I Wonder If I Am A Libertarian # 12

Key Concepts of Libertarianism


David Boaz

January 1, 1999

I strongly believe that it was the main themes of Libertarianism that made America a great and unparalleled socioculture. I further believe that as America strays from the main features of Libertarianism, it will necessarily fall into further decline. I offer the recent American political history of relentlessly increasing Federal power, regulation and control of all things as my support for this assertion. I also offer similar international trends and the rise and fall of the whole of Western Civilization as additional evidence.

Of course the causes and effects of such massive events are not singular. The causes include blizzards of other important determinants and outcomes which, in-turn, become new determinants. For example, I believe that technological advancement has done much to diminish the influences of religion and its moral precepts. Also diminishing the good effects of religion and its moral precepts upon the quality of human behavior, are the attacks upon religion by governments increasingly hostile to influences that threaten growing governmental political hegemony.

In the final analysis, I will wager that Libertarian governmental practices mediate a very large number of the determinants of America’s cultural decline and that this decline will begin to reverse if America will return to a greater number of Libertarian practices.

However, I will not endorse all aspects of Libertarian philosophy because to do so would risk even greater social chaos than America now tragically suffers.  There will be more-to-come on some of the aspects of the Libertarian model that I judge would be damaging to sociocultures.


The following is a quote of the standard introduction from David Boaz.  Then, below the dotted line, is another two-paragraph quote taken from the first chapter of his book.

This is the last of a series of 12 excerpts from Boaz’ book that I have featured in a series. I have done this to learn more about the Libertarian philosophy and practices and to hopefully help others to do likewise.

The following quotes speak volumes and I  have nothing more to add.

I highly recommend that you obtain and read this book, as well as other materials about the benefits to civil society of the Libertarian philosophy.

VTM, 7/16/2013



The key concepts of libertarianism have developed over many centuries. The first inklings of them can be found in ancient China, Greece, and Israel; they began to be developed into something resembling modern libertarian philosophy in the work of such seventeenth- and eighteenth-century thinkers as John Locke, David Hume, Adam Smith, Thomas Jefferson, and Thomas Paine.


… It may be appropriate to acknowledge at this point the reader’s likely suspicion that libertarianism seems to be just the standard framework of modern thought — individualism, private property, capitalism, equality under the law. Indeed, after centuries of intellectual, political, and sometimes violent struggle, these core libertarian principles have become the basic structure of modern political thought and of modern government, at least in the West and increasingly in other parts of the world.

However, three additional points need to be made: first, libertarianism is not just these broad liberal principles. Libertarianism applies these principles fully and consistently, far more so than most modern thinkers and certainly more so than any modern government. Second, while our society remains generally based on equal rights and capitalism, every day new exceptions to those principles are carved out in Washington and in Albany, Sacramento, and Austin (not to mention London, Bonn, Tokyo, and elsewhere). Each new government directive takes a little bit of our freedom, and we should think carefully before giving up any liberty. Third, liberal society is resilient; it can withstand many burdens and continue to flourish; but it is not infinitely resilient. Those who claim to believe in liberal principles but advocate more and more confiscation of the wealth created by productive people, more and more restrictions on voluntary interaction, more and more exceptions to property rights and the rule of law, more and more transfer of power from society to state, are unwittingly engaged in the ultimately deadly undermining of civilization.


From Chapter 1, “The Coming Libertarian Age,” Libertarianism: A Primer, by David Boaz (New York: The Free Press, 1998). See also www.libertarianism.org.

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