From Mark Skousen, producer of FreedomFest:
I woke up this morning thinking about “Why We Need to Get Together Once a Year.” Over the years, I’ve been impressed with the proliferation of free-market think tanks and freedom organizations which are doing their part to make a difference: publishing websites, special reports and books; holding meetings and conventions; influencing elected officials or using the court system to overturn bad legislation.
ISIL is doing a great job reaching out to an international group of hard-core libertarians with your Liberty Camps, China conferences on Austrian economics, publications like JG, and your own annual international conference. Reason, Cato, Heritage, FEE, ISI, Manhattan Institute, and all the other state think tanks do much the same to make a difference.
That’s where FreedomFest comes in. Our mission is simple: to bring together once a year all the freedom groups and provide a place to learn, network, socialize and celebrate liberty. And we do it in the nation’s most libertarian city, Las Vegas. We are a for-profit organization, so we don’t compete for fundraising with all these good causes. We try not to promote one organization over another. We support them all. In Hayekian terms, it’s a spontaneous order, with every think tank and freedom organization deciding for themselves what to talk about. FreedomFest is not “my” conference, it’s “our” conference.
The idea came to me when I was president of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), the country’s oldest free-market organization. Why not have an annual reunion, I thought, and bring together all the think tanks and freedom organizations from around the world, to talk about philosophy, history, science & technology, healthy living, music & dance, investments, and geo-politics? We would create an intellectual feast in a fun town, the entertainment capital of the world.
And then invite the general public, concerned citizens, business and political leaders, investors, and young people around the world to join us. I imagined them walking into an exhibit hall full of booths of think tanks, publishers, film producers, and freedom organizations, highlighting their latest efforts. I envisioned it as “one stop shopping for liberty.”
I was told, “It can’t be done. Libertarians are like a herd of cats.”
But the founders did it. At the end of the Constitutional Convention in 1789, Benjamin Franklin wrote, “It is a singular thing in the history of mankind that a great people have had the opportunity of forming a government for themselves. We are making experiment in politics. In these sentiments, I agree to this Constitution, with all its faults, if they are such. For when you assemble a number of men to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views. It therefore astonishes me to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does.”
Franklin also warned, “We must all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.”
We all are doing our best to promote the principles of liberty and justice, but we must do more. We are losing the battle, slowly but surely. I’ve felt for some time that the enemies of liberty are better organized, and now more than ever, it is critical that all the movers and shakers in the freedom movement come together once a year if we are going to reverse the tide. There is strength in numbers.
Milton Friedman, before he died, wrote me a letter in which he caught the vision of this gathering: “FreedomFest is THE great place to talk, argue, listen, celebrate the triumphs of liberty, assess the dangers to liberty, and provide that eternal vigilance that is the price of liberty.” Steve Forbes and John Mackey are our co-ambassadors. They understand the importance of this “focal point” of liberty and set aside all four days in their busy schedule to attend. So do most of the other speakers.
FreedomFest has been called many things: A Live Wikipedia for libertarians; a Renaissance gathering for free thinkers; the Trade Show for Liberty; the New Mecca for free minds; the Focal Point for freedom lovers; the Gathering of the Tribes; the Disneyland of the mind; the blow-out conference of libertarian gold bugs; the Libertarianism’s Church of What’s Happening Now; and the Greatest Libertarian Show on Earth. There’s something for everyone at FreedomFest.
And it’s catching on. We are growing every year. Practically all the major think tanks and freedom organizations have caught the vision of FreedomFest and are making their way to Vegas every second week in July. Fox News is now coming and taping the Stossel show; other radio and TV stations are doing their shows there. Thousands of concerned citizens, investors, authors, professors, students and experts are joining us from around the world. Some even change their schedule to attend; they sacrifice to be there.
What do we have planned for this year? Check us out. For a list of all the great speakers, panels and debates, go to http://freedomfest.com/blog/2014/04/25/whattoexpect/ And don’t miss our ever-popular Anthem libertarian film festival going on all four days at FreedomFest. This time it includes a sneak preview of the new film “Atlas Shrugged 3” hosted by John Stossel.
And of course ISIL will be there again this year, doing some great sessions with Mary Ruwart, Ken Schoolland, Li Zhao Schoolland, Barbara Kohm, Glenn Cripe, and Doug Casey.
I know I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. If not us, then who? If not now, then when?
Spread the word. John Galt is calling….
FreedomFest is only a few weeks away. Now is the time to join us in Las Vegas. Go to www.freedomfest.com to learn more and register. Or call Tami Holland, our conference coordinator, at 1-866-266-5101. It will change your life….and maybe even the world.