The world lost a dear friend of human freedom and prosperity on Thursday, December 2, 2021 when American entrepreneur, author, and philanthropist Phil Harvey passed away. Phil was a generous donor to many humanitarian and classical liberal causes, including Atlas Network and DKT International, a non-profit organization dedicated to making family-planning and AIDS prevention accessible. He was a vocal critic of welfare dependency, including for the rich, and an advocate of ending the war on drugs and mass incarceration. He founded DKT Liberty Project in support of protection of privacy and of constitutional rights, including freedom of speech and property rights.
“The world is a better place thanks to Phil Harvey,” said Brad Lips, CEO of Atlas Network. “Phil’s compassion for others was matched only by his hard-headed, pragmatic pursuit of strategies that actually work in helping people lead lives of dignity and opportunity.”
Phil was a key supporter of the liberty movement. He invested well over US$1 million in the work of Atlas Network alone. He also donated to organizations such as the Cato Institute, Reason Foundation, and Free to Choose Network.
In addition to his career as an entrepreneur, chairman of DKT International, and founder of DKT Liberty Project, Phil Harvey co-authored books and articles of his own, produced movies, and funded challenges to violations of constitutional rights. Among the books he authored were:
The Human Cost of Welfare: How the System Hurts the People It’s Supposed to Help
Welfare for the Rich: How Your Tax Dollars End Up in Millionaire’s Pockets—and What You Can Do About It
The Government vs. Erotica
Let Every Child Be Wanted
His book with Lisa Conyers, The Human Cost of Welfare, is a good example of how Phil’s critiques of expansive government were rooted in compassion for regular people. The book details the experiences of welfare recipients, the psychological impact of dependency, and the ways in which welfare systems make it difficult to escape dependency.
Phil devoted himself to securing the framework of liberty within which every person has the chance to flourish and to take charge of his or her own life. Atlas Network joins his friends and family in honoring and celebrating his legacy. Phil is survived by his wife and collaborator, the artist Harriet Lesser, who co-curated the 2018 Cato Institute exhibition, Freedom: Art as the Messenger.
Atlas Network’s George M. Yeager Chair for Advancing Liberty Dr. Tom G. Palmer said “Everyone who cares about the marginalized, the struggling, the excluded mourns the passing of our friend Phil Harvey. Phil loved liberty like most politicians love power. Losing him is a terrible blow, but we have his example to continue to inspire us. Requiescat in pace, Phil.”