Liberty (libertarian magazine)

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July 2010 issue of Liberty
EditorStephen Cox
Categoriespublic policy, libertarianism
  • Bi-monthly, 1987–1998
  • Monthly, 1999–2010
  • Online only, November 2010 forward
CountryUnited States
Based inPort Townsend, Washington

Liberty is a libertarian journal, founded in 1987 by R. W. Bradford (who was the magazine's publisher and editor until he died from cancer in 2005) in Port Townsend, Washington, and then edited from San Diego by Stephen Cox. Unlike Reason, which is printed on glossy paper and has full-color photographs, Liberty was printed on uncoated paper stock and had line drawing cartoons by S. H. (Scott) Chambers and Rex F. "Baloo" May, no photographs except for advertisements, and only one extra color (blue), which was limited to the cover and occasionally a few ads. Beginning in November 2010, the magazine transitioned to an online-only format.[1]


Bradford had planned the launch of Liberty for several years during the 1980s, waiting, in part, for the development of desktop publishing software to make the endeavor cost-effective for a short-run periodical. The magazine achieved Bradford's target circulation by the end of the first year of publication. Starting it as an arm of his private publishing business, he turned the magazine over to a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation (under his control) in 1993. Until late 1998, Liberty published bimonthly. In 1999, it moved from a bimonthly to a monthly publication schedule. Beginning in 2008, the print version was published eleven times a year, with one issue being a "double issue." Beginning in November 2010, the magazine transitioned to an online-only format that does not arrange content into separate monthly or bimonthly issues.

The magazine's list of editors at start-up included Murray Rothbard; Karl Hess joined soon after. Both wrote for the magazine and both were featured prominently in subscription advertising. Rothbard left the masthead in 1990, following his break with the Libertarian Party and his public move towards paleolibertarianism; Hess stayed with the magazine until his death.[citation needed]

From the beginning, Liberty gave extensive coverage to the history of the libertarian movement, repeatedly focusing on the biography and legacy of Ayn Rand. The magazine offered the first printing of Rothbard's pamphlet The Sociology of the Ayn Rand Cult as its first subscription bonus. John Hospers's two-part series "Talking With Ayn Rand" was among the magazine's notable early publishing coups. Characteristically, Bradford juxtaposed scholarly, intellectual writing from philosophers such as Loren Lomasky and Jan Narveson and economists such as Mark Skousen, Doug Casey, Leland Yeager, and David Friedman, with work by young, virtually unknown amateur writers. With few exceptions, the magazine does not pay writers for their contributions.[citation needed]

Contributors and editors[edit]

Regular contributors include:

David Kopel, research director for the Independence Institute
Wendy McElroy, editor of the Individualist Feminist
William E. Merritt, senior fellow of the Burr Institute
Bruce Ramsey, journalist
Timothy Sandefur, College of Public Interest Law fellow at the Pacific Legal Foundation
Jane S. Shaw, President of the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy
Tim Slagle, stand-up comedian
David Weigel, journalist for Reason, Money and Campaigns and Elections
Leland Yeager, Ludwig von Mises distinguished Professor Emeritus of Economics at Auburn University

Contributing editors include:

David Boaz
Alan W. Bock
Gene Healy
Bart Kosko
Richard Kostelanetz
Durk Pearson
Sandy Shaw


Reflections: short, often satirical articles
Terra Incognita: strange world news


  1. ^ Stephen Cox (November 3, 2010). "Liberty Lives, Online!". Liberty. Archived from the original on November 14, 2010. Retrieved January 31, 2011.

External links[edit]

  • Liberty official site
  • Memoir of working for Liberty, by former managing editor Wirkman Virkkala