Liberty Matters

The OLL brings people together to debate and discuss important texts and big ideas about liberty.

David M. Hart, “Classical Liberalism and the Problem of Class” (November 2016)

By: David M. Hart

It is not well known that classical liberal thought has had a strong tradition within it of thinking about “class”, namely the idea that one group of people live off the labor and taxes of another group of people. In this discussion…

David Womersley, “John Trenchard and the Opposition to Standing Armies” (September 2016)

By: David Womersely

John Trenchard (1662-1723) was a radical Whig and Commonwealthman who, along with his collaborator Thomas Gordon (1692-1750), were important voices defending constitutionalism and individual liberty in the 1720s in England.…

John E. Alvis, “The Corrupting Influence of Power in Shakespeare’s Plays" (July 2016)

By: John Alvis

To commemorate the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare (1564-1616) the discussion this month will focus on “The Corrupting Influence of Power in Shakespeare’s Plays". Lord Acton famously maintained that “power tends…

Jacob T. Levy, “Rationalism, Pluralism, and the History of Liberal Ideas” (May 2016)

By: Jacob T. Levy

Jacob T. Levy, the Tomlinson Professor of Political Theory at McGill University, argues in his recent book, Rationalism, Pluralism, and Freedom (OUP 2014), that there is a deep and recurring tension within liberal theories of…

Sanford Ikeda,“The Misesian Paradox: Interventionism Is Not Sustainable” (March 2016)

By: Sanford Ikeda

The Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) developed the theory of "interventionism" during the 1920s to describe the hybrid economic system which had emerged after World War 1 which was neither fully free nor fully…

Randy E. Barnett, “The Significance of Lysander Spooner” (January 2016)

By: Randy E. Barnett

In this month’s Liberty Matters online discussion Randy Barnett, the Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Legal Theory at the Georgetown University Law Center, explores the political thought and constitutional theories of the 19th century…