Freedom and the Law

Bruno Leoni

Bruno Leoni was surely the most important Italian free market thinker of the second half of the 20th century. Here we have an outstanding analysis of the relationship between law and freedom, one that follows up on Bastiat and, many argue, exceeds Hayek in rigor and consistency.

Leoni explains the features of law under freedom and show how the lawmakers themselves end up undermining those features such as stability, universality, and non-arbitrariness. He sees the greatest threat to the old liberal notion of the rule of law as the state itself.

Leoni is one of those great thinkers who grew more hard core as he got older, and, in some ways, we can see the essential Rothbardianism of his thought in this classic. It is not only an excellent treatise on the history of the law; it is an essential treatise for understanding the true relationship between law and free economies.

There is no question that Leoni’s contribution has been unjustly overlooked. The availability of this work helps to rectify this situation.


Freedom and the Law by Leoni
Meet the Author
Bruno Leoni

Bruno Leoni was professor of legal theory and the theory of the state at the University of Pavia, a practicing lawyer, founding editor of the journal Il Politico, newspaper columnist, and secretary and president of the Mont Pelerin Society.

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[Chapter 5, Freedom and the Law ] The rule of law, in the classical sense of the expression, cannot be maintained without actually securing the certainty of the law, conceived as the possibility of...
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Nash Publishing, Los Angeles, 1961