Liberty Fund

Liberty Fund was founded in 1960 by Pierre F. Goodrich, an Indianapolis lawyer and businessman, to the end that some hopeful contribution may be made to the preservation, restoration, and development of individual liberty through investigation, research, and educational activity.


Great books are the repository of knowledge and experience. Liberty Fund seeks to preserve the wisdom and learning of the ages and to strengthen our understanding and appreciation of individual liberty and responsibility.

For over four decades, Liberty Fund has made available some of the finest books in history, politics, philosophy, law, education, and economics—books of enduring value that have helped to shape ideas and events in man’s quest for liberty, order, and justice.

Featured Book Exploring the Bounds of Liberty

Edited and with an Introduction by Jack P. Greene and Craig B. Yirush
Latin translations by Kathleen Alvis

Exploring the Bounds of Liberty presents a rich and extensive selection of the political literature produced in and about colonial British America during the century before the American Revolution. Most colonial political pamphlets and broadsides were printed in London, but even in the mid-seventeenth century some writings were published in New England, which then had the only printing presses in British America. With the expansion of printing to most of the colonies during the last decade of the seventeenth and the first three decades of the eighteenth century, however, the number of political polemical publications increased exponentially throughout colonial British America, from Barbados to Nova Scotia. The number of publications dealing with political questions increased in every decade after 1710, to become a veritable flood by the 1750s.


Exploring the Bounds of Liberty

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These resources are designed to further Liberty Fund’s educational activities. They include classic works in the tradition of limited government, as well as lively current discussions of how classical-liberal principles apply in today’s world.

Law & Liberty May 25, 2018

The Donald, Chaos Magician

It all started when the spiritualist guru of the Trump family revealed to the Trumps the secrets of mind-over-matter.

Law & Liberty May 25, 2018

Administrative Adjudication as a Violation of Due Process

Due process requires that every person have their day in court, and because of this a central pillar of the administrative state might be unconstitutional.

EconLog May 24, 2018

An Extreme Case of Ignorance or Something Else?, by Contributing Guest

by Pierre Lemieux

If half the American car markets is now supplied by foreign factories, it is obviously because the latter have a comparative advantage in the lines of vehicles they are selling to Americans. The destruction of this comparative advantage would mean higher costs and higher prices.

ignorance.jpeg The Commerce Department will study imposing a tariff of as much as 25% on foreign-manufactured cars in the name of national security as it did for steel and aluminum ("Trump Tariff Threat Vexes Allies and Global Auto Makers," Wall Street Journal, May 24, 2018). Commerce is thereby obeying President Donald Trump, who tweeted a few hours before, clearly suggesting that national security is a thinly veiled excuse:

There will be big news coming soon for our great American Autoworkers. After many decades of losing your jobs to other countries, you have waited long enough!
What could explain this new protectionist threat?

One reason could be ignorance of basic economics. Perhaps Trump and his advisors believe that if a tariff of 25% is imposed on foreign made cars, American consumers will have a choice between imported cars costing 25% more and domestic cars at today's price. Except for a few rich eccentrics, they will choose the latter, and the domestic car industry will double its production, which now accounts for slightly over 50% of the U.S. car market. Everybody will be happy, except for foreign car manufacturers.

Law & Liberty May 25, 2018

The Golden Braid of Liberty and Tradition in America

Critics often forget that the theorists at the core of American liberty balance liberty and tradition rather than extol pure reason.

EconTalk May 24, 2018

For Sale!

by Amy Willis

Have you heard of Henry George? In this week's EconTalk, host Russ Roberts welcomes Glen Weyl to discuss his new book, co-authored with Eric Posner, Radical Markets. One of Weyl's objectives is to bring back one of George's main proposals, a form of land tax.

As always, now we'd like to hear what you think. There's already been great conversation in the comment section for the episode...Let's keep it going!

  1. Weyl asserts that his broad purpose in the book is to "create a different sort of political coalition." Who is he trying to align, and how successful do you think his various proposals could be in accomplishing this?

OLL November 21, 2011

The Data of Ethics (1879) (Herbert Spencer)

data.ethicsThe Data of Ethics (London: Williams and Norgate, 1879).

EconLog May 24, 2018

Remember Your Goal, by David Henderson

A few months ago, various people, presumably in response to Jordan Peterson's book, came up with their 12 rules for living. I could do the same, but instead my co-author Charley Hooper and I wrote a whole book on it: Making Great Decisions in Business and Life.

So rather than give some of the main points from that book, I'll give a rule that I see frequently broken. It's one that if people followed, they would often do better. In a way, it's a version of one of the rules we talk about in the book. In the book we say that for any choice, you should ask yourself "What is your objective?"

Here's the new version:

In any conflict or controversy, always keep in mind what you are trying to achieve.
In other words, remember your goal.

This seems obvious. No, this IS obvious. And yet I see it broken all the time and I find myself often tempted to break it.

I've been in conflicts where I start to think that it's important for the other person to realize that he is wrong. And this is often when he has already agreed to give me what I want or he seems close to that agreement. Am I more likely to get what I want by having him admit that he was wrong? Not in my experience.

EconTalk May 21, 2018

Glen Weyl on Radical Markets

Radical%20Markets.png Economist Glen Weyl of Microsoft Research New England and Visiting Senior Research Scholar at Yale University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his book (co-authored with Eric Posner) Radical Markets. Weyl urges a radical transformation of land and housing markets using a new federal real estate tax based on self-assessment. Owners would be required to sell their houses at the self-assessed price. Weyl argues this would eliminate the market power home owners have in the re-sale market and the revenue tax would could be used to reduce inequality. In the last part of the conversation, Weyl proposes an overhaul of U.S. immigration policy by having residents sponsor immigrants for a fee.


Time: 1:03:28

Law & Liberty May 24, 2018

Equality versus Feeding the Hungry

It is simply too pat to point to bare economic inequality and decry it as necessarily unjust: pursuing equality can often harm growth.

OLL | Quotations October 11, 2009

Harriet Taylor wants to see "freedom and admissibility" in all areas of human activity replace the system of "privilege and exclusion" (1847)


Law & Liberty May 25, 2018

The “American Rule”: The Rise of the Lawyer Class (Part II)

Tocqueville’s hopeful vision of the legal profession was naïve. 

OLL | Quotations August 19, 2008

Alexis de Tocqueville stood up in the Constituent Assembly to criticize socialism as a violation of human nature, property rights, and individual liberty (1848)


OLL November 21, 2011

The Teachings of Zoroaster and the Philosophy of the Parsi Religion (Zarathushtra (Zoroaster))

teaching.zoroasterThe Teachings of Zoroaster and the Philosophy of the Parsi Religion, ed. S.A. Kapadia (London: John Murray, 1905).

Law & Liberty May 22, 2018

To Restrain Populism, Revive Federalism

We need a constitution that will bend to populist winds so that it will not break.

OLL November 21, 2011

On the Manipulation of Money and Credit: Three Treatises on Trade-Cycle Theory (Ludwig von Mises) the Manipulation of Money and Credit: Three Treatises on Trade-Cycle Theory. Translated and with a Foreword by Bettina Bien Greaves,. Edited by Percy L. Greaves, Jr. (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2011).

Liberty Review May 21, 2018

Social contracts for real moral agents: a synthesis of public reason and public choice approaches to constitutional design

KEVIN VALLIER CONSTITUTIONAL POLITICAL ECONOMY Abstract: Citizens in contemporary democratic societies disagree deeply about the nature of the good life, and they disagree just as profoundly about justice. In building a social contract theory for diverse citizens, then, we cannot rely as heavily on the theory of justice as John Rawls did. I contend that Rawlsian […]

Law & Liberty May 23, 2018

Remembering Peter Augustine Lawler

Peter Augustine Lawler died a year ago today: here are some tributes and our favorites among his essays for Law and Liberty.

OLL | Quotations February 24, 2008

George Washington warns that the knee jerk reaction of citizens to problems is to seek a solution in the creation of a "new monarch"(1786)


Law & Liberty May 24, 2018

Is “Loser Pays” a Vestige of Oppression? Part I

The American legal system's rejection of "Loser Pays" does not reflect a rejection of feudal hierarchies, but the triumph of the legal class.

OLL | Quotations October 9, 2011

Bastiat on the scramble for political office (1848)


OLL | Liberty Matters May 1, 2018

Alan Kahan, "Limited Government, Unlimited Liberalism. Or, How Benjamin Constant was a Kantian After All" [May, 2018]

Liberty MattersIn this month's discussion Alan S. Kahan, Professor of British Civilization at the Université de Versailles/St. Quentin, argues that Benjamin Constant, like Immanuel Kant, analyzed politics from a double perspective. Kant divided his Metaphysics of Morals into what he called the "Doctrine of Right," about how human behavior affects other people, which is the business of the state, and the "Doctrine of Virtue," which relates to human beings' internal obligations, their motives and duties, which are not the state's business. In Constant this double perspective takes the form of strictly limiting the sphere in which it is legitimate for the state to act, the equivalent of Kant's doctrine of right, and of close attention to human moral and religious development, the equivalent of Kant's doctrine of virtue. For both Kant and Constant the state's sphere of action must be strictly limited. But the limits they impose on the state do not limit the scope of their commentary on the relationship between politics and religion and morals. Indeed, for Constant at least, a limited state must rest on a broad religious/moral foundation to survive. Alan Kahan is joined in the discussion by Aurelian Craiutu, professor of political science at Indiana University, Bloomington; Bryan Garsten, professor of political science and humanities at Yale University; and Jacob T. Levy, Professor of Political Theory in the department of philosophy at McGill University.

See the Archive of "Liberty Matters".

EconLog May 24, 2018

Richard Pipes on why he left Washington, by Alberto Mingardi

Richard Pipes left us last week, at age 95. He was an immensely accomplished historian, who devoted a lifetime to study and understand Russia and the Soviet system. In 2015 he was awarded the Bruno Leoni Prize in Milan and I had the chance to spend a couple of days with him and his wonderful wife Irene. They were both Polish; they met at a party as kids casually, and they would meet again and marry in the US. Pipes escaped Nazi rule via Italy on his way to the United States, where his family arrived in July 1940.

Father said that although he had acquaintances in many European capitals, unfortunately he knew no one in Rome. Minutes after he had uttered these words someone shouted 'Pipes!'. The shout came from an Italian businessman by the name of Roberto de Spuches who had lived in Warsaw before the war.
... I spent my days leisurely visiting Rome's museums, frequenting concerts and the opera, going to the movies.
Communism.jpgPipes remembered the Italians to be friendly and civil (though fascist racial laws were in place since 1938), but left for good before the situation could become ugly under Nazi pressure. He subsequently led the most distinguished academic career, teaching Russian history at Harvard. His works on the Russian revolution are seminal contributions. He published his last work just a couple of years ago, a short monograph on Alexander Yakovlev, a former Soviet ambassador to Canada that he held supplied Gorbachev with his reformist ideas and was unduly forgotten. I highly recommend his short book on Communism, which is a superb work of wisdom and synthesis, and of course his Property and Freedom, which ought to be remembered as a great book on the subject of the interplay of freedom and property, written with the support of Pipes' robust historical scholarship.

OLL December 28, 2011

Encouragement of Irish Linen Manufacture (August 1697) (John Locke)

life.john.lockeH.B. Fox Bourne, The Life of John Locke. In Two Volumes (London: Henry S. King, 1876). Vol. 2 pp. 363-372.

Law & Liberty May 23, 2018

Peter Lawler, A Year Gone By

Peter Lawler laid out how the middle class was the class that best represented our middling status as human beings, neither gods nor beasts.

Liberty Review May 14, 2018

Resource rents and populism in resource-dependent economies

ELENA SEGHEZZA, GIOVANNI B. PITTALUGA EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF POLITICAL ECONOMY Abstract: A usual explanation for populism is the existence of bad institutions, with an autocratic regime dispelling opposition by distributing income to the ‘masses’ in the manner of the ‘bread and circuses’ of Imperial Rome. In Bolivia, Ecuador, and Venezuela, populist redistribution occurred in conjunction with […]

OLL | Images of Liberty April 12, 2016

Liberty slaying the Monsters of Tyranny and Oppression



W.D. Cooper, "America Trampling on Oppression" (1789)
Source: Library of Congress

Pierre Paul Prud'hon et Jacques Louis Copia, "Liberty overthrowing the Hydra of Tyranny" (1793)
Source: Bibliothèque nationale de France

OLL | Liberty Fund Books November 21, 2011

The Roots of Liberty: Magna Carta and the Anglo-American Tradition of Rule of Law (Ellis Sandoz)

Sandoz.Roots.LibertyThis is a critical collection of essays on the origin and nature of the idea of liberty. The authors explore the development of English ideas of liberty and the relationship those ideas hold to modern conceptions of rule of law. The essays address early medieval developments, encompassing such seminal issues as the common-law mind of the sixteenth century under the Tudor monarchs, the struggle for power and authority between the Stuart kings and Parliament in the seventeenth century, and the role of the ancient constitution in the momentous legal and constitutional debate that occurred between the Glorious Revolution and the American Declaration of Independence.

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