I recently had the opportunity to participate in an international liberty think tank conference hosted by the Atlas Network. The goal was for each attendee to become better organizationally in the management of free market think tanks around the world.
The “Think Tank MBA” program focused on the essentials of managing each of our operations as well providing time to discuss topics including our mission, vision and strategic objectives. It was incredible training that will remain with me over the years.
However, the most important lessons I learned during the 16 days came in the social gatherings with my 24 classmates and from the Atlas training team. To hear stories firsthand about the challenges in pursuing liberty puts it in perspective.
I now recognize, more than ever, why freedom and liberty matter. To wit:
- The class member from Venezuela who had to go through the black market to obtain permission to come to the United States for the class because the government said no.
- The think tank leader from Hungary who is battling the insurgence of Nazism in his home country, putting at risk the welfare of himself and his family.
- A man from Morocco who organizes leaders in the Arab nations throughout the Middle East to realize the rights of women to drive, vote, receive an education and participate in the affairs of her country without fear of retribution.
I found these wonderful people to be inspirational beyond measure … the sacrifices they make, their willingness to put all they have including their lives in the cause of freedom and liberty.
The pursuit of freedom knows no boundaries. Freedom is a natural instinct for all of us, regardless of borders. From South America to Europe, from India to South Africa, the message received by all will advance the freedom movement around the world.
These stories and the people from “elsewhere” reinforced why what we do at home matters.
We talk about freedom of speech and religion, the right to assemble and voice our opinions about public policies. We do these endless hours of research, visiting with friends and neighbors, attending meetings and so much more because we are the beacon of truth of what is right to the rest of the world. We are the light on the hill that provides encouragement to other liberty-minded people around the globe. It is no accident that the American Dream is understood the world over.
We must continue to support ideas that will increase our individual prosperity and wealth-building so our efforts can provide resources to hundreds of organizations who are fighting for their right to be free. Our work may seem daunting or hopeless at times. But it is not; it is essential to our future here and abroad.
Playing a role in shaping public policy on issues such as health care reform, private property rights, transparency and standing up for individual rights without government interference each day really does matter. Regardless of the issue of the day or whether it is found at the local, state or federal level, we must remain engaged in the struggle to assure that the leaders I spent time with the last few weeks have hope and inspiration to continue their respective quests for freedom. We are their light at the end of the tunnel.
Success in restoring and maintaining liberty comes piece by piece, city by city, state by state … we are that beacon that others look for in the cause of liberty around the world.
It is a tireless fight. But freedom matters.