Bakersfield College

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The Liberty Institute

The Liberty Institute promotes diversity of thought and intellectual literacy through the free and open discourse of American ideals, including civil, economic, and religious freedom.

About the Liberty Institute

Dedicated to preserving American freedom, the Liberty Institute serves as a forum for free speech and thought at Bakersfield College. The Institute emphasizes American ideals and their broader Western traditions central to our historical values as a democratic republic, with emphasis on our nation’s foundational philosophies of meritocracy, individual agency, civic virtue, liberty of conscience, and free markets. These ideologies underpin the American Experiment, long serving as the nation’s primary bulwark against the political and ideological tyranny of both individuals and of the masses. As an advocate for intellectual literacy and diversity, the Liberty Institute reaffirms civil, religious, and economic freedom upon which the academe and the nation must stand or fall. Through intellectual exploration and reason, the Institute works to preserve each of the above virtues as necessary for a free people and to advance the cause of liberty in America.

Functioning as a resource to students, faculty, and community members dedicated to the expansion of liberty in Kern County and America, the Liberty Institute hosts a variety of activities, including but not limited to guest speakers, debates, colloquia, seminars, conferences, book clubs, brownbag discussions, film screenings, and student awards.

"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society, but the people themselves: and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their controul with a wholsome discretion, the remedy is, not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. this is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power."
~Thomas Jefferson to William Charles Jarvis, 28 September 1820

Donate to the Liberty Institute

Support the Liberty Institute at Bakersfield College. Support a free market of ideals and the ideals of the free market by donating to the Liberty Institute at Bakersfield College. Your investment will directly fund Liberty Institute programs, including nationally-recognized speakers, conferences, brown bag discussions, and more. Please help promote traditional American ideals at Bakersfield College and throughout Kern County with your tax-deductible donation today!

Donate Online through Bakersfield College Foundation. Select "Other" in the dropdown menu for your response to "You may specify the fund your donation is applied to:" Please type "BC Liberty Institute" in the "If other, please specify:" field. 

Upcoming Events

To be announced.

Past Events

A Tale of Two Protests: Free Speech and the Intellectual Origins of Campus Censorship

  • Date:Thursday, 09/12/2019
  • Location: Levan Center for the Humanities
  • Time: 6:00 to 7:30 pm
  • Speaker: Professor of History, Dr. Matthew Garrett

In this lecture, historian Matthew Garrett will explore the recent free speech debacle at Bakersfield College and contextualize it in the broader intellectual trends that lead some faculty to openly embrace selective censorship. This walk through intellectual history will come full circle to explain how censorship has gained currency in campuses nationwide, and proposes a solution to fortify free speech at Bakersfield College.

Matthew Garrett is a professor of history and serves as director of the Bakersfield College Liberty Institute. He is the recipient of numerous awards for leadership and academic writings.

Sponsor: Liberty Institute at Bakersfield College

Event poster of hands covering a face with words overtop.

Carol Swain, PhD.
Black Faces, Black Interests: The Representation of African Americans in Congress
Thursday, February 7, 2019

Christina Sommers, Ph. D. 
Who Stole Feminism? How Women have Betrayed Women
Thursday, October 11, 2018

Meet the Advisory Board

  1. Matthew Garrett, PhD (Director), BC Professor of History
  2. Paul Beckworth, BC Director of Veteran Services
  3. Ximena Da Silva Tavares, PhD BC Professor of Chemistry
  4. John Giertz, PhD, BC Professor of Communications
  5. Michael Harvath, PhD, BC Professor of Economics
  6. Daymon Johnson, PhD, BC Professor of History
  7. Erin Miller, BC Professor of History
  8. Joe Saldivar, BC Professor of Biology

Recommended Readings


Visit the Liberty Institute page on Bakersfield College LibGuides for links to information about Western Democratic Traditions and American ideals.

The following links will open in a new window.

Greek & Roman Thought

The Early Republic

Contemporary Critiques

  • Wood, The Radicalism of the American Revolution (1991)
  • Sowell, The Vision of the Anointed (1995)
  • Maier, American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence (1998)
  • Peterson, Maps of Meaning (1999)
  • Borjas, Heaven's Door (1999)
  • Putnam, Bowling Alone (2000)
  • George, Great Cases in Constitutional Law (2000)
  • Sowell, Black Rednecks and White Liberals (2005)
  • Shlaes, The Forgotten Man (2007)
  • Ferrara, Liberty: The God that Failed (2012)
  • Bawer, The Victims' Revolution (2012)
  • Murray, Coming Apart: The State of White America (2012)
  • Putnam, American Grace (2012)
  • Shapiro, Bullies: How the Left's Culture of Fear... (2013)
  • George, Conscience and its Enemies (2013)
  • Sowell, Intellectuals and Race (2013)
  • Sheehan, The Mind of James Madison (2014)
  • D'Souza, America: Imagine a World Without Her (2014)
  • Kibbe, Don't Hurt People (2014)
  • Jones, Magna Carta: The Birth of Liberty (2015)
  • Sowell, Wealth, Poverty and Politics (2015)
  • Freedman, A Less Perfect Union (2015)
  • Hanson, The Decline and Fall of California (2015)
  • Riley, Please Stop Helping Us (2016)
  • McClanahan, 9 Presidents Who Screwed Up America (2016)
  • Vance, Hillbilly Elegy (2016)
  • Borjas, We Wanted Workers (2016)
  • Peterson, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (2018)
  • Sowell, Discrimination and Disparities (2018)
  • D'Souza, Plantation Politics... (2018)
  • May, Jefferson's Treasure: How Albert Gallatin... (2018)
  • Scruton, Conservationism: An Invitation... (2018)