Ideas move the world. Want a better world, spread good ideas as widely as possible.
If you can expose enough people to the right ideas, everything will work out for the best, with an ever-wider vista of freedom and achievement as the inevitable consequence. Right?
Well . . . not quite. Ideas and values don’t have any kind of independent existence. Individuals must accept and apply them. Hillary Clinton once admitted to being inspired by Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand’s mammoth novel celebrating freedom and entrepreneurship and attacking socialism. Yet Hillary still ended up trying to ram socialist health care down our throats. And she ain’t done yet.
Or take Vladimir Putin, the repressive semi-post-Communist Russian leader whose government just invaded the former satellite country of Georgia. The autocratic Putin is no Stalin, but he’s no Jefferson either . . . even if he did attend a Cato seminar on the values of a free society.
It’s true! I recently stumbled across a 2004 issue of Cato Policy Report, published by the libertarian Cato Institute. Ed Crane, Cato’s president, reported that during a long meeting with Putin, Crane and others discussed the benefits of a free press and concerns that the Russian government was repressing the media. Putin seemed open to a more across-the-board freedom. He even said he wanted to “make Moscow the center of liberal debate in Europe.”
Really? Try a little harder, Vlad.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.