Anything That's Peaceful by Leonard E. Read

JULY 29, 2009 by LEONARD E. READ

The title of this book has become one of the most recognizable shorthand expressions for the fundamental ideas of classical liberalism and free markets. Read, the founder of the Foundation for Economic Education, wrote a number of books and essays over his career, but this is in many ways his summation of his beliefs. He lays out a defense of the free market against all forms of interventionism and socialism, defending the proposition in the title that humans should be free to engage in anything that is peaceful. Read’s analysis of the way the state is the source of, and not the solution to, social strife is particularly important and very relevant to our own time in which debates over what government should do have become even more feverish. It also contains a version of Read’s classic essay “I, Pencil,” which illustrates the power of markets to create undesigned order.


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Leonard E. Read (1898-1983) was the founder of FEE, and the author of 29 works, including the classic parable “I, Pencil.”


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