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Advancing Austrian Economics, Liberty, and Peace

Advancing the scholarship of liberty in the tradition of the Austrian School

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Where Lies This Fault?

Where Lies This Fault?

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In this 1967 essay, Leonard Read lays out what might best be termed a sociological study of libertarian activism.

Read attempts to identify different types of personalities and individuals who are likely to be amenable or resistant to the message of free markets and liberty.

Read then goes on to examine the proper methods of describing liberty and free markets. The proper approach, he explains is to have a proper appreciation for the true complexity of freedom and marketplace. Read describes this appreciation as a sort of “awe” which prevents the pro-freedom activist from reducing ideas about liberty to simplistic and unimpressive descriptions of the truly incomprehensible breadth of human ingenuity and creativity in a state of freedom.

Throughout this analysis, Read includes an admonition which he would later develop more fully in his 1973 essay, Instead of Violence. It is essential for the proponent of freedom and free markets to constantly seek better understanding first for himself, and to not be smugly impressed with his own supposed enlightenment and depth of knowledge. Such illusions are greatly damaging, Read explains, for one who is so pleased with himself is unlikely to gain any additional knowledge, or convincingly communicate what little knowledge he actually possesses.

Updated 6/21/2013