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John Hospers, the Libertarian Party’s 50th Anniversary, and Beyond

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Libertarianism in America comes in two basic flavors―social libertarianism, which favors few rules on personal morality apart from doing no harm to others, and also economic libertarianism which favors minimal government involvement in people’s lives. At times the two work in concert on public policy issues―even during the Trump presidency, when prisoners convicted of nonviolent drug crimes were set free. At other times, they do not.

This book explains where today’s libertarianism came from―intellectually and politically―fifty years ago, and why libertarianism matters today in an era when satisfaction with the two major political parties is at all-time lows. The dominant theme of this book is libertarianism as a political philosophy has grown in the public’s imagination during the last fifty years. Given the fragmentation of both major political parties in the United States, more than a third of Americans now identify themselves as politically independent.

It all started with professor of philosophy John Hospers’ 1971 path-breaking, foundational book “Libertarianism: A Political Philosophy for Tomorrow.” Later that same year came the creation of The Libertarian Party and in 1972 the LP ran its first presidential campaign, with Hospers as its candidate. The essays on Hospers and his philosophy which begin the narrative discuss a wide range of topics in addition to detailing Hospers’ serious philosophical work. There is intriguing commentary on Ayn Rand movement, anarchism, the shortcomings of the new American conservatism which had begun two decades earlier, the Vietnam War and its impact on the Sixties Generation and more―all from the era when New Deal liberalism fell apart and people started searching for new paths to follow.

The book concludes with often-differing, often radical libertarian perspectives on public policy disputes. Upbeat essays on the future of the Libertarian Party and libertarianism paint a picture of a libertarian future for America. Historians of ideas and activists of all persuasions will be both entertained, educated, and provoked! The essays in this volume shatter two myths about libertarianism: that it is primarily a movement that favors no government at all; and that it has only served as a “spoiler” in political elections.

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Book Details

Sub Title
John Hospers, the Libertarian Party’s 50th Anniversary, and Beyond
C. Ronald Kimberling and Stan Oliver (Eds.)
Jameson Books, Inc.

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