Pierre Goodrich, an Indianapolis lawyer and businessman, founded Liberty Fund in 1960 “to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.” Over the years the activities of this prestigious educational organization has expanded to include the construction of a remarkable on-line Library of Economics and Liberty and the sponsorship of scores of colloquia annually in the United States, Europe, and Latin America. In 2009, for example, Liberty Fund will bring together scholars to discuss in New Orleans the “Ethics and Economics of Healthcare”; in Cartagena, Colombia, “Jeremy Bentham and Liberalism in Nineteenth-Century Colombia”; and in Avignon, France, “Human Nature, Civility, and Mores.” Typical gatherings include more than a dozen scholars who are invited to read and debate a carefully prepared set of prescribed readings in six sessions over two days. In civility, hospitality, and stimulation, these colloquia, for many scholars, approach the gold standard.
At the invitation of Liberty Fund, AHI co-founder Douglas Ambrose traveled to Savannah, Georgia, on 22 January to attend a two-day colloquium on “Liberty and the Moral Life in the Works of Spanish Traditionalists and Francis Graham Wilson.” Wilson, an erudite political scientist, a Catholic, and one of the intellectual godfathers of modern conservatism in the United States, looked to Spain for insight into the process of recovery by Spanish traditionalists of what he called those “deposits” of truth in a country’s history. For Wilson, defense of the enduring values of the moral society required a continuous evaluation of the past to find patterns that “may give us some clues as to the possible and impossible in politics.”
Professor Ambrose joined with historians, ministers, political scientists, and other educators in examining such Spanish traditionalists as Juan Donoso Cortés, Jaime Balmes, Marcelino Menéndez Pelayo, and Ramiro de Maetzu. The colloquium featured the participation of Stanley Payne, Professor Emeritus of History, University of Wisconsin, and widely regarded as one of the foremost historians of Spain of his generation.