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.

Now available in paperback: On Religion, by Benjamin Constant. (Hardcover coming soon.)


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 On Religion

By Benjamin Constant
Translated by Peter Paul Seaton Jr.
Introduction by Pierre Manent

This is the first full-length English translation of Benjamin Constant’s massive study of humanity’s religious forms and development, published in five volumes between 1824 and 1831. Constant (1767–1830) regarded On Religion, worked on over the course of many years, as perhaps his most important philosophical work. He called it “the only interest, the only consolation of my life,” and “the book that I was destined by nature to write.”


On Religion

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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.

OLL | Quotations January 16, 2018

Algernon Sidney on how the absolute state treats its people like cattle (1698)

Algernon Sidney

EconTalk January 15, 2018

Bill James on Baseball, Facts, and the Rules of the Game

baseball%20numbers.jpg Baseball stats guru and author Bill James talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the challenges of understanding complexity in baseball and elsewhere. James reflects on the lessons he has learned as a long-time student of data and the role it plays in understanding the underlying reality that exists between different variables in sports and outside of sports. The conversation closes with a discussion of our understanding of social processes and the connection to public policy and the ideologies we hold.


Time: 1:02:20

Law & Liberty January 16, 2018

Moreno on the Original Meaning and Brown v. Board of Education: Part II

Interpreting the law with original meaning in mind leaves a range of options for defending Brown v. Board.

OLL | Quotations January 15, 2018

Auberon Herbert warns that the use of force is like a wild and dangerous beast which can easily get out of our control (1906)

Auberon Herbert

EconLog January 15, 2018

Affirmative action for drug pushers? (I say yes), by Scott Sumner

I'm not a huge fan of affirmative action programs. It's not obvious to me why a Hispanic-American should be favored over an Italian-American when the fire department is hiring workers. But there is one type of affirmative action I can support---helping former drug pushers. Here's the Economist:

[F]or a state seen as a Petri dish for socially liberal policy, California's new regulations are notably progressive. For a start, they allow residents convicted of drug offences that would not be crimes under the new order to have their records expunged. Between November 2016, when Proposition 64 was passed, and September 2017, 4,885 Californians petitioned to reduce or void their convictions. Donnie Anderson, chairman of the California Minority Alliance, which champions people who have been harmed by drug criminalisation, applauds this initiative. "In the past, if you were white and caught with marijuana you would be let off. If you were black or Latino, you were not," he says. A study by the American Civil Liberties Union, an advocacy group, found that between 2001 and 2010 African-Americans were more than three times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession as white Americans, despite similar consumption rates.

Law & Liberty January 15, 2018

Moreno on the Original Meaning and Brown v. Board of Education: Part I

Originalists can and do support Brown v. Board, and it's important to understand why.

OLL November 21, 2011

The Free Sea (Hakluyt trans.) (Hugo Grotius)

GrotiusFreeSeaThe Free Sea, trans. Richard Hakluyt, with William Welwod’s Critiuqe and Grotius’s Reply, ed. David Armitage (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2004).

EconLog January 15, 2018

Hillary Clinton Was Wrong, by David Henderson

Maerker: In Mexico, there are those who propose not keeping going with this battle and legalize drug trafficking and consumption. What is your opinion?

Clinton: I don't think that will work. I mean, I hear the same debate. I hear it in my country. It is not likely to work. There is just too much money in it, and I don't think that--you can legalize small amounts for possession, but those who are making so much money selling, they have to be stopped.

This is from an interview of then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in early 2011. It's quoted by Jacob Sullum of Reason. Denise Maerker of Televisa had asked Clinton's opinion of proposals to reduce black-market violence by repealing drug prohibition.

As Jacob wrote at the time:

Clinton evidently does not understand that there is so much money to be made by selling illegal drugs precisely because they are illegal. Prohibition not only enables traffickers to earn a "risk premium" that makes drug prices much higher than they would otherwise be; it delivers this highly lucrative business into the hands of criminals who, having no legal recourse, resolve disputes by spilling blood. The 35,000 or so prohibition-related deaths that Mexico has seen since President Felipe Calderon began a crackdown on drugs in 2006 are one consequence of the volatile situation created by the government's arbitrary dictates regarding psychoactive substances. Pace Clinton, the way to "stop" the violent thugs who profit from prohibition is not to mindlessly maintain the policy that enriches them.

Law & Liberty January 15, 2018

The Constitutionalism of Caprice

Presidents come and go but so, as defenders of DACA ought also to know, do judges.

Law & Liberty January 16, 2018

Debating the Thorniest Issues: A Conversation with Peter Schuck

Debating Poverty, Immigration, Racial Preferences, Campaign Finance, and Religious Freedom with Peter Schuck, author of One Nation Undecided.

Liberty Review January 21, 2017

The Commonwealth of Bees: On the Impossibility of Justice-Through-Ethos

CambridgeCoreGERALD GAUS SOCIAL PHILOSOPHY AND POLICY, Volume 33, Issue 1-2 Abstract: Some understand utopia as an ideal society in which everyone would be thoroughly informed by a moral ethos: all would always act on their pure conscientious judgments about justice, and so it would never be necessary to provide incentives for them to act as […]

OLL | Quotations March 10, 2014

Mary Wollstonecraft's "I have a dream" speech from 1792

Mary Wollstonecraft

OLL November 21, 2011

“The Use of Knowledge in Society” (1945) (Friedrich August von Hayek)

Friedrich Hayek“The Use of Knowledge in Society,” American Economic Review, XXXV, No. 4; September, 1945, pp. 519–30.

Law & Liberty January 15, 2018

“An indestructible Union composed of indestructible States?”

How do we know our political existence to be a fact?

OLL | Liberty Matters January 2, 2018

Nicholas Capaldi, "The Place of Liberty in David Hume's Project" (January, 2018)

Liberty MattersNick Capaldi, the Legendre-Soulé Distinguished Chair of Business Ethics in the School of Business of Loyola University, New Orleans, outlines David Hume's ambitious "Project" with a list of 8 "theses", the last of which states that "Liberty is the Central Theme." Capaldi's gloss on this thesis is "The ultimate ontological reality is the individual human agent; there is no institution or practice that transcends the individual; the legitimacy of any practice is based on the acquiescence of individuals.  Acquiescence is not consent. There is no philosophical argument for liberty: it is the default position.  Given its unique history, England was able to preserve and elaborate this insight in large part because of its inherent disposition to distrust abstractions – this is the British Intellectual Inheritance, and Hume's philosophical practice as well as his History is the only meaningful kind of account that can be given." Capaldi is joined in this month's discussion by Daniel Klein who is professor of economics and JIN Chair at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University; Chandran Kukathas who holds the Chair of Political Theory in the Department of Government at the London School of Economics; Andrew Sabl who is Orrick Fellow and Visiting Professor in the Program on Ethics, Politics and Economics, Yale University; and Mark Yellin of Liberty Fund.

See the Archive of "Liberty Matters".

OLL | Quotations August 26, 2014

Arthur Seldon on the problem of "who guards us from the guardians"? (1990)


Liberty Review January 8, 2018

Individualism, Collectivism, and Trade

Experimental EconomicsAIDIN HAJIKHAMENEH, ERIK O. KIMBROUGH EXPERIMENTAL ECONOMICS Abstract: While economists recognize the important role of formal institutions in the promotion of trade, there is increasing agreement that institutions are typically endogenous to culture, making it difficult to disentangle their separate contributions. Lab experiments that assign institutions exogenously and measure and control individual cultural characteristics can allow […]

Law & Liberty January 15, 2018

The Many Confusions of Brown v. Board

Brown v. Board is one of the most important decisions of the 20th century, but it rests on deeply confused logic.

OLL | Liberty Fund Books November 21, 2011

Fugitive Essays: Selected Writings of Frank Chodorov (Frank Chodorov)

ChodorovA collection of Chodorov’s essays selected from The Freeman and Human Events and other publications.

OLL | Images of Liberty April 12, 2016

Algernon Sidney (1622-1683) and the Thomas Hollis Library of Liberty

AlgernonSidney_Hollis_facingL300-medium AlgernonSidney_Hollis-facingR300 This is part of an ongoing series which will examine the imagery created by the English publisher Thomas Hollis (1720-1774) to embellish and advertise his reissue of classic works by 17th century republicans and radicals who were active during the English Revolution and its aftermath. He called this series his "Library of Liberty" and volumes began to appear in the 1760s and were sent to libraries and individuals in Europe and the American colonies. The volumes were beautifully bound in red leather and had liberty symbols embossed on them (such as the phrygian or liberty cap and a dagger (in reference to Brutus' slaying of the tyrant Julius Caesar)). It was Hollis' intention to make these books, which he thought were so important to the understanding of liberty, catch the attention of the eye as well as the mind.

Law & Liberty January 16, 2018

Jury Nullification: Good or Bad?

When jurors disregard their instructions, are they promoting liberty—or anarchy?

EconLog January 16, 2018

The Case Against Education vs. Libertarian Education Reform, by Bryan Caplan

Libertarian education reformers have long argued that education is great, but education plus market reforms is even better.  The Case Against Education in contrast, argues that the education industry is more like government-sponsored football stadiums: Government support is good for the industry, but bad for society.  Here's an excerpt from the book's final chapter, "Five Chats on Education and Enlightenment."

Frederick [fictional character who writes for the Wall St. Journal and blogs for the Chronicle of Higher Education]: You make your reforms sound pragmatic, but isn't libertarian ideology right below the surface?

Bryan: It's complicated. My heterodox views on education long precede my interest in political philosophy. I've believed in something like signaling since kindergarten.

Frederick: [ironic] Strangely enough, the facts all fit the theory you cooked up when you were five.

Bryan: I had no "theory" in kindergarten. Just two epiphanies:

First, I had to excel academically in order to get a good job when I grew up.

Second, I would never use most of my book learning on the job.

OLL | Quotations April 2, 2015

Under Magna Carta the King cannot impose taxes without the approval of the "common counsel" of the kingdom (1215)

King John

Law & Liberty January 15, 2018

Turmoil and Transformation: The Great War

Raw emotion (and fine prose) from some of the First World War's participants

OLL November 21, 2011

The Texts of Taoism, Part I (Lao Tzu)

Tao Te KingThe Sacred Books of China. The Texts of Taoism. Part I: The Tao Teh King. The Writings of Kwang Ze Books I-XVII, trans. James Legge (Oxford University Press, 1891).

OLL | Quotations May 28, 2006

In Shakespeare's Henry V the king is too easily persuaded by his advisors that the English economy will continue to function smoothly, like obedient little honey-bees in their hive, while he is away with his armies conquering France (1598)


Liberty Review January 5, 2017

Cartas Españolas de Jean-Baptiste Say: Evidencias Para el Estudio de la Circulación de Ideas Económicas

JOSÉ M. MENUDO Journal of Iberian and Latin American Economic History, Volume 34, Issue 2 Abstract: Este trabajo transcribe cinco cartas inéditas dirigidas a Jean-Baptiste Say por Manuel María Gutiérrez, Álvaro Flórez Estrada y el Marqués de Valle Santoro, respectivamente. Esta correspondencia acredita la proximidad de los autores españoles a las obras canónicas de la […]