The Corner

Sweet Freedom: An Appreciation

Today, we publish the fourth and final part of my series “Freedom U”: about the classical-liberal university in Guatemala, Francisco Marroquín University. I wish I could enroll right today.

Some readers have asked, “Why can’t we have UFMs in the United States? Guatemala is a dinky little country in Central America. We’re a big continental nation, with over 300 million people and lots of billionaires, who should be interested in perpetuating the idea of economic freedom and other freedom?”

Well, that’s a good question. Maybe we can tackle it another time.

At the end of my series, I have a little autobiographical note (as I do so often):

When I was growing up, I think I was led to believe that the capitalists — the free-marketeers, the classical liberals — were selfish, materialistic, and greedy. They preached a gospel of dog-eat-dog. Every man for himself. Survival of the fittest. “You’re on your own,” as our president, Obama, says (caricaturing the Republican party).

In due course, I realized that these people were among the most caring people on earth. They want people to be prosperous, free, fulfilled, and well.

That Obama is a piece of work, isn’t he? I loved something that George W. Bush said, in his speech inaugurating his post-presidential center in Dallas. Obama was onstage with him, along with the ex-presidents. Bush said, “Independence from the state does not mean isolation from each other. A free society thrives when neighbors help neighbors, and the strong protect the weak, and public policies promote private compassion.”

Bill Buckley never tired of asking, “Why is it that socialist politicians succeed in free societies, given the manifest failure of socialism and the manifest success of free enterprise?” One day, Jeane Kirkpatrick gave him an answer he liked:

The socialists have good words such as “fairness,” “social justice,” “community,” and “equality.” Capitalists have scary words such as “independence,” “self-reliance,” “opportunity,” and “striving.”

I appreciate the entrepreneurs of America and the rest of the world. They make it possible for us wage-eaters to have employment.

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