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AbstractThe essay is an overview of libertarian literature. It begins dealing with lexical issues concerning the meaning of liberalism, classical liberalism, conservatism and libertarianism. There are two meanings of libertarianism: a large one, as a free market oriented liberalism, and a strict one, as an extreme classical liberalism which calls in question the State as the main enemy of liberty. Novelist Ayn Rand is one of the main sources for contemporary libertarian theory, although she never called herself libertarian. Murray N. Rothbard is the most important libertarian thinker; he was an “austrian” economist and a natural law theorist who considered free market as the social institution capable to satisfy every human need, security and justice included. In response to rothbardian society without a State, Robert Nozick exposed a minarchist position, in favour of a minimal State limited to the function of protecting individual rights. This distinction between anarchism and minarchism is a crucial one for libertarian theory. The most interesting current literature is that in rothbardian, natural law and natural rights style. There is also an italian libertarian literature, including works of political theory, philosophy of law, environmentalism and history.
Nicola Iannello, "Il libertarianism: saggio bibliografico", in: Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics, V (2003) 2, pp. 1-17.