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:

An Estimate of the Manners and Principles of the Times and Other Writings, by John Brown, edited and with an introduction by David Womersley

John Brown took aim at England’s higher ranks, calling out their lifestyle as “vain, luxurious, and selfish effeminacy” with a vigorous attack in An Estimate of the Manners and Principles of the Times (1757). This volume also includes four other works by Brown, as well as a tribute to Brown written by Thomas Hollis and the annotations from Hollis’s personal copy of Estimate. The introduction, by David Womersley, places Brown’s writings and career in the context of eighteenth-century moralism, and his annotations explain now-unfamiliar words and references to contemporary events, circumstances, and personalities.


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 An Estimate of the Manners and Principles of the Times and Other Writings

By John Brown
Edited and with an Introduction by David Womersley

John Brown (1715–1766) was a clergyman who achieved great but transient fame as a writer and moralist. His attack on Shaftesbury and “moral sense” philosophy, against which he employed utilitarian arguments and also arguments deriving from God’s benevolent intentions toward his creation, was published in 1751 and was later praised by John Stuart Mill.


An Estimate of the Manners and Principles of the Times and Other Writings


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.

AdamSmithWorks September 12, 2019

Gulliver's Travels: Adam Smith's Favorite Novel

by Shannon Chamberlain for AdamSmithWorks

Law & Liberty September 13, 2019

The Cloud of “Tradition” 

The debate over Aristotle, Aristotelianism, and the correct understanding of teleology continues.

Law & Liberty September 13, 2019

Hell Is Fighting Brexit for All Eternity

Britain is no longer in a constitutional crisis, it's in a constitutional swamp.

Law & Liberty September 13, 2019

National Conservatism’s Fatal Conceit

Many of the crises that national conservatives want to fix were, in part, created by politicians thinking they can solve every malady.

EconLog September 13, 2019

The unsung success of Japan’s recent fiscal policy, by Scott Sumner

The media tends to dwell on bad news. Even when something is a smashing success, say Germany’s 2004 labor market reforms, the reporting is relentlessly downbeat. The same is true of Japan’s recent fiscal policy, which has finally brought the national debt under control.  The debt to GDP ratio has leveled off at roughly 240% of GDP since the 2014 tax increase:

Better yet, this fiscal austerity was associated with an extremely strong labor market, not at all the “disaster” predicted by Keynesian economists:

But that doesn’t stop the media from continuing to insist that the fiscal austerity was a failure. Here’s the Financial Times, discussing the planned October increase in Japan’s national sales tax, from 8% to 10%:

After the disastrous economic impact in 2014, when the tax went up from 5 to 8 per cent, the government has prepared a series of countermeasures.

Law & Liberty September 12, 2019

We Need Our Mojo Back Vis-à-Vis China

Quantum communications, a Chinese invention, have revolutionized signals intelligence. The United States needs to catch up.

EconLog September 12, 2019

Michael Grossberg on Libertarian Futurism and Pretty Much Everything, by David Henderson

I’m not big on libertarian futurism or on science fiction. I’m not bragging. On the contrary, I think it’s due to my lack of imagination.

So when I recommend an interview on the Libertarian Futurist Society’s (LFS) Prometheus Blog, you can be fairly confident that it would interest not just libertarian futurists but also libertarians and maybe even an audience broader than that.

I highly recommend the blog’s interview with LFS founder Michael Grossberg. (I knew Michael briefly in the early to mid-1980s and we lost touch.) It covers lots of ground. Some highlights follow.

On current Democratic president candidate Marianne Williamson:

Yes, but back then Marianne was an aspiring actress, very talented and stylish, and a very smart student, in several of my advanced classes, including English. I cast Marianne and directed her in Love Street, a short psychedelic film I conceived about an LSD trip gone wrong during a high-school date. Her performance was excellent.

Law & Liberty September 12, 2019

How Progressive Free Speech Law Makes Some Citizens More Equal than Others

The dissent in Telescope Media Group v. Lucero offers a glimpse at the progressive vision for the future of the First Amendment.

AdamSmithWorks September 11, 2019

TMS Reading Guide: Part III, Section II

CHAPTER II: Of the love of Praise, and of that of Praise-worthiness; and of the dread of blame, and of that of Blame-worthiness

EconLog September 12, 2019

You’re All A Bunch of Socialists, by Bryan Caplan

A fun figure from Tetlock et al.’s “The Psychology of the Unthinkable.”  Possible level of outrage ranges from 1-7, 7 being highest.


Participants were told that the goal of the study was to explore the attitudes that Americans have about what people should be allowed to buy and sell in competitive market transactions:

Imagine that you had the power to judge the permissibility and morality of each transaction listed below. Would you allow people to enter into certain types of deals? Do you morally approve or disapprove of those deals? And what emotional reactions, if any, do these proposals trigger in you?

AdamSmithWorks August 9, 2018

The Theory of Moral Sentiments: Part VII, Section III, Chapter II

Of those Systems which make Reason the Principle of Approbation

EconTalk September 9, 2019

Daron Acemoglu on Shared Prosperity and Good Jobs

fire-safety-net-300x230.jpgEconomist and author Daron Acemoglu of MIT discusses with EconTalk host Russ Roberts the challenge of shared prosperity and the policies that could bring about a more inclusive economy. Acemoglu argues for the importance of good jobs over redistribution and makes the case for the policies that could lead to jobs and opportunities across skill […]

OLL November 21, 2011

Leviathan (1909 ed) (Thomas Hobbes)

Hobbes LeviathanHobbes’s Leviathan reprinted from the edition of 1651 with an Essay by the Late W.G. Pogson Smith (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1909).

OLL | Quotations August 20, 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)


AdamSmithWorks September 13, 2019

TMS Reading Guide: Part III, Section IV

Section IV: Of the Nature of Self-deceit, and of the Origin and Use of general Rules

Law & Liberty September 11, 2019

It’s Not about Israel or Grandmothers, It’s about US

Ilhan & Rashida’s trip was not about experiencing our democratic ally, about aged grandmothers, or even the Palestinians. Ultimately, it's about America.

Liberty Law Talk September 4, 2019

An Invitation to the Land of Hope: A Conversation with Bill McClay

Bill McClay talks with Richard Reinsch about his new book, Land of Hope.

Liberty Forum September 2, 2019

How to Get through the “Nationalism” Minefield

The half-life of nationalism’s disgrace has proven very long indeed. Let’s stop being afraid of it.

Law & Liberty September 11, 2019

Self-Rule Is the Basis of American Nationalism . . . Not Natural Rights

Our experience of self-rule is how we attach ourselves to abstract principles like equality of right, not the other way around.

OLL | Quotations January 16, 2006

Frédéric Bastiat, while pondering the nature of war, concluded that society had always been divided into two classes - those who engaged in productive work and those who lived off their backs (1850)


AdamSmithWorks September 4, 2019

The Scottish Intellectual Tradition Before the Enlightenment

by Paul Mueller for AdamSmithWorks

OLL | Liberty Matters September 3, 2019

Carlo Lottieri, "Exchanges, Claims, and Powers: About Bruno Leoni's Social Theory" (September, 2019)

Liberty MattersIn this discussion, Carlo Lottieri, Professor of Philosophy of Law at the University of Verona, argues that the main intellectual contribution of the Italian jurist Bruno Leoni (1913-1967) is usually connected to his analysis of the opposition between legislation and law, between the order built by lawmakers on one side and the set of norms defined by jurists (as in Roman jus civile) or courts (as in ancient English common law) on the other. But at the core of his analysis is what he wrote about individual claims: the idea that the legal order is the outcome of specific individual activity when people demand something from the other members of society. However, he argues, that two aspects of Leoni’s theory are quite problematic. First, a philosophy identifying law with the most common claims cancels the tension between legality and legitimacy, between what is and what should be. Second, from the perspective of a general theory of law, it seems reasonable that human coexistence can be better explained if we introduce something more demanding than simple exchange and at the same time something less demanding but no less important, namely the permanent presence of violent behavior. Carlo is joined in the discussion by Boudewijn Bouckaert, professor emeritus of the Ghent University Law School in Belgium; Peter T. Leeson, the Duncan Black Professor of Economics and Law at George Mason University; and Edward Peter Stringham, the Davis Professor of Economic Organizations and Innovation at Trinity College.

OLL August 31, 2015

The Comedies of Aristophanes, vol. 1 (Aristophanes)

AristophanesThe Comedies of Aristophanes, a new and literal translation from the revised text of Dindorf with notes and extracts from the best metrical versions, trans. William James Hicke (London: George Bell and Sons, 1901). Vol. 1 (The Archanians, Knights, Clouds, Wasps, Peace, and Birds)

OLL | Liberty Fund Books January 23, 2013

An Inquiry into the Original of Our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue (1726, 2004) (Francis Hutcheson)

Hutcheson - Original of Our IdeasA seminal text of the Scottish Enlightenment which was written as a critical response to the work of Bernard Mandeville and as a defense of the ideas of Anthony Ashley Cooper, Lord Shaftesbury. It consists of two treatises exploring our aesthetic and our moral abilities.

OLL April 1, 2013

Lao Tzu, “The Tao of Governing” (6thC BC) (Lao Tzu)

tao.governingThe Best of the OLL No. 26: Lao Tzu, “The Tao of Governing” (6thC BC) (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2013).

AdamSmithWorks September 13, 2019

TMS Reading Guide: Part III, Section V

Section V: Of the Influence and Authority of the general Rules of Morality, and that they are justly regarded as the Laws of the Deity

OLL | Quotations August 23, 2009

John Adams thought he could see arbitrary power emerging in the American colonies and urged his countrymen to "nip it in the bud" before they lost all their liberties (1774)

John Adams

CEE February 5, 2018

Fiscal Sustainability

CEE fiscal sustainabilityThe population of wealthy countries is getting much older. Between 2005 and 2035, the number of elderly in wealthy countries will more than double, but the number of workers will barely change. This historically unprecedented demographic change portends enormous fiscal stresses because of the high and growing cost of meeting government pension and health-care commitments to the elderly. Indeed, these projected payments are so high that collecting them may not be feasible, either economically or politically. The costs associated with the coming generational storm will bankrupt the governments of most wealthy countries unless major and painful adjustments are made now.

OLL | Images of Liberty April 13, 2016

Hobbes' Leviathan

LeviathanIn a mid-19th century edition of the Works of Thomas Hobbes is reprinted the famous Hobbes's best known work of political philosophy Leviathan in which the all-powerful absolute monarch is depicted with sword and sceptre overseeing his domain.

OLL November 21, 2011

Posthumous Poems (1824) (Percy Bysshe Shelley)

Shelley posthumous poemsPosthumous Poems (London: John and Henry L. Hunt, 1824).

Econlib June 1, 2018

Business Cycles

Business Cycles, from the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics

The United States and all other modern industrial economies experience significant swings in economic activity. In some years most industries are booming and unemployment is low; in other years most industries are operating well below capacity and unemployment is high. Periods of economic expansion are typically called booms; periods of economic decline are called recessions or depressions. The combination of booms and recessions, the ebb and flow of economic activity, is called the business cycle….

Recessions, from the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics

One of the most popular definitions of recessions is that they are periods when real gross national product (GNP) has declined for at least two consecutive quarters. In 1990, real GNP declined between the third and fourth quarters and again between the fourth quarter of 1990 and the first quarter of 1991. Hence, there is general agreement that a recession did occur….

Great Depression, from the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics

A worldwide depression struck countries with market economies at the end of the 1920s.

OLL | Quotations February 7, 2005

Thomas Hobbes sings a hymn of praise for Reason as "the pace", scientific knowledge is "the way", and the benefit of mankind is "the end" (1651)

Thomas Hobbes

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