A wonderful new collection of articles by Tom G Palmer
Libertarian Theory, History and Practice
For more than 25 years, Tom Palmer has lived his life according to a very simple ideal: Liberty is for everyone. Academics debate the finer points of political theory, but liberty belongs to us all, and everyone can benefit from it. Realizing Freedom is a testament to that ideal.
A tireless educator, Palmer has traveled the world to bring the message of freedom to people on every continent. At home, he’s been an incisive commentator on current affairs as well as an original thinker in political philosophy. The essays in this volume are drawn from two and a half decades of work, and they reflect the many levels on which Palmer has promoted individual liberty.
In section I, “Theory,” Palmer addresses the nature of freedom, law, rights, and justice; the morality of markets; and the institutional frameworks of free societies. The essays in this section come from both academic and popular sources and address a wide variety of arguments for and against free markets, personal responsibility, individual liberty, and the rule of law. He considers and criticizes the arguments of political theorists such as John Rawls and G. A. Cohen, as well as popular “myths of individualism,” which he concisely refutes.
In section II, “History,” Palmer considers the long tradition of classical liberalism and how it relates to struggles for liberty today. The classical liberal movement has again and again returned to its historical roots, and many of its greatest exponents have been historians. Palmer shows himself to be no exception.
Section III, “Practice,” takes on current events and concerns, from multiculturalism to struggles for free speech to the war in Iraq. And section IV, “Books and Ideas,” includes critical reviews of various important books, as well as the not-to-be-missed essay “The Literature of Liberty.” Students looking for a guide to classical liberal thought will benefit from this extensive and well-considered essay, compiled by a leading authority in the field.
‘Tom Palmer has been one of liberty’s most eloquent and learned spokespersons for many years. It is a joy to have so many of his lucid, readable, and trenchant essays, written over most of those years, between one set of covers. The essays are independent of each other, enough so that you can sit down and read one here, one there, without needing to know also the hundred or two hundred pages in between. Whatever sort of essay you pick, I guarantee you a good read.’ Professor Jan Narveson
‘Tom Palmer has been long involved in fighting the battle of ideas; in confronting collectivism, extensive government intervention, and the suppression of human freedom and economic prosperity. This book should be read by all who care about freedom. It is important to remind each generation that freedom can never be taken for granted. Collectivist, anti-libertarian ideologies did not cease to exist at the moment the Iron Curtain fell.’ Vaclav Klaus, President of the Czech Republic
2009, Published by the Cato Institute, ISBN 978 1 935308 11 9, 534pp, HB