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. BC employees may submit a payroll deduction form to the BC Foundation.
Postponed until further notice.
Dr. David Schein will explore themes of ethics and presidential leadership from his recent book, The Decline of America.
Postponed until further notice.
The mayors of Arvin and Taft will discuss their opposing views about oil and the environment and how petroleum impacts society.
Postponed until further notice.
Hear the real-life story of Venezuelan asylum seeker Jorge Galicia who had to leave behind his home country due to economic upheaval and political collapse.
The Student Scholar Program. invites students to participate in a guided reading and small group discussion facilitated by a Liberty Institute affiliated faculty. The Spring 2020 focal text is Social Justice Isn’t What You Think It Is, by Michael Novak and Paul Adams (2015). Novak and Adams explore the ideological origins and mixed meanings of social justice from diverse perspectives including those of Friedrich Hayek, Abraham Lincoln, and Pope John Paul II. Interested students should complete this application form.
Matthew Garrett, PhD.
A Tale of Two Protests: Free Speech and the Intellectual Origins of Campus Censorship (video available)
Thursday, September 12, 2019
Carol Swain, PhD.
Black Faces, Black Interests: The Representation of African Americans in Congress
Thursday, February 7, 2019
Christina Sommers, PhD.
Who Stole Feminism? How Women have Betrayed Women
Thursday, October 11, 2018
Meet the Advisory Board
- Matthew Garrett, PhD, Director, BC Professor of History
- Paul Beckworth, BC Director of Veteran Services
- Ximena Da Silva Tavares, PhD BC Professor of Chemistry
- John Giertz, PhD, BC Professor of Communications
- Michael Harvath, PhD, BC Professor of Economics
- Daymon Johnson, PhD, BC Professor of History
- Erin Miller, BC Professor of History
- Joe Saldivar, PhD, BC Professor of Biology
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.
Renaissance & Enlightenment
- Magna Carta (1215)
- Aquinas, Summa Theologiae (1265-1274)
- Moore, Utopia (1516)
- Machiavelli, Discourses on Livy (1532)
- Machiavelli, The Prince (1532)
- Bacon, Essays (1597)
- Bacon, The Advancement of Learning (1605)
- Harrington, The Commonwealth of Oceana (1615)
- Grotius, On the Law of War and Peace (1625)
- Coke, Institutes of the Lawes of England, 1st (1628)
- Coke, Institutes of the Lawes of England, 2nd (1628)
- Hobbes, Leviathan (1651)
- Milton, The Ready and Easy Way... (1660)
- Milton, Paradise Lost (1667)
- Penn, The Political Writings of William Penn (1670)
- Petyt, The Antient Right of the Commons... (1680)
- Locke, Concerning Human Understanding, vol. 1 (1689)
- Locke, Concerning Human Understanding, vol. 2 (1689)
- Locke, Two Treaties on Civil Government (1689)
- Sidney, Discourses Concerning Government (1698)
- Trenchard, A Short History of Standing Armies in England (1698)
- Trenchard, Cato's Letters (1720-1723)
- Voltaire, Letters on the English Nation (1733)
- Pope, An Essay on Man (1733-34)
- Montesquieu, The Spirit of Laws (1748)
- Hume, Political Discourses (1752)
- Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of the Inequality of Men (1754)
- Voltaire, Candide (1759)
- Rousseau, The Social Contract (1762)
- Beccaria, On Crimes and Punishments (1764)
- Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England (1765)
- Delolme, The Constitution of England (1771)
- Sommers, The Judgement of Whole Kingdoms and Nations (1774)
- Smith, Wealth of Nations (1776)
The Early Republic
- Declaration of Independence (1776)
- Price, Observations on the Nature of Civil Liberty (1776)
- Adams, Thoughts on Government (1776)
- Price, Observations on the Importance... (1784)
- United States Constitution (1787)
- Robertson, The History of America (1787)
- Federalist Papers (1788)
- Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790)
- Paine, Rights of Man (1791)
- Anti-federalist Papers (1787-1790s)
- Pacificus-Helvidius Essays (1793-94)
- Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia (1785)
- Jefferson, Writings (1760-1826)
- Madison, The Virginia Resolutions (1798)
- Jefferson, The Kentucky Resolutions (1799)
- Tocqueville, Democracy in America, vol. 1 (1835)
- Tocqueville, Democracy in America, vol. 2 (1835)
- Lutz, Donalds. “Appendix: European Works Read and Cited by the American Founding Generation,” in A Preface to American Political Theory (1992), pp. 159-164.
- Lutz, Donald S. “The Relative Importance of European Writers on Late Eighteenth-Century American Political Thoughts,” American Political Science Review, no 189 (1984), pp. 189-197.
Classic Modern Works
- Mill, On Liberty (1859)
- Weber, The Protestant Ethic and The Spirit of Capitalism (1905)
- Lewis, The Abolition of Man (1943)
- Hayek, The Road to Serfdom (1944)
- Popper, Open Society & its Enemies (1945)
- Orwell, 1984 (1949)
- Kirk, The Conservative Mind (1953)
- Rand, Atlas Shrugged (1957)
- Buckley, Up From Liberalism (1959)
- Hayek, Constitution of Liberty (1960)
- Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom (1962)
- Oakeshott, Rationalism in Politics (1962)
- Alinsky, Rules for Radicals (1971)
- Nozick, Anarchy, State and Utopia (1974)
- Skinner, The Foundations of Modern Political Thought (1978)
- Friedman, Free to Choose: A Personal Statement (1980)
- Macintyre, After Virtue (1981)
- Bernstein, Are We to Be a Nation? (1987)
- Gerson, The Essential Neoconservative Reader (1996)
- Scalia, A Matter of Interpretation (1998)
- 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)
Podcasts, Videos, Lectures