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Libertarian theories of law

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Libertarian theories of law build upon classical liberal and individualist doctrines.

The defining characteristics of libertarian legal theory are its insistence that the amount of governmental intervention should be kept to a minimum and the primary functions of law should be enforcement of contracts and social order, though "social order" is often seen as a desirable side effect of a free market rather than a philosophical necessity.

Historically, the Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek is the most important libertarian legal theorist. Another important predecessor was Lysander Spooner, a 19th-century American individualist anarchist and lawyer. John Locke was also an influence on libertarian legal theory (see Two Treatises of Government).

Ideas range from anarcho-capitalism to a minimal state providing physical protection and enforcement of contracts. Some advocate regulation, including the existence of a police force, military, public land, and public infrastructure. Geolibertarians oppose absolute ownership of land on Georgist grounds.

Notable theorists

Authors discussing libertarian legal theory include:

  • Randy Barnett (The Structure of Liberty)
  • Bruce L. Benson (The Enterprise of Law: Justice Without the State)
  • Walter Block
  • Frank van Dun
  • Richard Epstein (Skepticism and Freedom)
  • David Friedman (The Machinery of Freedom)
  • Friedrich Hayek (Law, Legislation and Liberty)
  • Gene Healy
  • Hans Hermann Hoppe (The Economics and Ethics of Private Property)
  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Bruno Leoni (Freedom and the Law)
  • Robert P. Murphy (Chaos Theory)
  • Robert Nozick (Anarchy, State, and Utopia)
  • Roger Pilon
  • Ayn Rand (Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal)
  • Murray Rothbard (The Ethics of Liberty)
  • Bernard Siegan (Economic Liberties and the Constitution)
  • Linda and Morris Tannehill (The Market for Liberty)
  • References

    Libertarian theories of law Wikipedia

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