Our Mission

Current political patterns expose a deep ignorance of economic realities. This ignorance has calcified into a strong resentment towards market forces that is spilling into the political arena at the national, state, and local levels. The choice would seem to be between a government that is protectionist and a government that is progressive.

Fortunately, there are a number of like-minded faculty members in the Carolinas region devoted to the cause of liberty; that is, the freedom of the individual to pursue his or her interests within the artifactual confines derived from and bound by the rule of law. Within the often insular world of academics, these individuals are eager to extend the frontier of free market ideas though their efforts are largely confined to the institutions for which they are employed. Put another way, it takes an outside interest of note to draw their attention away from the intellectual tedium engendered by the institutional incentives of education.

To combat this characteristic isolation, the Classical Liberals in the Carolinas was organized for the express purpose of bringing together classical liberal scholars in the Carolinas region. Filling this lacuna in facilitating exchange among purveyors of classical liberal thought is no longer a luxury but a necessary component of the regional free market network.

Annual Conference

Bringing together classical liberal scholars in the Carolinas region, annually, to discuss ideas of particular relevance to North and South Carolina.


Political Economy in the Carolinas is an interdisciplinary journal broadly focused on government and public policy in the Carolinas.

Legacy of Liberty Fellowships

A year-long experience of research, mentorship, and networking with local scholars, businesspeople, and public policy professionals.

Our History

The First Meeting

The original meeting of the Classical Liberals in the Carolinas (CLC) in August 2014 was organized by the Center for Free Market Studies at Johnson & Wales University with cooperative support and assistance from the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy (now the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal), and the Bastiat Society. This collaboration represented an intentional desire to bring together academics, policy analysts, and business professionals.

The inaugural presentation at our first conference was by Lenore Ealy, executive director of the Philadelphia Society, who spoke on her Freeman article regarding exit, voice, and bourbon. We then hosted several panels of academics, policy groups, and foundations. A closing talk by Bruce Yandle, who has been an active scholar in the Carolinas area for decades now, brought together themes of Bastiat, Yandle’s ongoing Economic Report, and specific guidance to scholars hoping to make a local impact.

The Annual Conference

Given the success of the initial gathering, a second conference was held in January 2016. This meeting largely duplicated the outline of the first, though with a conference theme of ‘disruptive liberalism’ that helped focus the discussions. With that theme in mind, Jeffrey Tucker of the Foundation for Economic Education provided the keynote address on the capacity for free markets to disrupt outmoded political and economic enterprises.

Our third conference was held in August 2016, so as to settle the group on an annual August meeting time. We hosted several outside academics including GMU’s Todd Zywicki on consumer finance, GWU’s John Hasnas on academic entrepreneurship, and free speech advocate Donald Downs. In addition, the Institute for Humane Studies came in to partner and observe the conference proceedings, in the hopes of duplicating our model elsewhere in the country.

The 4th Annual meeting of the Classical Liberals in the Carolinas was held on August 10 – 11, 2017 at Johnson & Wales University. A number of leading regional policy concerns were discussed including free speech on college campuses, over criminalization, civil asset forfeiture, craft alcohol regulation, and the use of impact studies for the purposes of economic development. 

Keynote speakers included Scott Rasmussen, founder of ESPN and Rasmussen Reports, who spoke on the need for community and association to bolster traditional free market principles, and CLC’s inaugural President, Michael Munger, who provided our audience on opening night with a ‘full-throated’ take on the sharing economy as presented in his forthcoming book, Tomorrow 3.0

CLC Chairman David Riggs closed the proceedings by invoking Walter Williams who wrote, “Colleges have become islands of intolerance.” CLC and its annual conference was founded to build bridges and causeways between classical liberals on those islands, connecting them to others in the local region. In short, to help develop and amplify the classical liberal voice!

Become a Member

Become a member of the Classical Liberals of the Carolinas today for just $50! Your CLC membership includes registration for the annual CLC Conference, a physical copy of the Political Economy in the Carolinas journal and access to all CLC virtual events this academic year.