Front Page Titles (by Subject) Autonomy, Creativity, and Radicalism - Literature of Liberty, January/March 1979, vol. 2, No. 1
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Autonomy, Creativity, and Radicalism - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, January/March 1979, vol. 2, No. 1 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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Autonomy, Creativity, and Radicalism
“The Ferrer Center: New York's Unique Meeting of Anarchism and the Arts.” New York History (July 1978): 306–325.
Historians have long noted a correspondence between periods of radical political activity and unconventional, autonomous, artistic experimentation. The early twentieth century saw political radicalism flourish alongside innovations in the arts. In New York City between 1912 and 1915 the Ferrer Center, an Anarchist-sponsored organization brought together political radicals and soon-to-be-famous artists and writers, all ostensibly committed to liberating the individual from the bonds of contemporary society.
Dedicated to the memory of the Spanish anarchist educator Francisco Ferrer, the Ferrer Association was sponsored by two distinct groups of political radicals: the Thomas Paine National Historical Association, composed of American radical liberals who promoted both civil liberties, and experimentation in the arts; the other group was the pro-Spanish Revolutionary Committee, a small cadre of anarchists such as Emma Goldman who desired political revolution, and viewed the arts as a breeding ground for radical activity.
The Ferrer Association opened a tumultuous “Modern School for Children” modeled on Ferrer's Spanish progressive school. Meanwhile, a vigorous adult education program brought lectures by Clarence Darrow, Lincoln Steffins, Margaret Sanger, Emma Goldman, and Will Durant.
The art students who came to classes held by Robert Henri and George Bellows, included many future well-known artists such as Man Ray and William Tisch. Henri applied his anarchist convictions to his teaching and art, and communicated it to his pupils. Austrian immigrant Moritz Jagendorf brought the European tradition of the “free theatre,” an experimental innovative theater, to the Ferrer Center. Plays by Lord Dunsany, Floyd Dell, and Maurice Maeterlinck introduced iconoclastic themes of social criticism. The participants later went on to pioneer popular drama in such famous groups as the Provincetown Players.
While the anarchist cultural milieu stimulated remarkable achievements among the artists of the Ferrer Center, the revolutionary politics of many participants provoked disputes. Gradually the Center lost its more creative talents and in the hostile political atmosphere of World War I, the Ferrer Center lost the magic of its earlier creative years.
Law and Public Policy
Rival interpretations of law and jurisprudence raise profound questions of right and justice and intertwine with complex social, economic, political, and religious issues.
The first three summaries sketch the working out of two such rival legal philosophies from the eighteenth to the twentieth century. An outgrowth of the tradition of natural rights and common law, the first philosophy, that of classical liberalism, espoused an individualist legal doctrine; liberalism viewed the legal system as a bulwark of individual rights to life, liberty, and just property titles, securing persons from private assault, and more particularly, from the threat of state power. Liberalism's rival as a legal doctrine, the more statist positivist-utilitarian tradition conceived of the legal system as a political tool to promote various state policies and gave rise to the bureaucratic and regulatory state. Posner's summary dramatizes this clash of rival legal philosophies by contrasting the liberal Blackstone with the utilitarian and social engineer Bentham. The liberal legal theory implies that the complex order of society arises from the free choices of individuals, legally protected from coercion. By contrast, the positivist-utilitarian tradition from Bentham to Brandeis and their successors seeks state intervention to bring about social reform.
The Meckling summary illustrates, in the area of bankruptcy law, the policy implications of a statist legal code in contrast to an individualist legal theory. Similar thematic undercurrents contrasting these rival legal philosophies run through the following summaries whether the legal point at issue is judicial review, first amendment rights (to scientific research of freedom of religion), or the meaning of liberty and property in the Fourteenth Amendment.
The concluding seven summaries, beginning with Graff's, delve into various aspects of legal penology and alternate conceptions of meting out justice. What are the ethical and political philosophical issues involved in punishment theory? Is legal punishment justifiable, and, if so, on what basis? Does restitution fit the crime better than retribution? Finally, the Smith and Person summaries return us to the rival legal theories of liberalism and statism by raising the possibility of a free market solution to providing individual justice.