Friends of Leonard reminisce on the Liggio Legacy

Leonard Liggio 2

Leonard P. Liggio, Atlas Network’s long-time executive vice president, passed away on October 14, 2014. It’s been very touching to see the outpouring of affection following his death. We knew how beloved Leonard was within the freedom movement, but it remains nothing short of awe-inspiring to see so many tributes to his influence, his scholarship, and his kindness and generosity.

Here are just a few of the memories that Atlas Network partners and allies have shared with us: talks about Leonard’s early years as an activist in the 1950s. He mingled with the likes of Murray Rothbard and Ayn Rand while seeking out like-minded thinkers to support through the Volker Fund. He played some role in nearly every institution pushing libertarian ideas from 1950 to now.

Ron Paul talks about the “Circle Bastiat,” whose members went onto play crucial roles in the modern libertarian movement. Leonard was a master of networking and reconciliation, as evidenced by his journal Left and Right, which realized and enunciated the common ground between the old Right and new anti-war Left.

Foundation for Economic Education notes Leonard’s love for academics. His infectious passion helped spread the message of liberty to untold numbers of people all over the world. When he found a student who seemed intrigued by the principles of freedom—and he found thousands of them—Leonard inspired, educated, and connected them to others who could deepen their understanding.

In a Cato video, Tom Palmer speaks his admiration of Leonard’s deep and nuanced understanding of the humanities. Leonard was a deep well of knowledge on several subjects—history, law, philosophy, theology, and other matters—and had the indispensible ability to synthesize these subjects into a worldview that guided his life’s work. Ask him for an explanation of the Vietnam War, for example, and he was likely to tell you that you couldn’t understand the story without going back hundreds of years to the very roots of the issue.

Competitive Enterprise Institute calls Leonard “the Don of the free market community.” He played an instrumental role in the organization’s growth during the early 1990s. He also once wowed friends at a dinner with a detailed history of Chicago politics.

Centre for Civil Society remembers Leonard’s trip to India in 2002. Not only was he an encyclopedia of the libertarian movement, he also gave an impromptu tour of the old Portuguese churches in Goa. Who else would know so much about those churches!

Students for Liberty has republished an interview called “The Original Student for Liberty.” Leonard traces in much detail his formative years as an undergraduate at Georgetown and his fledgling interest in politics, before the existence of the modern libertarian movement that he would later help to build.

The Institute of Economic Affairs breaks down his legacy into three parts of equal importance: first, his role as a scholar and champion of classical liberal ideas that developed both within and outside of Western civilization; second, his work as a mentor and teacher to young people interested in ideas of liberty; and third, his devotion to Catholicism and his efforts against those who sought to make a connection between Catholic thinking and socialist statism.

The Acton Institute lamented the loss of their friend and colleague, the “Johnny Appleseed” of Classical Liberalism.

You can find more on the life, work, and legacy of Leonard Liggio at