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Why are Austrians Libertarians?

March 8, 2005

Tags Philosophy and MethodologyPolitical Theory

It seems pretty obvious that most Austrians—especially Misesians and Rothbardians, but even the Hayekians etc.—are also libertarians. The correlation seems very high to me. I've often wondered why this is so. It could be that many people are Austrians because they were led to it by Rothbard or Mises, or some other libertarian, because they were already libertarian. But this does not seem adequate explanation to me... it's almost impossible to conceive of a hardcore Austrian who is nevertheless a statist. Why is this? 

My first guess is that it's because the more you understand economics, you understand that property rights and personal liberties are essential if we are to have peace and prosperity—and most people are in favor of these goals. This implies that the main reason we have socialism and statism is because the masses are simply ignorant of economics. Which implies the greatest way to achieve liberty is economic education.

Any other thoughts? Are there any things written about this already?

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