In 1946, Leonard Read founded the first organization dedicated to recognizably modern libertarian ideas, the Foundation for Economic Education. In his quest to spread the core tenet of his vision—the acceptance of "anything that's peaceful"—Read strove to reach small business owners and the working class in language and arguments they could understand. He was happy to give pamphlets and magazines away to all.
Read would doubtless be thrilled that, more than three decades after his death, his successors at the foundation have made all 36 of his books available for free reading and download at fee.org. Read would have flipped over the Internet: a way to reach the American everyperson with ideas at almost zero cost, thanks to a division of labor and knowledge that produces abundance in a way no central planner possibly could—an idea vividly explained in Read's classic essay "I, Pencil," of course available free at that site. -Brian Doherty
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Free Leonard Read!".