Freedom Circle logo
Freedom Circle

Where Can You Find Freedom Today?

Historian, research fellow at The Independent Institute
Joseph R. Stromberg


Independent Institute, Research Fellow
Center for a Stateless Society, Senior Fellow


Non-Marxist Theories of Imperialism, by Alan Fairgate, Reason, Feb 1976
Examines writings of critics of imperialism that are not based on Marxist analysis
Such an analysis should be an essential element in any effort to formulate a systematic libertarian theory of imperialism. Joseph Stromberg, in 'The Political Economy of Liberal Corporatism' ... and in a subsequent paper, 'American Monopoly Statism and the Rise of Empire' ... has made an important initial effort in this direction. While his economic analysis may be challenged, Stromberg's work remains essential reading for those interested in this field, since it is a sophisticated attempt to trace the relationship between domestic economic intervention and military intervention abroad.


Felix Morley: An Old-fashioned Republican,, 7 Dec 1999
Biographical and bibliographical essay
Felix Morley served the cause we now call the Old Right for many years. His thought was a well-wrought synthesis of classical republicanism and classical liberalism. This led people to see him as a "conservative"–but let's not argue labels just now. Born in Pennsylvania in 1894 to English parents, Morley was an essayist ... and writer of books on politics and foreign policy ... Morley–unlike the gang of new right conservatives–understood one of the most important "causal connections": "Total war, arriving in our lifetime, is the perfected means for building the totalitarian state."
Frank Chodorov: A Libertarian's Libertarian, 30 Nov 1999
Biographical essay on Frank Chodorov with emphasis on his foreign policy views, and his debates about the Cold War with William F. Buckley Jr. and William S. Schlamm in the pages of The Freeman
Frank Chodorov (1887-1966) could well be called a libertarian's libertarian. The eleventh child of Russian immigrants on the Lower West Side of New York, he was named Fishel Chodorowsky but was "always known as Frank Chodorov." A 1907 graduate of Columbia University, he had a textile business, followed by a mail-order clothing business ...
What he did hope was that Americans would listen to a world tired of our overseas therapies and know-how and "return to that isolationism which for over a hundred years prospered the nation and gained for us the respect and admiration of the world."
Frédéric Bastiat: Two Hundred Years On, 2001
Extensive survey of Bastiat's life and writings; "EH" refers to Economic Harmonies, "Sophisms" to Economic Sophisms, "Essays" to Selected Essays in Political Economy (all three from FEE, 1964)
French laissez faire liberal economist Frédéric Bastiat (June 30, 1801-December 24, 1850) has suffered over the years from a particularly bad press. Karl Marx called him "the shallowest and therefore the most successful representative of the apologists of vulgar economics." ... For Bastiat, there was no insuperable conflict between essential moral teachings and economic science. His system reconciled theism, free will, natural law, and voluntary social action ... As Henry Hazlitt wrote, "We could use more Bastiats today. We have, in fact, desperate need of them."
Freedom vs. Liberty, 10 Jul 2001
Delves into the etymology and semantics of the English words "freedom" and "liberty"
English is a language blessed, or cursed, with an overflowing wordhoard. 30% or so of our vocabulary comes to us from Old English (with some reinforcement from Old Norse). To this Germanic base, the Norman Conquest added tens of thousands of Norman French words – very roughly 60% of the whole vocabulary ... liberty and freedom are very old notions with a pedigree at least as impressive as those of any opposing concepts. It would be premature, then, to agree with the song-wright who claimed that "freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose." Freedom might well be the very "thing" it is most important not to lose.
Garet Garrett (1878-1954) On Empire, 5 Aug 2000
Biographical and bibliographical essay, focusing on the essays in The People's Pottage
I have foregone writing about Garet Garrett in this space partly because Justin Raimondo has written so often and eloquently about him in his columns. Nonetheless, Garrett was such an interesting and articulate – if, in the end, forlorn and hopeless – critic of the system of US global meddling that it seems a pity not to say something about him in this column. ... Sixth and last: The empire becomes 'A prisoner of history.' This is the worst feature of all, and all the Compassionate Conservatism in the world won't help us here, short of repudiating empire and all its works. Someone tell ole George, will ya?
Gustave de Molinari on States and Defense, 25 Jul 2000
Examines Molinari's conception of states, including democracies, and their role in defense, as well as his proposal for agencies to provide defense against external aggressors
Gustave de Molinari (1819-1912) was born in Belgium but spent much of his life in France as a member of the French laissez faire liberal school of economists. This school, which dominated economics in France during the 19th century, built upon the work of Jean-Baptiste Say ... [Molinari's] "retreat" is this: under the spell of the notion of indivisible public goods, he has reintroduced the notion of territorial monopoly into his pure-market theory of defense ... Gustave de Molinari made a impressive contribution to the discussion, whether his later partial "retreat" was mistaken or not.
Lysander Spooner (1808-1887) and Foreign Policy, 8 May 2000
Begins wih biographical summary and then delves into Spooner's views on slavery, the U.S. Constitution and the War Between the States
In truth, I have not been entirely candid in composing the above title. Spooner never said that much about foreign policy as such; but did have a lot to say about governments and wars, and that is close enough for present purposes. Another snag is that few have ever heard of Spooner ... Politics does not stop at the water's edge; it continues there. Spooner's critique, which will strike some folk as extreme and cynical, bespeaks an exceptional willingness to face what Nietzsche calls "the awful news" (although Nietzsche may have had something else in mind).
The Spanish-American War: The Leap into Overseas Empire, Part 2, Freedom Daily, Jan 1999
Discusses the Philippine-American War, that followed the Spanish-American War, and the actions and writings of the Anti-Imperialist League, William Graham Sumner and other opposed to the war and colonialism
In February 1899, uneasy relations between U.S. forces and the Filipino insurgents turned into actual fighting. America was now to learn the sorrows of empire along with its joys. Rallying under the slogan ... 'There is no right to sell a nation like a sack of potatoes', Filipinos flocked to the forces of Aguinaldo and Mabini to oppose the new colonial masters. ... Sumner remarked in 1900 that 'the political history of the United States for the next 50 years will date from the Spanish war of 1898.' Indeed. ... One hundred years later, we need to get on with turning away from its legacy.
The Spanish-American War: The Leap into Overseas Empire, Part 1, Freedom Daily, Dec 1998
Describes the political and other forces that led to the Spanish-American War, the military actions in Cuba and the Philippines and the immediate aftermath
The Spanish-American War, whose centennial we observe this year, was a short war, a popular war, and a rather cheap war, both in lives and money. It was, as John Hay, soon to be secretary of state, put it, 'a splendid little war.' It was, however, fraught with long-range consequences. ... In the end, the United States took Guam, the Marianas, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico, and gave Spain $20 million for the lot. Cuba became an American protectorate – and the working model of informal imperial control. The president had to use all his leverage to get the Senate to ratify the final treaty (on December 10) ...