Books in Oxford University Press’s What Everyone Needs to Know series take a question-and-answer format. They are intended to be advanced introductions, the kind of thing both a high school student and a college professor can get something out of.
Chapter One: The Basics of Libertarianism
- What is libertarianism?
- What do libertarians advocate?
- What do libertarians oppose?
- Why do we need to know about libertarianism?
- Are there different kinds of libertarians?
- Are libertarians conservatives?
- Are libertarians liberals?
- Is libertarianism a radical view?
- Are libertarians followers of Ayn Rand?
- Is libertarianism a new view?
- What are some common criticisms of libertarianism?
- What percentage of Americans are libertarians?
- Who are some famous libertarians?
Chapter Two: The Nature and Value of Liberty
- How do libertarians define “liberty”?
- Why do some libertarians reject positive liberty?
- Why do many libertarians now accept positive liberty?
- Why do libertarians think liberty is so important?
- Do libertarians think liberty is the only value?
- Do libertarians think liberty trumps all other values?
- Do libertarians think our only moral duty is to respect others’ liberty?
- What is the “presumption of liberty”?
- What rights do libertarians think we have?
- Do libertarians believe rights are absolute?
Chapter Three: Human Nature and Ethics
- Do libertarians believe everyone is selfish?
- Do libertarians believe everyone should be selfish?
- Are libertarians themselves unusually selfish?
- Why do some critics believe libertarians have an overly optimistic view of human nature?
- Are libertarians moral relativists or moral nihilists?
- Is libertarianism atheistic?
- Are libertarians individualists?
Chapter Four: Government and Democracy
- How do libertarians define “government”?
- Why do libertarians favor limited government and dislike big government?
- Are libertarians anarchists?
- Do libertarians believe there is a duty to obey the law?
- Do libertarians think politicians are selfish and evil?
- What is government failure and how does it relate to market failure?
- What are some forms of government failure?
- Do libertarians favor democracy?
- Why do some libertarians say democracies make dumb choices?
- What do libertarians think about the US Constitution?
- Are libertarians nationalists?
- How do libertarians propose to keep money out of politics?
- Are libertarians hawks or doves on foreign policy?
Chapter Five: Civil Rights
44. What is the libertarian view of civil liberty?
45. What civil rights do libertarians think we have?
46. What is the libertarian view of free speech and freedom of conscience?
47. Are libertarians for or against capital punishment?
48. Are libertarians soft on crime?
49. How would libertarians solve the problem of high crime?
50. Why do libertarians oppose the War on Drugs?
51. Why would libertarians legalize prostitution?
52. Why do libertarians want to allow organ sales?
53. Are libertarians feminists?
54. Why do libertarians support same-sex marriage?
55. Do libertarians support the right of homosexuals to adopt children?
56. Why do libertarians oppose the draft?
57. Why do libertarians oppose mandatory national service?
58. What do libertarians think about the gun control?
59. What do libertarians think we should do about current and historical racial injustice?
60. Why do libertarians say that the market punishes discrimination?
61. Would libertarians allow private business discrimination?
Chapter Six: Economic Freedom
62. What economic rights do libertarians believe we have?
63. Are libertarians only concerned about economic issues?
64. Why do libertarians think economic freedom is important?
65. Why do libertarians think property rights in particular are important?
66. How do libertarians respond to the Marxist worry that property rights are “merely formal”?
67. Do libertarians think property rights are absolute?
68. Why are libertarians so concerned about economic growth, prosperity, and wealth?
69. Why do libertarians support markets?
70. Why do libertarians support free trade between countries?
71. Are libertarians just trying to protect the interests of Big Business?
72. Why do libertarians believe socialism causes the worst to get on top?
73. Why do libertarians believe socialism fails to create prosperity?
74. Why do libertarians oppose government interventions into the economy?
Chapter Seven: Social Justice and the Poor
75. What is social justice?
76. Do most libertarians reject social justice?
77. Do all libertarians reject social justice?
78. What do libertarians think about economic inequality?
79. Why do libertarians oppose welfare states?
80. How can you be a welfarist without advocating a welfare state?
82. Are all libertarians opposed to the welfare state?
83. How do libertarians propose to end poverty without an extensive welfare state?
84. Why do libertarians claim governments tend to hurt the poor?
85. Why do libertarians oppose minimum wage laws?
86. Do libertarians support international aid?
Chapter Eight: Contemporary Problems
87. What would libertarians do about illegal immigrants?
88. What would libertarians do about the War on Terror?
89. What would libertarians do about pollution and the environment?
89. What would libertarians do about people who cannot afford health care?
90. What would libertarians do about failing public schools?
91. What would libertarians do about the rise of the Chinese economy?
92. Did an unregulated free market cause the recent financial crisis?
93. How would libertarians fix the economy?
Chapter Nine: Politics: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
94. How popular is libertarianism in the United States?
95. Is the Tea Party libertarian?
96. Is Occupy Wall Street libertarian?
97. Are most libertarians members of the Libertarian Party?
98. Is the United States the most libertarian country?
99. Which states are the most and least libertarian?
100. Was the United States ever a libertarian country?
101. Is the United States becoming more or less libertarian?
102. What could a libertarian president actually do?
103. Might the US become libertarian soon?
104. What influence does libertarianism have outside the United States?
105. Is the world becoming more or less libertarian?
You might wonder why some questions appeared in one chapter rather than another. Often, it comes down to the kind of answer I give. For instance, take the question on prostitution. That could have gone in chapter 5, 6, or 7. But my way of dealing with it makes it work best in chapter 5.
One fun fact: The term “self-ownership” doesn’t appear in the body of the text. It only appears in the bibliography, in a Jerry Cohen (an Oxford Marxist) title.
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