Blogs > Liberty and Power > The Libertarian Nobel Peace-Prize Winner

Oct 28, 2006 9:58 am

The Libertarian Nobel Peace-Prize Winner

Last week, with the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank, I underscored the historical-philosophical link between freedom of commerce and peace in classical liberalism. (The article is here.) What I did not know at the time, and what I have since learned thanks to Auburn University philosopher Roderick T. Long, is that one of the first winners of the Nobel Peace Prize was a man who consciously placed himself in the liberal tradition of Frédéric Bastiat and Richard Cobden.

He was Frédéric Passy of Paris (1822-1912). The first year the Peace Prize was awarded, Passy shared the honor with Henry Dunant, founder of the International Committee of the Red Cross and originator of the Geneva Convention (which gives him a special relevance today). Passy must have been highly esteemed indeed for the Nobel committee to have awarded him and Dunant the Prize.
Read the rest of this week's TGIF column at the Foundation for Economic Education website.

Cross-posted at Free Association.

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Mark Brady - 10/29/2006

Oops! I guess I should read your entire article before posting a comment! At least I brought his preface to everyone's attention.

Sheldon Richman - 10/29/2006

My article quotes the letter Mark refers to.

Kenneth R Gregg - 10/28/2006

Passy was an important European figure who was not well-noted in the U.S. Many of his writings are online, but they are in french. Passy was part of the European antiwar movement which has only recently been examined in english in Paul B. Miller's From Revolutionaries to Citizens: Antimilitarism in France, 1870-1914 (Durham: Duke U Press, 2002), a work that I would recommend for anyone interested in the battles of the pacifist, antiwar movements, or for the role of the european anarchists (including individualist-anarchists).

The U.S. has had a number of major classical liberal leaders in international diplomacy who have been neglected here as well, such as Parker T. Moon, one of the leading scholars on international affairs, and James J. Martin, author of the monumental American Liberalism and World Politics, 1931-1941 and The Saga of Hog Island and Other Essays. Not only have there been American scholars, but also neglected classical liberal activists in the field of international affairs. Jackson H. Ralston, one of the founders of The American Society of International Law and one of the most important authors in the field of international arbitration, was a classical liberal who led numerous campaigns in the U.S. for civil and economic liberties.

Just a thought.
Just Ken
CLASSical Liberalism

Mark Brady - 10/28/2006

As far as I can tell from perusing the Library of Congress online catalog, none of Frédéric Passy's books were translated into English. However, the English language edition of Gustave de Molinari's The Society of Tomorrow (1904) contained a letter to the publishers from Frédéric Passy.