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For a New Libertarian

• By Jeff Deist

Greetings to everyone at the Corax 2017 conference, and greetings also to the audience here at our annual Mises University. As you can see both events are happening simultaneously, so I couldn't be with you in person this evening. But I very much appreciate being invited by Sofia and Martin to speak, and I would indeed have joined you in Malta any other week. And I admire Sofia and Martin for having the courage to leave Sweden and start this new venture in Malta, which by their account is not only warmer but also far more reasonable!

What I'd like to talk about today is libertarians, more than libertarianism itself. And I'll ask you to consider whether libertarians have lost their way.

The title "For a New Libertarian" is I hope an obvious play on the title of Murray Rothbard's famous book For a New Liberty. It's an underrated book, less well-known perhaps than The Ethics of Liberty. Lots of authors have the ego to call their books "a manifesto," but few books actually live up to such an bold subtitle. This book does.

I love Murray's line: "libertarianism, then, is a philosophy seeking a policy." I wonder if he'd change that line today, if he could see where the "public policy" branch of libertarianism has become. Or maybe he should have written "libertarianism is a philosophy seeking better libertarians."