David Boaz (/ˈb.æz/; born August 29, 1953, Mayfield, Kentucky) is the executive vice president of the Cato Institute, an American libertarian think tank.

David Boaz (2018)

He is the author of Libertarianism: A Primer, published in 1997 by the Free Press and described in the Los Angeles Times as "a well-researched manifesto of libertarian ideas."[1] He is also the editor of The Libertarian Reader and co-editor of the Cato Handbook for Congress (2003) and the Cato Handbook on Policy (2005). He frequently discusses such topics as education choice, the growth of government, the ownership society, his support of drug legalization as a consequence of the individual right to self-determination,[2][3][4] a non-interventionist foreign policy,[5] and the rise of libertarianism on national television and radio shows.

Boaz's 1988 op-ed The New York Times on the high cost of the drug war fueled public debate over the decriminalization of drugs.[6] His articles have also been published in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Review, and Slate. He has appeared on ABC's Politically Incorrect, CNN's Crossfire, NPR's Talk of the Nation and All Things Considered, Fox News Channel, BBC, Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, and other media. Boaz, a graduate of Vanderbilt University, is the former editor of The New Guard magazine and was executive director of the Council for a Competitive Economy prior to joining Cato in 1981.


  • Market Liberalism: A Paradigm for the 21st Century, Editor with Edward H. Crane, 1993. ISBN 9780932790972. OCLC 27267709
  • Libertarianism: A Primer, Free Press 1997. ISBN 9780684831985. OCLC 35658010
  • The Libertarian Reader, Editor, Free Press 1997. ISBN 9780684832005. OCLC 35808396
  • The Politics of Freedom: Taking on The Left, The Right and Threats to Our Liberties, 2008. ISBN 9781933995144. OCLC 254175718
  • The Libertarian Vote: Swing Voters, Tea Parties, and the Fiscally Conservative, Socially Liberal Center, with David Kirby and Emily Ekins, 2012. ISBN 9781938048746
  • The Libertarian Mind: A Manifesto for Freedom, Simon & Schuster, 2015. ISBN 9781476752846


  1. ^ Franzen, Don (January 19, 1997). "Neither Left Nor Right: "Libertarianism: A Primer"". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 25, 2014.
  2. ^ Boaz, David (October 25, 2007). "Drug Legalization and the Right to Control Your Body". Cato Institute. Retrieved June 28, 2020.
  3. ^ Boaz, David. Should drugs be legal?. Youtube. Think tank with Ben Wattenberg. Archived from the original on December 13, 2019. Retrieved June 28, 2020.
  4. ^ "David Boaz profile on NORML.org". Archived from the original on June 28, 2020. Retrieved June 28, 2020.
  5. ^ Boaz, David (2014-12-22). "Cuba, Rand Paul, and a 21st-Century Republican Foreign Policy". HuffPost. Retrieved 2020-06-29.
  6. ^ Boaz, David (March 17, 1988). "Let's Quit the Drug War". The New York Times.

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