SFL Virtual Reading Groups give participants the opportunity to explore a set of readings on the intellectual underpinnings of a free society with an instructor who has expertise in the field and a group of similarly interested and qualified individuals from around the world. By creating a space for active discussion with other intellectually engaged individuals, led by capable and informed discussion leaders, VRGs give participants a chance to achieve unusual depth and perspective on the classical liberal tradition that could not be achieved through solitary study. VRGs are open to all individuals interested in expanding their knowledge of the philosophical ideas of liberty. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to have meaningful discussions with other philosophically inclined participants, apply today!



Interested in hosting your own Virtual Reading Group on a topic of your choosing? Submit an application for support from SFL staff! Students that host a Virtual Reading Group will determine the topic, help identify a professor that will build a syllabus and lead the overall discussion, and will organize the virtual weekly meetings.




March 20, 2017

The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible
Virtual Reading Group

The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible a SFL Virtual Reading Group The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible tells the story of a boy who becomes shipwrecked on an unfamiliar island after being swept out to sea in a storm. Having previously lived in a relatively free society, in this new strange land he experiences culture shock as he learns of bewildering laws and traditions of the island’s inhabitants. The story highlights the absurdities of the laws, the controls imposed on people’s lives, and the economic drawbacks of these laws. The laws highlighted are recognizable as common to many countries throughout the world. As the story unfolds, the part individuals in society play in political decision-making and personal responsibility is introduced for discussion. Application Deadline April 2nd, 2017 […]
January 26, 2017

Exploring Red Plenty
Virtual Reading Group

EXPLORING RED PLENTY a SFL Virtual Reading Group One third history, one third economics, and one third fiction, Red Plenty is the best book you can read to get inside the minds of those who dreamed that a planned economy could beat capitalism and provide abundance for everyone. If you’ve read, or if you have just wondered about, Mises on Socialism and Hayek on Socialist Calculation, and you have pondered how anyone could possibly have fallen for anything as fallible as a planned economy, this is the book that will help you see why the dream seemed so appealing, and why it fell apart so fast. Application Deadline March 1st, 2017 Discussion Leader Sarah Skwire, Liberty Fund Senior Fellow Meeting Dates Wednesdays at 4:00pm EST, 3/8/17 […]
January 26, 2017

Islamic Foundations
Virtual Reading Group

  ISLAMIC FOUNDATIONS OF A FREE SOCIETY a SFL Virtual Reading Group   Throughout the history of Islamic societies the Sharia has formed the main framework of socio-economic and even the political life of the Islamic peoples. During the golden age of Islam (800–1200 AD) the Sharia always seemed compatible with a free society, and this was the experience of Muslim communities. The legal and juridical principles of Islamic law recognized individual freedom and rights (along with the responsibilities of individuals) in a society that provided an appropriate context for an independent judiciary and the defense of individual rights through the courts. The book contains many chapters, which were developed from presentations made at the annual conferences held by the Istanbul Network for Liberty, whose […]
January 26, 2017

Deschooling Society
Virtual Reading Group

DESCHOOLING SOCIETY a SFL Virtual Reading Group   Can more funding, better teacher pay, or higher standards fix public education’s problems? Or is the best solution to “deschool” society? Published in 1971 but still relevant today, Ivan Illich’s book Deschooling Society argues that the best way to ensure that people are truly educated is to create a complete separation of school and state. In this seminal book, he argues that state education is inherently disabling to those involved in it and paints a vision for what education might look like without state involvement. Join Dr. Kevin Currie-Knight (College of Education, East Carolina University) to read and discuss this intriguing book. You may not look at public education the same way again. Application deadline: February 1st, […]


February 3, 2017

Cypherpunks + Libertarianism
Virtual Reading Group

CYPHERPUNKS AND LIBERTARIANISM a SFL Virtual Reading Group   In this reading group, we will explore the implications of computers and cryptography in the context of liberty. Both trace their origins to the military: Alan Turing worked at Bletchley Park where he used computing machinery to crack the Nazi’s naval enigma code; computer networks, the forerunner of the internet, were pioneered by the U.S. military in order to achieve ‘second strike capability’ during the Cold War. Throughout the second half of the twentieth century, computers were adopted and further developed within the civilian sector. The late 80s and early 90s saw the creation of the internet, and during these early years a group of programmers, cryptographers, hackers, and activists came together online to outline how […]
January 3, 2017

Rise of the Warrior Cop
Virtual Reading Group

RISE OF THE WARRIOR COP a SFL Virtual Reading Group   We have a Constitution with a Bill of Rights meant to protect our liberties, and a Supreme Court that is supposed to enforce these rights. Both horizontally and vertically, we have divided government; a system created on the (true) assumption that divided power is safer than concentrated power. In spite of all the care the Founders took in order to protect our rights, however, we now live in a nation that has more people behind bars than any other country, with 50% in the Federal system and 20% in the state system incarcerated for victimless acts. We don’t have a tyrant or tyrants at the top, but we have thousands of individuals with the […]
February 3, 2016

Exploring Atlas Shrugged
Virtual Reading Group

EXPLORING ATLAS SHRUGGED a SFL Virtual Reading Group   Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged is one of the primary works that inspired contemporary libertarianism, due to Rand’s vision of free-market capitalism as a moral ideal and her analysis of anti-capitalist cronies and politicians. Atlas is also a thrilling mystery story with a complex plot and fascinating characters. This reading group will cover Part I of the book, with the options of parts 2 and 3 later. We will discuss the meaning of the events, the motivations of characters, and the portrayal of a world in decline. Depending on the interests of participants, we will discuss philosophical, politico-economic, and literary features of the novel. Discussion Leader: David Kelley, Founder and CIO, Atlas Society Meeting Dates: Sundays 3pm EDT, 10/9 […]