In the spring of 1959 the staff at the William Volker Fund recommended my name to Clarence Philbrook (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) and Jim Waller (University of Georgia) to be invited to be a participant in the Political Economy Conference at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Since the seminar was aimed at faculty and I was a graduate student, I was the youngest participant. The classical liberal movement had a number of senior scholars,
but I found it very open to the youngest aspirants. In 1958 I was the youngest guest at the Mont Pelerin Society general meeting at Princeton University through the kindness of the organizing chairman, Jasper Crane (whose brother was the president of Van Nostrand in Princeton, publishers of the William Volker Fund Series in the Humane Studies).
The Fourth Annual "Political Economy Conference: A Conference on the Institutions Appropriate to a Free Society" at the Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill was held from August 24 to September 2, 1959. The previous years' lecturers at the Conference were: Armen Alchian, Bertrand de Jouvenel, Ludwig von Mises, P. T. Bauer, Milton Friedman, Joseph Wood Krutch, Aaron Director, Felix Morley, F. W. Paish (LSE).
F. A. Hayek lectured from the manuscript for the forthcoming Constitution of Liberty. Herrell DeGraff (Cornell University) lectured on American economic history. H. Greg Lewis lectured on "Economics, Liberals, and Trade Unions." Jim Buchanan's lecturers were on "Growth and Welfare Economics and Political Economy."
It was an exciting conference. Especially important in my memory were Jim Buchanan's
lectures and smaller seminars discussing the implications of his contributions on the principle of unanimity. I cannot imagine that any of the participants came away without their minds being challenged and re-challenged by Jim Buchanan's lectures. Whether on the public debt, on the Italian School of Public Finance, on the implications of public choice analysis or on the unanimity principle the lectures were wide-ranging and deep.
If as the twig is bent, so grows the tree, I thank Jim Buchanan for bending my thinking at a early point in my education. I had the good fortune to be invited to each of three 1959 annual summer political economy conferences sponsored by the William Volker Fund. I selected the Chapel Hill conference.
The 1959 conference directed by Ben Rogge and John Van Sickle at Wabash College had as the lecturers: Jacob Viner, Bruno Leoni, and Milton Friedman. Friedman's Capitalism and Freedom and Leoni's Freedom and the Law grew from lectures at these Volker Fund Political Economy Conferences. The 1959 conference at Claremont Mens' College was directed by Arthur Kemp and featured: Armen Alchian, John Jewkes (Oxford), and Felix Morley (previous lecturers included: Ronald Coase, Herbert Heaton, Frank Knight, Jacques Rueff, and David McCord Wright).
Jim Buchanan began to share his classical liberal insights and economic analysis early to students who were interested whether they were formally enrolled or at a valuable conferences such as the historic Volker Fund Political Economy Conferences.
Leonard P. Liggio, George Mason University Law School and Institute for Humane Studies