An Introduction to Lib​er​tar​i​an​ism​.org.

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’s popular podcast, Free Thoughts. His writing has appeared in Liberty and The Cato Journal. He earned a JD from the University of Denver.

And we’re off. I’m thrilled to introduce Lib​er​tar​i​an​ism​.org, a new way to explore the theory and history of liberty. Libertarianism is more than a set of policies about education, health care, defense, and trade. Behind those, providing their foundation, are ideas and history, the writings and actions of great men and women who have argued and fought for liberty. The mission of Lib​er​tar​i​an​ism​.org is to express and discuss those ideas directly. Libertarianism is a big tent. Principled people who can rightfully claim the label still find a great deal to disagree about. These internal conflicts are fertile ground for exploration here at–as are the conflicts between libertarianism broadly construed and the wealth of competing visions of the state and its proper place in our lives. My hope is that Lib​er​tar​i​an​ism​.org facilitates deep and fruitful discussion of these ideas. And that it introduces visitors to the value of the presumption of liberty.

There’s a lot here. If you’re new to libertarianism, head over to the Introduction page. You’ll find a short essay going over the basics, as well as a 20‐​minute video featuring David Boaz, author of Libertarianism: A Primer, providing a bit more depth. You can also browse the four reading lists, carefully selected short collections of titles that will bring you up to speed, whether you’re looking for the basics, the deep foundations, or the history of libertarianism. There’s even a list collecting some of the best and most interesting critics of the philosophy of liberty. The “History” page features a long essay on story of liberty, from Lao Tzu in the sixth century B.C. through the present.

Lib​er​tar​i​an​ism​.org also includes an archive of old and new publications, a library of streaming and downloadable videos, including the Jim Turney Collection, which features exclusive appearances by major thinkers such as F. A. Hayek, Milton Friedman, Roy Childs, Murray Rothbard, and George H. Smith.

Speaking of Smith, his “Excursions into the History of Libertarian Thought” is particularly exciting. Smith–a major libertarian scholar with a humbling grasp of intellectual history–writes this weekly essay series on topics as diverse as the granting of state monopolies, the education policies of Athens and Sparta, and the role of bookworms in the movement for liberty. His first is “Religious Toleration Versus Religious Freedom.” And over the coming days, weeks, months, and years, we’ll be adding much more to Lib​er​tar​i​an​ism​.org, including new videos, books, and essays.

Welcome to Lib​er​tar​i​an​ism​.org. It’s been great fun to get it ready to go–and it’s wonderful to finally have it in the open. I hope you’ll stick around for a while, come back often, and join us in exploring the theory and history of liberty.