarianism on issues of practicality. How would roads be provided without a state? Environmental protection? Money? Regulations? Welfare? Education? Healthcare? Law and order? Security?

Practical Problems and Solutions:

Law, Property Rights, and Air Pollution, by Murray Rothbard

The Privatization of Roads and Highways, by Walter Block

The Private Production of Defense, by Hans-Hermann Hoppe

Private Law Society, by Hans-Hermann Hoppe

Welfare Before the Welfare State, by Joshua Fulton

Practical Anarchy, by Stefan Molyneux

From Mutual Aid to Welfare State: Fraternal Societies and Social Services, 1890-1967, by David Beito

The Not So Wild, Wild West, by Terry Anderson and P.J. Hill

Education: Free and Compulsory, by Murray Rothbard

Top Ten Objection to Libertarian Anarchism, by Roderick T. Long

Arguments Against Anarchy, by Jarret B. Wollstein

What Has Government Done to Our Money?, by Murray Rothbard

A Four-Step Health-Care Solutionby Hans-Hermann Hoppe

Who Will Regulate the Regulators?, by Thomas DiLorenzo

And finally, the most important issue facing the U.S. and the libertarian movement in general: war and peace. As the great classical liberal Randolph Bourne said, “war is the health of the state.” Not only does war kill, injure, and displace human life and destroy wealth and property, but it diverts production from what the market and consumers want to what politicians, lobbyists, and generals want. War has traditionally been the number one contributor to the growth of state power, for it is during wartime that states justify the most amount of secrecy, expansion, and obedience. War, like any force or violence, is only justified in self-defense.

War and Peace:

War, Peace, and the State, by Murray Rothbard

War is a Racket, by Major General Smedly Butler, USMC

How the Swiss Opted Out of War, by Bill Walker

Imagine an Occupied America, by Ron Paul

Stopping the Next Hitler, by Bill Walker

God of the Machine, by Isabel Paterson

Why Libertarians Oppose War, by Jacob Huebert

The War Prayer, by Mark Twain

Robert Higgs and the ‘Ratchet Effect’, by Daivd Beito

And now Robert Wenzel’s list:

The list below will not make anyone a scholar in libertarianism or an expert in Austrian Economics, it is designed to introduce to the busy individual the essence of libertarianism. There are 30 articles listed below. If one reads one article, slowly and carefully, per day, by the end of 30 days one should have a very strong grasp of libertarian principles and a basic understanding of Austrian economics. The list contains articles on a variety of topics, but does not cover all possible libertarian topics. More than anything it provides an overview of libertarianism and how libertarians think about issues of the day. The completion of the 30 days of reading should not be considered an ending point but rather the start of the beginning of more detailed study.

Day 1 The Task Confronting Libertarians by Henry Hazlitt

Day 2 The Fascist Threat by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

Day 3 Free Economy and Social Order by Wilhelm Röpke

Day 4 The Peculiar and Unique Position of Economics by Ludwig von Mises

Day 5 What Soviet Medicine Teaches Us by Yuri Maltsev

Day 6 Economic Depressions: Their Causes and Cures by Murray Rothbard

Day 7 Is Greater Productivity a Danger? by David Gordon

Day 8 Taxation Methods Evaluated by Murray Rothbard

Day 9 Hitler Was a Keynesian by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

Day 10 Seeing the Unseen by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

Day 11 The Watermelon Summit by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

Day 12 Inequality by Ludwig von Mises

Day 13 How to Think Like an Economist by Murray Rothbard

Day 14 The Health Plan’s Devilish Principles by Murray Rothbard

Day 15 Vices Are Not Crimes by Murray Rothbard

Day 16 Repudiate the National Debt by Murray Rothbard

Day 17 The Fallacy of the ‘Public Sector’ by Murray Rothbard

Day 18 The Road to Totalitarianism by Henry Hazlitt

Day 19 The Many Collapses of Keynesianism by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

Day 20 The Crippling Nature of Minimum Wage Laws by Murray Rothbard

Day 21 Who Owns Water by Murray Rothbard

Day 22 Defending the Slumlord by Walter Block

Day 23 The Freedom of Association by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr

Day 24 How to Help the Poor and Oppressed by Walter Block

Day 25 Everything You Love You Owe to Capitalism by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

Day 26 Is There a Right To Unionize? by Walter Block

Day 27 What If Public Schools Were Abolished? by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

Day 28 Why Austrian? an interview with Robert Higgs

Day 29 Economics and Moral Courage by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

Day 30 Do You Hate the State? by Murray Rothbard

Have fun reading!


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