Saturday, November 6, 2010

What is the Moorfield Storey Institute?

The classical liberal founders of libertarianism were great advocates of extending social freedom and improving the lives of the most vulnerable in society. Classical liberalism, before Smith’s Wealth of Nations was even written, fought for freedom of conscience and for the separation of church and state.  Classical liberals actively opposed slavery and the slave trade and helped lead the Abolitionist cause. Similarly our philosophical forefathers fought for free trade, not merely because it was more profitable, but because it improved the well-being of the working poor and furthered the cause of world peace. The concentration of power rarely benefits the poor and powerless, but is almost always used to further the interests of the rich and powerful.

Throughout history there has been an intricate and intimate link between economic freedom and social freedoms and equality before the law. True emancipation and equality of rights before the law, are only possible when the economic system is depoliticized within a regime of private property and the rule of law. Libertarian thinking has always had much to contribute to the struggles of the oppressed and marginalized.

The Moorfield Storey Institute is a new libertarian organization dedicated to applying libertarian thinking to today’s struggle for civil liberties and equality before the law.

The Institute is named in honor of Moorfield Storey (1845-1929). Storey was an advocate for hard-money, free trade and laissez faire. But Storey became best known as a champion for a pro-peace foreign policy and for the rights of racial minorities. Storey was president of the Anti-Imperialist League, president of the American Bar Association, and the first president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Storey successful fought a segregation law in the US Supreme Court arguing the case on the basis of property rights and freedom of contract. Storey’s life exemplified the connection between civil rights and economic freedom.

The Moorfield Storey Institute is a non-profit educational and charitable organization dedicated to the expansion of social freedom, tolerance, and equality of rights before the law.

In particular the Institute explores how the fundamental principles of a free society, depoliticized markets, property rights and individual freedom, benefit the most vulnerable citizens such as the poor and minority groups. 

The Institute will publish studies, and hold conferences exploring these questions as well as distribute books and videos exploring the whole gamut of freedom as understood within the classical liberal framework.

In addition the Institute, firmly believing that depoliticized markets benefit the most impoverished people of the world, will directly engage in charitable activity meant to promote economic development in developing nations.  Institute projects include:

Cobden Press • a publisher of books, both fiction and non-fiction, promoting the values of the Institute. Projects carried out by Cobden Press include the publication of The Vision of Ayn Rand by Nathaniel Branden; Why Liberty, a collection of essays by different authors explaining whey they embraced libertarianism; and Liberty and Globaliation, a series of papers given by different authors on the role of freedom in a  globalized world. Projects that Cobden Press is currently tackling includes; Gay Marriage on Trial, selected transcripts from the Proposition 8 trial, including the ruling by the judge; as well as several books exploring the common ground between libertarians and the modern Left.

The Center for Civil Libertarianism • Concentrates on the promotion of social freedom, social tolerance and equality before the law. 

The Bastiat Center for Peace and Trade • Promotes non-interventionist foreign policy, the voluntary exchange of goods and services, capital, and labor.

The Adam Smith Benevolent Fund • Raises monies and distributes grants specifically to fund microlending projects in developing nations, encourage private education in poor countries, and contribute to worthy, non-governmental infrastructure projects.

The Laissez Faire Center • Promotes economic freedom; opposes crony capitalism while favoring depoliticized markets. Exposes how the regulatory state is captured by economic elites and used for their benefit.

The Moorfield Storey Institute was founded by James Peron, former president of Laissez Faire Books and author of numerous books including: Liberty Reclaimed, Zimbabwe: Death of a Dream, and Exploding Population Myths. The MSI Board includes Prof. David Beito; University of Alabama, chair of the Alabama State Advisorty Committee of the United States Commission on Civil Rights; Prof. Steven Horwitz; chair of the Department of Economics, St. Lawrence University; Wolfgang Mueller, director, The Berlin-Manhattan Institute; Michael Strong; CEO and co-founder of FLOW, and Sky Conway, film producer.

The Institute is incorporated as a non-profit educational charity and has been told that tentative approval of it's 501(c)3 status has been granted, with an official confirmation to be mailed shortly.

Donations or inquiries can be sent to the Moorfield Storey Institute, 20258 Hwy 18, Suite 430-500, Apple Valley, CA 92307. 


  1. Libertarians are just Republicans with a name that sounds tolerant, but ISN'T!

    1. With evidence like that how can we possibly respond?

      Of course, I think our track record of articles at Huffington Post make it clear where we stand.

      Did it ever occur to you that your stereotype of libertarian is little different from how the Klan sees blacks, or fundamentalists view gays? Just suggesting, you might consider that. But, I suspect you won't.

    2. You should take that up with your fellow "libertarians", who are against government intrusion until it comes to a woman's right to choose, or my right to marry. Are you denying that many, if not most, who claim to be libertarian are in reality nothing more than right wing conservatives?

  2. Anonymous: You are being something of an ass. First, you are attacking people here who spend more time fighting for marriage equality than you do, we are on it almost full time. Second, we support a woman's right to choose, but who do you bitch at? If you want to bitch then do it at the people who are NOT libertarian on those issues, not at those who are. Talk about misplaced anger. If this is your strategy to win friends and influence people, you are getting it very wrong.

    There is no central planning board that can stop some conservatives from calling themselves libertarians. That is one of the problems with freedom of speech, people can call themselves anything they want. You can call yourself Fido, but it won't make you a dog. Nor is there evidence that "most" people who call themselves libertarian are against these freedoms. Given that most Americans are, and given that libertarians were in favor of abortion rights and gay marriage, before most Americans were, logic would imply that MOST can not hold those positions.

    But, you aren't really interested in those issues. You just want to slag libertarians. If you were interested in those issues you wouldn't be spending your time attacking pro-choice, marriage equality sites like this one.