David Boaz

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David Boaz
Boaz in 2018
Boaz in 2018
BornDavid Douglas Boaz
(1953-08-29)August 29, 1953
Mayfield, Kentucky, U.S.
DiedJune 7, 2024(2024-06-07) (aged 70)
Arlington County, Virginia, U.S.
  • Writer
  • editor
Alma materVanderbilt University (BA)
SubjectLibertarianism in the United States
PartnerSteve Miller

David Douglas Boaz (/ˈbz/; August 29, 1953 – June 7, 2024) was an American author, philosopher and editor. He was a distinguished senior fellow and the executive vice president of the Cato Institute, an American libertarian think tank.



Boaz was born on August 29, 1953, in Mayfield, Kentucky.[1] His father was a judge, and one of his uncles, through marriage, was Frank Stubblefield, who served as a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives.[2] Boaz studied history at Vanderbilt University from 1971 to 1975, and as a young man was involved with the Young Americans for Freedom and the College Republicans.[2][3]



Boaz eventually parted with the conservative movement, and worked on Ed Clark's campaigns for governor of California in 1978 and for president in 1980.[2] Around this time, he joined the Cato Institute.[2]

He was 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."[4] He was 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 discussed on national television and radio shows 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,[5][6][7] a non-interventionist foreign policy,[8] and the rise of libertarianism. Boaz said his views were informed by classical liberalism and opposed to populism.[2] He expressed skepticism of party politics and did not join the Libertarian Party.[2]

His articles were also published in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Review, and Slate.[1][9] He 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 and Radio Free Europe.[10] A graduate of Vanderbilt University, he was once the editor of The New Guard magazine and was executive director of the Council for a Competitive Economy prior to joining Cato.[11] In 2022, he retired as executive vice president of Cato and was named a distinguished senior fellow.[2] He continued to write and appear on television until shortly before his death.[2]

Personal life


Boaz, who was openly gay, was with his partner, Steve Miller, for over 30 years.[1] He was a teetotaler.[2]

Boaz died from esophageal cancer at his home in Arlington County, Virginia, on June 7, 2024, at the age of 70.[1][2]


  • 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. ^ a b c d Langer, Emily (June 7, 2024). "David Boaz, leading voice of libertarianism, dies at 70". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved June 8, 2024.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Roberts, Sam (June 11, 2024). "David Boaz, a Leading Voice of Libertarianism, Dies at 70". The New York Times. Retrieved June 11, 2024.
  3. ^ Doherty, Brian David Boaz, RIP, Reason.com. Retrieved June 11, 2024.
  4. ^ Franzen, Don (January 19, 1997). "Neither Left Nor Right: 'Libertarianism: A Primer'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 25, 2014.
  5. ^ Boaz, David (October 25, 2007). "Drug Legalization and the Right to Control Your Body". Cato Institute. Retrieved June 28, 2020.
  6. ^ Boaz, David. Should drugs be legal?. Youtube. Think tank with Ben Wattenberg. Archived from the original on December 13, 2019. Retrieved June 28, 2020.
  7. ^ "David Boaz profile on NORML.org". Archived from the original on June 28, 2020. Retrieved June 28, 2020.
  8. ^ Boaz, David (December 22, 2014). "Cuba, Rand Paul, and a 21st-Century Republican Foreign Policy". HuffPost. Retrieved June 29, 2020.
  9. ^ "David Boaz, Executive Vice President, Cato Institute; Author, The Politics of Freedom (7/9/2008)". Commonwealth Club. Retrieved June 13, 2024.
  10. ^ Boaz, David (February 25, 2008). The Politics of Freedom. Cato Institute. ISBN 978-1-933995-26-7. Retrieved June 13, 2024.
  11. ^ "David Boaz 1953–2024". Adam Smith Institute. Retrieved June 13, 2024.