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Works to Help Non-Libertarians Understand Libertarianism:

A student of mine writes with this question:

I consider myself to be a classical liberal (free trade, freedom of expression, freedom of religion ...)with an exceptionally large bleeding heart (there is no excuse for having hungry kids or the mentally ill out on the streets), but I am trying to understand what it means to be a libertarian.

So this is a law student who has not previously been exposed much to libertarianism and would like a good and serious, but somewhat accessible, introduction to libertarian thinking. I thought of Nozick (perhaps too arcane for the general reader) and Hayek (perhaps too economic and nonresponsive to this person's interests). And there are plenty of works, of course, that cover more specific questions, such as voluntary provision of charity or public goods.

This is a question I get on a fairly frequent basis, and one for which I am usually flummoxed for an answer. So I figured I'd throw it out to readers, as I suspect many of you might have works that you recommend as particularly useful to somebody looking to understand libertarianism better.

I'd be especially interested in hearing from non-libertarians about works that you may have found especially useful in helping to understand libertarianism from an "outsider" perspective (even if you obviously did not find yourself to be persuaded) in the end).

While you are at it, please feel free to add any personal recommendations you may have for "Conservatism for Non-Conservatives" or "Liberalism for Non-Liberals" as well.

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