Online Library Of Liberty

A Brief History of Liberty
by David Schmidtz, Jason Brennan

Through a fusion of philosophical, social scientific, and historical methods, A Brief History of Liberty provides a comprehensive, philosophically-informed portrait of the elusive nature of one of our most cherished ideals.

  • Offers a succinct yet thorough survey of personal freedom
  • Explores the true meaning of liberty, drawing philosophical lessons about liberty from history
  • Considers the writings of key historical figures from Socrates and Erasmus to Hobbes, Locke, Marx, and Adam Smith
  • Combines philosophical rigor with social scientific analysis
  • Argues that liberty refers to a range of related but specific ideas rather than limiting the concept to one definition

The State
by Anthony De Jasay

Strikingly original. . . . De Jasay offers the most compelling account of what is wrong and dangerous about the state.”

?Alan Ryan

The State is an idiosyncratic and brilliant analysis of modern political arrangements that views the state as acting in its own interest contrary to the interests of individuals and even of an entire society. As Nobel laureate James Buchanan has observed, Jasay subjects the state to a “solid, foundational analysis, grounded in an understanding of economic theory, informed by political philosophy and a deep sense of history.” The results include a “devastating critique of the absurdities of modern welfare economics.” Jasay traces the logical and historical progression of the state from a modest-sized protector of life and property through its development into what he believes to be an “agile seducer of democratic majorities, to the welfare-dispensing drudge that it is today.” Can, Jasay wonders, this seemingly inexorable expansion of the state be stopped? Or, “Is the rational next step [for the state] a totalitarian enhancement of its power?”

Anthony de Jasay is an independent theorist living in France. Jasay ?believes that philosophy should be mainly, if not exclusively, about clarifying conclusions that arise from the careless use of, or deliberate misuse of, language. There are echoes here of . . . Wittgenstein’s later philosophy.” His books, translated into a half dozen languages, include Justice and Its Surroundings and Social Contract, Free Ride.

[source/credit line] I. M. D. Little in Ordered Anarchy, 2007

Thomas Jefferson
by Joseph J. Ellis

April 2000 will launch a panoply of events celebrating the Library of Congress’s 200th anniversary, the star of which will be exhibition Thomas Jefferson: Genius of Liberty. Featuring more than 150 valuable and historic items and a rare public display of the Jefferson library that is the nucleus of the Library’s collections, both tine exhibition and its companion book will seek out the complex character, ideals, and motivations behind the mythic founding achievements of this brilliant son of the Enlightenment.

The book’s lively narrative, illuminated by Jefferson’s own words, weaves back and forth between the public career — delegate to the Continental Congress, author of the Declaration of Independence and other calls to liberty, governor of Virginia, two-term president — and his life at his beloved plantation and house, Monticello. Commentaries on manuscripts explore the conflicts between his public ideals, political realities, and his private life, including the recent controversial evidence of a long liaison with his slave Sally Hemings. From his worldview to his family relationships, Thomas Jefferson provides a new and intimate sense of the man historians have only recently begun to extricate from thc lofty abstractions that have born his name.

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