Instead of Violence

Leonard E. Read

Written in 1951, this is one of Leonard Read’s earliest pamphlets on what he called “the philosophy of freedom.”

As was often the case in Read’s essays on spreading the message of liberty, he notes that the first step is evaluating one’s own thinking.

Communism and socialism, Read contends, are not ideologies that exist somewhere out there among foreigners and shady agents of conspiracy. In America, the ideas of communism and socialism are alive and well among the supporters of public schooling, social security, the post office, and other tools of the state. In the end, whoever contends that the use of force is the proper method to attain “social performance” is spreading the ideas of socialism and communism. He who wishes to spread ideas of freedom and free markets, Read explains, must first rid himself of his own socialistic thinking, and only then may he turn to spreading the ideas to others.

This essay is an antidote to the faulty ideas that inflect many freedom activists who believe that if only the next election can go the “right” way or if people just do what we say, then all will be set right.

Instead of Violence by Leonard Read
Meet the Author
Leonard Read
Leonard E. Read

Leonard E. Read was the founder of the Foundation for Economic Education — the first modern libertarian think tank in the United States — and was largely responsible for the revival of the liberal tradition in post–World War II America.

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