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, 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 educational 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 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.
In particular, the Institute explores how the fundamental principles of a free society, depoliticized markets, property rights and limited government, 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.
Storey Institute Projects
* The Center for Civil Libertarianism *
Concentrates on the promotion of social freedom, social tolerance and equality before the law. We will make the libertarian case for marriage equality and repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. We will expose ways in which the young are turned into criminals by status offenses. We will show how the war on drugs harms minorities. We will expose how anti-immigrant legislation harms all of us. We will educate on the importance of free speech rights, property rights, the Second Amendment, and especially expose how government regulation and policies such an eminent domain harm the most marginalized members of society.
* The Bastiat Center for Peace and Trade *
Promotes non-interventionist foreign policy and the voluntary exchange of goods and services, capital, and labor. Our emphasis will be on how global, depoliticized markets enhance the well-being of the world's poor.
* 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. We will apply basic libertarian principles to the projects we choose to fund. Projects must be as non-governmental as possible in the nation concerned. They must encourage individual initiative and development and not encourage dependency. Projects must be secular in purpose and not associated with any political agenda. We will not fund lobbying or political organizations of any kind.
We have set up a fund directly with a reliable microlending organization, and carefully select worthy projects according to the above criteria. We pledge that 95% of all donations earmarked for the benevolent fund will be used on projects, not consumed by institutional overhead. As microlending projects are repaid, the funds will be rolled over into new microlending projects so that the fund is constantly growing. All Fr33minds order forms, online or in print, will also give customers the immediate option of making a donation to this project. Our goal is to build an explicitly libertarian-motivated charity. A portion of all sales from Fr33Minds, and donations to the Moorfield Storey Institute, go to help further economic development around the world—building the market system and global community that has long been the ideal of classical liberalism.
We will also help fund worthy private schools in poor nations, as well as help individual students. We will work with libertarian friends in various nations to identify projects worthy of support. Unlike the microlending projects, these are grants not loans.
* Fr33minds.com *
Fr33minds is a book service that sells and distributes works published by the Institute and other publishers that promote a classical liberal vision. It offers a mail order service as well as telephone and on-line ordering. MSI president James Peron was the president of Laissez Faire Books responsible for reviving LFB until it was sold off, and MSI staff member Mark Pickens was the Customer Service rep for them. William Cain is also on the Storey Institute staff as an assistant to Mr. Peron.
* Cobden Press *
The Storey Institute will publish fiction and non-fiction titles promoting the institutions values throught its own Cobden Press. Projects carried out to date include publication of The Vision of Ayn Rand by Nathaniel Branden; Why Liberty, a collection of essays by different authors explaining why they embraced libertarianism; and Liberty in a Globalized World, a series of papers given by different authors on the role of freedom in a globalized world. We have also published our first novel, City Limits.