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Nonaggression Axiom

by Roderick T. Long

The nonaggression axiom or principle mandates that individuals do not use physical force against others or their property, except for retaliation.


Nozick, Robert (1938-2002)

by Ellen Frankel Paul

Nozick’s work, especially his book Anarchy, State, & Utopia, re-interested many people in political philosophy and libertarianism.



by David Kelley

Objectivism, the moral philosophy expressed by Ayn Rand, celebrates individualism and argues that humans morally should work towards their own happiness.


Oppenheimer, Franz (1864-1943)

by George H. Smith

Franz Oppenheimer, a German sociologist, wrote a comprehensive explanation of the history of the state as a history of conquest.


Ortega y Gasset, José (1883-1955)

by David Fitzsimons and Lester Hunt

José Ortega y Gasset was a philosopher who wrote on the evils of state power and the way society grew and changed after the Industrial Revolution.


Orwell, George (1903-1950)

by David Ramsay Steele

A well-known novelist and essayist, George Orwell’s social criticisms against totalitarianism still remain relevant today.


Ostrom, Vincent (1919-2012) and Elinor (1933-2012)

by Paul Dragos Aligica

The Ostroms founded the Bloomington School of Institutional Analysis at the University of Indiana, dedicated to self-governance and evaluating state institutions.


Paine, Thomas (1737-1809)

by David Fitzsimons

Thomas Paine was a political agitator who wrote to empower people to replace their existing tyrannical governments with liberal republics.



by Will Wilkinson

Paternalism in law-making is where the government makes decisions for individuals based on what the government thinks is best for them.


Paterson, Isabel (1886-1961)

by Stephen Cox

Isabel Paterson was one of the first well-known libertarian women of her era. She wrote in avid support of minimal government and the free economy.


Paul, Ron (1935-)

by David Boaz

Ron Paul was the 1988 Libertarian Party presidential nominee and is a public figure who has helped bring libertarianism to political attention.


Peace and Pacifism

by Robert Higgs

In this entry, Robert Higgs outlines public opinion of war throughout American history and the stances the government took to anti-war sentiment.


Philosophic Radicals

by George H. Smith

The Philosophic Radicals, including Jeremy Bentham, were British reformers generally supporting Benthian utilitarianism and democratic change.



by George H. Smith

The physiocrats were French laissez-faire economists in the late 18th century who based their policies and writings on natural reason and science.


Political Parties

by Patrick Basham

Political parties can help to inform voters and overcome collective action problems, but also institutionalize government vote-seeking and rent-seeking.


Popper, Karl (1902-1994)

by Jeremy Shearmur

Karl Popper’s theory of knowledge and writings on social philosophy helped to shape much of today’s methodology of social science.



by Wendy McElroy

Pornography is an issue that raises questions about sexuality and feminism, but also about censorship and whether government can regulate entertainment.


Positive Liberty

by Tibor Machan

Positive liberty presents liberty as the ability to succeed. Often, though, positive liberty can only be achieved by violating negative liberty.