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What It Means to Be a Libertarian
Independent Policy Forum with Charles Murray
Tuesday, January 28, 1997

Charles A. Murray
Senior Fellow, American Enterprise Institute. Author, What It Means to Be a Libertarian

Although America’s Founders attempted to build a Republic on the twin pillars of strict limits on the power of central government and strict protections of individual rights, these pillars have been eroded away. Now, bestselling author, scholar and social commentator, Charles Murray, wants to restore them for all Americans. In his book, What It Means to Be a Libertarian, he offers a radical blueprint for overhauling our dysfunctional government and replacing it with a system that safeguards human freedom and fosters human happiness.

Murray will invoke a more consistent version of the Founders’ ideals and craft a clear, workable alternative to our current government. He will explain that the sprawling, costly and intrusive government that Americans have come to accept as an inevitable part of modern life is not inevitable. He will encourage Americans to liberate themselves from ingrained misconceptions of what government is and urge us to consider instead what it ought to be.

In this insightful yet very personal talk, Murray paints a vivid portrait of life in a genuinely free society. Imagine, for example, a federal government that is not just smaller, but small—with an executive branch trimmed down to the White House, and radically smaller departments of state, defense, justice and environmental protection. Imagine a Congress so limited in power it spends only a few months of each year in session. Imagine a society in which the government’s role is once again to prevent people from initiating the use of force, leaving them otherwise free, in the words of Thomas Jefferson, “to regulate their own pursuit of industry and improvement.”

Murray crafts a workable alternative to our current government that would lead to greater individual fulfillment, stronger families, more vital communities, more wealth and less poverty, a richer culture and better care for the less fortunate.

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