Testimonials

Few organizations or fora in our world today have done more than Liberty Fund to facilitate reflection and conversations on the meaning of liberty in all aspects of the human experience, including religion, politics, economics, and arts and letters. At a time when governments and universities are increasingly intolerant of open debate about liberty, rights, and responsibilities, Liberty Fund—through colloquia and publications—is a model for fostering thoughtful, civil discussion about how best to promote and defend individual liberty in the service of the common good.

Daniel L. Dreisbach

Professor, Department of Justice, Law and Criminology, American University

Daniel L. Dreisbach
Liberty Fund was founded by a man armed with two important convictions: first, that the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals was worth working towards or preserving; and, second, that one important means of doing this was to foster inquiry and discussion of this ideal among thoughtful and interested people coming to the conversation from a variety of perspectives and predispositions. Liberty Fund, as an educational enterprise dedicated to fulfilling this mission set out by its founder, has discharged its obligations by publishing and by conducting colloquia. It publishes books that make available to the public works that would otherwise remain difficult to access and makes many other books available electronically or online to widen the reach of important works further still. In this it advances no doctrine, peddles no nostrums, and declines to comment on the issues of the day or play the role of influencer, since its founder—though not without political convictions of his own—was motivated above all by the spirit of inquiry. Liberty Fund conferences are, in principle, similarly governed by an understanding that the purpose of its gatherings is not academic disputation, policy formulation, or political proselytizing, but collaborative inquiry and learning. This highly innovative—and indeed, noble—experiment has done much to enrich the study and discussion of the ideal of freedom in many parts of the world and even in the academy, where one of the costs of specialization has been a loss of conversation across fields and disciplines. For many of us already schooled and credentialed, Liberty Fund has—through its offerings—supplied a welcome means by which to meet others, share ideas, learn, and so to further our education. Long may it continue in its mission.

Chandran Kukathas

Chair Professor of Political Science, Singapore Management University

Chandran Kukathas
In my twenty years of participating in Liberty Fund programming (as an attendee, a director, and a discussion leader), I have reaped innumerable benefits as a scholar and teacher. Many of the conferences I have attended have been well outside my field of expertise, and the chance to both learn new material in the company of collegial co-readers and to remember what it's like to be out of my depth in a field have made me a more skilled (and compassionate) teacher. The depth of connection with fellow conferees accorded by the format has led to some deeply productive collegial relationships, whether they led me to new mentors, new collaborators, or new friends. And as a scholar of eighteenth-century literature, I appreciate the publications that Liberty Fund has kept alive and accessible in print and on the web. These titles are vital to the field, both for research and for teaching. I am repeatedly grateful to easily and cheaply assign selections from Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments or Hume's Treatises, for example. As Liberty Fund deepens their web presence with Adam Smith's World, the resources they are offering to a changing educational landscape are needed and welcomed.

Heather King

Professor, Department of English, University of Redlands

Heather King
As a scholar of Adam Smith, I've benefited enormously from Liberty Fund's programs. Their colloquia have enabled me to gather with and learn from many of the best minds working today across several fields, and their publication program has done a great service to all readers of Smith—and especially students—by keeping in print affordable and extremely high-quality paperback editions of Smith's works.

Ryan Hanley

Professor of Political Science, Boston College

Ryan Hanley
The Adam Smith Fellowship program co-sponsored by Liberty Fund and the Mercatus Center and is unlike any other academic program that I have been a part of. The program brings in energetic students from across continents and disciplines, gives them space and resources to interact, and lets those repeated interactions flourish into meaningful projects. I continue to benefit from the intellectually stimulating experiences I had as an Adam Smith Fellow and the lasting intellectual partnerships I built through the program.

Dr. Veeshan Rayamajhee

Assistant Professor of Agribusiness & Applied Economics, North Dakota State University

Veeshan Rayamajhee
For me, Liberty Fund has been absolutely essential in sparking and furthering my deep interest in Adam Smith's works, especially The Theory of Moral Sentiments, but also his Lectures and History of Astronomy. I have attended many Liberty Fund conferences and meetings that included the writings of Adam Smith, and first drew on this knowledge in 1998 in “The Two Faces of Adam Smith,” Southern Economic Association Distinguished Guest Lecture. Southern Economic Journal. Although I see merit in that view, it was only a beginning into a much deeper comprehension and significance that I have come to appreciate in Smith. Without this Liberty Fund education and experience, I could not have written with Bart Wilson our book Humanomics. The same acknowledgement applies to my current work with Sabiou Inoua in our program on the rehabilitation of classical economics. Our particular focus is on classical market value theory, or market price discovery, on which Smith and his French, Italian, and English followers made important contributions that were essentially abandoned in the neoclassical marginal utility movement of the 1870s. Hayek rediscovered these classical accomplishments in which markets, through prices, create an information system that enables specialization of labor, human and physical capital, and also innovation and technological change. Experimental market economics, beginning mid-twentieth century, yielded results completely consistent with and corroborating this understanding, but at the time all of us—conventionally trained in the neoclassical tradition of Jevons, Walras, and their followers—were simply baffled by the ability of naive subjects in the experiments to quickly find market clearing prices under strictly private, decentralized information on value. Theory failed where markets did not. Only Hayek's work showed why one should expect these experimental results. That understanding is also contained in classical market economics, but the tradition was lost after the 1870s.

Vernon Smith

Nobel Laureate, Chapman University

Vernon Smith
An opportunity to read something of enduring interest and exchange thoughts with others bringing diverse perspectives to an open-minded discussion: who would believe something like Liberty Fund conferences could be possible?! Those gatherings have enriched my teaching and writing, introducing me to new books and ideas, leading me to rethink familiar ones in a fresh light, and initiating through dialogue friendships that have grown over the years. What Liberty Fund fosters plays a vital role, especially at a time when it is crucial to keep alive the intellectual tradition that has shaped us.

Ronna Burger

Professor of Philosophy and Economics, Tulane University

Ronna Burger
Liberty Fund hosts conferences that reflect what academia should be. Scholars from different backgrounds and different areas of expertise gather for a long weekend to discuss important books, with no agenda other than an engaged meeting of minds about ideas that matter. The conferences offer an opportunity for faculty to remind themselves why they went into higher education in the first place: to read and discuss serious texts, to contemplate the human good, and to protect and extend the ideal of liberal arts education. Attending Liberty Fund conferences over the years has enabled me to engage with important texts from outside my own field, and to learn from scholars I otherwise might not have had the opportunity even to meet. I have made new and lasting colleagues and friends who have enriched both my professional and personal life. I have read and discussed everything from Homer to Shakespeare to Jane Austen, from Montesquieu to Hume to Smith, from Locke to Madison to Tocqueville, from Plato and Aristotle to Rawls and Nozick, from Sophocles to Tom Stoppard, and I have studied everything from Bach's music to John Ford's movies. Liberty Fund has provided for me virtually an entire second liberal arts education and has expanded my network of colleagues to people all over America and the world. Liberty Fund's mission is to explore the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals. This mission is vitally important, perhaps now more than ever. Liberty Fund's programs invite exploration not only of the public institutions required for freedom and responsibility, but they also reflect the ideal of a free and responsible academia. All questions may be raised, all arguments may be examined, all ideas may be discussed in an open, civil, and collegial spirit of charitable criticism. Liberty Fund's library of books is a godsend. Liberty Fund publishes a wide range of important texts from the history of economics, philosophy, politics, theology, and other fields—in editions of excellent scholarly and material production—at prices even a graduate student can afford. And its online editions, which Liberty Fund makes available in multiple formats that are searchable and freely downloadable, are an outstanding reading, researching, and teaching aid. I have constructed many course syllabuses composed almost entirely of texts from Liberty Fund's print and online editions, and my students and I all appreciate how easy, convenient, and inexpensive Liberty Fund's resources are.

James Otteson

Professor of Economics, University of Notre Dame

James Otteson
When I received the message saying I had been accepted for the Adam Smith Fellowship, a program co-sponsored by Liberty Fund and the Mercatus Center, I thought there was a mistake with the selection process. How could they have selected me? A die-hard environmentalist, a feminist Latina, and someone who was not coming from an Ivy League university? On the opening night of my first colloquium, Professor Pete Boettke said in his announcement: “We are one another’s equal. We are all here to have an interesting conversation.” The Smith Fellowship lived up to that goal and has surpassed the highest expectations I could possibly have for the program. To me, being a Smith fellow means that I need to seriously think about and engage with ideas that I used to take for granted. This can be an uncomfortable process. The Smith program is high level: I need to dedicate time into doing the readings and preparing for the meetings, and once I am there, I need to be purposeful in engaging in meaningful conversations. The effort pays out: over the past few years, I have learned more during the colloquia than in many PhD level courses. I have expanded the scope of my research and have shifted the way I conceptualize my own work. The program is also very friendly: the professors, staff, and other fellows are approachable and enjoy a nice conversation. I am thankful for the opportunity of being a Smith Fellow.

V. Miranda Chase

PhD Student, Global Governance & Human Security University of Massachusetts, Boston

Chase IMG 0107
Liberty Fund is what the entire academic world—indeed, the entire world of intellectual exchange— ought to be like. I am thinking here not so much about Liberty Fund's great publishing program and great online presence but, rather, the wonderful colloquia it sponsors. These small, seminar-like gatherings—usually for a long weekend—bring together a great diversity of thoughtful people to probe and discuss important writings in economics, history, law, literature, philosophy, and/or politics. The discussions are always serious, lively, challenging, honest, informative, and fun. I have many times heard first-time participants say, without prompting, that the Liberty Fund colloquium they had just attended was what they had always dreamed academic life to be all about. I have many times told other participants that most of what I have learned since graduate school I have learned through Liberty Fund colloquia and I have never seen any participant at a Liberty Fund colloquium being surprised by that claim.

Eric Mack

Department of Philosophy, Tulane University

testimonial emack
There are countless authors, texts, and new ideas I discovered—or rediscovered—in the course of Liberty Fund conferences. And quite a few of them ended up informing my own work. There is something magical in the rules that preside over these deliberations that infuse them with a blend of civility, freedom of mind, and a spirit of dialogue one rarely encounters in a usual academic setting.

Ran Halévi

Centre de recherches politiques Raymond Aron

Ran Halevi rotate crop
My work with Liberty Fund has been the most important intellectual connection in my life. Liberty Fund does two separate things, each of them irreplaceable. First, the conferences and other in-person programs provide a unique intellectual context. No idea is safe at a conference, no perspective is privileged, but the participants themselves are safe in knowing that we can learn from each other, and about ourselves. I have found that no view of mine, untested, is understood. Having a "safe space" in modern academics where only the ideas matter is precious! Second, and just as important, Liberty Fund has mobilized an archive of printed and free online sources to the great, and sometimes undeservedly obscure, works of thinkers who have been contesting ideas for millennia. Liberty Fund is a modern "Library of Alexandria," where texts that otherwise would be lost to our common cultural heritage are preserved for future generations. The difference is that those works are also made available, instantly and for free, over Liberty Fund's marvelous Online Library of Liberty. In some of my classes, more than 50% of the material is being read through Liberty Fund servers. And when I say "material" I include the "Intellectual Conversation" series, "Econtalk," and a variety of other resources including "Adam Smith Works" and "Law and Liberty" that are platforms for contemporary debates and interpretation. Much of the world is now scrambling to rethink mechanisms for the meeting of minds, and for the preservation of understanding of the great works of the past. But Liberty Fund has been showing the way now for well over six decades, and it will continue to lead in the years to come.

Michael Munger

Professor of Political Science and Economics, Duke University

Michael Munger V1
The chance to participate in Liberty Fund colloquia has transformed my life. This is no hyperbole. Over the past 23 years, I have read, reflected on, and discussed a plethora of writings—political, historical, imaginative—that I might not otherwise have read. I have also benefitted from re-reading and re-thinking the works with which I was familiar, but which conversation with colleagues from different disciplines, countries, and intellectual traditions has enabled me to see in a completely new light. Placing the question of liberty center stage and exploring its definitions and fundamental importance across periods, cultures, and belief systems cannot but change us as people and as intellectuals. The exercise is not simply academic: rather, we begin to think about our own world in new, unexpected, and stimulating ways. Thanks to Liberty Fund, my own academic career has developed in directions I could not have foreseen: a literary scholar by training and institutional affiliation, I now teach and write intellectual history and political thought. The opportunity to debate works of political philosophy from Plato, Aristotle, and Cicero through Machiavelli and Hobbes to Huntingdon and Pocock, or of imaginative literature from Sophocles and Euripides through Shakespeare, Milton, Johnson to Toni Morrison—in the company of so many terrifically smart colleagues—has opened up new intellectual worlds to me. And it will do so for generations to come.

Paulina Kewes

Helen Morag Fellow and Tutor and Professor of English Literature, Jesus College, University of Oxford

Paulina Kewes
Desde el año 2013, el programa de co-sponsor con Liberty Fund ha sido una parte integral de los programas educativos de la Fundación Libertad. Este programa nos ha permitido invitar a un gran número de académicos, profesionales, y estudiantes de la Argentina y la región a explorar las contribuciones de autores clásicos y contemporáneos al estudio del ideal de una sociedad de individuos libres y responsables. Por medio de este programa, esperamos también poder contribuir a incrementar la calidad del debate intelectual de la región familiarizando a nuestros participantes con el formato socrático de las conferencias de Liberty Fund.

[Since 2013, Fundacion Libertad’s co-sponsored program with Liberty Fund has been an integral part of our educational programs. This program has allowed us to invite a large number of scholars, professionals, and students from Argentina and the region to explore both classic and contemporary works on a variety of issues related to the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals. Through this program, we also hope to contribute to increasing the quality of the intellectual debate in the region by familiarizing our participants with the socratic setting that is typical of Liberty Fund conferences.]

Walter Castro

Vice Presidente y Director de Asuntos Académicos, Fundación Libertad

Walter Castro
Liberty Fund of Indianapolis—through its publications and, especially, its conference schedule—is unequaled in promoting the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals. To others I owe my schooling but for my education I thank Liberty Fund.

Loren Lomasky

Cory Professor of Political Philosophy, Policy & Law, University of Virginia

Loren Lomasky
I came to know Liberty Fund when I was a graduate student at Rice University in Houston in 1995. In that year, my late mentor, Professor Hugo Tristram Engelhardt, Jr., invited me to serve as a student helper at his Liberty Fund colloquium titled “Community, Society, and State.” I was immediately attracted by this private-operating and academic-focused foundation, which was dedicated to exploring the intellectual idea of a society of free and responsible individuals—without engaging in politics or political action. Since then I have happily attended several LF conferences held in the United States and Europe, pursuing a depth of rich thoughts regarding the complex nature of a free society together with brilliant minds from various disciplines and cultures, and enjoying marvelous meals and drinks offered at the conferences. Since 2009, under the guidance of Douglas J. Den Uyl, Vice President of Educational Programs, we have set up a “Liberty and Virtue: West and East” conference series and have successfully operated seven conferences in Hong Kong. We are now looking forward to having our eighth conference on “Freedom, Virtue and Private Property” after the COVID-19 pandemic is over. Our conferees have come from Hong Kong, Macau, mainland China, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan. Our discussions have disclosed that the idea of basic liberties upheld in the classical Western tradition of liberty by no means contradicts with the central concern of the long-standing Eastern traditions of virtue, such as Confucianism and Daoism. Instead, basic liberties are implicit in the fundamental conceptions of such traditions and should be provoked and brought to the fore to facilitate virtue cultivation and civil development in contemporary Eastern societies. Virtue, in turn, will contribute to preserving individual freedom and promoting East-West peaceful cooperation. I have happily worked with Liberty Fund Fellows for these conferences, made friends with them, and learned from their experiences and insights. It is my hope that this conference series can continue.

Ruiping Fan

Chair Professor, City University of Hong Kong

 Ruiping Fan
I am forever grateful for the intellectual growth and development I experienced as a result of my time as an Adam Smith Fellow. Not only did the program push me to engage with ideas and arguments that I would likely not have been otherwise exposed to, but it also allowed me to develop meaningful professional relationships with Mercatus Center faculty and other Adam Smith Fellows. I have also benefited greatly from the books I was able to obtain due to the generosity of Liberty Fund. These books have not just been valuable in my academic research, but they have also been valuable in my development as a human being seeking a greater understanding of the world we live in.

Jasmine Straight

PhD Student, Philosophy, University of Colorado Boulder

Jasmine Straight
In the books they publish, the seminars they host, and the online forums they provide, Liberty Fund promotes free and open debate about things that really matter—the nature, origins, and purposes of freedom and self-government. From history to philosophy to the social sciences, Liberty Fund is an invaluable resource for anyone—teacher, student, or citizen—seeking insight into the fundamentals of ordered liberty.

Bruce P. Frohnen

Professor of Law, Ohio Northern University

 Bruce Frohnen
Liberty Fund publishes a wonderful list of classic texts in the fields of politics, philosophy, history, law, and economics. I have written or edited a dozen books, and there is no press with which I would rather work than Liberty Fund. The editors and staff are excellent, and the books the press publishes are flawless, beautiful, and reasonably priced.

Mark David Hall

Herbert Hoover Distinguished Professor of Politics, George Fox University

Mark David Hall
My involvement with Liberty Fund began in 1984, and the intervening decades have been a second—and in many ways better—education. Participation in Liberty Fund’s conference and publication programs has not only deepened my understanding of some of the most important writings in the Western tradition. It has also exemplified an ideal of intellectual exchange. Liberty Fund has managed to create an environment in which genuine conversations—where people listen attentively as well as speak effectively—can occur.

David Womersley

Thomas Warton Professor of English Literature, St. Catherine's College Oxford

David Womersley
Liberty Fund has been an indispensable companion for more years than I care to count. Its conferences have been the type of focused engagement and exchange that nourish the intellectual life. The opportunity to participate in two major translation projects has been most welcome and fruitful. (No one else but Liberty Fund would have supported the translation of massive works by Tocqueville and Constant!) And these days, the Law & Liberty website is a daily must-read. Thanks Liberty Fund!

Paul Seaton

Associate Professor of Philosophy, St. Mary's Seminary and University

Paul Seaton
For over 60 years, Liberty Fund has been a haven where friends of liberty—guided by reason, civility, and respect for each other—could discuss the deep and divisive moral and political conflicts that divide us. Its conferences have kept alive the unconstrained and often critical discussion of ideals the Founders of our society have embedded in the Constitution. And its publishing program has made widely and inexpensively available the classic works that have formulated the ideals by which even those who deny them live. Liberty Fund has been an important part of my intellectual life for over 30 years. May it continue to flourish in the midst of the shrill, hate-filled, ideologically poisoned world in which we are now doomed to live.

John Kekes

Research Professor of Philosophy, Union College

John Kekes
I developed a strong appreciation for liberty and markets as an economics graduate student. Economics taught me that liberty cannot long survive without considerable reliance on markets, and markets cannot function properly without individual liberty. What else did I need to know? Fortunately, I soon began finding out how pitiful my knowledge was. It did not happen quickly, but it would not have happened at all without Liberty Fund. I began discovering from the readings and discussions at Liberty Fund conferences that, without the insights of other academic disciplines, not even the economic case for liberty and markets could be reasonably understood by economics alone. My education has been both a humbling and exhilarating experience. Thanks Liberty Fund.

Dwight R. Lee

Affiliated Visiting Faculty Fellow, Institute for the Study of Political Economy, Miller College of Business, Ball State University

Dwight R. Lee
For many years now Liberty Fund has enlarged the civic and intellectual boundaries of my world. Through its conferences, Liberty Fund exposed me to classic works in political thought, law, and economics that I had always wanted to read but that my training in English literature did not include. In addition to my enrichment from the conference readings themselves, Liberty Fund enabled me to discuss these works with others from a variety of fields, and therefore to understand them from many different perspectives. Liberty Fund has done a remarkable job of educating this educator. Because of Liberty Fund, I am a better teacher, researcher, and citizen, and my students, colleagues, and fellow citizens have benefitted accordingly.

Martine Brownley

Goodrich C. White Professor of English, Emory University

Martine Brownley (1)
By publishing crucial texts and sponsoring engaging conferences, Liberty Fund reminds us that some political ideas are more important than others and some authors have more to say about founding principles than others. It is unmatched in its commitment to, and promotion of, informed discourse about the nature of freedom.

Neil L. York

Professor of History (retired), Brigham Young University

Neil York
We put a high value on our collaborative relationship with Liberty Fund. Working in partnership, we are able to enhance our productivity in bringing young people together to consider many of the important ideas, authors, and books in the canon of human history.

Roger Ream

President, The Fund for American Studies

Roger Ream
Attending Liberty Fund colloquia over the past two decades has been a true intellectual feast for me and my friends. Where else can one engage in leisure and freedom with topics as fascinating, complex, and diverse as Tocqueville's Democracy in America, Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain, Montaigne's Essays, the Thirty Years War, secular religions, Mexican liberalism, Western movies, and opera? By being part of these wonderful events, I have learned what a genuine conversation should and can be. It requires a talent for listening and remaining silent as well as one for speaking, along with courtesy meant to restrain vehemence. The art of conversation as practiced during our colloquia successfully managed to combine lightheartedness with depth, elegance with pleasure, civility with moderation, and the search for truth with a tolerant respect for the opinions of others. These events have provided inspiration for my teaching and remind us what a true liberal education should be.

Aurelian Craiutu

Professor of Political Science, Indiana University

Aurelian Craiutu
The academy understands the ideals of freedom and responsibility as well as it does in significant part because of Liberty Fund. I do not know where we would be if not for the scholarship that Liberty Fund has given us the opportunity to share. I have done in the neighborhood of 100+ Liberty Fund colloquia as a participant, discussion leader, or director. Over the course of those meetings, I met hundreds of people, and I am sure that hundreds of them would join me in saying that a Liberty Fund colloquium is the closest they've ever come to the dream that drove them to become professors, namely, the dream of a lifetime spent reading and discussing the human condition and human progress with fellow scholars. Liberty Fund's mission in that respect is utterly unique. The year that I spent in Indianapolis as a Liberty Fund Senior Scholar was among the best and most educational year of my life. I will always be grateful for that. I have discussed John Ford films with Wayne Rogers. I have discussed Merchant of Venice with Shakespeare scholars. I have discussed liberty in science fiction with an official from NASA. I discussed Icelandic sagas with an author of a hundred novels on the American Wild West. I've discussed political economy with a fistful of Nobel laureates. My life is far richer for those and a hundred other memorable Liberty Fund experiences. I'll also be eternally grateful for all of the student-centered colloquia that Liberty Fund has co-sponsored with the Institute for Humane Studies, and the author-centered colloquia that Liberty Fund has co-sponsored with Social Philosophy & Policy. Each of those general projects has transformed the academy in tangibly positive ways. The weeklong events on the works of Adam Smith is the most canonically Liberty Fund event that I can think of, and also one of the most intellectually transformative. I know four scholars who have written books on Adam Smith in the aftermath of those meetings, and I have a colleague who says that his research on the Scottish Enlightenment would be impossible without the range of works (for example, Shaftesbury) that would no longer be available if not for Liberty Fund keeping them in print.

David Schmidtz

Kendrick Professor of Philosophy, Center for the Philosophy of Freedom, University of Arizona

David Schmidtz
Without Liberty Fund, my professional life as a philosopher would have been focused on trivial and question-begging intellectual parlor games. Liberty Fund introduced me to the invisible college where I could pursue the life of the mind in the company of a remarkable group of gifted and courageous interdisciplinary scholars. In addition to allowing me to cultivate a true liberal education, I was reminded that the most important and perennial discussion revolves around defending liberty against tyranny in all of its forms. It has been a privilege to add my voice to that discussion.

Nick Capaldi

Professor, Loyola University New Orleans

Nick CapaldiV2
Tanto Pierre Goodrich como Manuel Ayau creían en el poder de la educación, la superación personal y la libertad para poder transformar la sociedad. Liberty Fund y UFM son una prueba tangible de la profundidad de esa convicción, y este programa co-patrocinado es uno de los mejores ejemplos de cómo nuestras organizaciones, trabajando juntas, mantienen viva la visión de ambos fundadores.

[Both Pierre Goodrich and Manuel Ayau believed in the power of education, self-improvement, and freedom to transform society. Liberty Fund and UFM are tangible proof of the depth of that conviction, and this co-sponsored program is one of the best examples of how our organizations, working together, keep both founders´ vision alive.]

Gabriel Calzada

President Universidad Francisco Marroquín

20 Gabriel Calzada Final
Before I became involved with Liberty Fund, I knew the phrase “invisible college” but I did not fully understand what it meant. Liberty Fund conferences provided for me a living example of what an “invisible college” means. There is a continual conversation over the years with a rotating cast of competent scholars with whom to exchange points of view, a conversation always anchored by intriguing texts. One consequence of our first Theory of Moral Sentiments conference was an agreement among the participants that Adam Smith’s “other” book was too interesting to neglect and so Liberty Fund was primed to pursue the offer from Oxford University Press when the opportunity arose. One can date the revival of Smith studies to the Liberty Fund edition of the Smith corpus. On a personal level, the series of web columns that Sandra Peart wrote for Liberty Fund opened up our analytical egalitarianism project that continues to this day.

David Levy

Professor, Econometrics, History of Economic Thought, George Mason University

David Levy
Throughout my Adam Smith Fellowship, a program co-sponsored by the Mercatus Center and Liberty Fund, I encountered an otherwise rare occurrence in modern academic life: rigorous and principled discussion of the ideas at the heart of a free society. These discussions were made possible by the model of dialogue, the multitude of resources, and the generous support of Liberty Fund. At a time when we are so unlikely to engage in constructive dialogue or heed the insights of our predecessors, Liberty Fund plays an essential role in filling this gap. I highly encourage all graduate students to make use of the many opportunities provided by this organization.

Dr. Michael Promisel

Assistant Professor of Politics, Coastal Carolina University

Michael Promisel
Liberty Fund has carved out a unique niche—based on its founder’s insight—that humans are ignorant about the ideal society, and that keeping the serious conversation about liberty alive is more important than defending one or another current policy idea. Given the vast worldwide expansion in human liberty that has occurred since the fall of the Berlin Wall over three decades ago, it is hard to doubt that his long view was right. Many among us do not read Hayek or Adam Smith in college or graduate school. Liberty Fund has provided the leavening of a kind of continuing adult education in the eclectic traditions of liberty to countless teachers and scholars. The conference program has provided a model for civil discourse and genuine liberal education that is far too rare in academe. Many academic colleagues over the years have marveled at the effectiveness of the Liberty Fund format on first encounter. “This is how I expected graduate school to be, but it wasn’t,” is one common refrain. “I will put what I have learned here directly to work upon returning home,” is another. Though there is no quantifying this “Liberty Fund effect,” there is little doubt that it is real. At a time when both public and academic discourse are inundated with an anarchy of mostly transient click-bait on the web and social media, the sheer authenticity and durability of the personal ties and intellectual exchanges made in the conference program are, if anything, even more valuable than ever. I don’t remember a single one of the (perhaps) 500 or so backgrounders, white papers, columns, op-eds, thought-pieces, essays, etc. that I read during the financial crisis of 2008, but I will never forget the experience of my first Liberty Fund conference in 1992. Under the expert guidance of its outstanding program officers and Fellows, Liberty Fund has painstakingly acquired trust and a reputation for intellectual integrity that commands respect even among many academics who do not share its liberty-friendly agenda—a feat that is increasingly difficult, indeed almost miraculous, in the current environment.

Henry Clark

Senior Lecturer and Program Director, Political Economy Project, Dartmouth College

Henry Clark V2
No organization has been more important to my intellectual development than Liberty Fund. Early on, as a cash-strapped college sophomore, I began buying and devouring the books it published. (The first, I fondly recall, was Essays on Individuality.) Still today, I continue to buy and devour books from Liberty Fund's ever-expanding catalog. These books form the core of my library. What I’ve learned from them is immeasurable—but, amazingly, perhaps it’s not as much as I’ve learned from the countless conversations that I’ve been part of at Liberty Fund colloquia. Honestly and without exaggeration, I cannot imagine my intellectual life without Liberty Fund. Thank you!

Donald Boudreaux

Professor, George Mason University

Donald Boudreaux
Participating in the Adam Smith Fellowship program, a program co-sponsored by the Mercatus Center and Liberty Fund, allowed me to stay connected to classical liberal scholarship while simultaneously pursuing more technical graduate training. Both the readings and the associated discussions have made me a more balanced and effective researcher. Outside the discussion room, the hospitality sessions formed the basis for enduring friendships and research collaborations.

Dr. Bryan Leonard

Assistant Professor of Sustainability Arizona State University

bleonard
My debt to Liberty Fund is enormous. I have treasured the many conversations I had the honor of participating in at LF colloquia over the years; they have been models of genuine, deep, and civil dialogue. The availability of Liberty Fund’s excellent and inexpensive texts (such as those of Adam Smith) has been invaluable to my teaching and no doubt to countless readers. The impact of Liberty Fund’s endeavors has been not only positive but wide. Liberty Fund has been a leading voice of reason, openness to exploration, and learning—all key ingredients of the ideal of liberty that is at the core of its mission. That mission is just as urgent now as it has ever been. May Liberty Fund continue to lead the way for decades to come.

Charles Griswold

Borden Parker Bowne Professor of Philosophy, Boston University

I am extremely grateful to Liberty Fund. Especially when I was teaching at a small liberal arts college, Liberty Fund enabled me to meet and talk to a much wider range of individuals representing a variety of different disciplines (or ways of life) than I would have otherwise. The opportunity to direct conferences gave me a chance to see old friends and to invite people I wanted to meet. Liberty Fund conferences are, as many would say, infinitely more pleasant and productive than professional association meetings. At Liberty Fund, instead of engaging in academic one-up-manship, a person actually has a chance to discuss writings and ideas with people having very different points of view, and to make new friends.

Catherine Zuckert

Nancy Reeves Dreux Professor Emerita, University of Notre Dame, and Visiting Professor, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership at Arizona State University

Unknown
I first became aware of Liberty Fund in two important ways when I was a graduate student: (1) as publisher of classic works in political economy and social philosophy; and (2) as sponsor of conferences where both classic texts were discussed, and original research was presented. As an aspiring academic, the building of my personal library was dominated by Liberty Fund works, and my experience attending—in an observation role as a graduate student—the annual Liberty Fund conferences run by James Buchanan inspired me. When I graduated and was eventually invited to participate in Liberty Fund seminars, it opened up a world of ideas to me. Liberty Fund conferences reflect all that is supposed to happen in serious scholarly conversation across disciplines and among equals engaged in lifelong learning. Though the purpose was primarily the ongoing conversation concerning the contested meaning of liberty, I have never left a Liberty Fund conference without at least a half-dozen new ideas for scholarly papers, or perhaps even the necessity of a book to address questions raised. My experience with Liberty Fund has expanded my education well beyond my disciplinary home of economics—it has taught me how to discuss ideas in a serious yet constructive manner across disciplines, and it has stimulated me to be a better thinker, communicator, teacher, and scholar.

Peter Boettke

Professor of Economics and Philosophy, George Mason University

Peter Boettke
My first encounter with Liberty Fund was in 1980 at a ten-day summer conference in Blacksburg, Virginia—sponsored by James Buchanan and Gordon Tullock—with a host of notables including Shirley Letwin, Douglass North, Geoffrey Brennan, Charlie Plott, Karen Vaughn, and others. I was one of the few non-economists. It was this experience that led me, as a student of political philosophy, to become interested in economics in a serious way. I began to study the history of economic thought and eventually began teaching a course called “Foundations of Political Economy,” which examines the subject beginning with Adam Smith and moving on to contemporary thinkers and issues. My continuing work with Liberty Fund has included colloquia on literary, legal, philosophic, and religious issues as well as investigations into the state of liberal learning, a subject that was central to the founding of Liberty Fund. It has been common among Liberty Fund participants to think of Liberty Fund as a global complement to colleges and universities, not to replace them, but to keep alive the great tradition of twenty-five centuries through the study of the greatest works—a task both good in itself (the defense of liberal learning is a never-ending duty) but also serving the practical goal to encourage the development of free and responsible individuals. The result is a global network of those committed to that task—stalwart advocates—often under difficult circumstances, of the blessings of liberty.

Timothy Fuller

Professor, Colorado College

Timothy Fuller
Faculty and practitioners alike comment that the colloquia we co-sponsor with Liberty Fund are among the most intellectually invigorating and enjoyable conferences they get to attend. It is rare to find an organization genuinely dedicated to discussing, without fear or favor, the great books and ideas of Western history—and Liberty Fund is truly extraordinary in that respect.

Eugene B. Meyer

President and CEO, The Federalist Society

Eugene Meyer
My time as an Adam Smith Fellow, a program co-sponsored by Liberty Fund and the Mercatus Center, was one of my most formative experiences as a graduate student. Learning about the Austrian, Virginia, and Bloomington schools of political economy informed my research, which is now thoroughly interdisciplinary. Moreover, the program taught me to combine the disciplines of philosophy, political science, and economics together in a way that changed the way I think about education. As a result, I now act as Director of Maryland’s new major in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics.

Dr. Brian Kogelmann

Assistant Professor of Philosophy University of Maryland, College Park

Brian Kogelmann
These are a few thoughts and reflections on Liberty Fund Inc. (“LF”) and its mission. My perspective is that of a foreign lawyer, professor of law, and columnist. I have lived most all my life in my native Guatemala. I think I have been to some fifty colloquia organized by LF and I myself have organized about a dozen of their conferences. Additionally, I have had the opportunity to visit and tour LF´s library and I have about one hundred and fifty of their books (including three collections) in my own library. My affiliation with the LF (as a participant in and an independent organizer of some of their conferences and as an avid reader of some of the books they publish) goes back to the early nineteen nineties. First, I think the mission of LF (to encourage the study of the ideal of free and responsible individuals) is fundamental to the sustenance of our civilization and its main values. I think that the civilization of the West rests, ultimately, on the inseparable principles of individual freedom and responsibility. I also believe that it is a paradox that relatively few people understand how and why this is so. Drawing on my experience, I have no doubt that LF has contributed immensely to enlightening the minds of literally hundreds of intellectuals, academics, businessmen, and professionals in four continents in this regard. In a typical LF conference, some of the participants are knowledgeable on its main subject; others have read and probably thought about it, and still some are at best familiar with the subject matter of the seminar. But literally no one leaves the conference without a deeper and a broader understanding of matters covered by the readings and the discussions that take place about them. The Socratic method provides the natural setting for the exploration of whatever subject—as many as are chosen for the several conferences—is discussed freely, orderly, and responsibly under the direction of a discussion leader that faithfully enforces a few rules in order to preserve an atmosphere of civility and comfort in the course of a conversation where a process of continued discovery takes place. This has been my experience and I can attest to the fact that it is widely shared by most all of those with whom I have participated. There is hardly any aspect of my life—even on a practical level—that has not been impacted by my involvement in LF activities. But certainly, my intellectual life has essentially changed. There is no way that I can think of—and sometimes I have reflected on this—that I could have acquired from any other source the knowledge about individual freedom and responsibility that LF conferences have given me. And this, with the background of a set of readings of the highest intellectual level on politics, economics, the law, literature, history, morality, education and many other topics. This learning and reflecting experience has nurtured my teaching on jurisprudence, constitutional law, and law and economics over some three decades. The essays, books, and articles that I have written have almost invariably been enriched and even inspired by the multiple insights that populate an LF seminar. With some of those with whom I have had the fortune of participating in an LF conference we have promoted academic or intellectual projects of different kinds—from a modest one-day seminar to a full course or a book. As a former dean of a law school in Guatemala City, I referred to LF materials, seminars, and methodology in order to share with my faculty members the wealth of knowledge and guidance found in LF programs and its books and other publications. A good number of them were invited to colloquia and all those who participated reported a profoundly enriching experience. It is probably true that today’s higher education is more and more focused on providing students with valuable professional training. And this becomes ever more technical in character. Thus, students and their professors tend to know—as it is commonly said—more and more about less and less. There is nothing bad about the process of specialization, except —I believe—when one of its consequences is to leave out of consideration history, philosophy, morality, natural law, or political and economic thought. I find it even dangerous to the evolution of our civilization that there are increasing numbers of extremely talented and capable professionals and technicians that ignore the bases of the institutions—civic, moral or political—that provide them with the very grounds for their livelihood. LF is crucial to the understanding of all this.

Eduardo Mayora Alvarado

Trustee, Francisco Marroquin University

EDUARDO MAYORA
Liberty Fund's colloquia provide the unique opportunity of exploring classical liberal ideas in living conversation while its publishing activities keep "great books" in print and online. Since 1984, when James Buchanan introduced me to Liberty Fund, it has been an essential part of my intellectual life—as it has been in that of my late friend and of scholars around the world.

Hartmut Kliemt

Professor of Philosophy and Economics, Justus Liebig University Giessen

Hartmut Kliemt
When I tell people about Liberty Fund, they often think it is an insurance company. In a way, it is an assurance company. Liberty Fund is trying to assure that we in America, and increasingly in the world, have a future of liberty. The dedicated staff there do more than their share. They organize colloquia where typically 14 scholars meet for a weekend to think through the virtues, and sometimes the challenges, of liberty. They run the websites that give readers a deeper understanding of the rich history of liberty. They publish EconLog, one of the best economics blogs in the world. (I’m biased here because I’m one of the bloggers.) They have a scintillating weekly hour-long discussion of primarily economic issues on EconTalk. And they have The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics online so that readers can understand quickly, with entries written in plain English, over 160 topics in economics. In short, Liberty Fund does much for liberty. May they continue for another 60 years.

David R. Henderson

Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University

David Henderson
My relationship with Liberty Fund has been a deeply engaging and edifying experience. The conference series represents the very best of Michael Oakeshott’s plea for civilized conversation, where no single voice dominates over others. Many valuable relationships and friendships have ensued from the opportunity to attend (and organize) colloquia, in addition to the richness of getting to visit and learn about new places throughout the world. In a sense, the conferences embody a fundamental principle of equality: we are all here to learn from each other and exchange thoughts with each other—not to confront, not to impose—but to keep an open and critical disposition, and not be afraid to revise premises or conclusions. If participants include noted authors or intellectual figures—or even Nobel Prize winners, deans and/or presidents of distinguished centers of learning—it does not matter. We are here to learn, exchange, and engage in dialogue for the sake of dialogue. I fundamentally changed my mind on earlier (and perhaps simplistic) perceptions concerning the thought of such varied thinkers like David Hume, Edmund Burke, and Octavio Paz. Many wonderful memories stand out, but two in particular come to mind. In the earlier years of my professional development, I was invited to participate in a training session for future discussion leaders in Houston, with Don Lutz and Emilio Pacheco. The session I directed was based on Pierre Goodrich’s Basic Memorandum. It was one of the richest intellectual experiences in which I have had the opportunity to partake. It taught me the power of education, humility, and civil disagreement. Many years later, I was invited to be a discussion leader in a Spanish-language conference on Octavio Paz. The participant table boasted many well-known Paz critics, many of whom could simply not speak to each other. It was only under a format of civilized conversation offered by Liberty Fund conferences that such participants were able to engage each other. It was a memorable and edifying experience. Many of Liberty Fund’s beautiful editions from its publication project boast a special place in my personal library, and many of these, of course, also stand as mementos of wonderful intellectual moments, particularly the many conferences I have had the opportunity to attend (and organize). But perhaps the greatest legacy of my experience with Liberty Fund has been the lasting and meaningful friendships I have formed, with persons and intellectuals whom I admire, even despite large differences in viewpoints. Some of these personal relationships also grew into mentorships, something that has served me immensely in my work, my personal ideas, and my professional endeavors. In a phrase, for me, Liberty Fund is simply sine qua non.

Dr. Roberto Salinas-León

Executive Director, Center for Latin America, Atlas Network

roberto
The Adam Smith Fellowship, co-sponsored by the Mercatus Center and Liberty Fund, provided me tremendous insights into political economy. Readings from the program—particularly the works of Smith, Hayek, Ostrom, and Tocqueville—became foundational to my ongoing research projects. Moreover, the colloquium format is unparalleled for facilitating vibrant discussion among scholars and students with diverse perspectives. Now, as a professor at Tulane University, I use the Liberty Fund colloquium format in my own graduate seminars.

Dr. Chad Van Schoelandt

Assistant Professor of Philosophy Tulane University

ChadVanSchoelandt8x6 0
I have been an admiring friend of Liberty Fund for nearly forty years, having observed and benefitted from both its meticulous book publishing program and my own active participation in its rich and extraordinarily effective program of conferences and symposia. To my intellectual enrichment, I have been an eager and appreciative participant in just over 70 such events, 20 of which I have either directed or co-directed. In the mid-1980s, when I was a frequent conferee at its Bicentennial conferences, I came to realize that Liberty Fund had managed to contrive a mode of conferencing that was nearly perfect. Built on a pre-circulated set of readings on a well-defined subject selected by the conference director, and under the gentle supervision of a Liberty Fund representative, this mode—combined the intense discussion over six sessions and two days, and by a seminar-sized group of people drawn from several academic disciplines and other walks of life—of subjects regarding the fundamental legal, constitutional, political, economic, and social values of liberty and responsibility as they related to a wide range of places, times, and genres of literature. Initiating each session with only a question or two, discussion leaders moderated the proceedings without inhibiting the free exchange of often competitive points of view, and these face-to-face discussions generated a degree of intellectual excitement and engagement that often extended beyond the formal sessions to spill into breaks, meals, social events, and post-conference communications. These encounters led to the formation of intellectual friendships and affinities that stretched across the globe and profoundly added to the intellectual tools of the conferees. Forty years on, I still find every conference I attend both stimulating and informative. I never fail to learn a lot, not just from the readings but from the exchanges about them. In the early days, my principal role, as an empirical historian of the early modern British Empire and the American Revolutionary era, was to remind theorists and generalists of the importance of context in the articulation and operation of ideas. But I quickly saw that my own research on the fundamental role that English ideas about liberty played in the creation of the multiple new policies that arose out of English colonization in the new world provided a rich ground for exploration at Liberty Fund conferences. Each polity incorporated those ideas as one of the most vital components in the reconstruction of the space over which it had domain, and each differed in its application of those ideas according to what economic and social pursuits the local physical environment would permit. For over a century before the American Revolution, these societies had been grappling with the problem of how to preserve their liberty as self-governing entities, resolve local problems of governance, and maintain the rights of their free inhabitants to the traditional rights of English people with a minimum of metropolitan English interference. The many intra-Atlantic contests over such issues produced a substantial body of literature that was largely unknown except to specialists such as myself. Hence, I proceeded, between 1989 and 2001, to direct several conferences—each of which focused on one of these literatures, developed respectively in South Carolina, Virginia, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Barbados, and Jamaica—the eight colonies that exhibited the most substantial such literatures. In the developing of these conferences as well as several later ones focused on the British role in precipitating the American Revolution, I worked closely with outstanding and knowledgeable Liberty Fund representatives: first with William Dennis, and then with G. M. Curtis, Hans Eicholz, and Steve Ealy. Many of the selections for these conferences found their way into Craig Yirush’s and my book Exploring the Bounds of Liberty: Political Writings of Colonial British America from the Glorious Revolution to the American Revolution, handsomely and painstakingly published by Liberty Fund in 2017. By sponsoring both this publication and the series of conferences that preceded it, Liberty Fund made a vital contribution to the enhancement of scholarly and public understanding of the extent to which English ideas about liberty and local autonomy shaped distant polities around the globe and how that experience informed the nations that grew out of them.

Jack Greene

Andrew W. Mellon Professor Emeritus in the Humanities, Johns Hopkins University

Jack Greene