November 17, 2015 Print

Markets and civil society are buried under a mountain of regulation, and politicians have no incentive to slow the deluge. So many activities, both beneficial and benign, have become subject to legal penalty that anybody could be punished for violating some statute or another. How can people extricate themselves from this web of regulation? One potential solution is to engage in widespread civil disobedience, argued renowned scholar Charles Murray, Atlas Network’s Templeton Leadership Fellow, during his keynote address at the 2015 Liberty Forum & Freedom Dinner.

“The federal government only gets away with it because there’s no pushback,” Murray said during his speech. Overcoming the regulatory state requires people to resist government encroachments, and if enough people do so, bureaucratic enforcers won’t be able to keep up with prosecuting all the people who refuse to comply. People could achieve a de facto free and prosperous society by simply withholding their consent and compliance with intrusive regulatory dictates.

Yuliya Tychkivska (Ukraine) giving the annual toast to freedom.

Murray’s address, introduced by DonorsTrust CEO Lawson Bader, was one of many highlights during this year’s Freedom Dinner. The annual toast to freedom was provided by Yuliya Tychkivska, cofounder of the new Bendukidze Free Market Centre in Ukraine and graduate of Atlas Leadership Academy.

The evening also included an announcement of the winner of the Templeton Freedom Award, won by Atlas Network partner the Acton Institute for its Poverty, Inc. documentary. The 91-minute film, which draws from more than 200 interviews filmed in 20 countries, unearths an uncomfortable side of charity we can no longer ignore and exposes the international industry that has arisen to exploit global poverty.

Tom G. Palmer, Atlas Network's executive vice president for international programs, served as auctioneer during Freedom Dinner.

One of the most lively events of this year’s Freedom Dinner was the auction of a first-edition copy of Atlas Shrugged from the personal collection of the late Leonard Liggio, Atlas Network’s long-time executive vice president of academics. Tom G. Palmer, Atlas Network’s executive vice president for international programs, served as the evening’s dynamic auctioneer, proving to be a consummate salesman as he coaxed audience members to make increasingly higher bids for the historic book until the auction was finally won by Atlas Network board member Gerry Ohrstrom for a bid of $10,000. The bid price will go toward funding Atlas Network’s many programs that support the cultivation of free-market think tanks worldwide.

The global freedom movement’s most inspirational event of the year proved to be a resounding success again in 2015, so make plans now to join us in New York City next year.