As that French philosopher, Montesquieu, wrote about 200 years ago, "Countries are well cultivated, not as they are fertile, but as they are free. " How easy it is to confirm this wisdom. Red Russia, for instance, has climates as friendly, soil as fertile, resources as great as the U.S.A. Our plenitude in goods, services, discoveries, inventions, ideas, ins ight s – creativity - has been and still is so far above theirs that accurate measurements are impossible! Why? One reason only: Russians are as enslaved as any people on earth; we Americans - even now- the freest!
What is the lesson to be learned from what is so obvious? What, pray tell, should be our aim? Get ourselves back onthe freedom freeway. When? Right now!
"A freeway is defined as a ""multi-lane highway designed to move traffic along smoothly and quickly."" The freedom freeway is strikingly similar: I t is a multi-million-Iane politico-economic highway, along which speed goods and services, as well as intellectual, moral and spiritual ideas and ideals, to benefit all the peopl e - smoothl y and quickly. Not a single stop sign to any creative action! Indeed, many actions move at the speed of light, all according to the actor's choice. But for such a network to exist, there must be a few who have some understanding as to why it works such phenomenal wonders.
Fundamental to such understanding is an awareness of man' s destiny, the end tha t should be pursued. So we must ask: What is the purpose of our mortal moment? There is but one valid answer: growth in consciousness so that individual creativity may be increasingly experienced!"
Leonard E. Read
Leonard E. Read (September 26, 1898 – May 14, 1983) was an American economist and the founder of the Foundation for Economic Education, which was the first modern free market think tank in the United States.
After a stint in the United States Army Air Service during World War I, Read started a grocery wholesale business in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which was initially successful but eventually went out of business. He moved to California where he started a new career in the tiny Burlingame Chamber of Commerce near San Francisco. Read gradually moved up hierarchy of the United States Chamber of Commerce, finally becoming general manager of the Los Angeles branch, America's largest, in 1939.
During this period his views became progressively more libertarian. Apparently, it was in 1933, during a meeting with William C. Mullendore, the executive vice president of Southern California Edison, that Read was finally convinced that the New Deal was completely inefficient and morally bankrupt. Read was also profoundly influenced by his religious beliefs. His pastor, Reverend James W. Fifield, was minister of the 4,000-member First Congregational Church of Los Angeles, of which Read was also a board member. Fifield ran a "resistance movement" against the "social gospel" of the New Deal, trying to convince ministers across the country to adopt libertarian "spiritual ideals." During the period when he worked for the Chamber of Commerce, Read was also deeply influenced by more secular figures, such as Albert Jay Nock, and, later, by Ayn Rand and the economists Ludwig von Mises and Henry Hazlitt.
In 1945, Virgil Jordan, the President of the National Industrial Conference Board (NICB) in New York, invited Read to become its executive vice president. Read realized he would have to leave the NICB to pursue fulltime the promotion of free market, limited government principles. He resigned as a result.
One donor from his short time at NICB, David M. Goodrich, encouraged Read to start his own organization. With Goodrich's aid, as well as financial aid from the William Volker Fund and from Harold Luhnow, Read and Hazlitt founded the Foundation for Economic Education in 1946, which, in turn, helped to inspire Friedrich Hayek to form the Mont Pelerin Society the following year. For a period in the 1940s, philosopher Ayn Rand was an important adviser, or "ghost," as they called it, to Read. In 1950, FEE published The Freeman, an early free market periodical, considered an important forerunner of the conservative National Review magazine, to which Read was also a frequent contributor. He continued to work with FEE until his death in 1983. Read authored 29 books, some of which are still in print and sold by FEE. He wrote numerous essays, including the well-known "I, Pencil" (1958).
Read received an Honorary Doctoral Degree at Universidad Francisco Marroquín in 1976.