April 8, 2015 Print

A successful economy requires entrepreneurs who can see the resources and opportunities around them and conceive how to apply them to new and better uses. In the world of ideas, it’s no less important to find the right people to work with the right organizations and provide them with a rich intellectual foundation on which they can build their own innovative strategies for bringing increased freedom to the world. That was the role embodied by Leonard Liggio, Atlas Network’s late executive vice president of academics, for more than seven decades before he passed away in October 2014.

Atlas Network partner the Future of Freedom Foundation (FFF) has posted a new memorial tribute to Liggio’s life and influence, written by Sheldon Richman, former FFF vice president and 15-year editor of The Freeman. Richman reminisces about Liggio’s profound effect on his own intellectual journey, beginning in the 1970s at the first Cato Institute summer seminar. He hails Liggio’s role in building the modern global libertarian movement, which may be unappreciated by many today because it was accomplished largely behind the scenes by a kind, gentle, unassuming man who didn’t seek the spotlight. Liggio’s tremendous impact is in large part attributable to his thorough and multidisciplinary understanding of intellectual history, along with his enthusiasm for continually making connections between the right people and ideas.

“Leonard had the remarkable ability to find common ground with diverse people,” Richman writes. “He was a radical libertarian devoted to individualism, free markets, and peace. He was a sworn enemy of tyranny, imperialism, and war. But he could overcome ideological disagreements with others by finding those areas in which they believed in human dignity and freedom. He was welcome in New Left circles during the Vietnam War (he participated in Bertrand Russell’s War Crimes Tribunal on Vietnam in 1971) and some years later at the conservative Heritage Foundation and Philadelphia Society. The key to his success was his ability to show the connections among mercantilism, imperialism, regulation of business, welfarism, and government spending, inflation, and debt.”

Read the full memorial by Sheldon Richman, “Leonard P. Liggio (1933–2014).”

Read “In Memoriam: Leonard Liggio.”

Visit the Liggio Legacy Project website.