Socialism is morally and intellectually bankrupt. Under the guise of “order” and “security,” millions of innocent people have been murdered or enslaved. Under the guise of “taxation” and social justice, untold amounts of income and savings have been plundered and redistributed to the politically privileged. Having gripped the hearts and minds of the people of the world in the 20th century, socialism has left in its wake death, enslavement poverty, desperation, hopelessness, and despair.
I have organized The Future of Freedom Foundation not only to show the bankruptcy of the socialist ideal but more importantly, to develop and promote the moral and intellectual foundations of the opposite ideal: freedom.
It is important first to count our blessings. Those of us who live in the United States are fortunate to reside in a society where, despite periodic exceptions, there is religious, intellectual political and civil liberty. We are free to worship or not without political interference; to read or publish virtually any thought no matter how repugnant without being censored, to replace our public officials through the peaceful means of the ballot box; to denounce our governmental officials without being imprisoned or put to death; to have the benefits of habeas corpus, trial by jury, the presumption of innocence, and other aspects of civil liberty.
It is to the protection of these liberties that The Future of Freedom Foundation is dedicated.
It is also important to focus on failings. By adopting the variations of socialism known as the welfare state and the planned economy, Americans of the 20th century have abandoned the most important aspect of individual freedom of all: economic liberty.
How many Americans realize that such governmental activities as welfare, social security, subsidies, loan guaranties, foreign aid, municipal golf courses, public parks, public schools, and education grants are the embodiment of the socialist philosophy of using the coercive force of government to take from those who have and redistributing it to those who need?
How many Americans realize that governmental laws on licensing, minimum wage, price controls, import and export restrictions, legal tender, drugs, zoning, and pass- ports reflect the socialist philosophy of making the individual subservient to the supremacy of the State?
How many Americans realize that the welfare state and the planned economy constitute an abandonment of the economic philosophy to which Americans of the 18th and 19th centuries subscribed?
The tragic truth, and one which most Americans regrettably would rather not face, is that our economic system is now founded on the same immoral premises as those found in all other nations of the world: plunder, coercive redistribution of wealth, and political interference with peaceful activity. Equally tragic is that the adoption of the welfare state and the planned economy has resulted in the destruction or diminution of those qualities which many of us consider so valuable: independence, self-reliance, self-improvement and a spirit of voluntary charity. It is to the elimination, not the reduction or reform, of the welfare state and the planned economy that The Future of Freedom Foundation is dedicated.
Life, liberty, wealth, and conscience are fundamental God-given rights rather than privileges bestowed on people by governmental officials. A person has the right to pursue and develop the talents and abilities with which he was born, and live his life the way he chooses as long as he does not interfere, through force or fraud, with the rights of others to do the same; to peacefully accumulate unlimited amounts of wealth and to dispose of it in any manner he chooses; to travel and live anywhere in the world; to enter into any peaceful exchange with anyone; to have his government protect him and his property from domestic criminals and foreign invaders, and to help him settle his disputes with others in a peaceful and lawful manner. It is to the protection of these rights – economic liberty – that The Future of Freedom Foundation is dedicated.
In the years ahead, you and I are probably not going to agree on everything. That is not important. What is important is that each of us continues to seek a deeper understanding of the principles of freedom and to exchange our respective insights with one another. By sharing our own individual perspectives of truth, and by maintaining a respectful tolerance for each other’s beliefs, we will inevitably contribute to the advancement of liberty as well as to each other’s understanding of the principles of freedom. FFF will rely on voluntary donations from individuals and companies, and grants from foundations, to fund its activities. Government funds will neither be solicited nor accepted. If our work is sound, there is no doubt that the necessary funds will be generated. If our work is unsound, contributions will diminish or cease. This is the way it should be.
On the eve of the 21st century, Americans have the opportunity of once again leading the world in the highest understanding of the principles of freedom. This is not a problem to be feared or avoided. This is a challenge to be confronted head-on with courage and optimism. The Future of Freedom Foundation is going to play a major role in meeting and overcoming this great challenge. Won’t you join us in this endeavor?