Aaron Ross Powell

Aaron Ross Powell is Director and Editor of Libertarianism.org, a project of the Cato Institute. Libertarianism.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.


No Man Is an Island (Not Even Libertarians)

by Aaron Ross Powell on Jul 18, 2013

Libertarians reject an expansive state. But this doesn’t mean they reject social bonds or the benefits of working with others to achieve common goals.


State Thugs and the Purpose of Government

by Aaron Ross Powell on Aug 9, 2013

Big government makes it easy to forget what government’s for—and that allows state agents to get away with truly awful acts.


How Not to Argue Against Libertarianism

by Aaron Ross Powell on Aug 15, 2013

Cogently attacking libertarianism means, at the very least, wrestling with what libertarians actually believe.


Making the World Better

by Aaron Ross Powell on Sep 18, 2013

Powell critiques an attack on libertarianism that charges libertarians with wanting to destroy society in order to live in a world without cooperation.


The Inhumanity of Politics

by Aaron Ross Powell on Sep 26, 2013

Politics encourages us to dehumanize our opponents and, as a result, we dehumanize ourselves.


What Politics Is

by Aaron Ross Powell on Oct 3, 2013

Politics is what you get when you add violence to discourse.


The Humble Case for Liberty

by Aaron Ross Powell on Oct 17, 2013

The virtue of humility is found in recognizing our limits—and that humility ought to make us libertarians.

Free Thoughts

Politics and Community

featuring Aaron Ross Powell and Trevor Burrus on Oct 22, 2013

Libertarians often get called “anti-community.” Aaron & Trevor explain why that thinking leads to many bad arguments against libertarianism.

Free Thoughts

Can Money Buy Elections?

featuring John Samples, Aaron Ross Powell, and Trevor Burrus on Oct 28, 2013

John Samples joins us on the show for a discussion on the relationship between money and political speech.


“First, Do No Harm”

by Aaron Ross Powell on Nov 8, 2013

Libertarians get told we complain about government but never offer solutions. That’s not true—especially because limiting government often is the solution.

Free Thoughts

Libertarians and the Poor

featuring Matt Zwolinski, Aaron Ross Powell, and Trevor Burrus on Nov 18, 2013

Matt Zwolinski joins Aaron and Trevor to discuss how libertarianism can help the least well-off.

Free Thoughts

What’s Okay to Buy and Sell?

featuring James Stacey Taylor, Aaron Ross Powell, and Trevor Burrus on Nov 25, 2013

James Stacey Taylor asks why it is that we seem to be comfortable with the idea of buying and selling some things, but not others.

Free Thoughts

Do We Have a Duty to Obey the Government?

featuring Jason Brennan, Aaron Ross Powell, and Trevor Burrus on Dec 2, 2013

Jason Brennan joins us for a discussion on political obligation. Are we ethically obligated to obey the government? If so, why? If not, why not?

Free Thoughts

Listener Q&A: But Who Will Build the Roads?

featuring Aaron Ross Powell and Trevor Burrus on Dec 9, 2013

Aaron and Trevor take listener questions from: Who will build roads and keep corporations honest? To: What’s the libertarian position on abortion?

Free Thoughts

You Are Now Free to Move About the Planet

featuring Alex Nowrasteh, Aaron Ross Powell, and Trevor Burrus on Dec 16, 2013

Alex Nowrasteh joins us to talk about immigration. Should we have limits on who can enter the United States?