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.
Jacques Necker (1732–1804) was a Swiss statesman and financier who played a crucial role in French political life from 1776 to 1789. Born in Geneva, he was a devout Protestant who amassed considerable wealth as a successful banker. In October 1776, he was appointed as director of the Royal Treasury and, later, in June 1777, as director general of finances of France under Louis XVI. While in charge of the finances of the kingdom, his most famous decision, in 1781, was to make public the budget of France for the first time, a novel practice in an absolute monarchy.
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.
Steven Teles discusses his excellent study of the Never Trump movement, its players, and how they left the fold of their party.
In The Monk, Matthew Lewis used the Gothic form first to convey the temptation to mob violence before illuminating its horrors.
Are you a reader who can socialize with dead people? One who engages in the form of reading that enables interaction with people who have been dead a long time? In this episode, EconTalk host Russ Roberts and philosopher Agnes Callard consider the state of humanities education, the lifelong benefits of the study of philosophy, and how college can be where some (many?) young people are inducted into intellectual culture and truly learn the art of reading and discourse.
Callard’s enthusiasm emanates, and might make you reach for a dusty copy of Plato’s Dialogues. She would want you to invite some friends to join in a shared experience. Let us know what you think about the power of philosophy and its relevance to how we think about the great questions of our human experience.
The renewed debate over the value of labor unions on the right forgets some hard-won truths.
Of the different Accounts which have been given of the Nature of Virtue
People rarely stop to think about just how bizarre our unemployment insurance system actually is. Imagine if automobile insurance worked as follows. After an accident, the insurance company paid you 400 dollars for each week that your car was out of commission, up to 26 weeks.
That system would obviously encourage people to delay repairing the car. This is why insurance companies pay the insured a lump sum, right after the accident. I’ve long advocated the same system for unemployment insurance, in order to reduce work disincentives.
Instead, the disincentive to work was actually increased by the UI reforms in the recent CARES Act. Some of the changes may have been beneficial, such as extending UI to independent contractors. But it’s hard to justify paying people who don’t work more than they received on their previous job, even during times when jobs are hard to come by.
Physician and author Vivian Lee talks about her book The Long Fix with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Lee argues that we can transform health care in the United States, though it may take a while. She argues that the current fee-for-service system incentivizes doctors to provide services rather than keep patients healthy and that these […]
I recently had cause to re-read part of James Buchanan’s Cost and Choice, which remains one of the most important treatments of the idea of cost in the history of economics. Chapter 3 of the book is the core of his argument and it lays out an important distinction that is often overlooked in other treatments of cost.
Buchanan starts with a methodological distinction between what he calls the “predictive theory” of orthodox economics and the “more general theory of choice.” In a move that can be found elsewhere in his work, Buchanan understands the predictive theory to be the equilibrium models that populate much of formal economics. Those are based on two key assumptions. First, humans are homo economicus, concerned with maximizing utility or profits. Second, they have all of the relevant knowledge necessary to engage in that maximization process. That is, meaningful uncertainty is absent.
In this edition of Liberty Matters, Sarah Morgan Smith, an Ashbrook Center Fellow, General Editor of Ashbrook’s Core Documents Collections, and co-director of the Center’s Religion in American History and Politics project, helps the Online Library of Liberty to mark the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower Compact by considering its significance —and that of related documents from the same year— in the history of republican self-government and American religious tolerance. Morgan Smith argues that the Mayflower Compact was not just a natural outgrowth of the Separatists’ religious beliefs. Instead it contains the seeds of some of America’s most important political principles.
Constant worked on this study of humanity’s religious forms and development throughout his life, eventually publishing five volumes between 1824 and 1831. His aims were to relate religious forms to their historical contexts and civilizational developments, to show partisans of the new post-revolutionary order that the religious impulse was natural to the human heart, and to show religious reactionaries that history had left them behind and that the natural state of the religious sentiment was an unfettered “spirituality” left free to find new forms of expression.
Today is Thomas Sowell’s 90th birthday. I am sure many celebrations of Sowell will be published. Not in Europe, I am afraid: in spite of his renown in America, Sowell is virtually unknown in Europe. I suspect this is at least partially due to his choice to concentrate on writing and to eschew conferences and public gatherings. He never got on the conference circuit, so to say.
It is a pity. Sowell is admirable for a number of reasons. His courage. His productivity. His work.