Two decades ago, the symbol of dictatorship and communism in Europe, the Berlin Wall, was torn. Tearing down that wall signaled the impatience of people living in previously communist states in eastern Europe to experience economic freedom and political democratization.
Two decades hence, various walls -- political, economic, social, cultural, religious, etc, -- to individual liberty and economic freedom still remain, some recently erected. Thus, the persistence of people and groups to tear down those walls in their small and limited capacities.
The Atlas Economic Research Foundation (www.atlasnetwork.org) is the first global institute that formally introduced me to the global free market movement, a loose network of independent think tanks and public policy institutes, as well as organizationally-unaffiliated individuals who believe in advancing individual liberty, limited government and competitive markets. That was in 2004. Atlas introduced me to a number of great minds from many countries around the world that advance those ideals, during the Mackinac Leadership Conference in Midland, Michigan, the 4th Atlas Liberty Forum in Chicago, and various meetings and visits of free market think tanks and leaders in Washington DC.
Atlas also sponsored me in 3 regional conferences of free market think tanks and individuals in Asia: Hong Kong in 2004, Phuket, Thailand in 2005, and Kuala Lumpur in 2006. Then Atlas sponsored again my participation in the 8th Atlas Liberty Forum in Atlanta last year, and the 9th Atlas Liberty Forum in Los Angeles last April.
Now, this is not to brag the cities that I have visited due to Atlas sponsorship. Rather, to show how Atlas trusted me and MG Thinkers, to show how Atlas inspires me and our think tank here in Manila, Minimal Government Thinkers, Inc., to do more, to work more. Whatever work, political and philosophical campaigns that I and our think tank, MG Thinkers -- like opposing price control, more regulations, more taxation -- is doing, credit Atlas for the philosophical support and organizational networking it has extended to us.
There is another global institute that supported me and MG Thinkers the past few years. The Internatiional Policy Network (IPN, www.policynetwork.net) in London also provided us a number of important resources.
Last May or June, Atlas and IPN jointly sponsored a global campaign to further promote free trade, the Freedom to Trade (F2T) coalition (www.freedomtotrade.org). MG Thinkers is among the 80 think tanks and independent institutes from many countries that belonged to this coalition. Well, we are the only Philippine-based institute that belongs there, as far as I know.
Last September 1, Atlas launched a new and unique project -- Tearing Down the Wall project (http://tearingdownthewall.org). It's a simple project with very simple timetable: collect at least $20,000 in 20 days (ie, until September 20) to fund the travel and participation of a number of freedom champions from many countries around the world, to commemorate and discuss the fall of the Berlin Wall, the fall of communism in Europe, and the persistence of communism in very few countries these days and communist-type of public policies in supposedly capitalist countries.
That amount is not enough of course, to fund a big number of freedom champions that Atlas wants to bring to Washington DC in November this year. There is a group of rich donors in the Atlas network who will put up a counterpart fund for the total donation that Atlas can get and mobilize. So that doubles, if not triples, the amount of money that Atlas can tap for its important activity two months from now.
May I invite you friends, to visit the site and make some modest donation to the Tearing Down the Wall project. $10, $20 donation will be cool and will definitely go a long way in helping promote individual freedom. Freedom from intrusive governments who sometimes think that individuals are stupid enough that they should be guided by a nanny State to protect them from harming themselves. Freedom from the philosophy that government should socialize everything -- education, housing, credit, healthcare, transporation, energy, etc. -- and also socialize our pockets. our personal and household savings, even socialize our dreams and personal liberty.
Thank you very much.