Aaron Ross Powell
Director and Editor

Aaron Ross Powell is Director and Editor of Lib​er​tar​i​an​ism​.org, a project of the Cato Institute. Lib​er​tar​i​an​ism​.org presents introductory material as well as new scholarship related to libertarian philosophy, theory, and history. He is also co‐​host of Libertarianism.org’s popular podcast, Free Thoughts. His writing has appeared in Liberty and The Cato Journal. He earned a JD from the University of Denver.

Most libertarians fall into either the consequentialist or deontologist camp. That is, they believe libertarianism is best justified by showing how it produces superior consequences to alternatives or by showing how it comports with certain moral rules such as self‐​ownership. A handful more take a contractarian approach, seeing libertarianism as what you’d get if everyone rationally debated and came to unanimous agreement on a set of rules to govern society. But that list–consequentialism, deontology, and contractarianism–leaves out the moral theory of history’s most influential philosopher, Aristotle. While far from a libertarian himself, Aristotle’s notion of eudimonia–and its modern offspring, virtue ethics–offers an intriguing fourth option. In the new short video we posted today, the philosopher Douglass Rasmussen discusses what libertarians can learn from Plato’s famous student.