The Essence of Liberty (Volume 1)

The Essence of Liberty (Volume 1)

Liberty and History: The Rise and Fall of the Nobel Experiment With Constitutionally Limited Government


Jimmy T. LaBaume

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This author discovered Libertarianism somewhat by accident in late 1994 or early 1995 through an article in a popular outdoor magazine.

The article outlined and explained the “official” party platform of the Libertarian Party. That was the first time this article had ever heard of any such party. I thought to myself, ‘Damn, I was born a libertarian and didn’t even know it.’

Over the years, I had sat in a multitude of economics and political science classes. Never once had I heard the names Ludvig von Mises, Murray Rothbard or any of the others for that matter. But this thing called “libertarianism” just made common sense. I was eager to learn but I was on my own.

I begin to read and outline books for my own learning benefit. This quickly led to the discovery of THE ETHICS OF LIBERTY by Murray N. Rothbard, the father of what some call Radical Libertarianism or Anarcho-Capitalism.

Hans-Hermann Hoppe described it as “Rothbard’s unique contribution to the rediscovery of property and property rights as the common foundation of both economics and political philosophy, and the systematic reconstruction and conceptual integration of modern, marginalist economics and natural-law political philosophy into a unified moral science: libertarianism.”

After having spent a lifetime searching for an objective, consistent way to make ethical choices, I had finally found it. At this point, I was a hooked Anarcho-Capitalist.

I continued to read, outline and learn. That eventually led to the launch of a web site called

Then it dawned on me that, if I converted my outlines into prose, they would make very good condensed (Cliff Note type) book reviews for my web page. This was the birth of what I called “The Essence of Liberty Series.”

It was not until years later that I came to realize that the individual parts of this series could be combined and organized into a book that might be useful, especially for those who are new to the idea of liberty. So that is how we got here.

This collection of condensed versions of some very good books is not intended to be the comprehensive, end all, burning bush of liberty. It is simply a synopsis of the books that had the most influence on me during my journey out of the darkness of neo-conservatism.

My general purpose with The Essence of Liberty is to provide an introduction and sound basic foundation in the fundamentals of a discipline that integrates sound, free market principles of economics with a property rights-natural law based ethic into a single whole—a truly universal philosophy of political economy applicable to all men at all times and in all places.

I attempt to accomplish this by offering a set of condensed versions of some of the classical as well as modern works in the “science” of liberty. I hope to “capture the essence of liberty” in as few words as possible and in a language understandable by the reasonably intelligent person without formal education in political science or economics. By necessity, any condensation or compression of complex arguments into a fraction of their original length will involve some oversimplification. I hope to do this without distortion. I refer the reader to the appropriate chapter and section of the original work for the facts, figures and other details. In this manner, I hope to whet the appetite for the original and more.

My ultimate objective is to make these logically based, common sense ideas available to a wider audience and, thereby, make a small contribution to the struggle for liberty. If I succeeded, that will have been my only small claim to originality because the ideas are from the minds and the pens of the authors. The errors are mine.

The Essence of Liberty is organized into a series of three volumes:

Volume I: Liberty and History: The Rise and Fall of the Noble Experiment with Constitutionally Limited Government.

Volume II: The Economics of Liberty

Volume III: Liberty: A Universal Political Ethic

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Philosophy of Freedom

Within this topic you’ll find a wide variety of books, many of which we hold in the highest regard. These books are also associated with other topics, such as anarchist traditions and practical liberty. All your great libertarian manifestos, books that discuss individual liberty, the non-aggression principle, laissez faire, objectivism, etc. are found within.

Anarchist traditions would be a great shortcut to find books specifically calling out anarchist principles. The name "anarchist traditions" is purposefully broad, because in addition to anarcho-capitalism and voluntaryism, there are books on anarcho-syndicalism, anarcho-communism or other forms of collectivist anarchism, as well as egoism and other schools of thought.

Practical liberty has a hodge-podge of awesome content, from the great anti-war and abolitionist books to theoretical treatises on private defense and private law; from whistleblowing and WikiLeaks to other forms of activism and civil disobedience; from secession to jury nullification and describing revolution and resistance. We’ve even thrown in some interesting "how to" books on affecting change to further one’s activist ends.

The topic of philosophy is closely associated, as many of the books tagged to the philosophy of freedom contain deep philosophical arguments from ethics and epistemology to political theory and religion. A wide variety of ideologies are represented and critiqued within the pages of the books linked here, covering the full political spectrum: whether it is Fascism versus Communism; Neoconservatism versus Progressivism or Liberalism; Nationalism and Nazism versus International Socialism and everything in between.

A note from the curator: You may see throughout the site banners promoting Liberty Classroom. As a very satisfied Master Member, I cannot recommend enough the courses within Liberty Classroom, all of which are imbued with the philosophy of freedom, including How Freedom Settled the West and History of Conservatism and Libertarianism. In full disclosure, Books of Liberty will get a small advertising fee for purchases made through our link.


One of the most popular topics on this site, history, is a fascinating subject to read. Given the nature of this site it didn’t quite make sense to create a category of ‘revisionist history’ since most of the history books featured are of that nature. Sure enough, we have uncontested historical accounts of various historical events, but when you search for history and drill further down into a specific topic (such as various wars, Pearl Harbor, The New Deal or the Great Depression), you are going to get intellectually honest ‘revisionist’ accounts of these events.

While you may expand your history search by historical event or by selecting US history or the history of some other area or nation, we have classified the history texts by period as well. You can indulge your curiosity if you are an avid reader of one of or more of the following periods: Antiquity, Biblical period, Classical period, Medieval period or the Middle ages, Early modern period, the Renaissance, or specifically within the last few hundred years, as grouped by: 16th Century, 17th Century, 18th Century, 19th Century, or the 20th Century.

And speaking of indulging yourself, with several dozen books on conspiracy theories, you may brush up on such topics as 9/11, the New World Order, False Flag operations, or on the Kennedy deaths, or various institutions and secret societies like The Illuminati, The Freemasons, Bilderberg Group, Trilateral Commission, Council on Foreign Relations, Tavistock Institute, or even Skull & Bones.

A note from the curator: The variety of history courses within Liberty Classroom, including two US History courses, two Western Civilization courses, and many (many!) more will, no doubt, make you as big of a fan of Liberty Classroom as I am. The Western Civilization courses are also available to students of the Ron Paul Curriculum homeschool program along with many other courses you will not find in public schools (or most private schools either).

In full transparency, I have no direct experience in homeschooling but if you want your kids to learn the real history you were never taught, you can’t get much better than providing them Ron Paul’s program. Books of Liberty is happy to promote both these programs in exchange for a small advertising fee because I cannot reiterate enough what terrific history resources these programs are.


While all books technically fall under this topic, we’ve reserved this mostly as a way to easily filter through the many hundred titles to find works of fiction (whether it be science fiction or dystopian novels), humor, poetry or quotes. The great manifestos are clearly labeled, as are Festschrifts, which are collections of writings published in honor of a scholar. Finally, we've included a range of biographies and autobiographies that shed light on some key individuals.

A note from the curator: With a variety of literature homeschool courses the Ron Paul Curriculum homeschool program does not disappoint. Western Literature, American Literature and Classic Autobiographies are covered in the high school years. My experience of literature in public school was horrendous and I wish I had the curriculum and approach provided by Ron Paul’s program instead. Books of Liberty gets advertising fees for those who purchase through our links.