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The Myth of Natural Rights: The Portable L.A. Rollins | L.A Rollins

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“A powerful...assault on one of classical liberalism’s chief myths.” —Jeff Riggenach
George H. Smith once described The Myth of Natural Rights as “a scathing, all-out attack.” This was not hyperbole. First published in 1983 by Loompanics Unlimited, L.A. Rollins’ incisive monograph sought not merely to dethrone the doctrine of natural law that had come to dominate libertarian discourse, but to upend the very foundations of moral philosophy. Describing himself as an “amoralist” and an “egoist of sorts,” Rollins echoed Stirner alone in his insouciant refusal to genuflect before the reigning pieties of intellectual fashion.
While few readers would embrace Rollins’ intractable moral skepticism, his short book struck a powerful chord. As the text was discussed and occasionally reviewed in marginal periodicals, it gathered an almost scandalous aura, eliciting both approbation and excoriation for its lacerating critique of natural rights theory – particularly as exposited by such libertarian luminaries as Murray Rothbard, Tibor Machan and Ayn Rand.
In 1985, The Myth of Natural Rights would become a central exhibit in a spirited debate that spanned several issues of Samuel Konkin’s New Libertarian magazine. The forum included contributions by Robert LeFevre, Murray Rothbard, Sidney Parker and Robert Anton Wilson, along with a reply by L.A. Rollins himself. Although Rollins’ engagement with the libertarian cognoscenti would soon come to an end, the dam had broken.
This definitive reissue of The Myth of Natural Rights features a new introduction by Kevin I. Slaughter and has been extensively supplemented to include all of the relevant essays that originally appeared in New Libertarian, along with extant commentaries and rejoinders by L.A. Rollins. It is the second volume in The Portable L.A.Rollins, a series devoted to republishing the authors writings after his death in 2015.
"The Myth Of Natural Rights is an important libertarian work for both theorists and practitioners. It can serve several useful purposes. It can liberate libertarians from morality and the outreach burden of explaining to nonlibertarian moralists why libertarian moralizing is “better” than their present moralizing. It arms libertarians with analytical techniques and tools that can be applied to dismantle other, non-libertarian moralities. Finally, it can free libertarians and others from the shackles of moral “duty,” enhancing everyone’s potential for happiness and pleasure." --Jorge Amador The Pragmatist: A Utilitarian Approach Vol. 2, No. 1 (September 1984)