May 5, 2014

Robert Higgs on Libertarianism

By In Blogs, C.Jay Engel

First Higgs quotes Murray Rothbard:

“Libertarianism does not offer a way of life; it offers liberty, so that each person is free to adopt and act upon his own values and moral principles. Libertarians agree with Lord Acton that ‘liberty is the highest political end’ — not necessarily the highest end on everyone’s personal scale of values.” — Murray N. Rothbard

Then he comments:

What libertarianism meant to my old friend, as stated here, is also what it means to me. Liberty is neither the only important thing in human life nor necessarily the most important thing. So libertarians are free to commit themselves to an immense variety of personal identities and goals, remaining all the while within the fold of libertarianism. Insisting that all individuals share the same set of identities and other personal commitments and goals and that failure to do so calls into question one’s bona fides as a libertarian — that is not my conception of a promising path to take.

This is thin libertarianism.

Written by C.Jay Engel

Editor and creator of The Reformed Libertarian. Living in Northern California with his wife, he writes on everything from politics to theology and from culture to economic theory. You can send an email to