All Commentary
Saturday, March 1, 1986

40 Years At FEE

The job of economic education must be undertaken now while those who appreciate the value of liberty are still in a position to support it.

In March 1946, Leonard Read and a small group of colleagues began The Foundation for Economic Education to present the ideas of liberty to a new generation who had no real understanding of the principles and practices of freedom. And yet they would soon reach responsible positions in the business, intellectual, and political life of the country. The task FEE set for itself was to be a first source, to provide the moral and economic case for limited government and a free market economy.

Time has proven the correctness of FEE’s approach. The theory, practice, and moral bankruptcy of all the various forms of collectivism are now clearer than ever. The role played by FEE, and all the friends of FEE, is substantial. As the late Dr. Ben Rugge so eloquently said, “Throughout this country, throughout the world there is ‘activity of soul’ underway that would never have been undertaken but for the work and the inspiration of . . . The Foundation for Economic Education.”

In a time of renewed hope in and understanding of the nature of our free society, some people now feel that the battle is over. What a tragic misconception! Without constant vigilance, self-improvement and a growing understanding of the principles behind the renewed faith in freedom, public policy will once again fall back on expediency, coercion and the abrogation of individual rights.

Thus we celebrate our 40th anniversary with appreciation for what FEE has done to improve our prospects for liberty, and to look forward to the needs and prospects for the next forty years. The task remains, now more than ever, to understand and communicate the constructive possibilities of the freedom philosophy.

We will celebrate our 40th anniversary in gentle ways throughout the year: by example and through our ongoing programs and activities. Our approach is not a boisterous one.

For that reason we start this issue with an article by Dr. Israel Kirzner. Some of you may be familiar with it, many more will not be. It is a solid, perhaps even inspiring, presentation of two threads in the FEE philosophy. First, it shows how it is that “The free life . . . is at the heart of one’s being.” Second, Dr. Kirzner, shows how FEE’s soft-spoken style is the most appropriate and most effective for presenting the freedom philosophy.

  • The Foundation for Economic Education, founded 1946, works for a free and prosperous world.