Learning for Liberty


So much to read and learn, and so little time. Thanks in no small measure to the energy that Ron Paul’s candidacy unleashed, more people than ever are eager to cut through the propaganda and uncover the truth. But where to start? And how can you get the most out of the time you have to devote to reading and study?

I put together the resources that follow as my way of answering these questions. I’ve included books (many in free online versions) and articles, as well as audio and video files that are also free. For the current crisis, see especially The Bailout Reader. Take a look also at the reading list Dr. Paul includes in his book The Revolution: A Manifesto. Many of these titles also appear in the categories below: economics, sound money, foreign policy, the Constitution, and civil liberties.

Can we read our way to freedom? No, but we cannot be effective activists in the Ron Paul tradition unless we know some economics and history, and the various depredations, foreign and domestic, of the regime.


These three books, all relatively short and available online or for purchase, are an excellent starting point for an education in sound economics.

Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt; online here Essentials of Economics by Faustino Ballv; online here (.pdf) An Introduction to Austrian Economics by Thomas C. Taylor; online here and here (.pdf) A useful companion to Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson is this series of videos, recorded in July—August 2008, in which various professors comment on each of the book’s chapters — explaining the argument, elaborating on it, and applying it to present conditions.

Video 1: The Lesson Video 2: The Broken Window Video 3: Public Works Mean Taxes Video 4: Credit Diverts Production Video 5: The Curse of Machinery Video 6: Disbanding Troops and Bureaucrats Video 7: Who’s Protected by Tariffs? Video 8: “Parity” Prices Video 9: How the Price System Works Video 10: Minimum Wage Laws Video 11: The Function of Profits Video 12: The Assault on Saving

Additional Introductory Reading in Economics

The Revolution: A Manifesto by Ron Paul, ch. 4; the audiobook is here

The Concise Guide to Economics by Jim Cox

Making Economic Sense by Murray N. Rothbard

Pillars of Prosperity: Free Markets, Honest Money, Private Property by Ron Paul

Economic Policy: Thoughts for Today and Tomorrow by Ludwig von Mises

Free Market Economics: A Reader by Bettina Bien Greaves

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism by Robert P. Murphy

Free Market Economics: A Syllabus by Bettina Bien Greaves

The Church and the Market: A Catholic Defense of the Free Economy by Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? by Richard J. Maybury (a great introduction to economics for homeschoolers; study guide included)

Introduction to Austrian Economic Analysis: A Ten-Lecture Course

This course with Professor Joseph Salerno of Pace University, courtesy of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, is available in both video and mp3 audio at the link above. (Suggested readings to accompany the lectures are listed here.) To learn more about the Austrian School of economics, read this essay and this essay.

Advanced Texts in Austrian Economics

Man, Economy, and State: A Treatise on Economic Principles by Murray N. Rothbard The Scholars’ Edition of this book, which we link to, also contains the book Power and Market, which had originally been intended as the concluding section of Man, Economy, and State but was released in 1970 as a separate book. The entire text is also available online here. A study guide is available for purchase and online here (.pdf). Human Action: A Treatise on Economics by Ludwig von Mises This entire book is available online here. A study guide to this book is still being compiled; the chapters that have been finished so far are available online here. Money, Banking, and Economic Cycles by Jess Huerta de Soto A sweeping and historic contribution to the literature of the Austrian School, showing how monetary freedom avoids the disadvantages of fiat money, including inflation, business cycles, and financial bubbles.

Foreign Aid and Development Economics

Equality, the Third World, and Economic Delusion by Peter Bauer

From Subsistence to Exchange and Other Essays by Peter Bauer

“The Marshall Plan: Myths and Realities” (.pdf) by Tyler Cowen

The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists’ Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics by William Easterly

“The History of Foreign Aid Programs” (mp3) by Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

Miscellaneous Readings in Economics

“Politically Contrived Gasoline Shortage” (.pdf) by Craig S. Marxsen

“The Anatomy of Social Security and Medicare” (.pdf) by Edgar K. Browning

Losing Ground: American Social Policy, 1950—1980 by Charles Murray

The Conquest of Poverty by Henry Hazlitt

The Economics and Ethics of Private Property (advanced) by Hans-Hermann Hoppe

Sound Money

An Overview

The Revolution: A Manifesto by Ron Paul, ch. 6 (audiobook)

Gold, Peace, and Prosperity by Ron Paul; also available in mp3 audio

“Money, Banking, and the Federal Reserve” (documentary, via Google Video)

What Has Government Done to Our Money? by Murray N. Rothbard

The Case for a 100 Percent Gold Dollar by Murray N. Rothbard; a new edition of What Has Government Done to Our Money containing this work can be purchased here. (The two are also available on mp3 audio here.) The Case for Gold by Ron Paul and Lewis Lehrman

The Gold Standard: Perspectives in the Austrian School, ed. Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. (online in .pdf here)

A History of Money and Banking in the United States from the Colonial Period to World War II by Murray N. Rothbard; online here (.pdf)

The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve by G. Edward Griffin

“The Myth of the ‘Independent’ Fed” by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

“Did Greenspan Deserve Support for Another Term?” (.pdf) by Joseph T. Salerno (mp3 audio)

“The Path to Sound Money” (mp3 audio) by George Reisman

“The Economics of Inflation” (mp3 audio) by George Reisman

The Case Against the Fed by Murray N. Rothbard (online here; free audiobook here)

The Business Cycle

What makes the economy experience periodic booms and busts? Contrary to what Karl Marx claimed, these are not an inevitable feature of a market economy. Economist F.A. Hayek won the Nobel Prize in economics for showing how central banking (the Federal Reserve System in the American case) and its manipulation of the interest rate initiates unsustainable booms that lead inevitably to a bust. This is known as the Austrian theory of the business (or trade) cycle, and it’s the subject of this section.

The Austrian Theory of the Trade Cycle and Other Essays (online here; free audiobook here). The ideal place to start on this subject. This short book consists of short essays on Austrian business cycle theory. No prior knowledge is necessary.

“Business Cycle Primer” by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

“Sound Money and the Business Cycle” by John P. Cochran

“Who Predicted the Bubble? Who Predicted the Crash?” (.pdf) by Mark Thornton

“Mises vs. Fisher on Money, Method, and Prediction: The Case of the Great Depression” (.pdf) by Mark Thornton

“Predicting Booms and Busts” (mp3 audio) by Mark Thornton

Banking and the Business Cycle (mp3 audio) by Joseph T. Salerno

America’s Great Depression, 5th ed. (online in here, and in .pdf here) by Murray N. Rothbard

What About Deflation?

Because the possibility of “deflation” is so often raised as an objection to a commodity standard, we include a separate section of articles and lectures refuting this specific claim. Much of the material in this section is for the advanced student. Articles:

“Deflation and Depression: Where’s the Link?” by Joseph T. Salerno

“Apoplithorismosphobia” (.pdf) by Mark Thornton. (Thornton coined the term to refer to the fear of deflation.) Thornton speaks on this topic in this mp3 file.

“An Austrian Taxonomy of Deflation — With Applications to the U.S.” (.pdf) by Joseph T. Salerno

“Deflation and Japan Revisited” (.pdf) by Richard C.B. Johnsson

Audio (in mp3 audio):

“On Deflation” by Joseph T. Salerno

“The Economics of Deflation” by Jörg Guido Hülsmann

“Deflation and Liberty” by Jörg Guido Hülsmann

“The Gold Standard in Theory and in Myth” by Joseph T. Salerno

Monograph: Deflation and Liberty (.pdf), by Jörg Guido Hülsmann; this essay, available for purchase, is a lengthier version of the lecture of the same name linked above.

Foreign Policy

An Overview


The Revolution: A Manifesto by Ron Paul, ch. 2 (audiobook)

A Foreign Policy of Freedom: ‘Peace, Commerce, and Honest Friendship’ by Ron Paul

Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire by Chalmers Johnson

Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror by Michael Scheuer

The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War by Andrew J. Bacevich

The Old Right and War:

Ain’t My America: The Long, Noble History of Antiwar Conservatism and Middle American Anti-Imperialism by Bill Kauffman

Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement by Justin Raimondo

The Betrayal of the American Right by Murray N. Rothbard; online here

Prophets on the Right: Profiles of Conservative Critics of American Globalism by Ronald Radosh

Other Important Books:

Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic by Chalmers Johnson

Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq by Stephen Kinzer

The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic by Chalmers Johnson

Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism by Robert A. Pape

American Empire: The Realities and Consequences of U.S. Diplomacy by Andrew J. Bacevich

The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism by Andrew J. Bacevich

War Is a Racket by Maj. Gen. Smedley D. Butler; online here

The War for Righteousness: Progressive Christianity, the Great War and the Rise of the Messianic Nation by Richard Gamble

The Costs of War: America’s Pyrrhic Victories, ed. John V. Denson

We Who Dared to Say No to War: American Antiwar Writing From 1812 to Now by Murray Polner and Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

Wall Street, Banks, and American Foreign Policy by Murray N. Rothbard; online here


“Our Own Strength Against Us: The War on Terror as a Self-Inflicted Disaster” (.pdf) by Ian S. Lustick

“What Do the Terrorists Want?” (.pdf) by James L. Payne


Scott Horton’s Antiwar Radio has featured some of the most important intellectuals, journalists, and political figures of our day, and its archive is a treasure trove of knowledge. Scott suggests the following as some of his best and most informative interviews. Access his full archive, subscribe to his podcast, and listen live from 12:00pm—2:00pm Eastern.

Michael Scheuer, 22-year CIA veteran, former head of the agency’s Osama bin Laden unit, and author of Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror

Robert Pape, author, Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism

Chalmers Johnson, author and professor emeritus of the University of California, San Diego

Philip Giraldi, former CIA officer and columnist, The American Conservative

Ron Paul on Terrorism and more

Patrick Cockburn, Middle East correspondent for the Independent

John Cusack, actor, on his film War, Inc.

Jim Powell, author, Wilson’s War

Ron Paul on Iraq and Afghanistan

Chris Hedges, author, War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning

Carah Ong, Iran Policy Analyst, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation

Scott Ritter, former UN weapons inspector

Larry Velvel, dean, Massachusetts School of Law

Gareth Porter, reporter, IPS News

The Economics of Foreign Policy


“The Trillion-Dollar Defense Budget Is Already Here” by Robert Higgs

“The Neglected Costs of the Warfare State” (.pdf) by Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

“Military Spending / Gross Domestic Product = Nonsense for Budget Policymaking” (.pdf) by Robert Higgs

“Military-Economic Fascism: How Business Corrupts Government, and Vice Versa” by Robert Higgs

“Do We Need to go to War for Oil?” (.pdf) by David R. Henderson

Audio and Video:

“The Myth of War Prosperity” by Robert Higgs

“Taxation, Inflation, and War” by Joseph T. Salerno (video here)

“War and Inflation: The Monetary Process and Implications” by Joseph T. Salerno

“War and the Money Machine” by Joseph T. Salerno


Depression, War, and Cold War by Robert Higgs

Pentagon Capitalism by Seymour Melman

The Constitution


The Declaration of Independence

The Articles of Confederation

The U.S. Constitution

The Federalist Papers and the Anti-Federalist Papers

Friends of the Constitution: Writings of the “Other” Federalists, 1787—1788, eds. Colleen A. Sheehan and Gary L. McDowell

The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution (volumes VIII—X, on Virginia, are especially interesting)

Basic Reading

The Revolution: A Manifesto by Ron Paul, ch. 3 (audiobook)

Federalism: The Founders’ Design by Raoul Berger

The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution by Kevin R.C. Gutzman

Who Killed the Constitution? The Fate of American Liberty from World War I to George W. Bush by Thomas E. Woods, Jr. and Kevin R.C. Gutzman

The Constitutional Thought of Thomas Jefferson by David N. Mayer

No Treason by Lysander Spooner

Hamilton’s Curse: How Jefferson’s Archenemy Betrayed the American Revolution — And What It Means for America Today by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

33 Questions About American History You’re Not Supposed to Ask by Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

“The Constitution: Four Disputed Clauses” (mp3 audio) by Thomas E. Woods, Jr. (the Woods audio archive contains several dozen lectures, some of which involve the Constitution)

Advanced Reading

New Views of the Constitution of the United States (1823) by John Taylor (probably the best Jeffersonian overview of the Constitution; available in html and at Google Books)

A Brief Enquiry into the True Nature and Character of Our Federal Government (1840) by Abel Upshur. A brilliant and unjustly neglected short book on the nature of the Union created by the Constitution. Available online and as Classic Reprint No. 120 from Vance Publications. Read the foreword.

Government by Judiciary: The Transformation of the Fourteenth Amendment by Raoul Berger

“The Original Meaning of the Commerce Clause” by Randy Barnett

Virginia’s American Revolution: From Dominion to Republic, 1776—1840 by Kevin R.C. Gutzman

“Madison and the Compound Republic” by Kevin Gutzman (later published as “‘Oh, What a Tangled Web We Weave…’: James Madison and the Compound Republic,” Continuity 22 [Spring 1998]: 19—29)

Civil Liberties An Overview

The Revolution: A Manifesto by Ron Paul, ch. 5 (audiobook)

Freedom Under Siege by Ron Paul

How Would a Patriot Act? by Glenn Greenwald

Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime from the Sedition Act of 1798 to the War on Terror by Geoffrey R. Stone

“The Bill of Rights: Searches and Seizures” by Jacob Hornberger

“The Bill of Rights: Due Process of Law” by Jacob Hornberger

“The Enemy Combatant Attack on Freedom, Part 1” by Jacob Hornberger

“The Enemy Combatant Attack on Freedom, Part 2” by Jacob Hornberger

“Tyranny and the Military Commissions Act” by Jacob Hornberger

“Bush’s Wiretap Crimes and the FISA Farce” by James Bovard

“The Bush Torture Memos” by James Bovard

“Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America” (.pdf) by Radley Balko

Second Amendment Resource Library

The War on Drugs

Drug Crazy: How We Got Into this Mess and How We Can Get Out by Mike Gray

Bad Trip: How the War on Drugs Is Destroying America by Joel Miller

Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed by Judge James Gray

Smoke and Mirrors: The War on Drugs and the Politics of Failure by Dan Baum

Marijuana Myths Marijuana Facts: A Review of the Scientific Evidence by Lynn Etta Zimmer and John P. Morgan

Marijuana as Medicine? by Alison Mack and Janet Elizabeth Joy

Bad Neighbor Policy: Washington’s Futile War on Drugs in Latin America by Ted Galen Carpenter

“How the U.S. Government Created the u2018Drug Problem’ in the U.S.A.” by Michael E. Kreca

“How the Drug War in Afghanistan Undermines America’s War on Terror” (.pdf) by Ted Galen Carpenter

What the Drug War Did to Tulia, Texas (see also this audio resource)

Bibliography of articles on drug policy and the drug war

This is adapted from Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty. Special thanks to Anthony Gregory for his assistance with resources on the drug war.

Political Theatre

LRC Blog

LRC Podcasts