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Thursday, February 27, 2020

Liberty on Tour in Indonesia and Australia

FEE's president emeritus Lawrence Reed is traveling across the globe to spread the message of free markets and personal character.

Image credit: Pixabay | Pixabay license (

Any expert in etiquette knows that there are three kinds of manners: good ones, bad ones, and Ron.

Since I retired as FEE president in May 2019, three titles adorn my business cards: President Emeritus, Humphreys Family Senior Fellow, and Ron Manners Global Ambassador for Liberty. It’s a proud, daily task trying to live up to them.

The Ron Manners in that third title hails from Perth, Australia, and turned a vigorous 84 last month. Click on his name to learn more about the flourishing think tank he founded over two decades ago, the Mannkal Economic Education Foundation. Though his interests stretch from mining to education in his native Australia, Ron is known throughout the world’s vibrant liberty movement. If I had an ounce of gold for every conference he’s attended on six continents, I could personally make even the dollar sound again.

The title of Ron’s new book, The Lonely Libertarian: Turning Ideas into Gold—and then Gold into Ideas, sums up his amazing life. By extracting metals from the earth, he created jobs and wealth. Then he put much of his earnings to work on behalf of the very freedom that made that possible. Oh, how I wish more businesspeople would see the great wisdom of such priorities! As Ron writes,

Unfortunately, most of our problems would not have occurred had we been as concerned about preserving liberty as we were about earning a living and paying taxes. Most of us are so busy and preoccupied that we have neglected to preserve the freedom that protects our rights to keep what we have earned.

His book is full of insights and reminiscences of his years in business as well as his time on the forefront of the intellectual battle for free enterprise. The only quibble I might have is with the adjective “Lonely” in the title. Yes, Ron often fought uphill battles with few at his side, but he has so many grateful friends around the globe that I can’t imagine he’s ever lonely. I’ll ask him and his delightful wife Jenny about that when I stay at their home next month in Perth.

Meantime, you can read a very good review of Ron’s book by Benjamin Marks.

The lecture tour in March will be my principal duty this year as Ron Manners Global Ambassador for Liberty. In addition to lectures in Perth for Ron’s foundation, other think tanks are hosting events elsewhere: the Center for Indonesian Policy Studies and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation in Jakarta; LibertyWorks in Perth; the Australian Institute for Progress in Brisbane; the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance in Sydney; and in Melbourne, the Institute for Public Affairs.

Sadly, my first stop was to be Hong Kong for the good folks at the Lion Rock Institute but the coronavirus forced us to take a rain check.

Some of the events are open to the public. For people in those areas who might be interested in them, below are the details as of February 18. Additions and changes may materialize, so keep in touch with the indicated contact persons:

Jakarta, Indonesia

  • Monday, March 9: 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm, Central Jakarta (by invitation only)
    • Topic: “Seven Principles of Sound Public Policy”
    • Contact: Dahlia Ramya, [email protected]
    • Other events private
  • Wednesday, March 11: 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm – Lunch event with Friedrich Naumann Foundation
    • Topic: “Liberty and Character”
    • Contact: Mrs. Nur Rachmi (Anung), [email protected], +62 812-8710-567

Perth, Australia

  • Thursday, March 12: 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm – Emerging Leaders 2020
  • Saturday, March 14: Morning – LibertyFest conference
    • Location: Rendezvous Hotel, 24 Mount St
    • Register here
    • Topics: “Excuse Me, Professor: Challenging the Myths of Progressivism” and “A Student’s Essay That Changed the World”
    • Contact: Andrew Cooper, [email protected]

Brisbane, Australia

  • Sunday, March 15: 3:00 pm
    • Topic: “Was Jesus a Socialist?”
    • Reserve your seat here 
    • Location: Australian Institute for Progress Auditorium, Unit 2B, 50 Logan Road, Woolloongabba Q 4102
    • Contact: Graham Young, [email protected]

Sydney, Australia

Melbourne, Australia

  • Lawrence W. Reed is FEE's President Emeritus, having previously served for nearly 11 years as FEE’s president (2008-2019). He is also FEE's Humphreys Family Senior Fellow and Ron Manners Global Ambassador for Liberty. His Facebook page is here and his personal website is