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News Release
March 22, 2006

The Challenge of Liberty
Classical Liberalism Today


The Challenge of Liberty follows the best tradition of classical liberal thought and, in its effort to update the premises of classical liberalism, challenges with solid arguments many of the myths of our times.”
—Mario Vargas Llosa, author of The Time of the Hero and A Fish in Water

The Challenge of Liberty deserves the attention of a wide swath of scholars. The 16 authors who contributed to this volume have maintained consistently high standards of scholarship, as well as a refreshing capacity to provoke readers into a reconsideration of long-held views.”
—Nathan Rosenberg, Professor of Public Policy (Emeritus), Stanford University

Is liberty advancing or retreating? Are people around the world gaining or losing political and economic freedom? Which policies, institutions, and attitudes support a free society, and how well are these pillars holding up around the world? The broad themes of classical liberalism--individual rights, human dignity, market economies, and the rule of law--influenced the founding of the American Republic and to varying degrees the 19th-century constitutions of many European states. Although the doctrine has been eclipsed more recently by the ideologies of contemporary liberalism and conservatism, a renaissance of classical liberal thought is now underway. Is classical liberalism still vital in today’s world?

The Challenge of Liberty: Classical Liberalism Today (The Independent Institute, April 2006), edited by Robert Higgs and Carl Close, collects essays by 16 scholars that provide a fresh and insightful look at the relevance of classical liberal doctrine to today’s public policy issues. The contributors begin by carefully re-examining the intellectual roots of Western political and economic institutions, including the works of John Locke, Adam Smith, and other early classical liberals. The second half of the book focuses on present-day policy concerns and the relevance of classical liberalism today. Many of these concerns center upon the coercive powers of large government bureaucracies and their impact on issues of defense, constitutional law, health, education, and commerce.

The Challenge of Liberty includes:

Part I: Is Classical Liberalism Still Vital?
* The Soul of Classical Liberalism -- James M. Buchanan
* Economics with Romance -- Dwight R. Lee
* From Smith to Menger to Hayek -- Steven Horwitz,
* Liberalism, Loose or Strict -- Anthony de Jasay
Part II: Freedom and the Moral Society
* On the Nature of Civil Society -- Charles K. Rowley
* Liberty, Dignity, and Responsibility -- Daniel B. Klein
* Moral Capital and Commercial Society -- Suri Ratnapala
* Liberalism and the Common Good -- Linda C. Raeder
Part III: Securing Freedom
* Securing Constitutional Government -- Suri Ratnapala
* The Primacy of Property in a Liberal Constitutional Order: Lessons for China -- James A. Dorn
* The Will to Be Free: The Role of Ideology in National Defense -- Jeffrey Rogers Hummel
* The Inhumanity of Government Bureaucracies -- Hans Sherrer
Part IV: Individualism versus "Group Think"
* Freedom of Religion and Public Schooling -- James R. Otteson
* Is National Rational? -- Anthony de Jasay
* A Critique of Group Loyalty -- Laurie Calhoun
* The Therapeutic State -- Thomas S. Szasz
Part V: Classical Liberals Respond to Their Critics
* What Is Living and What Is Dead in Classical Liberalism? -- Charles K. Rowley
* The Ways of John Gray: A Libertarian Commentary -- Daniel B. Klein
* An Original Omission? Property in Rawls’ Political Thought -- Quentin P. Taylor
* Has John Roemer Resurrected Market Socialism? -- Michael Wohlgemuth

Robert Higgs is Senior Fellow at The Independent Institute and Editor of the Institute’s quarterly journal, The Independent Review.

Carl P. Close is Academic Affairs Director at The Independent Institute.

422 Pages • Index • 6 x 9 Inches • 6 Figures • ISBN 1-59813-002-7 paperback

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