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The Collected Liberty Matters: Nos. 1-10

The first 10 Liberty Matters Online Discussions are available as a single file in a variety of ebook formats. This version has quite a few corrections, mainly updating the links to conform to the new OLL website’s format. It is just over 260,000 words and 400 pages long. The pictures on the title page are of some books we have in the archive room in the Liberty Fund Library.

Anthology: The Collected Liberty Matters: Nos. 1-10 (Jan. 2013 – July 2014)

The first 10 Liberty Matters Online Discussions are available as a single file in a variety of ebook formats. This version has quite a few corrections, mainly updating the links to conform to the new OLL website's format. It is just over 260,000 words and 400 pages long. The pictures on the title page are of some books we have in the archive room in the Liberty Fund Library.

The collection is called: The Collected Liberty Matters: Nos. 1-10 (Jan. 2013 – July 2014), ed. David M. Hart and Sheldon Richman (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2014). </titles/2629>.

The following topics have been discussed (more detailed descriptions are below):

  1. Eric Mack, “John Locke on Property” (January 2013)
  2. Geoffrey Brennan, “James Buchanan: An Assessment” (March, 2013)
  3. Roderick Long, “Gustave de Molinari’s Legacy for Liberty” (May, 2013)
  4. Robert Leroux, “Bastiat and Political Economy” (July, 2013)
  5. George H. Smith, “The System of Liberty” (September 2013)
  6. John Blundell, “Arthur Seldon and the Institute of Economic Affairs” (November, 2013)
  7. Lawrence White, “Ludwig von Mises’s The Theory of Money and Credit at 101” (January, 2014)
  8. Fernando R. Tesón, “Hugo Grotius on War and the State” (March, 2014)
  9. Aurelian Craiutu, “Tocqueville’s New Science of Politics Revisited” (May, 2014)
  10. Donald J. Boudreaux, “Deirdre McCloskey and Economists’ Ideas about Ideas” (July, 2014)

Each one is available in a variety of ebook formats here </titles/2516>.

The Liberty Matters Online Discussion Forum

1. Eric Mack, “John Locke on Property” (January 2013)

Summary: John Locke (1632-1704) is a key figure in the history of classical-liberal thought. His Second Treatise of Government (1689) is the canonical text in political philosophy that most extensively and systematically advances the classical-liberal themes of individual liberty, natural rights, private property, deep suspicion of political power, radical limitations on the scope of legitimate political authority, and rightful resistance against unjust and arbitrary power. Locke’s next most important work in political theory, A Letter Concerning Toleration (1689), completes his fundamentally classical-liberal vision with arguments for religious toleration that readily generalize to the conclusion that the state has no authority to govern persons’ self-regarding actions or the activities of mutually consenting adults. This essay by Eric Mack of Tulane University examines the character and content of Locke’s central contentions about property. His essay is discussed by Jan Narveson, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of the University of Waterloo in Canada, Peter Vallentyne, Florence G. Kline Professor of Philosophy at the University of Missouri, and Michael Zuckert, Nancy R. Dreux Professor of Political Science at University of Notre Dame.

2. Geoffrey Brennan, “James Buchanan: An Assessment” (March, 2013)

Summary: To commemorate the recent death of James M. Buchanan (1919-2013) on January 9 a number of scholars will discuss his considerable contribution to economic and political theory, most notably his work on "public choice" and constitutionalism. The main essay is written by Geoffrey Brennan, professor in the Moral, Social and Political Theory Centre, Philosophy School, RSSS, Australian National University. Geoffrey Brennan, who worked closely with Buchanan for many years, deals first with Buchanan’s contractarianism and then turns to his theory of constitutionalism, trying to indicate how these two c’s are related. He then attempts to connect the “constitutional contractarian” project to Buchanan’s credentials as a classical liberal and raises a number of other queries about the intellectual scheme he created, including the double role of exchange, the nature of market operations, the supply of versus the demand for rules, chosen versus inherited rules, and "expressive constitutionalism." His essay is commented upon by Peter Boettke, University Professor of Economics and Philosophy at George Mason University and the BB&T Professor for the Study of Capitalism at the Mercatus Center, Steven Horwitz, Charles A. Dana Professor of Economics and department chair at St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY, Loren Lomasky, Cory Professor of Political Philosophy at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA., Edward Peter Stringham, the L.V. Hackley endowed professor for the Study of Capitalism and Free Enterprise at Fayetteville State University, North Carolina, and Viktor J. Vanberg, professor emeritus, Freiburg University, Germany, and member of the board of the Walter Eucken Institute in Freiburg.

3. Roderick Long, “Gustave de Molinari’s Legacy for Liberty” (May, 2013)

Summary: This discussion had its beginnings in a Liberty Fund conference on Molinari which was held in late 2012, the centennial year of his death. The discussants here were also at that conference and showed considerable interest in continuing that conversation online. Some of the topics which were raised at the conference were the following: Molinari between conservatism and socialism, eminent domain and the rights of labor, the competitive provision of security, religion and ethics, the evanescence of war, and the rise of autonomous communities. In his Lead Essay Roderick Long, Professor of Philosophy at Auburn University, President of the Molinari Institute and Molinari Society, and a Senior Scholar of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, assesses Molinari's legacy, giving him a "hit" for his work on the competitive provision of security, his proposal for a system of labor exchanges, and his opposition to war and empire; and a "miss" for the weakness of the moral foundation of his philosophy, his hedonistic assumptions about human psychology, the historical inadequacy of his theory of political and economic evolution, and his theory of "tutelage" for those groups he believed were not yet ready for liberty. Long concludes that “for all his shortcomings, Molinari remains not only an interesting historical thinker, but also a vital lodestar for the liberty movement today.” His essay is commented upon by Gary Chartier, professor of law and business ethics and associate dean of the Tom and Vi Zapara School of Business at La Sierra University in Riverside, California, David Friedman, Professor of Economics at Santa Clara University CA., David M. Hart, Director of the Online Library of Liberty Project at Liberty Fund, Indianapolis, IN. and editor of the Liberty Fund's translation of Molinari's Les Soirées de la rue Saint-Lazare (1849), and Matt Zwolinski, an associate professor of philosophy at the University of San Diego, a co-director of USD’s Institute for Law and Philosophy.

4. Robert Leroux, “Bastiat and Political Economy” (July, 2013)

Summary: The historian and sociologist Robert Leroux, professor of sociology at the University of Ottawa, notes that Frédéric Bastiat’s intellectual legacy has been the subject of much debate since the mid-19th century. His thinking has given rise to the most divergent interpretations. We may say in general terms that his work has evoked two interpretations that are in constant conflict: The first treats Bastiat as a significant theorist, an instigator of new and original theories, with a well-earned place in the history of political economy; the other sees him primarily as simply a journalist or a polemicist. Robert Leroux argues that, in spite of resistance to his ideas and the neglect which he suffered in the late 19th and early 20th century, Bastiat was one of the most important liberal theorists of his time. He went far beyond what he was most famous for in his own day, namely campaigning for free trade in France, and made significant contributions to our understanding of the state, the law, freedom of the press and, more broadly yet, human nature. There are response essays by Donald J. Boudreaux, Donald J. Boudreaux is professor of economics and holder of the Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center, George Mason University, Michael C. Munger, professor of political science, and economics and public policy at Duke University, and David M. Hart, Director of the Online Library of Liberty Project at Liberty Fund, Indianapolis, IN. and academic editor of the Liberty Fund's translation of the Collected Works of Bastiat in 6 vols.

5. George H. Smith, “The System of Liberty” (September 2013)

Summary: This is a discussion of the independent scholar George H. Smith’s new book The System of Liberty: Themes in the History of Classical Liberalism published by Cambridge University Press (2013). Smith describes how he came to write the book, the works of the history of political thought which inspired