The Digital Library of Liberty:
on the Intellectual Battle between
Individual Liberty and Political Power


[Updated: 22 July, 2021]


David Hart is an historian and a libertarian with interests in the history of the classical liberal tradition (especially the Levellers and the French political economists), war and culture, libertarian class theory, and film. He has a PhD from King's College, Cambridge, a masters from Stanford University, and a BA Honours degree from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. He taught in the Department of History at the University of Adelaide in South Australia for 15 years before moving to the US where he designed, built and managed the award-winning website "The Online Liberty of Liberty" for a non-profit educational foundation between 2001 and 2019. He is now an independent scholar and a keen observer of a large recreational waterway in the Northern Beaches region of Sydney (map from 1802 below [larger size]; Google map of it now; other maps).
[Brief Bio] [A Bit More] [Current CV HTML or PDF] [Areas of Expertise and Scholarly Activity (PDF)]





Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850)

"Like you I love all forms of freedom; and among these, the one that is the most universally useful to mankind, the one you enjoy at each moment of the day and in all of life’s circumstances, is the freedom to work and to trade. I know that making things one’s own is the fulcrum of society and even of human life. I know that trade is intrinsic to property and that to restrict the one is to shake the foundations of the other. I approve of your devoting yourself to the defense of this freedom whose triumph will inevitably usher in the reign of international justice and consequently the extinction of hatred, prejudices between one people and another, and the wars that come in their wake."
["Draft Preface" to Economic Harmonies (1847)]

[Sisyphus pushing the Boulder of Liberty up the Mountain of Statism. See blogpost on this: The Work of Sisyphus: the Urgent Need for Intellectual Change (25 April, 2020)]

[The "Liberty" or "Phrygian Cap" worn by freed slaves in ancient Rome. It became a commonly used symbol during the French Revolution.]

Jonathan Swift, The Battle of the Books (1704)

On this Page

Is a list of recent additions in the form of a diary as things are added as they strike my fancy. These are organised thematically elsewhere in the library.

Elsewhere in the Library

I have a blog "Reflections on Liberty and Power" where I offer my musings about the state of the world and my place in it.

Classical Liberalism

An introduction to the CL tradition - [Intro] - [Essay]

By country/language

By theme/topic

Anti-liberal thinkers (a growing list! to do)

The Great Books

  • the Great Books of Liberty - [Intro]
  • the Great Books of the Western Tradition - [Intro] - [Essay]

Strategy for Change

On strategies for achieiving radical change - [Intro] - [Essay] - [Recent Additions]

Papers and Talks

Other Topics

In constructing this online library I have had in mind a few notable predecessors whose printed collections did much to spread the idea of individual liberty:

  1. that of the English author and publisher Thomas Hollis (1720-1774) who published beautiful leather bound volumes of the great works of liberty with images of the authors surrounded by a laurel wreath (befitting their heroic status) and emblazoned with icons of liberty such as the Phrygian cap and the dagger (used to kill the tyrant Caesar). [at left].
  2. that of the 19th century French bookseller and publisher Gilbert-Urbain Guillaumin (1801-64) whose bookshop and publishing firm was the focal point for the liberal movement in France for nearly three quarters of a century. [At right: an image of “Les Lois” (The Laws), a crown, and symbols of state power and justice, sitting on top of a collection of books, presumbably published by Guillaumin.]
  3. the publishing arm of the old Liberty Fund (1971-2019) before it was gutted. Interestingly, one of its imprints was called the "Hollis Library."

["Liberty who has overturned the hydra of tyranny and smashed the yoke of despotism" (1793)]

[The Seal of Florence:
"Peace & the Defence of Liberty"]

[John Bull as the British Atlas supporting the Establishment]



Recent Additions to the Digital Library of Liberty

[See the Archive of Material added 2011-2019]


July 2021

Nicolás Maloberti (1975-2021)
In Memoriam

  • Blog posts:
    1. Nicolás Maloberti In Memoriam (1975-2021)” (2 July, 2021)
    2. An Allegory of War and Peace” (19 July, 2021)
  • my reconstruction of the thougths of PFG on what his foundation should do and how it should do it: "Pierre F. Goodrich's Goals and Strategy for the Liberty Fund: A Reconstruction" (2018)
  • Not so much a "great book" of the western tradition, but a "great legal text" which laid the foundation for political and economic liberty in England: the Magna Carta, or Great charter of liberties which King John was forced to sign by the nobles of England in 1215. I'm sure the nobles had no intention when they did this that "lower status" English men (and later women) would interpret the words written in this document in a more liberal, and revolutionary manner. This is an example of the "unintended consequences" of an idea which was taken up by some vigour by the Levellers in the 1640s. William McKechnie edited a bi-lingual edition with extensive commentary for the 700th anniversay of its signing in 1915 which we have in HTML and facs. PDF. We also have just the text of the document in a parallel Latin-English verion in HTML.
  • the classic work on The Laws of War and Peace (based upon both the laws of nature and the customary laws of nations) by Hugo Grotius (1583-1645): De jure belli ac pacis (1825). Note the important "Prolegomena" which summarises his views. We have the 1901 translation (truncated edition) made for the 1899 International Peace Conference at The Hague [HTML and facs. PDF]; the more complete Carnedie Institution edition/translation of 1925 [facs. PDF] which contains the "Prolegomena" [HTML and facs. PDF]. And for those who read Latin, the original 1625 edition [facs. PDF]. See also the 1670 Paris edition [facs. PDF] with etchings such as the allegory [at the left and here] which I interpret as;
    • Standing on a round temple is Justice (she holds the scales of justice in her right hand) above Mars (war) who holds a sword in his right hand, next to whom is Peace or Abundance who holds a compass in her left hand (to measure out quantities), over which is draped a snake which is biting its own tail in a circle (a symbol of eternity), and who holds in her right hand the cornucopia (the horn of plenty). On either side of them and slightly behind are some shadowy figures whose meaning is not clear. Mars' sword points to the left and in the distance is Neptune with his trident and his chariot pulled by horses. Since Holland and England were both aspiring sea powers this may be a reference to this fact. At the foot of the temple at the right are two figures, a man wearing a helmet who is holding another snake over a fire with his right hand (perhaps here a symbol of evil) and with his left holding a woman around her waste; she is a peasant girl who is wearing a bonnet and a yoke around her shoulders (a symbol of submission) and in her left hand an hour glass (a symbol of the passage of time and of death). At the left is a bearded man in the shadows who is also holding a snake over a fire. At the very bottom of the picture is a dead boar (a symbol of lust and ferocity) which has been sacrificed.
  • a collection of essays by "Cato", the pseudonym of two English Commonwealthmen, John Trenchard (1662-1723) and Thomas Gordon (c. 1691–1750), who used the ideas of John Locke to expose the corruption and injustices of the British state in the 1720s and which in turn was avidly read in the North American colonies in the decades prior to the Revolution. Cato's Letters as they were known went through 6 editions. The 144 Letters make up a veritable treatise of political theory and analysis of British institutions. We have online the 6th edition of 1755 in HTML and Facs. PDF [vol. 1 | vol. 2 | vol. 3 | vol. 4 as well as the first edtion of 1723-24 [facs. PDF only].
    • It has been nearly 300 years since Trenchard warned about "the encroaching Nature of Power" (No. 115, 9 Feb. 1723) which we repeate here because of its timeless relevance: "Unlimited power is so wild and monstrous a thing, that however natural it be to desire it, it is as natural to oppose it; nor ought it to be trusted with any mortal man, be his intentions ever so upright ... We know, by infinite examples and experience, that men possessed of power, rather than part with it, will do any thing, even the worst and the blackest, to keep it; and scarce ever any man upon earth went out of it as long as he could carry every thing his own way in it; and when he could not, he resigned. I doubt that there is not one exception in the world to this rule; and that Dioclesian, Charles V, and even Sulla, laid down their power out of pique and discontent, and from opposition and disappointment. This seems certain, that the good of the world, or of their people, was not one of their motives either for continuing in power, or for quitting it. It is the nature of power to be ever encroaching, and converting every extraordinary power, granted at particular times, and upon particular occasions, into an ordinary power, to be used at all times, and when there is no occasion; nor does it ever part willingly with any advantage. From this spirit it is, that occasional commissions have grown sometimes perpetual; that three years have been improved into seven, and one into twenty; and that when the people have done with their magistrates, their magistrates will not have done with the people."
  • after Trenchard died Thomas Gordon turned to using his translations of the Roman historians Sallust (86 – c. 35 BC) and Tacitus (c. AD 56 – c.120) to indirectly criticise the corruption and tyranny of the British government and the Empire. He wrote lengthy "political discourses" as prefaces to his translations which we have comibined into one collection Tyranny, Empire, War, and Corruption: The Political Discourses on Tacitus and Sallust (1728-1744) [HTML]. For the originals see The Works of Sallust (1744) [facs. PDF and HTML] and The Works of Tacitus (1728, 1737) [facs. PDF and HTML].
  • I have added the entries on Trenchard and Gordon from the Dictionary of National Biography (1885-1900) to this page.
  • below are some examples of the images Thomas Hollis had printed to promote "Commonwealthman" ideas in the 1760s. Most were engraved by Giovanni Cipriani. They feature the laurel wreath and the Liberty Cap, and elsewhere the dagger which references the stabbing of the tyrant Julius Caesar.


June 2021

  • Blog posts:
    1. The Myth of a liberal ‘Australian Way of Life’” (20 June 2021)
    2. ‘God save us from the King’: or the Problem of Regal Vice” (16 June 2021)
    3. The Incarceration of Foreign Students at Parafield Airport, S.A.” (1 June, 2021)
  • The battle of the "hyphenated liberalisms": in the late 19th century the "radical", individualist, free market liberalism of thinkers like Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) was increasingly replaced by a "new," "social," interventionist form of liberalism espoused by people like Thomas Hill Green (1836-1882) at Oxford University. One could argue that this "new" liberalism was not a form of liberalism at all, but to borrow Hayek's distinction made in another context, "false liberalism." See the following by Green:
    • The Principles of Political Obligation (1879-80) [HTML and facs. PDF]
    • “On the Different Senses of ‘Freedom’ as Applied to Will and the Moral Progress of Man” (1879) [HTML and facs. PDF]
    • "Liberal Legislation and Freedom of Contract” (1881) [HTML and facs. PDF]
  • "Covid is the Health of the State": The American radical journalist and essayist Randolph S. Bourne (1886-1918) was a vociferous critic of America's entry into WW1 and the submissive, herd-like acceptance of this fact by the American public. This anthology, Untimely Papers (1919), put together after his death in 1918, contains the brilliant essay "The War and the Intelletuals" (1917) in which he lambasts the intellectual class for rallying around the State to support the war effort, and his unfinished essay on "The State" in which he argues that "war is the health of the state". HTML and facs. PDF. Given his use of "health" metaphors, references to "herd-mentaility" and behaviour, and the hounding of dissenters, it has considerable contemporary relevance in the current "war" against covid and the role of the state and the intellectual class in making this possible., as this quote shows;
    • "War is the health of the State. It automatically sets in motion throughout society those irresistible forces for uniformity, for passionate cooperation with the Government in coercing into obedience the minority groups and individuals which lack the larger herd sense. The machinery of government sets and enforces the drastic penalties, the minorities are either intimidated into silence, or brought slowly around by a subtle process of persuasion which may seem to them really to be converting them. Of course the ideal of perfect loyalty, perfect uniformity is never really attained. The classes upon whom the amateur work of coercion falls are unwearied in their zeal, but often their agitation instead of converting, merely serves to stiffen their resistance. Minorities are rendered sullen, and some intellectual opinion bitter and satirical. But in general, the nation in war-time attains a uniformity of feeling, a hierarchy of values culminating at the undisputed apex of the State ideal, which could not [145] possibly be produced through any other agency than war. Other values such as artistic creation, knowledge, reason, beauty, the enhancement of life, are instantly and almost unanimously sacrificed, and the significant classes who have constituted themselves the amateur agents of the State, are engaged not only in sacrificing these values for themselves but in coercing all other persons into sacrificing them."
    • even before the war broke out in Europe Bourne wrote a pamphlet attacking The Tradition of War (June 1914) for the American Association for International Conciliation [HTML and facs. PDF]
    • shortly after the U.S. entered the war in April 1917 Bourne wrote the pamphlet The War and the Intellectuals (June 1917) was published by the American Union against Militarism. [facs. PDF and Union statement of principles]
  • Some more on "liberalism" in Australia:
    • In 1991 the Australian Liberal Party under the leadership of the "dry" economist (i.e. slightly more "free marketish" than previous neo-liberals) John Hewson introduced a policy document ahead of the 1993 election to reform the Australian economy called stirringly "Fightback!". A central plank of the policy was the introduction of a new 15 percent GST (goods and services tax), along with the abolition of tariffs, and other reforms. Needless to say the voters fought back, quite rightly refusing to support the new tax, but not appreciating the need for the many other reforms in the "Fightback!" package. The Liberal Party lost the election and the Fightback! program disappeared from sight. Nevertheless a 10% GST was introduced by the LP in 2000. See the facs. PDF and the rough, uncorrected HTML version.
    • The "neo-liberalism" which emerged out of a meeting of French and German-speaking liberal economists in Paris in 1938 (the "Colloque Walter Lippman", in 1947 at Mont Pèlerin, and the ideas of "ordoliberalism" (state ordered liberalism) by Walter Eucken at the University of Freiburg (1937-54) was an attempt to create a more electorally attractive political force which would merge some aspects of individual private property and free markets ("liberalism") with considerable paternalistic government intervention ("neo-statism") and the welfare state ("neo-socialism"), as an opposing force to the rise of fascism, socialism (labourism), and communism. In Australia it took the form of the neo-liberalism, or rather "antipodean liberalism" (my deliberate play on words - meaning both "in the southern hemisphere" as well as "the direct opposite") of Robert Menzies (1894-1978). He would play a major role in the newly formed Liberal Party of Australia (1944) and would rule as PM from 1949-1966. He outlined his political views in a seres of 37 "fire-side chats" in the second half of 1942 known as "The Forgotten People" broadcasts. These important documents are hard to find so I have assembled the complete collection here [HTML]. They should be compared to the similar ideas about "The Forgotten Man" developed by the American radical liberal William Graham Sumner (1840-1910) in 1883.
  • I came across this commemorative 20 cent coin from 2010 which was issued as part of the "celebrations" of the 100th anniversary of the Australian Taxation Office. Note the slogan: "Working for All Australians" which I would change to the more accurate "Taxing all Working Australians". I also came across the official history the ATO commissioned: Leigh Edmonds, Working for all Australians 1910-2010: A Brief History of the Australian Taxation Office (Canberra: Australian Taxation Office, 2010) which is revealing for what it doesn't say as much as it does say. PDF at ATO and here. I will discuss more informative works in a blog post.


Thomas Hill Green (1836-1882) Randolph S. Bourne (1886-1918) Robert Menzies (1894-1978) John Robert Hewson (1946- )

May 2021

  • Blog posts:
    1. The Scandalous Neglect of Classical Liberal Sociology” (30 May, 2021)
    2. Making and Breaking the Image of King Charles I” (27 May, 2021)
    3. Joel Barlow “God save the Guillotine”” (25 May, 2021)
    4. The Classical Liberal Tradition: A 400 Year History of Ideas and Movements. An Introductory Reading List” (20 May, 2021)
    5. From Rosé to a Sick Rose” (19 May, 2021)
    6. Bastiat’s Anti-socialist Pamphlets, or “Mister Bastiat’s Little Pamphlets”” (13 May, 2021)
    7. The Socialist Critique of Private Property and Free Markets and the French Political Economists’ Response” (12 May 2021)
  • while in prison waiting for the verdict and then his death once he had been convicted, Charles Stuart (a.k.a. King Charles I) wrote a defense of his actions and the entire concept of the divine right of kings in a book called Eikon Basilike (The Icon or Image of the King) (1649) [HTML and facs. PDF]. Some of the editions also inlcuded a very detailed iconography of his rule in the form of a frontispiece. John Milton was asked by Parliament to write a rebuttal which turned into a devastating piece of "iconoclasm" aptly called Eikonoklastes (1649) [HTML and facs. PDF]
  • to accompany Marvell's book attacking "arbitrary government in England" we now have John Milton's The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates (1649) written just after the execution of King Charles I to defend the actions of the regicides. He argues that individuals have rights which predate the appearance of kings or other "magistrates" and thus, if these kings and magistrates violate those pre-existing rights, the people have the right to remove them. Thus, their "tenure" in this case is quite short. [HTML of a heavily annotated 1911 edition and a facs. PDF of the 1650 ed.]
  • Andrew Marvell (1621-1678) was not a Leveller as such but he shared many of their views about the dangers of despotic government in Britain, and was a close friend and work mate of John Milton in the Republican government. I have put online two editions of his collected works (1776 and 1875) in facs. PDF as well as his best known pamphlet on The Growth of Popery and Arbitrary Government in England (1677) in HTML and facs. PDF. The American colonial book seller Thomans Hollis made one of his iconic images of Marvell as a hero of the liberty movement and thus deserving of his laurels. And a selection of some of my favourite poems in HTML.
  • I have another very interesting piece by the American jurist James C. Carter entitled The Ideal and the Actual in the Law (1890) [HTML] to add to his The Provinces of the Written and the Unwritten Law (1889) [HTML]. Carter argues for the idea that judges do not "make the law" but rather "discover" it by observing common practice and custom around them. Legal change occurs at the margin when judges adapt or slightly modify current jural practice. The role of the legislature in reforming the law is thus minimal at best.
  • 27 years after Bastiat's death, his close friend Hortense Cheuvreux (1808-1893), the wife of the wealthy industrialist and supporter of the liberal political economists Casimir Cheuvreux, published anonymously a collection of her letters from Bastiat. This suggests more than just a passing acquaintance in my view but this is hard to prove. These letters reveal another more personal side to Bastiat which does not come out in Paillottet's heavily edited (and redacted) collection: Lettres d’un habitant des Landes (1877) [HTML and facs. PDF (en français)]
  • Since there is no good HTML version of the works of Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850) online in French I decided to do one myself. There are 7 volumes in the 2nd 1864 edition done by Paillottet. The two collections of his Economic Sophisms and pamphlets in vol. 4 and vol. 5 are the first cabs off the rank. Those available in HTML are in bold. The complete table of contents of the set (with links) can be found here:
    • 1. Correspondance et mélanges (1862) - HTML and facs. PDF.
    • 2. Le Libre-Échange (1862) - HTML and facs. PDF.
    • 3. Cobden et la Ligue ou L'agitation anglaise pour la Liberté des Échange (1864) - HTML and facs. PDF.
    • 4. Sophismes économiques. Petits pamphlets I (1863) - HTML and facs. PDF.
    • 5. Sophismes économiques. Petits pamphlets II (1863) - HTML and facs. PDF.
    • 6. Harmonies économiques (1864) - only in facs. PDF. We have a version of this work from the 6th edition of 1870 in HTML and facs. PDF.
    • 7. Essais, Ébauches, Correspondance (1864) - HTML and facs. PDF.
  • as an historian I much prefer to see an author's works listed chronologically rather than "thematically". I have created such a list of nearly 300 items Bastiat published with links to the relevant texts.
  • Here are some of Bastiat's major works (en français) in a single file - HTML (from the OC) and facs. PDF (published book, article, or pamphlet). He devoted the first part of his life to opposing protectionism (1844 - Feb. 1848) and the second to opposing socialism (Feb. 1848-1850):
    • on protectionism and free trade:
      • Bastiat's long introduction to his 1st book on Cobden et la ligue, ou l’Agitation anglaise pour la liberté du commerce (Cobden and the (Anti-Corn Law) League, or the English Free Trade Movement) (1845) [HTML and facs. PDF]
      • Sophismes économiques (1846) (the "first series") [HTML and facs. PDF] [English at OLL]
      • Sophismes économiques. Deuxième série. (1848) [HTML and facs. PDF] [English at OLL]
    • His anti-socialist pamphlets from Feb. 1848-50:
      1. "Du Communisme," Libre-Échange (27 juin, 1847) - technically not part of the anti-socialist campaign during the Second Republic but an early piece attacking the socialist ideas of Philippe Buchez who edited the workers' magazine L'Atelier (the Workshop) and became the first President of the Republic [HTML and facs. PDF]
      2. the first article he wrote after the Feb. Revolution was "Funestes illusions" (Disastrous Illusions) JDE (mars, 1848) in which he urged the people to abolish all political and economic privileges and not to replace the old group of "plunderers" with a new group as the socialists were urging them to do [HTML and facs. PDF] [English at OLL]
      3. "Propriété et loi" (Property and Law) JDE (mai, 1848) - a defence of property rights against the criticism of socialists like Louis Blanc and others [HTML and facs. PDF] [English at OLL]
      4. "Justice et fraternité" (Justice and Fraternity) JDE (juin, 1848) - a response to the socialist Pierre Leroux [HTML and facs.PDF] [English at OLL]
      5. "Individualisme et fraternité" (Individualism and Fraternity) (c. June 1848) - an unpublished paper also written to refute the socialist's claim (esp. by Louis Blanc) that free markets led to ruinous individualism and competition while socialism led to fraternity and brotherhood for the workers. [HTML] [English at OLL] This is a a topic he would return to in several chapters of Economic Harmonies such as chap. X “Concurrence” (Competition) [HTML] and XXI “Solidarité” (Solidarity) [HTML]
      6. "L'État" (June, Sept. 1848 and early 1849): there were three versions of this famous essay -the 1st in June before the June Days riots in Paris which was short and written for the ordinary worker in the streets [English at OLL]; the 2nd longer version was written for a high-brow magazine in Sept. 1848); and the 3rd longest version was written as a pamphlet and gave a detailed critique of Ledru-Rollin's socialist (Montagnard) party platform. [HTML and PDF] [English at OLL].
      7. "Propriété et spoliation" (Property and Plunder) JDD (juli 1848) [HTML and facs. PDF] [English at OLL] - a defence of property, especially of land, against the criticism of Victor Considerant
      8. Capitale et rente (Capital and Rent) (1849) [HTML and facs. PDF] - in opposition to the criticisms of Proudhon and others on the legitimacy of rent
      9. Protectionisme et Communisme (Protectionism and Communism) Jan. 1849) - addressed to the conservative politician Adolphe Thiers pointing our the similarities between conservative and socialist policies, namely their use of state coercion to give privileges to some members of society at the expence of others [HTML and facs. PDF] [English at OLL]
      10. Maudit argent! (Damned Money!) (1849) [HTML and facs. PDF] - in opposition to socialist misconceptions about money, banking, and debt
      11. Spoliation et Loi (Plunder and Law) (1850) [HTML and facs. PDF] [English at OLL] - written to oppose the ideas of Louis Blanc, the Luxembourg Commission, and the National Workshops program
      12. Gratuité du crédit. Discussion entre M. Fr. Bastiat et M. Proudhon (Free Credit. A Discussion between M. Fr. Bastiat and M. Proudhon) (1850) [HTML and facs. PDF] - an extended debate with Proudhon over the legitimacy of profit, interest and rent.
      13. Baccalauréate et socialisme (The Baccalaureat and Socialism) (1850) [HTML and facs. PDF] [English at OLL] - written to oppose the teaching of interventionist and statist ideas ("socialism") in government schools by means of the teaching of the Latin language which was supported by conservatives like Adolphe Thiers
      14. La Loi (The Law) (June 1850) - one of the last things Bastiat wrote before his death; a lengthy critique of the ideas of Louis Blanc and the 18th century predecessors of socialist ideas, most notably Rousseau and Robespierre [HTML and facs. PDF] [English at OLL]
      15. in "Propriété, Communauté" (Private and Communal/Community Property) (chap. VIII of Harmonies Économiques 1850) Bastiat attempts to answer the socialist critique of private property by showing that a system based on private property actually increases the amount of "communal" property to the enormous benefit of all members of the community. [HTML] [English here]
      16. "Liberté, Égalité" (Liberty and Equality) (1850) - a draft of a chapter for the Harmonies Économies which was never published. He attempts to explain how the liberal understanding of "equality" differs from that of the socialists'. [HTML] [English at OLL]
    • in the last months of his life he wrote on more general economic matters:
      • Ce qu'on voit et ce qu'on ne voit pas, ou l'Économie politique en une leçon (What is Seen and What is Not Seen, or Political Economy in One Lesson (1850) [HTML and facs. PDF] [English at OLL]
      • his unfinished treatise on economic theory Harmonies Économiques (Economic Harmonies) : the first half published in his lifetime (10 chaps in early 1850) in facs. PDF; and a partly "completed" posthumous edition in 1851 (with an additional 15 chapters or sketches of chaps, and an outline of a much larger future work on economic "harmony" and "disharmony") in HTML and facs. PDF [English here]


King Charles I (1600–1649) John Milton (1608-1674) Andrew Marvell (1621-1678) James C. Carter

April 2021

  • Condy Raguet (1784-1842) was also a staunch critic of government fiat paper money in his Treatise on Currency and Banking (1839).
  • We now have a third representative of the 19th century American free trade movement online to add to Henry George (1839-1897) and William Graham Sumner (1840-1910), namely Condy Raguet (1784-1842). Their arch intellectual foe was Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804) who defended government funded infra-structure projects and high tariffs (the so-called "American System") in his Report on Manufactures (1791) and whose ideas dominated American economic policy for over a century. Why hasn't anybody made a musical about Condy Raguet? I wrote a screenplay about the life and times of Fréréric Bastiat. (with images)
    1. Condy Raguet, The Principles of Free Trade (1835)
    2. William Graham Sumner, Protectionism. The -Ism which Teaches that Waste makes Wealth (1885)
    3. Henry George, Protection or Free Trade (1886)
  • William Graham Sumner (1840-1910) spent much of his life attacking the fallacies and sophisms of tariffs and the system of protectionism in the United States. He was active in the rather small American free trade movement for whom he gave lectures and wrote pamphlets. In his approach and his rhetoric he was very much in the tradition of Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850) referring to the “sophisms” of protectionism and the “plunder” which benefited some vested interests at the expense of ordinary consumers and tax-payers (his “forgotten” men and women). See his Lectures on the History of Protection in the United States (1877), Protectionism. The -Ism which Teaches that Waste makes Wealth (1885), and his overview of free trade “Liberté des Échanges” (1891) which was never translated into English.
  • Ever since Marcus Junius Brutus (88-42 BC) stabbed Julius Caesar to death in 44 BC, people have been asking is it right to kill a tyrant and, if so, when and by whom. The question was especially important for the Levellers who participated in the trial and execution of King Charles I in 1649 and who also opposed the growing powers of the “Protector” Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) who replaced him. The radical Leveller “agitator” Edward Sexby (ft. 1642–1667) defended the right of the people to assassinate a tyrant in 1657 in the pamphlet “Killing, no Murder” (in which he had Cromwell in mind). We have put this pamphlet online, along with some other pamphlets by him and his contribution to the Putney Debates in Oct/Nov. 1647 where he defended the rights of the ordinary soliders, as well as two critics of him, an anonymous author and Michael Hawke, both of whom agreed that killing a king, even a bad one, was murder. Here Sexby is very much in the tradition of the French “monarchomach” theorists (from the Greek μόναρχος and μάχομαι, meaning “those who fight against monarchs”) who emerged during the French Wars of Religion in the late 16th century, such as François Hotman (1524–1590), Théodore de Bèze (1519–1605), Simon Goulart (1543–1628), Nicolas Barnaud (1538–1604), Hubert Languet (1518–1581), Philippe de Mornay (1549–1623) and George Buchanan (1506–1582). See:
  • England had Herbert Spencer (1820-1903); France had Gustave de Molinari (1819-1912); and America had William Graham Sumner (1840-1910). All three did pioneering work in the emerging discipline of “sociology”, were radical classical liberals (libertarians), and were active in popularizing their ideas via journalism. Sumner was a professor of sociology at Yale University who wrote on free trade and protection, sound money and banking, and was an outspoken member of the American Anti-Imperialist League. His work on classical liberal class analysis should also be mentioned, where he championed the interests of “The Forgotten Man and Woman” who paid the taxes which made it possible for the various vested interest groups, both large (plutocrats and party bosses) and small (those who sought government jobs), to enjoy their privileged position. Sumner also wrote several works against the theory and practice of socialism. In his view the great clash of the future would be between socialists from below and plutocrats from above, with the “forgotten” man and woman caught in the middle.We have online four volumes of his collected essays, his major treatise on sociology, and several other works:
  • some more Leveller pamphlets (29 items), this time by William Walwyn (c.1600-1680), to add to our collection of works by John Lilburne (24 items) and Richard Overton (23)
  • A good counterpoint to Mises' theoretical critique of Socialism (1922) is the work of the Scottish economist and poet Alexander Gray (1882-1968) The Socialist Tradition: Moses To Lenin (1946). He provides a comprehensive history of socialism which is peppered with his great insight, deep learning, and sceptical and witty observations. See for example his chapter on Fichte.
  • German “idealism” could produce a liberal like Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) or authoritarian statists like Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762-1814) and Georg Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831). It seemed that the “absolute idealism” of the latter two thinkers resulted in a new form of “absolute government” rule. In the case of Fichte he wrote the little known Der geschlossene Handelsstaat (The Closed Commercial State) (1800) in which he argued for a centrally planned economy one hundred years ahead of its time [auf deutsch in HTML and facs. PDF]. He was reacting to the economic impact of the Napoleonic Wars on the fragmented German states and the rise of England as an industrial and commercial power. In France, the same concerns led the liberal Jean-Baptiste Say to write his Treatise on Political Economy (1803) [HTML] in which he advocated the exact opposite, the most “open commercial state” imaginable.
  • 100 years ago Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) demolished the very foundations upon which socialism rested. In 1920 he wrote an essay on the difficulties (or indeed impossibility) of rational "Economic Calculation" in a socialst economy [English and German] and in 1922 a large book on Socialism in which he braodened his critique of socialism into the most devasting one ever written. We are putting the later online (or rather the 2nd. edition of 1932) in German in HTML and facs. PDF
  • By the mid-1920s Mises had expanded his critique of Bolshevik central planning into a more general theory of "Interventionismus" or "interventionism" by which he meant any large-scale government intervention in the economy without the direct ownership by the state of all private property and the means of production (such as factories and farms). He began with an article on “Interventionismus” (1926) [HTML auf deutsch] which he expanded and developed over the years in a series of further articles and books. He had in mind (in chronological order) the policy of "Kriegssozialismus" (war socialism) pursued in Germany during WW1, the policy of economic "autarchy" (national self-sifficiency) pursued by the Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s, and the policies of most western nations after WW2, namely Keynesian inspired interventionism concerning interest rates and the supply of money, as well as the interventionism and redistribution of wealth required to build the welfare state.
  • as part of my ongoing commemoration of Gustave de Molinari (1819-1912)'s bicentennial, I have added HTML versions of his three major sociological works (and one later summary volume) which we already have in facs. PDF. They make a very interesting parallel intellectual achievement to rival that of his contempory radical English liberal Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) and his Principles of Sociology (1874-96). What makes Molinari very unusual is his economic analysis of literally "everything" including marriage and having a family, art, urban development, the behaviour of politicians and bureraucrats (so early public choice theory), why governments often fail in managing economic resources and services like the police and the military, the rise of market institutions over the centuries, the role of war in economic development and the rise of states, and very interesting from my perspective, the emergence of political classes and how they organise and use the state for their own purposes and benefit (he made a fundamental distinction between "les mangeurs des taxes" (the tax eaters) and the tax papyers. He began doing this in his articles for the Dictionnaire de l'économie politique (1852) and later returned to it some 30 years later in the following works:
    • L’évolution économique du XIXe siècle: théorie du progrès (Economic Evolution in the 19th Century: A Theory of Progress) (1880) [HTML] and [facs. PDF]
    • L’évolution politique et la révolution (Political Evolution and the Revolution) (1884) [HTML] and [facs. PDF]
    • Grandeur et decadence de la guerre (The Rise and Fall of War) (1898) [HTML] and [facs. PDF]
    • and a final fourth volume which summarises his life's work on this topic: Économie de l’histoire: Théorie de l’Évolution (The Economics of History: A Theory of Evolution) (1908) [HTML] and [facs. PDF]
  • the English radical individualist and advocate of "voluntaryism" Auberon Herbert (1838-1906) presented some of the most eloquent visions of what a free society might look like and the moral reasons for rejecting state compulsion in all its forms, in:
    • The Right and Wrong of Compulsion by the State: A Statement of the Moral Principles of the Party of Individual Liberty (1885) [HTML and facs. PDF]
    • “The Ethics of Dynamite,” Contemporary Review (May 1894) [HTML and facs, PDF]
    • The Principles of Voluntaryism and Free Life (1897) [HTML and facs. PDF]
    • The Voluntaryist Creed and A Plea For Voluntaryism (1908) [HTML and facs. PDF]
  • Burke's attack on the principles of the French Revolution was quickly responded to by Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) who wrote not one but two "Vindications" - one vindicating the rights of men (1790) [HTML] and the other extending her response to include the rights of women (1792) [HTML].
  • A youthful radical indiscretion or an attempt at satire of an opposing view? The 26 year old Edmund Burke (1729-1797) may have made the same mistake as the 20-something Étienne de la Boétie (1530-1563) in his Vindication of Natural Society (1756) in which he, perhaps too cleverly, criticises government or "artificial society" and pushes "logic" to an "unacceptable" extreme (i.e. unacceptable to the ruling elites who might employ him later). We have three editions of this work to help you make up your own mind: 1756, 1757, and 1858 [HTML]. Is this an example of the "battle of the Prefaces"?


Condy Raguet (1784-1842) William Graham Sumner (1840-1910) William Walwyn (c.1600-1680) Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762-1814)

March 2021




  • Blog posts:
    1. The State of the Libertarian Movement after 50 Years (1970-2020): Some Observations (25 March, 2021)
    2. The Great Books of Liberty I (25 March, 2021)
  • another serious rift both within the liberal movement and between liberals and their socialist critics was over the impact of population growth and the expansion of industrial activity on the supply of resources, especially food supplies. Optimists like Condorcet, William Godwin, and Bastiat were aligned against the pessimistic "Malthusians" who thought the human race was headed towards destruction. See
    • Malthus, An Essay on the Principle of Population (1789, 1826) [HTML] for the negative side of the debate, and
    • Condorcet, Outlines of an Historical View of the progress of the Human Mind (1795) for the optomistic side in English [HTML] and French [HTML]
  • the French Revolution exposed a large rift within the liberal tradition, with conservative "aristocratic" liberals like Edmund Burke (1729-1797) supporting free trade and the American Revolution but not the French Revolution, and radical democratic liberals supporting the violent overthrow of despotic regimes like the French monarchy but not the violent and anti-liberal Jacobin regime. Burke's major writings opposing the French Revolution are Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790) [HTML} and the Letters on a Regicide Peace (1795) [HTML]. Thomas Paine's immediate response to defend the revolution and the ideas of natural rights which justified it was two pamphlets Rights of Man Parts I and II (1791, 1792) [HTML]
  • a speech given at Oxford in 1906 and a statement of the "voluntaryist creed" by the English political theorist Auberon Herbert (1838-1906). The latter is one of the most eloquent defences of liberty and the non-aggression principle (“voluntarism”) ever penned. His "creed" can be summarised as the use State force only to protect ourselves against those who would employ force or fraud; and to end every form of compulsory taxation and replace it with “a system of voluntary giving”. The Voluntaryist Creed (1908) in HTML and facs. PDF
  • two speeches by the late 19th century New York legal theorist James Coolidge Carter, (1827-1905) who was a strong defender of private, judge-made law (often "unwritten") vs. state-made legislation and codes of law:
    • The Provinces of the Written and the Unwritten Law (1889) in HTML and facs. PDF
    • The Ideal and the Actual in the Law (1890) in HTML and facs. PDF
  • there was a group of four radical English individualists writing in the late 19th century who opposed the increasing power of the state and the rise of socialism, and were members of the Liberty and Property Defence League - Herbert Spencer (1820–1903), Auberon Herbert (1838-1906), Wordsworth Donisthorpe (1847-1914), and Thomas Mackay (1849–1912). They were the British counterpart of the French group of anti-socialist writers whose work we have added recently, namely Paul Leroy-Beaulieu (1843-1916), Yves Guyot (1843-1928), and Gustave de Molinari (1819-1912). The latest addition of the British school is:
    • Wordsworth Donisthorpe, Individualism: A System of Politics (1889) in HTML and facs. PDF
    • Wordsworth Donisthorpe, Law in a Free State (1895) in HTML and facs. PDF
  • one of the great defences of religious toleration is Voltaire's A Treatise of Toleration (1763) which attacked the persecution and death of Jean Calas. He had to publish it outside France and the title page lacks the name of the publisher and the place and date in order to avoid persecution himself. See the French HTML and facs PDF; and the English HTML and facs. PDF
  • the Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677) wrote Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (1670) [HTML] to defend the right of religious toleration in a society which had been torn apart by religious persection. This tolertion was part of a defence of the more general rights of individuals under their sovereign. He was naturally accused of "atheism" and republicanism so he and his books were "indexed".
  • The Selected Works of Lysander Spooner (1850-1886) consists of 14 pamphlets and essays Spooner wrote on the burning issues of slavery and its abolition and to what extent an individual owed allegiance to the constitution which was a document which no living person had agreed to and signed. It also includes his chapter on "Vices are not Crimes" (1875) which is a radical critique of so-called "victimless crime" laws
  • Machiavelli on how to get political power and keep it once you have it.
  • 20 years after Lenin, the English economist John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) wrote one of the most influentiual economics books ever written (alongside Marx's Das Kapital) which justified massive government intervention in the economy to manage the "failures" of unregulated capitalism - The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1936) [interestingly, the only online copy I could find was on a Marxist website]. The refutations which quickly followed were ignored at the time and continue to this day. One of the quickest off the mark and best is William H. Hutt, The Theory of Idle Resources (1939) [HTML]
  • if theorists in the 19th century imagined the socialist society of the future, then politicians and activists attempted to put it into pracice in the 20th, like Vladimir Lenin in Russia and Mao in China. Lenin put his ideas on paper only on the eve of the Bolshevik Revolution in The State and Revolution (Oct. 1917) [HTML] which was immediately rebutted by economists like Ludwig von Mises [HTML].
  • in the 16th century it became fashionable for authors to give "advice" to princes on how best to rule "their flock". Machiavelli's was ruthless in telling Princes how to get and stay in power (although some suggest he was being ironic or even satirical), Erasmus thought that Princes should behave like sheep dogs guarding the flock not like wolves, while La Boétie thought the flock should just turn their backs and say "no" to "The One" who ruled them. See Desiderius Erasmus "The Education of a Christian Prince" (1516) in HTML and facs. PDF.
  • more "great books" by authors who are hostile to natural rights, individual liberty, and limited constitutional government:
    • the conservative French Catholic Joseph de Maistre (1753-1821), Essay on the Generative Principle of Political Constitutions (1809) - English HTML and French facs. PDF
    • Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831), Grundlinien der Philosophie des Rechts (Elements of the Philosophy of Right) (1821) - English HTML ; German facs. PDF (for the very brave!)
  • more on state socialism in the Antipodes, this time in New Zealand but in favour of it: Rossignal and Steward, State Socialism in New Zealand (1910) facs. PDF.
  • to counter the growth of socialism in France in the 1840s and 1880s French political economists were particularly active, such as Bastiat and the contributors to the Dictionnaire de l'économie politique (1852-53) in the first period, and Leroy-Beaulieu (see below) and the contributors to the Nouveau dictionnaire d'économie politique (1891) in the second. See
    • 1840s/50s: Louis Reybaud's article “Socialistes, Socialisme” in the DEP (en français) HTML and facs. PDF; which was translated and published 40 years later in Lalor's Cyclopedia (1881) along with dozens of other articles from the DEP [HTML and facs. PDF]; Reybaud also wrote a 2 vol. history and critique of socialism in 1849, Les Études sur les réformateurs contemporains, ou socialistes modernes vol.1 facs. PDF and vol. 2 facs. PDF.
    • also the article on "Communism" by the economist Henri Baudrillart in the DEP [HTML and facs. PDF] and the trans. in Lalor [HTML and facs. PDF]
    • 1890s; the Nouveau DEP also included three articles on socialism (only in French):
      • a long article by Eugène d’Eichthal, “Socialisme,” NDEP, T. 1, pp. 815-860 [facs. PDF]
      • a short article by Urbain Guérin, “Socialisme Chrétien,” NDEP, T. 1, pp. 860-67. [facs. PDF]
      • and another long article by Ludwig Bamberger attacking the newest version of socialism known as “Socialisme d’état” (state socialism), NDEP, T. 1, pp. 867-82 [HTML and facs. PDF]
    • one of the last members of the radical "Paris School" of political economy, the politician, political economist, and radical indivdualist Yves Guyot (1843-1928), took on the socialists in many works in the 1890s and early 1900s, such as
      • La Tyrannie Socialiste (1893) [HTML and facs. PDF] trans. as The Tyranny of Socialism [HTML and facs. PDF]
      • Les Principes de 89 et le Socialisme (1894) (en français) in HTML and facs. PDF
      • La Comédie socialiste (1897) - facs. PDF
      • Les travaux publics (1897) - drawing upon his experience as Minister for Public Works (1889-92) - facs. PDF
      • Le collectivisme futur et le socialisme présent (1906) - a short speech or essay attacking socialist plans before the Chambre (en français) HTML and facs. PDF.
      • La Démocratie individualiste (1907) in which he shows his endebtedness to the ideas of Herbert Spencer and the Liberty and Property Defence League - facs. PDF
      • Sophismes socialistes et faits économiques (1908) [HTML and facs. PDF] trans. as Socialistic Fallacies [HTML and facs. PDF] - better trans. as "Socialist Sophisms and Economic Facts".
      • La Gestion par l’État et les Municipalités (1913) [HTML and facs. PDF] trans. as Where and Why Public Ownership has failed [HTML and facs. PDF] - better trans. as "The State and Municipal Administration (of public works)"
  • two collections of essays edited by Thomas Mackay on behalf of the British "Liberty and Property Defense League" (founded 1882) to combat the rise of socialism, especially the Fabian Socialists:
    • A Plea for Liberty: An Argument Against Socialism and Socialistic Legislation (1891) [HTML] and
    • A Policy Of Free Exchange: the Economical and Social Aspects (1894) [HTML]
    • Australians should note the essays by Charles Fairfield on “State Socialism in the Antipodes” and J.W. Fortescue “State Socialism and the Collapse in Australia” since this new form of socialism was much admired by the British socialists of the day and seen as the path for the future. The pioneers of "state socialism" were Bismarck in the new German Reich after 1871 and the Australian colonies in the last decades of the 19th century
    • also in New Zealand: Rossignal and Steward, State socialism in New Zealand (1910) facs. PDF.
  • the complete 3 volume set of Karl Marx's Das Kapital in English and German in both HTML and facs. PDF. Most people never get beyound the first volume (nor should they!): see Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, vol. 1 (1867) in German [HTML and facs. PDF] and English [HTML and facs. PDF]
  • along with its comprehensive demolition in 1896 by the Austrian economist Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk in English [HTML and facs.PDF] and German [HTML and facs.PDF)
  • works by two other leading critics of socialism in the late 19th century:
    • one of the leading French defenders of free markets and individual liberty and a critic of socialism/Marxism was Paul Leroy-Beaulieu (1843-1916): see his
    • and of course the indefatigable Herbert Spencer on "the coming slavery" of socialist interventionism in the same year as Leroy-Beaulieu's warning about the dangers of Collectivism: The Man versus the State (1884) HTML and facs. PDF.
  • the contemporary liberal counterparts of socialist economic theorists like Marx were John Stuart Mill and Frédéric Bastiat. It is interesting to speculate how the world would have been different had Bastiat's economic treatise (1850) been as influential as Mill's (1848):
    • see John Stuart Mill's Principles of Political Economy: 1st edition 1848 facs. PDF only vol. 1 and vol. 2; and the 7th edition in facs PDF vol.1 and vol.2 and in HTML. and
    • Bastiat's Harmonies économiques (1851) in English (Stirling trans.) [HTML] and French [HTML]
  • more in our collection of "political manifestos", this time the daddy of them all, Marx's Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848) in German [facs. PDF and HTML] and English [facs. PDF and HTML]


Yves Guyot (1843-1928) Paul Leroy-Beaulieu (1843-1916) Auberon Herbert (1838-1906) Lysander Spooner (1808-1887)

February 2021

  • blog posts:
    1. James Gillray on Debt and Taxes during the War against Napoleon (23 Feb. 2021)
    2. Turning Rosé into Chardonnay via a Middleman (14 Feb. 2021)
    3. The Socialist Critique of Private Property and Free Markets. Part I: The French (8 Feb. 2021)
  • another "provocative pairing", this time of visions of a socialist future: by a true believer the American socialist Edward Bellamy in Looking Backward. 2000-1887 (1888) [HTML] and a German classical liberal critic Eugen Richter in Pictures of the Socialistic Future (1891) [HTML]
  • a collection of 17th century tracts on commerce which includes Thomas Mun's defence of mercantilist ideas on the "balance of trade" (1664) demolished by Smith in the Wealth of Nations [HTML and facs. PDF]
  • a work by the great 19thC American defender of free trade, Henry George (1839-1897), Protection or Free Trade (1886) in HTML and facs. PDF
  • more Voltaire: the Dictionnaire philosophique (1764)
    • which started off in the early editions being "portable" - French (1764) facs. PDF and English (1765) facs. PDF
    • but which had expanded into 4 large vols. by the 1878 ed. - French HTML and an English translation pubished in 1901 in HTML and PDF.
  • some "provocative pairings" of Great Books:
    • Sir Robert Filmer's defence of monarchical power Patriarcha; of the Natural Power of Kings (1680) [HTML] which inspired John Locke to reply in the Two Treatises of Government (1688) [HTML]; also his anti-Leveller tract The Anarchy of a Limited or Mixed Monarchy (1648) in which he makes the point that any limit placed on the power of the absolute monarch was a "slippery slope" argument which would result logically in no government at all; bio of Filmer
      • Filmer's insight was: "Since nature hath not distinguished the habitable world into Kingdomes, nor determined what part of a people shall belong to one Kingdome, and what to another, it follows that the originall freedome of mankind being supposed, every man is at liberty to be of what Kingdome he please, and so every petty company hath a right to make a Kingdome by it self, and not only every City, but every Village, and every Family; nay, and every particular man a liberty to chuse himself to be his owne King if he please, and he were a mad man that being by nature free would chuse any man but himself to be his own Governour. Thus to avoid the having but of one King of the whole world, we shall run into a liberty of having as many Kings as there be men in the world, which upon the matter, is to have no King at all, but to leave all men to their naturall liberty, which is the mischief the Pleaders for naturall liberty do pretend they would most avoid. ... Such a conclusion fits well with Anarchy, for he that takes away all Government, and leaves every man to his owne conscience, and so makes him an Independent in State"
    • Rousseau's Discourse on Inequality (1755) and The Social Contract (1762) [HTML and facs. PDF] vs. Adam Smith, Theory of Moral Sentiuments (1759) [HTML and facs. PDF]
    • Voltaire's Candide, or Optimism (1759) vs. Leibniz's Theodicy: Essays on the goodness of God, the freedom of man, and the origin of evil (1710) English HTML and French facs. PDF
      • Works by Voltaire: The Manuscript version of Candide, or Optimism (1759) HTML with page images
      • The original French edition of 1759 facs. PDF
      • the 1761 edition with the spurious "Second Part" of Candide (but not by Voltaire) - vol. 1 facs. PDF and Part 2 facs. PDF
      • the 1778 edition with illustrations by Daniel Chodowiesky vol. 1 facs. PDF and vol. 2 facs. PDF
      • the 1785 edition with illustrations by Jean-Michel Moreau (the best and most political)
      • the edition of 1901 with an introduction by John Morley and wehich includes part 1 and the spurious part 2: in HTML and facs. PDF.
      • a more recent translation from 1918: in HTML and facs. PDF
  • more Leveller pamphlets, this time by John Lilburne:
    1. Englands Birth-Right Justified Against all Arbitrary Usurpation (Oct. 1645)
    2. The Free-mans Freedom Vindicated (June 1646)
    3. Liberty Vindicated against Slavery (Aug. 1646)
    4. London’s Liberty in Chains discovered (Oct. 1646)
    5. Vox Plebis, or The Peoples Out-cry Against Oppression, Injustice, and Tyranny (Nov. 1646)
    6. Regall Tyrannie discovered (Jan. 1647)
    7. The resolved mans Resolution, to maintain with the last drop of his heart blood, his civill Liberties and freedomes (Apr. 1647)
    8. Jonahs Cry out of the Whales belly (July, 1647)
    9. Englands Freedome, Souldiers Rights (Dec. 1647)
    10. A Defiance to Tyrants. Or The Araignment of Two Illegall Committees (Jan. 1648)
    11. The Peoples Prerogative and Priviledges (Feb. 1648)
    12. The Prisoners Plea for a Habeas Corpus (Apr. 1648)
    13. The Oppressed Mans importunate and mournfull Cryes to be brought to the Barre of Justice (Apr. 1848)
    14. A Plea for Common-right and Freedom (Dec. 1648)
    15. Englands New Chains Discovered (Feb. 1649)
    16. The Second Part of Englands New-Chaines Discovered (Mar. 1649)
    17. The Picture of the Councel of State (Apr. 1649)
    18. The Army’s Martyr (May 1649)
    19. The Legall Fundamentall Liberties of the People of England (June 1649)
    20. As you Were (May 1652)
    21. The Upright Mans Vindication (Aug. 1653)
    22. The Just Defence of John Lilburn (Aug. 1653)
    23. An Hue-and Cry after the Fundamental Lawes and Liberties of England (Sept. 1653)
    24. The Resurrection of John Lilburne (May 1656)
  • and some interesting anonymous & other Leveller pamphlets
  • my collection of Images of Liberty and Power


Eugen Richter (1838-1906) Henry George (1839-1897) Voltaire (1694-1778) Robert Filmer (1588-1653)

January 2021

  • blog posts:
    1. Rewriting and Resinging Australia Day
      (30 Jan. 2021)
    2. Australia Day: Girted, Skirted, and Alerted” (27 Jan. 2021)
    3. Socialism is Zombie Economics” (24 Jan. 2021)
    4. Lord Acton and The Prince (1891)” (19 Jan. 2021)
    5. "One Volume Surveys of Classical Liberal Thought" (11 Jan. 2021)
  • some more classic critiques of private property and free markets by French socialists written during the 1840s (Louis Blanc, Victor Considerant, Joseph Proudhon); the latest addition is by the anarchist Joseph Proudhon (1809-1865), whose work Qu'est-ce que la propriété? (What is Property?) (1840) went through many editions before and during the 1848 Revolution [HTML and facs. PDF]; it was translated into English in 1876 by the American individualist anarchist Benjamin Tucker [HTML and facs. PDF] By the way, his answer to the question was that "(private) property is theft."
  • Lord Acton, "Introduction" to Machiavelli's The Prince (1891 ed.) in which he says that Machiavelli accurately describes the amoral and criminal behaviour of traditional leaders as well as the new leaders who were emerging in the nationalist movements in places like Italy and Germany in his own day. Acton describes this as "the emancipation of the State from the moral yoke."
  • Richard Ebeling [Mises Institute] reminds us that 2021 is the 150th anniversary of the publication by Carl Menger of one of the foundational works of the Austrian school of economics, Grundsätze der Volkswirtschaftsliche (1871). Here is our collection of his works (all in German): 3 major works and 3 important articles (only auf deutsch for copyright reasons):
  • two more editions of Algernon Sidney's Discourses concerning Government, this time a French and German translation done in the early years of the French Revolution (1793). The French translation has the following quote on the title page: “Liberty produceth Vertue, Order and Stability: Slavery is accompanied with Vice, Weakness and Misery”.
  • expanded collection of "The Great Books of Liberty" (below) with some of my favourites, such as:
    • John Locke, Two Treatises of Government (1690): a facs. PDF of the original 1690 edition and the Hollis edition of 1764 which was published for sale in the American colonies. In HTML and facs. PDF. This also includes one of Hollis's beautiful engravings [large] and [small].
    • Adam Smith, Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) [HTML and facs. PDF] and Wealth of Nations (1776) [HTML and facs. PDF vol1 and vol2]
    • Wilhelm von Humboldt, Ideen zu einem Versuch, die Gränzen der Wirksamkeit des Staats zu bestimmen (1792, 1851) in HTML and facs. PDF. English trans. The Sphere and Duties of Government (1854) in HTML and facs. PDF.
    • William Godwin, An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice (1793) in HTML and facs. PDF of vol1 and vol2.
    • Thomas Hodgskin, The Natural and Artificial Right of Property Contrasted (1832) in HTML and facs. PDF.
    • Herbert Spencer, Social Statics: or, The Conditions essential to Happiness specified, and the First of them Developed (1851). HTML and facs. PDF. And The Principles of Ethics (1879-92) HTML.
    • John Stuart Mill's On Liberty (1859) and The Subjection of Women (1869) published very suitably together in one volume in 1879. In HTML and facs. PDF.
    • Ludwig von Mises, Liberalismus (1927). (auf deutsch) HTML and facs. PDF.
  • some works by Gustave de Molinari:
    • his pathbreaking work Les Soirées de la rue Saint-Lazare; entretiens sur les lois économiques et défense de la propriété (1849) which is one of the earliest one-volume descriptions of the classical liberal worldview, how a laissez-faire liberal society would privately provide so-called "public goods", even police and national defence (chap. 11), which makes it the first defense of anarcho-capitalism. In HTML and facs. PDF.
    • an early work on class analysis based on the idea of the conflcit between the "tax-payers" and the "tax-eaters": Les Révolutions et le despotisme envisagés au point de vue des intérêts matériels (Revolutions and Despotsism seen from the perspective of material interests) (1852) In HTML and facs. PDF (en français)
    • his treatise on economics: Cours d’économie politique (1855, 1863) in which he considerably expanded his discussion of how all public goods could be provided on the free market. Vol. 1 HTML and PDF; vol. 2 HTML and PDF (en français).
    • Notions fondamentales économie politique et programme économique (1891) is interesting because at the ripe old age of 72 he takes on the growing socialist movement with a criticism of their economic programme and provides one for radical liberals like himself. In HTML and facs. PDF.
  • a work by the conservative politician and historian Adolphe Thiers (1797-1877) defending the right to own property which was under attack during the 1848 Revolution: De la Propriété (1848) (en français) in HTML and facs. PDF; and in English with a slightly different title, The Rights of Property: A Refutation of Communism & Socialism (1848) in HTML and facs. PDF - Molinari reviewed this book and criticised Thiers for ignoring one of the main complaints of the socialists about the current distribution of property, namely, that one should not defend unjustly acquired property by means of state privileges and monopolies
  • some works by opponents of indvidual liberty, free markets, and limited government:
    • a trilogy of influential French socialists from the 1840s; they were all elected to the Chamber of Deputies during the revolution and sparred with Bastiat:
      • Louis Blanc (1811-1882) who had elaborate plans to "organise labour" with the aid of the state in 1848; we have a translation of his key pamphlet from 1840 and several editions in French; his work inspired Frédéric Bastiat and Michel Chevalier to write several important critiques of socialism which we will add later
      • one of the most influential French socialists Joseph Proudhon (1809-1865), whose work Qu'est-ce que la propriété? (What is Property?) (1840) went through many editions before and during the 1848 Revolution [HTML and facs. PDF]
      • Victor Considerant (1808-1893), who wrote a socialist Manifesto in 1847, one year before Marx wrote his more famous one. French HTML and facs. PDF; and an English trans. in HTML. Considerant was one of Bastiat's arch-rivals in the Chamber of Deputies during the Second Republic (1848-50)
    • the important book by L.T. Hobhouse which cemented the transition of "classical" (or radical) liberalism to what was called "new" or "social" liberalism, or what the Americans now call just "liberalism": Liberalism (1911) in HTML and facs. PDF.
    • the Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) assembled an influential collection of essays advocating a non-violent form of socialism known after the Roman general Fabius, as "Fabian Socialism": Fabian Essays in Socialism (1889) in HTML and facs. PDF
    • a very influential 19th century advocate of tariffs and other forms of government subsidies to national industries: Friedrich List, The National System of Political Economy (1841) in German (HTML and facs. PDF) and English trans. (1909) [HTML and facs. PDF]
    • two works by one of the leading opponents of Leveller "proto-liberal" political ideas: Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, or The Matter, Forme, Power of a Common-Wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civill (1651) in a 1909 ed. [HTML and facs. PDF] and the facs. PDF of the original 1651 ed.; and Behemoth: The History of the Causes of the Civil Wars of England (1662)


Adolphe Thiers (1797-1877) Carl Menger (1841-1921) Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767-1835) John Locke (1632-1704)


December 2020


Algernon Sidney (1622-1683) Vicesimus Knox (1752-1821) Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536)

November 2020

  • blog posts:
    1. The Cover Art of Voluntary Servitude (29 November, 2020)
    2. Plutology II: Disney Plutology vs. WB Bugsology (19 November, 2020)
    3. Plutology I: William Edward Hearn (1826-1888) (19 November, 2020)
    4. Rothbard on Strategy (12 November, 2020)
    5. Coding and Decoding Rothbard (6 November, 2020)
  • An eleventh version of Boétie's "Voluntary Servitude" (1835) [facs. PDF] : this one has long and very radical Preface by the Liberal Catholic Robert de Lamennais written in 1833 [Preface facs. PDF].
  • The 1735 translation by "T. Smith" of Boétie's Discourse of Voluntary Servitude. This is a good translation which captures the measured pace and rhetorical side of the "Discourse". The word "discours" in French can also mean "speech".
  • The Cover Art of the Discours: a collection of interesting covers of various editions of the "Discourse."
  • Ten different versions of Étienne de la Boétie's Discours de la servitude volontaire (1576) - Old French, modern French, and English translations - with more to come.
    • Special Note 1: a side-by-side Comparative Edition of different French and English versions of the text
    • Special note 2: the parallel edition with the illustrations by Louis Jou on one side and a modern French version (Bonnefon) on the other
  • Some more books by William Hearn:
    • The Government of England (1868) - facs. PDF
    • The Aryan Household (1878) - facs. PDF
    • The Theory of Legal Duty and Rights (1883) - facs. PDF
  • A list of the collected (complete?) works of Frédéric Bastiat with links to the texts
  • Me on strategy:
    • "An Historical Examination of Past and Present Strategies used to bring about Ideological and Political Change" (Feb. 2018; revised 13 Nov. 2020) HTML.
    • "Pierre F. Goodrich's Goals and Strategy for the Liberty Fund: A Reconstruction" (Feb. 2018, 23 June 2019). HTML.
    • "How the Online Library of Liberty follows the Strategies outlined by Pierre F. Goodrich" (Feb. 2018) HTML
    • an older paper: "Entrepreneurs, Investors, and Scribblers: An Austrian Analysis of the Structure of Production and Distribution of Ideas". A paper given at the Southern Economics Association, New Orleans, November 21-23, 2015. HTML and PDF.
  • Rothbard on Strategy for Change:
    • 1965: "Left and Right: The Prospects for Liberty", Left and Right. A Journal of Libertarian Thought, Spring 1965, no. 1, pp. 4-22. Facs. PDF version; HTML version.
    • 1973: "A Strategy for Liberty" in For a New Liberty (New York: Macmillan, 1973). PDF version; HTML version (from the 2006 edition).
    • 1977: a new clean copy of Rothbard's seminal and provocative paper on "Toward a Strategy for Libertarian Social Change" (April, 1977) - PDF and HTML versions.
    • 1978: his 1977 paper was summarised and published with a collection of other essays on libertarian strategy in Libertarian Review (Aug. 1978) - "Strategies for a Libertarian Victory". HTML version; PDF version
      • see the entire issue of Libertarian Review with articles by Milton Mueller, Ed Crane, Leonard Liggio, Charles Koch, Bill Evers, and David Theroux: PDF version.
    • 1982: "Toward a Theory of Strategy for Liberty" (1982) in The Ethics of Liberty. PDF version; and HTML version.
    • 1986: "Concepts of the Role of Intellectuals in Social Change Toward Laissez Faire", The Journal of Libertarian Studies, vol. IX, no. 2 (Fall 1990), pp. 43-67. Facs. PDF version.
    • 1992 Jan.: "Right-Wing Populism: A Strategy for the Paleo Movement," Rothbard-Rockwell Report (Jan. 1992) pp. 5-14. HTML version; facs. PDF version.
    • 1992 Jan.: "A Strategy for the Right," Rothbard-Rockwell Report (January 1992). HTML version.
    • 1994 Oct.: "A New Strategy for Liberty," Rothbard-Rockwell Report (October 1994).  HTML version; facs. PDF version.
  • Rothbard's complete Libertarian Forum (1969-1984) in HTML (and thus properly searchable! - I was interested in finding the first use of the term "anarcho-capitalism" and "free market anarchism")
  • Rothbard, "Economic Determinism, Ideology, And The American Revolution" (1974). A paper delivered at the Libertarian Scholars Conference, Oct. 28, 1974 in New York City. On class and ideas.


Étienne de la Boétie (1530-1563) William Edward Hearn (1826-1888) Pierre F. Goodrich (1894-1973) Murray N. Rothbard (1926-1995)

October 2020

January-September 2020

Sept. 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

Jan. 2020

  • blog post: Some Key Terms used by Bastiat in his Economic Theory (22 December, 2019)
  • "An Introduction to the Classical Liberal Tradition: People, Ideas, and Movements". A talk given at the Mannkal Economic Education Foundation, Perth (30 January, 2020). The PDF of my overheads and some Further Reading.
  • "Understanding Class Divisions in Society: A Classical Liberal Approach". A talk organised by the Adam Smith Centre and the School of Social Sciences, Singapore Management University, 20 Jan. 2020. [HTML] and [PDF]