Freedom and the Law

by Bruno Leoni

Foreword by Arthur Kemp

0002_freedom_and_the_lawFrom 1954 through 1959 I had the pleasure, the duty and the honor to administer six Institutes on Freedom and Competitive Enterprise held at Claremont Men’s College in Claremont, California.

The Institutes were designed to present a program of graduate lectures in economics and political science of special interest to those teaching related subjects as members of the faculties of American colleges and universities. At each of these Institutes three distinguished scholars were invited to present individually an analysis of freedom as the source of economic and poiitical principles; an analysis of the development of the free market mechanism and its operation; and a study of the philosophical bases, characteristics, virtues and defects of the private enterprise system.

Approximately thirty Fellows participated in each of these Institutes, selected from a long list of applicants and nominees –most were professors or instructors in economics, political science, business administration, sociology and history; a few were research scholars or writers and, here and there, even an academic dean or two. In all, about 190 Fellows participated in the six Institutes, drawn from ninety different colleges and universities located in forty different states, Canada and Mexico.

The distinguished lecturers, in addition to Professor Bruno Leoni, included:

In an effort to increase both the quality and quantity of international intellectual communication, so far as possible at least one lecturer at each Institute represented the European scholarly tradition. The lectures on which this volume is based were given at the Fifth Institute on Freedom and Competitive Enterprise from June 15 to June 28, 1958. Professor Bruno Leoni, a superb linguist fluent in English, French and German as well as his native tongue, delivered the lectures in English from handwritten notes.

These notes became the first draft of Freedom and the Law, retaining the order and form of delivery as far as possible. In the interest of written rather than oral presentation, and with the author’s express approval, I undertook a first editing.

Later a professional editor added the finishing touches. In this second edition no effort has been made to bring the material up to date except for this foreword.

The original lectures are on tape at the Institute for Humane Studies, Inc., Menlo Park, California; this volume is as close to the original series as the constraints of the written word permit.

0001_bruno_leoniBorn April 26, 1913, Bruno Leoni lived a dynamic, intense, vigorous and complex life as a scholar, lawyer, merchant, amateur architect, musician, art connoisseur linguist and-above all else-as a defender of the principles of individual freedom in which he so passionately believed. He was Professor of Legal Theory and the Theory of the State at the University of Pavia where he also served as Chairman of the Faculty of Political Science, as Director of the Institute of Political Science, and as founder-editor of the quarterly journal, Il Politico. As a distinguished visiting scholar, he traveled all over the world, delivering lectures at the Universities of Oxford and Manchester (in England), Virginia and Yale (in the United States), to mention only a few. As a practicing attorney, he maintained both his law office and his residence in Turin where he was also active in the Center of Methodological Studies. He found time, on occasion, to contribute columns to the economic and financial newspaper of Milan, 24 ore. His successful efforts in saving the lives of many allied military personnel during the German occupation of northern Italy (1944) gained him not only a gold watch inscribed “To Bruno Leoni for Gallant Service to the Allies, 1945,” but also the eternal gratitude of too many persons to mention. In September, 1967, he was elected President of The Mont Pelerin Society at the Congress of that Society held in Vichy, France-the culmination of long years of service as Secretary of the Society to which he devoted a major portion of his time and energies.

Bruno Leoni died tragically on the night of November 21, 1967, at the height of his career, at the peak of his powers and in the prime of his life. The community of scholars all over the world is poorer without him because it has been denied those promised accomplishments and achievements he could not live to finish.

A compilation of the works of Bruno Leoni, together with poignant testimonials by his friends and colleagues, may be found in the volume entitled, Omaggio a Bruno Leoni, collected and edited by Dr. Pasquale Scaramozzino (Ed. A. Giuffre, Mil:ln, 1969). A casual reading will convince even the most skeptical of his wide-ranging interests and scholarly erudition. Although most of his works are in Italian, Freedom and the Law is not; it is available only in this edition and a Spanish translation (La Libertad y La Ley, Buenos Aires, 1961). In the opinion of many, however, this is the least conventional and most challenging of all his works, promising to bridge, ,as Professor F. A. Hayek has written, “the gulf. which has come to separate the study of law from that of the theoretical social sciences.”

That promised bridge, unfortunately, \Vas never completed. It is our fond hope in publishing this second edition of Freedom and the Law that the many students and colleagues, friends and admirers of Bruno Leoni will contribute to its completion by expanding and developing the ideas and suggestions contained herein beyond the point where his efforts so abruptly ceased.

The Charles M. Stone Professor of Money and Credit
Claremont Men’s College
Claremont, Calzfornia

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