Libertarianism For Beginners

by James Canfield, For Beginners

Seavey provides a thorough and easy to read explanation of libertarianism and its history. Full of examples and nuance, the book offers a balanced context for understanding this philosophy.

Ann Lee, NYU Stern School of Business professor

9781939994660Chapter one of Libertarianism For Beginners opens up by defining a Libertarian as being both socially liberal, “not wanting the government to interfere in their personal behavior,” and fiscally conservative, wanting low taxes, low government spending, and few regulations.” It’s hard to imagine why anyone would believe in anything other than Libertarianism, right? If you agree, the first page of this book is bound to surprise you. According to the Libertarian Cato Institute, approximately 5% or less of the population actually consider themselves to be Libertarians.

It is a common misbelief that our government, the one we entrust virtually everything to, is in fact operating with the citizens’ best interest in the forefront of their mind. Instead, they focus on our nation as a whole, accepting a certain degree of upset amongst the citizens as ‘acceptable.’ Our modern day society has become ever-so dependent on such a diverse portfolio of political philosophies. All of which, attempt to view the government in a light of the individual’s choosing, one that best suits their daily routine. Todd Seavey, in his book Libertarianism For Beginners, states that humans have since developed a wide swath of competing conceptions about the so-called good life and how to achieve it. No two views, however, would be the same.

It was not until the twenty-first century, really, that a large number of individuals began to self-advocate towards a new way of thinking. Placing a strong emphasis on both individual and property rights, as Seavey states, Libertarianism is one such philosophy that supports the shrinking of government. Libertarians heavily endorse the concept of political freedom, which falls under the United States’ first amendment towards freedom of the press. They need not worry about who is actually in charge of the government, because instead, they are rather concerned about whether or not we need a government at all. As shown in an illustration by Nathan Smith, the law should intrude into people’s lives as little as possible. We the people have the right to be the judges and jurors for ourselves.

In life we are truly on our own. We dress, feed, and take care of ourselves as we see fit. Every day we must choose between option A and option B, each resulting in an entirely opposite outcome, as well as permanently changing the future course of events. We are therefore forced to ask ourselves; why then, would we need an outside governing force to dictate what it is we do?

Libertarianism For Beginners, Todd Seavey seamlessly takes you on a journey inside the mind of an everyday libertarian. Through the humorously depicted illustrations of Nathan Smith, he is able to bring the world of libertarianism to life, right in the palm of your hand. Every stop you make will visit yet another unique thought, opinion, or point of view, and each page you turn will only draw you further in.


Read more about Libertarianism For Beginners and visit the For Beginners website to learn more about their titles.

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