Who Invented Libertarianism?

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The Kochtopus has launched a new web site, Libertarianism.org.

A quick glance of the site might give you the impression that David Boaz invented libertarianism.

There’s an introductory reading list that mentions Boaz, but no mention of Ludwig von Mises or Murray Rothbard.

There’s a “deep foundations” reading list with the first book being a Boaz book, but no mention of Mises or Rothbard.

There’s a history of libertarianism reading list, the first book mentioned is a Boaz book, but no mention of Mises or Rothbard.

Though there is no work of Mises or Rothbard mentioned others getting on the reading list include, P. J. O’Rourke, Milton Friedman, Matt Ridley, Richard Epstein, Robert Nozick, John Locke.

There’s an essay section that includes writings of, you guessed it, many by David Boaz. In addition, essays by Tom Plamer, Nat Hentoff, Gerald O’Driscoll, Nathaniel Branden, Frederick Douglass, Adam Smith. But no mention of Mises or Rothbard.

Mises and Rothbard do get profiles and there are other mentions, including some Rothbard videos. But anyone looking at the reading lists or essays, logically a first stop for learning more, would get the impression that the seeds of libertarianism were planted by, say, Adam Smith and John Locke (and perhaps Tom Palmer) followed by a great leap over to David Boaz.

For those new to libertarianism, here’s a few books and essays the Kochtopus appears to have missed. Fourty-one books and essay compilations by Murray Rothbard and thirty three books and essay compilations by Ludwig von Mises. For the record, the best introductory book on libertarianism is Murray Rothbard’s For A New Liberty.

Reprinted with permission from Economic Policy Journal.

2011 Economic Policy Journal

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