The Libertarian Tradition By Jeff Riggenbach

  • Author: Jeff Riggenbach
  • Published: December 18, 2015
  • ISBN: 978-1-63069-155-4Digital Book


“We’ve never needed this book more than now. What is libertarianism and how is it different from the Left and the Right? We need to know. And this knowledge needs to be burned into our political and social consciousness. Otherwise, we risk being forever buffeted by the winds of politics. Jeff Riggenbach’s wonderful book is the light.”

— Jeffrey Tucker

JEFF RIGGENBACH, widely known as the voice of liberty, has been reading, researching and writing about the history of libertarianism for decades.

The Libertarian Tradition represents the culmination of this work — more than 90 essays by Riggenbach, each focusing on some intriguing person or persons who contributed in their own way to the idea that we humans should live peaceful and free with each other.

Every chapter sparkles with Riggenbach’s erudition, his wry humor, and his gift for storytelling.

He takes you from the rise of the libertarian idea in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, through innovative and playful adaptations by outsiders and novelists in the twentieth century, and right into the current debates in the dawning of the twenty-first.

Get your copy now and savor a piece of the libertarian tradition.

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  • Mike Reid

    Who is the most important libertarian writer ever?

    Informal poll: Who is the most important writer in the whole libertarian tradition? Thomas Paine Rose Wilder Lane Murray Rothbard Ayn Rand (I know, I know, she doesn’t want to be on this list, but she is) JRR Tolkien Some other? I’m looking through the table of contents in Jeff Riggenbach’s The Libertarian Tradition and trying figure out who deserves the top spot.

    Jump to Discussion Post 10 replies
  • Martin Nicholls

    The Passion of Ayn Rand (1999): Film Review

    What do you think of the film ‘The Passion of Ayn Rand’ starring Helen Mirren, which is based on the book written by Barbara Branden? I personally thought the movie was excellent and my favourite part of it was the discussion of social metaphysics. I’m curious as to what Ayn Rand’s ‘cult’ thought of the film as opposed to those who are sympathetic to Objectivism or those who would call themselves Objectivists? For example, in terms of the philosophy what did her cult say that Branden got wrong?

    Jump to Discussion Post 1 reply
  • Michael Hintze

    Objectivism vs Libertarianism: Different names, same idea?

    It appears that though this group has existed for more than three months, and has as of this moment 36 members, no member has wanted to be the first person to start a discussion. As I am not the shy, retiring type, I will.   This group is dedicated to discussing Ayn Rand’s objectivist philosophy, but is part of an overall project primarily dedicated to libertarianism. Therefore, how does one distinguish between the two philosophies?   What are the differences between the two? What are the similarities? Is one a subset of the other? Are the differences, if any, that exist between the two problematic enough to cause them to be mutually exclusive?   Please be as specific as possible with your answers to my inquiries. I look forward to your replies.

    Jump to Discussion Post 19 replies
  • Andrew David

    'NAP' is not an axiom

    Wanted to write a brief message to stimulate some discussion. I know many liberty-minded people (esp. As) believe the non-aggression principle (NAP) is a moral axiom. Those who are familiar with Rand will know she was absolutely against this and believed it was a false start for any political theory. I think she would call it arbitrary but I think another way of critiquing it would be that it is not a metaphysical property of this existence. You simply cannot command everyone obey NAP, nor Nature. You may be able to in some other kind of existence, including commanding no one gets hungry, but not in this world. Rand conferred with NAP because it interfered with man’s survival (the use of his mind), but this contingent factor is important. The agreement that NAP is wrong by Objectivists is because of this fact; the point is NAP is not an isolated or autonomous axiom. When Objectivists criticize Liberty-minded people for not having a ‘system’ or supporting structure for their ideas, this is one example. On the practical side, NAP doesn’t consider the instance where initiating force would prevent harm to yourself. I don’t assume NAP = pacifism but maybe some would equate them. And one last point, for those familiar with Molyneux. I recall him saying that the US constitution is just a piece of paper and doesn’t stop bullets nor (really) stop the US government from doing what they want. In the same fashion, nor does declaring the NAP to be an axiom stop violence. It may be better to decide how we should deal with violence in society rather than assuming it wont exist. I look forward to comments.

    Jump to Discussion Post 29 replies
  • Marko I.

    "Shopping for government"

    Hey folks! So, i’m an objectivist and yes, sometimes i do find value in spending time on 🙂 We know that Ayn Rand opposed anarchism, but i would love to see what do you (anarchists who read Ayn Rand)  think about what Ayn Rand wrote in Virtue Of Selfishness regarding anarchism.. as well to give an explanation if you think that she’s wrong: “Instead of a single, monopolistic government, they declare, there should be a number of different governments in the same geographical area, competing for the allegiance of individual citizens, with every citizen free to “shop” and to patronize whatever government he chooses. One cannot call this theory a contradiction in terms, since it is obviously devoid of any understanding of the terms “competition” and “government.” Nor can one call it a floating abstraction, since it is devoid of any contact with or reference to reality and cannot be concretized at all, not even roughly or approximately. One illustration will be sufficient: suppose Mr. Smith, a customer of Government A, suspects that his next-door neighbor, Mr. Jones, a customer of Government B, has robbed him; a squad of Police A proceeds to Mr. Jones’ house and is met at the door by a squad of Police B, who declare that they do not accept the validity of Mr. Smith’s complaint and do not recognize the authority of Government A. What happens then? You take it from there.”

    Jump to Discussion Post 86 replies
  • P_Fritz

    Rand without Romanticism

    I have an Objectivist leaning friend who has read only Rand’s philosophical works (Virtue of Selfishness, Ayn Rand Lexicon, etc). We have these great discussions as long as we’re discussing Aristotle or Egoism, but then if I mention a line from Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged he points out he hasn’t read those and it’s always kind of deflating. So so here’s my question: do you think someone can bypass Rand’s fictional works and still really fully understand and appreciate Objectivism? Or is there something about the fictional works that is essential to understanding Rand?

    Jump to Discussion Post 0 replies
  • Ben Best

    Atlas Shrugged: Part III released

    I dutifully watched Atlas Shrugged Part III, which was released on September 12 to local movie theaters. As expected, there were not many people in my theater. I must admit that I have a hard time arguing with the one (somewhat negative) review I have seen: The film was obviously fairly low budget, and I did not find the philosophical content much higher or very persuasive. Even if this film was seen by large numbers of people, I doubt they would be very inspired or educated. From that point of view, the high point of the film was where John Galt was being offered great economic power by the US President, when Galt said “that kind of power should not exist”.  But I think that there should have been stronger emphasis on the fact that Galt was being tortured in order to force him to become an economic dictator (under the President).  As portrayed, it simply looked like they were trying to hurt him because they didn’t like what he did or said. I was somewhat turned-off by the masses chanting “We want John Galt” — as if they were looking for a new dictator to replace the President. The movie portrayed a decaying society, but could have better emphasized how modern fascism of regulation is at least as economically destructive as socialism. On a less cerebral level, I was turned-off by the chocolate cake that Dagney and John were eating. Also, John’s partly unshaven face reinforced my impression that for many women being partly unshaven is very sexy.

    Jump to Discussion Post 6 replies