Tomorrow, the 18th of November, I will be speaking at the University of Alabama: at the Gorgas Library, Room 205 at 6:30 pm. No RSVP is required. This is a Cato Event, where I will lecture on Giving Peace A Chance. I look forward to interacting with students, please join us if you can.
Next month, on Friday December 5th, at 4:00 pm local time, I will be attending the European Students for Liberty’s first national conference for Greece in Athens. You can find more details about that event here. This is a country that is very much in need of free market ideas right now
Tomorrow I’ll be speaking to the 2014 Students For Liberty Pittsburgh Regional Conference along with others like David Boaz, Lawrence W. Reed, Shikha Dalmia, Matt Welch, and Nick Gillespie, among others. These regional conferences are rewarding events for students and one of the dominant ways that Students for Liberty excites young activists. If you are unable to attend but want to support Students for Liberty, follow them on Facebook or go to their Website to see how to get involved.
An article at RealClearPolitics includes a few of my thoughts about post-Communist Europe. There are undoubtedly groups of people nostalgic about communist Europe, but things seem to be moving in the right direction at the very least.
I asked Palmer, now a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and executive vice president for international programs at the libertarian Atlas Network, for an updated view. In his email, he sounded more upbeat than one might expect: “Remember what the condition was in 1989 and 1990. Dictatorships. Food shortages. Despair. Visit those countries now and you find very different places. Yes, they are not perfect, but it’s so easy to overlook the progress when you’re looking for the faults.”
Still, Palmer acknowledges that there is a lingering nostalgia for communism among some in Eastern Europe—especially older people for whom normal nostalgia for their youth is associated with the communist past—and that such sentiment paradoxically feeds into the popularity of far-right nationalist and even fascist movements. In the case of Russia, he says, “there is another element, which I call ‘Failed Empire Syndrome’: the longing for the days when ‘we were feared,’ mixed in with conspiracy theories of being betrayed, humiliated, etc.”
On November 29th and 30th, I will be present at the European Students for Liberty Ukraine Summit in Kyiv. Top speakers will address the crowd in Ukrainian, Russian, and English on a number of important issues for a country and a region that is very much in crisis.
I wrote this article on the 10th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Today is the 25th anniversary and it’s worth remembering how and why the wall came down.
Just as important as celebration of the overthrow of entrenched evil is the attempt to understand how and why that system of evil fell. I spent most of 1989 and 1990 in Eastern Europe spreading the ideas of the free society — smuggling books, photocopiers and the like and holding seminars, lectures and meetings with dissidents, students and others who were beginning to confront socialism openly. I observed the fall of communism up close. This is what I learned.
The collapse of the communist ideal came about quickly; it surprised the leaders of the socialist states, not to mention almost all American observers. But the rot had set in many years before. I remember the Polish workers who complained, “Forty years of Socialism, and still no toilet paper!” But the ruling classes were in some ways even more demoralized, for it was they who traveled to the West and could compare our societies with theirs. Rich and powerful people who traveled to America or West Germany realized that their standard of living was lower than that of the average industrial worker in a Western country.
The whole rotten structure came tumbling down when people realized that the “real” communists among them were but a small minority. As they learned that, it became possible to express opposition to the system and not be singled out as the lonely dissident who could expect to be manacled and thrown down the memory hole.
Communism and state socialism have not gone away in the years since this was written. But we can still derive important lessons for liberty from the fall of the Berlin Wall. The hows and whys of the fall of the Berlin Wall are extremely important for libertarians and lovers of liberty and peace to examine closely, so that we might replicate that success elsewhere.
My talk on “The Path to Freedom” before the Estudiantes por la Libertad (Students for Liberty) conference in Guatemala. The talk was delivered at Universidad Francisco Marroquín, a leading university that promotes free-market views in Latin America.
This is a recording of my interview on peace and freedom which aired in Boston on the RealClear Radio Hour. Thanks to Bill Frezza for having me on and for the engaging conversation. We discuss how news-media affects modern views on the prevalence of violence, honor cultures vs. dignity cultures, poverty tourism, and other topics.
The Atlas Network’s annual Liberty Forum and Freedom Dinner is rapidly approaching. It takes place in New York City on November 12-13. This year’s topic is “Tearing Down The Berlin Walls of Today”, which is a topic I hold dear. I’ll have the honor of offering the welcoming remarks, doing a book signing, and moderating a session about why we have reasons for hope in the future. Speakers like Garry Kasparov, Dr. Yaron Brook, Lawrence W. Reed, John Tierney, Yeonmi Park, will address the audience on a range of topics related to tearing down barriers to freedom. It will be an engaging and enlightening forum, registration is available at the linked website for any who are interested.
The Asia Centre for Enterprise, The Atlas Network, and Samriddhi, The Prosperity Foundation, have partnered to host the Asia Liberty Forum. It will bring together policy makers, scholars, and activists who aim to advance markets and liberty in Asia. They have invited me to speak to the forum along with a number of tireless advocates for liberty in Asia. I hope to see a full forum on January 8th-10th, 2015, in Kathmandu, Nepal. You can find out more information and register for the event here.
I’m pleased to be appearing on REAL CLEAR Radio Hour with Bill Frezza tomorrow, Saturday, November 1st, discussing Peace, Love, & Liberty. The interview will air Saturday, Nov 1 on Bloomberg Radio in Boston at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. and can be streamed live here.
Peace, Love & Liberty features the writings of yours truly, Steven Pinker, Radley Balko, and other scholars from all over the world. It is available at Amazon here.