Mises Daily Articles
Working for the Future of Liberty
I'm pleased to report that in our 25th year, the Mises Institute is in high gear as never before. Publications, students, scholars, conferences, seminars, media exposure, new professorships — all are soaring to new heights. Despite so many trends in the world, there's great cause for optimism about the future of liberty.
How privileged we've been to work for the ideas of liberty, for libertarianism and the Austrian School. And how grateful we are to you for helping make it possible. Would you consider a year-end donation to our work? We exist and thrive solely because of contributions from people who find our work valuable.
Great numbers from all over the world have been drawn to a school of thought — a cause, really. Today, the name of Mises is known throughout the world, and his books sell more than ever before.
But it was not so in 1982. His books were out of print and his name was nearly lost to history. The same was true of his great student, Murray Rothbard, who worked brilliantly, but with few allies or students.
The work of the Mises Institute changed that. All the students, the influential journals, the marvelous website, the conferences that attract attendees from around the world, the unrelenting discussion of the libertarian tradition in colleges and universities, the videos and podcasts, the thousands upon thousands of spinoff reading groups and blogs, and all the books, including a glorious new biography of Mises himself — all combine to make up the most implausible revolution in ideas.
Academics had written off these ideas in the 1930s, not just in the United States but around the world. The future, they said, belonged to socialism, fascism, and central planning. Mises was considered a has-been. And now? It's completely changed.
Nearly every day, the financial press references the Austrian School, particularly in our precarious financial world. Central bankers find that when they promise utopia through lower interest rates, journalists ask them to deal with the view of the Misesians that this only creates false prosperity. Mises wrote his book on money nearly 100 years ago, but it's all back in a big way.
None of this happened by accident, as you know. It is the product of great generosity by men and women of vision — and hard work by teachers and students.
Ironically, the Marxists had a harder job of it than we have. They were selling a package of nonsense. What we offer is logical, liberating, and truthful. It conforms to the reality all around us, the reality in which the State is constantly failing while the market is performing miracles. What is needed is a structure of ideas that makes sense of this, and points to a way forward.
Then the next step is to change the world as we know it. That comes when we least expect it, and only once all the philosophical and ideological groundwork has been laid. A people that believes in statism will never restore liberty. A people that believes in liberty will never be lorded over by a cruel State. What makes the difference is entirely due to the world of ideas. As Mises said, ideas are real. They control the past, present, and future. Good ideas build civilization, while bad ones destroy it.
A dramatic change in the political and social landscape can happen nearly overnight —when the ideological conditions are right. As Mises said, at that point, no power on earth can stop the change.
When we look at each case in history when revolutions happened, we find something in common to all of them. Intellectuals dedicated to liberty were out front and ready to make the case. They took risks. They told the truth without fear. They worked to see their visions realized in their lifetimes.
The Mises Institute is the home of such people. Just this year, we've put out a towering stack of books; published scholarly journals; held conferences in Auburn and around the country; taught hosts of students about capitalism and freedom; expanded our campus with student and visiting faculty apartments; and welcomed scholars from around the world to our seminars, archives, and library.
Of course, our work is hardly done. The ideals of liberty require a culture-wide commitment, even on a worldwide scale. That is why we work to develop an intellectual machine based on scholarship, but which also uses the tactics of intellectual guerilla warfare. No wonder that students, faculty, and researchers from all over the world see the Mises Institute as their alma mater, a true home for liberty, a model of genuine learning in an age of official lies.
If you would enable us, we want to continue to keep the great literature of freedom available — we now have nearly 200 books in print, and many more that must be made available. We now host the largest audio collection on liberty anywhere in the world, so that all these great minds can speak to us again. Our research resources, already huge, are increasing by the day. And they must grow more quickly, in volume and variety, in different languages.
Of course, this kind of research bank isn't created overnight. So we've been using the newest technologies in the service of freedom for 25 years, and particularly since the development of the Internet. Students and leaders for liberty benefit the world over.
The inspiration for this work comes from two sources: the confidence that supporters like you have shown in us, and the example of freedom fighters like Mises and Rothbard. They spoke boldly and truthfully, and when they were threatened and ordered to shut up, they refused. They paid a high professional price, but their influence is for the ages.
If the population is passive and misinformed by contrary voices, the State can succeed. If cultural convictions are intolerant of power, and embrace the inviolable rights to person and property, liberty can prevail. That's why the most important work for liberty involves ideas.
But an ideological resistance must thrive and have a voice. Intellectuals committed to liberty must be supported. They must have the freedom to write and speak and research. There must be the means to disseminate their ideas, influence people widely, and attract young thinkers. Thus the Mises Institute.
Murray Rothbard always looked to the new generation as the source of intellectual fire. And through the work of the Institute, the new generation is prepared to look at the world in a new way. The yearning for freedom — implanted in their hearts — makes them open to libertarian ideas, and to being skeptical, and then critical, of the apparatus of statism into which they are born. And that is where the Mises Institute comes in.
How thrilled Mises would have been. When we started, his widow, Margit von Mises, was our chairman. Murray Rothbard, F.A. Hayek, Henry Hazlitt, Hans Sennholz, and Ron Paul were founding advisors. Professors from around the world joined the Institute faculty as adjunct scholars. Above all, Murray worked tirelessly to build our academic programs.
Yet there is another essential ingredient: supporters like you, who have made it possible for our ideas to make such great strides. But we need your help now more than ever. The times are right. The young are listening. We have the faculty. We have the ideas. We have the campus. We have the passion and the strategy. We have the tools. Now we need to push into new frontiers in education, publishing, media, and every other area of society.
What we need are the financial means for a dramatic expansion to become an institution for the ages — one that will protect a future of liberty from all onslaughts. This requires a solid capital base on which to build a permanent series of programs: more student scholarships, more faculty positions, more publications, and more communications networks with even greater reach.
As a privately funded institute with no connections to powerful elites, we count on you as our only hope and our best foundation for future growth.
Won't you join us in this fight? Now is the time to prepare for the exciting days to come. Please help us with your most generous contribution, for the next 25 years and beyond. We have a world to win for liberty.