One man can change the world - the Libertarian saga of Antony Fisher
20. October 2018 at 11:37
We are the change we seek, We become the idealogy of the change we we've worked to achieve. How a Man Changed a Nation; One man can change the world. The year was 1945 a young man named Antony Fisher entered the faculty office of Friedrich Hayek at the London School of Economics.Five years earlier, Fisher had flown a Hawker Hurricane fighter plane for the Royal Air Force during the Battle of Britain. He'd seen his younger brother's plane shot down by the German Luftwaffe. Of course, the death of Antony's brother was only one of many. British civilian losses numbered 23,000 and 32,000 wounded. But thanks to those who fought in the Royal Air Force, Britain remained free and momentum in the War began to shift against the Nazis. In Churchill's words, "Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few." Antony Fisher was one of "The Few".
After World War II, Antony was concerned as he watched the British people elect a Labor Party government that was determined to nationalize key industries and "plan" the economic recovery. Fisher instinctively did not like this direction, and was thrilled to come across Hayek's recently-published The Road to Serfdom, which makes a convincing case that socialism inevitably erodes liberty and enables tyranny.
Meeting Hayek for the first time, Fisher expected the professor to be excited to learn of his new ambitions - to enter politics and lead the UK back onto a course of freedom. But Hayek told him this was not a good idea at all. Hayek explained that politicians are like corks in the water - where the water is public opinion. No politician would succeed in changing policy away from socialism, until the public was convinced of a better alternative.
The project, Hayek explained, was much bigger than achieving a political victory. They needed to change public opinion in a fundamental way. Fisher kept this conversation in mind for many years. It ultimately inspired his creation of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in London in the 1950s - the first free-market think tank in England.
It took time for the IEA to have an impact, but when Margaret Thatcher was elected Prime Minister she credited the IEA with having created the public demand for free-market policy reforms. In short order, she put the unions back under the rule of law, privatized public housing, removed state ownership and reduced state regulation in several industries, lightened the tax burden, and ended currency controls.
Over the next years, the economic turmoil of "the Winter of Discontent" was transformed into booming prosperity and a changed political landscape. At the IEA's 30th anniversary celebrations in 1987, Thatcher said of Fisher and his colleagues: "They were few. But they were right. And they saved Britain." If we must fight, Let's fight for freedom and prosperity, For indeed one man, one Libertarian mind can change the world with well garnished ideas.