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:

Writings on Standing Armies, edited, selected, and with an introduction by David Womersley.


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 Writings on Standing Armies

Edited, Selected, and with an Introduction by David Womersley

The questions of where to locate, in whose hands to place, and how to exercise the state’s powers of deadly military force inform a perennial topic in political theory and coalesce into a recurrent problem in political practice. Liberty Fund presents Writings on Standing Armies, a newly collected, authoritative edition of the most important pamphlets on the “standing armies” controversy of 1697–98. In addition, these writings express a subtext that is of equal and enduring importance: the transforming effects exerted by the prolonged possession of power on individuals and administrations.


Writings on Standing Armies


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 April 3, 2020

On “Coercive” Plea Bargaining

It’s far from clear that plea bargains drive the U.S. incarceration rate.

Law & Liberty April 3, 2020

The State of Originalism

The most significant developments in the past year suggest a potent originalist future.

AdamSmithWorks August 8, 2018

The Wealth of Nations: Book III, Chapter III

Of the Rise and Progress of Cities and Towns

EconLog April 2, 2020

“This isn’t the last such crisis we’ll have”

Actually, it very likely is. The first and the last.

AFAIK, the world has never had a global pandemic where vast numbers of people stopped working out of fear of becoming infected. We have had pandemics where vast numbers of people stopped working because they were dead. But that’s nothing like what we have today.  (The Spanish flu was associated with only a very brief and mild recession.)

As for the future, who can say? We now have a company that has a million thermometers in circulation, all linked to a central database. It picked up the oncoming disaster in America well before most other people, but its warnings were ignored by the government. Now this company says that the number of high fevers in America is falling fast. We shall see.

Does anyone doubt that this is the wave of the future—connecting IT with medicine? That we’ll be able to spot epidemics in real time?  Does anyone doubt that in the future our ability to test huge numbers of people for viruses will be scaled upward dramatically? It was 102 years between the Spanish flu and this epidemic. Say it’s another 57 or 91 or 114 years until the next big one. Does anyone feel confident predicting what health care will look like that far into the future?

EconLog April 3, 2020

Socratic Grilling as a Way to Learn

Scott Alexander, over at, has hit a number of home runs in the last few weeks. I want to focus on his March 6 post, “Socratic Grilling.” To follow what I’m going to say, you need to read his post first. His posts are often very long, but the March 6 one is relatively short.

I’ve been practicing my own version of what Scott calls Socratic grilling since about the age of 5. I badly wanted to understand things around me. Even though I learned to read at age 5, I wasn’t much of a reader and, although we had a public library in my town of 1,200 people, it was a small library. For my first few years of reading, I focused on Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books.

My way of learning was not to read but to ask adults around me to explain things. When I got only a few thoughts that seemed to fit, I would then adopt a position and argue it, being open to being shown that that was wrong. You could say I was a Bayesian. I found it much easier to take definite positions than to be agnostic because if I was agnostic, I was less motivated to find the truth. I’m still that way.

EconTalk March 30, 2020

Jenny Schuetz on Land Regulation and the Housing Market

housing-design.jpgJenny Schuetz of the Brookings Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about zoning, boarding houses, real estate development, and the housing market.

CEE February 5, 2018

Pharmaceuticals: Economics and Regulation

Pharmaceuticals are unique in their combination of extensive government control and extreme economics, that is, high fixed costs of development and relatively low incremental costs of production.

Regulation: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the U.S. government agency charged with ensuring the safety and efficacy of the medicines available to Americans. The government’s control over medicines has grown in the last hundred years from literally nothing to far-reaching, and now pharmaceuticals are among the most-regulated products in this country. The two legislative acts that are the main source of the FDA’s powers both followed significant tragedies.

Liberty Law Talk April 1, 2020

Crisis of the Roberts Court

Richard Reinsch: Welcome to Liberty Law Talk. I’m your host, Richard Reinsch. Today we’re talking with Michael Greve about his new essay in National Affairs entitled “Is the Roberts Court Legitimate?” Listeners of Liberty Law Talk and readers of Law & Liberty will know Michael Greve well. He’s been with us from the beginning, since […]

OLL | Liberty Fund Books November 21, 2011

Nation, State, and Economy: Contributions to the Politics and History of Our Time (Ludwig von Mises)

Mises nation stateNation, State, and Economy, published less than a year after Austria’s defeat in World War I, examines and compares prewar and postwar economic conditions and explicates Mises’s theory that each country’s prosperity supports rather than undercuts the prosperity of other countries. Mises’s humanitarian recommendations in this book, born from a classical liberal perspective, provide a striking example of how supposedly “hardnosed” economic theory, based on the reality of experience, is in fact far more supportive of human flourishing than seemingly more “idealistic” but actually impractical social theories. Specifically, Mises warned of the consequences of the punitive terms of the Treaty of Versailles by victors more interested in punishing their defeated enemies than in building a Europe that would be able to meet the challenges of the future. With the benefit of hindsight we see how different European and world history might have been.

OLL | Liberty Matters March 2, 2020

Daniel B. Klein, "Smith, Hume, and Burke as Policy Liberals and Polity Conservatives" (March 2020)

In this edition of Liberty Matters, Daniel Klein, Professor of Economics at George Mason University, sketches the liberalism of Smith, Hume, and Burke, and argues that it was a worldly liberalism, sensitive to the coarse clay of humankind and to liberty’s dependence on stable, functional polity. Klein distinguishes polity issues and policy issues (“policy” in a sense tailored to that distinction). Smith, Hume, and Burke leaned toward policy liberalization. But the liberal outlook accepts and engages, even enjoys, the sticky moral and cultural circumstances that give the polity its color and character—making for stability and functionality. The troika were policy liberals and polity conservatives, and their conservative liberalism, Klein suggests, is the best understanding of classical liberalism—which, he also suggests, is the wisest and most virtuous political outlook for the modern world.

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