Burning Down the House: How Libertarian Philosophy Was Corrupted by Delusion and Greed

St. Martin’s. Oct. 2022. 304p. ISBN 9781250280138. $28.99. POL SCI
Koppelman (John Paul Stevens Professor of Law, Northwestern Univ.; Gay Rights vs. Religious Liberty??) argues that despite seemingly opposite ideologies, U.S. liberals and libertarians have commonalities that should bring them together, in an era when libertarianism’s free-market, small-government philosophy has become a driving force behind the Republican Party. The author writes from the perspective of a self-described “pro-capitalism leftist” and highlights points at which liberal and libertarian thinking converge. He posits that the current iteration of libertarianism used by the GOP is flawed, while classical libertarianism has crossover appeal. He looks at the history of libertarianism, highlights major thinkers including Friedrich Hayek and Murray Rothbard, and interrogates central principles of the ideology, such as the rights to personal liberty and property, through the lens of famous libertarian theorists. He also addresses major criticisms and limitations of libertarian thought and looks at the current political landscape, tracing how it has influenced the Republican Party through donations and political fights over Obamacare, the government’s response to the 2008 recession, and COVID.
VERDICT An interesting critical exploration of libertarian thought.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing